Chargebacks

Chargeback Reason Codes by Network - 2021 Guide

Definitive Guide to Reason Codes_Blog Image

Table of Contents

  1. What is a chargeback reason code?
  2. How do reason codes help fight chargebacks?
  3. Chargeback reason code quick reference guide
  4. 2021 Visa chargeback reason codes
  5. 2021 Mastercard chargeback reason codes
  6. 2021 American Express chargeback reason codes
  7. 2021 Discover chargeback reason codes
  8. Know the reasons behind your chargebacks
  9. What are the reasons for chargebacks?
  10. Can you always win chargebacks?
  11. Is there a time limit for chargebacks?

One of the most important things to do when working to prevent and fight chargebacks is to know why they're happening. If you don't know why you're getting chargebacks, you can't find and target the aspects of your business operations that need improvement. Without knowing the reason behind it, you can't make an informed decision on whether to fight a chargeback, nor can you put together an effective evidence package.

That's where chargeback reason codes come in. While they don't tell you everything you need to know about the reasons behind a chargeback, they're still a key tool in the fight against chargebacks, and all merchants should make an effort to familiarize themselves with these codes.

Let's go over what these reason codes are, how they differ by credit card network, and how you can use them to prevent and fight chargebacks.

What is a chargeback reason code?

A reason code is an alphanumeric code selected from a predetermined list by the issuing bank to indicate the reason the cardholder gave for requesting a chargeback. Each credit card network has its own list of reason codes banks must choose from.
 

New call-to-actionWhen a cardholder initiates a dispute with their issuing bank, a representative will ask them questions about the transaction and their reason for disputing it, and ask for any evidence they have that might support their claim. If they decide the dispute is legitimate, they provide a provisional credit to the cardholder while sending a chargeback to the acquiring bank via the credit card network.

As part of the chargeback notification, the bank will list the reason code that matches the reason the cardholder gave for the dispute. The reason code is chosen from the list maintained by whichever card network the card in question operates on.

How do reason codes help fight chargebacks?

The reason code will tell you what evidence you need to submit in representment and can help identify weaknesses in your business operations that can be fixed to prevent further chargebacks.

Whenever you receive a chargeback notification, the first thing you should do is check the reason code against your records of the transaction.

If you have evidence proving that the reason the customer gave for the chargeback isn't true, you can fight the chargeback in representment, where you submit a rebuttal letter and supporting evidence to the issuing bank for consideration.

The bank will examine the Fight & Recover Chargebacks - Get The Guideevidence and decide to either reverse or uphold the chargeback. The evidence you provide should always be tailored to the reason code for the chargeback, as adding irrelevant documentation will only muddle your case.

If the reason code is plausible given your records of the transaction, you can use that information to figure out where things went wrong and try to prevent similar issues from happening in the future. For example, if you're getting a lot of chargebacks with reason codes indicating that the product wasn't delivered, you might want to implement delivery confirmation or switch to a more reliable shipping service.

Reason codes also signal to the network different aspects of the chargeback that might place the merchant as the liable party, particularly for incidents related to EMV technology or authorization errors.

Chargeback reason code quick reference guide

What follows is a quick reference guide for all the current reason codes for each of the four major credit card networks: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. If you want a more thorough explanation of a given reason code, you can find it in our reason code lookup tool.

2021 Visa chargeback reason codes

Here's a list of all the current Visa reason codes:

Chargeback Code Description
Fraud  
10.1 EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit Fraud
10.2 EMV Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit Fraud
10.3 Other Fraud — Card Present Environment
10.4 Other Fraud — Card Absent Environment
10.5 Visa Fraud Monitoring Program
Authorization  
11.1 Card Recovery Bulletin
11.2 Declined Authorization
11.3 No Authorization
Processing Errors  
12.1 Late Presentment
12.2 Incorrect Transaction Code
12.3 Incorrect Currency
12.4 Incorrect Account Number
12.5 Incorrect Amount
12.6 Duplicate Processing/Paid by Other Means
12.7 Invalid Data
Customer Disputes  
13.1 Merchandise/Services Not Received
13.2 Cancelled Recurring
13.3 Not as Described or Defective Merchandise/Services
13.4 Counterfeit Merchandise
13.5 Misrepresentation
13.6 Credit Not Processed
13.7 Cancelled Merchandise/Services
13.8 Original Credit Transaction Not Accepted
13.9 Non-Receipt of Cash or Load Transaction Value

 

2021 Mastercard chargeback reason codes

Here's a list of all the current Mastercard reason codes:

Chargeback Code Description
Authorization  
4808 Warning Bulletin File
4808 Authorization-Related Chargeback
4808 Account Number Not on File
4808 Required Authorization Not Obtained
4808 Expired Chargeback Protection Period
4808 Multiple Authorization Requests
4808 Cardholder-Activated Terminal (CAT) 3 Device
Point of Interaction Error  
4834 Point of Interaction Error
4834 Transaction Amount Differs
4834 Late Presentment
4834 Point-of-Interaction Currency Conversion
4834 Duplication/Paid by Other Means
4834 ATM Disputes
4834 Loss, Theft, or Damages
Fraud  
4837 No Cardholder Authorization
4849 Questionable Merchant Activity
4870 EMV Chip Liability Shift
4871 EMV Chip/PIN Liability Shift
Cardholder Disputes  
4853 Cardholder Dispute of a Recurring Transaction
4853 Goods or Services Not Provided
4853 No-Show Hotel Charge
4853 Addendum Dispute
4853 Credit Not Processed
4853 Goods/Services not as Described or Defective
4853 Digital Goods $25 or less
4853 Counterfeit Goods
4853 Transaction Did Not Complete
4853 Credit Posted as a Purchase
4854 Cardholder Dispute Not Classified Elsewhere
Other  
4850 Installment Billing Dispute (Participating Countries Only)
4999 Domestic Chargeback Dispute (Europe Region Only)

 

2021 American Express chargeback reason codes

Here's a list of all the current American Express reason codes:

Chargeback Code Description
Authorization  
A01 Charge Amount Exceeds Authorization Amount
A02 No Valid Authorization
A08 Authorization Approval Expired
Fraud  
F10 Missing Imprint
F14 Missing Signature
F24 No Card Member Authorization
F29 Card Not Present
F30 EMV Counterfeit
F31 EMV Lost/Stolen/Non-Received
Card Member Dispute  
C02 Credit Not Processed
C04 Goods/Services Returned or Refused
C05 Goods/Services Cancelled
C08 Goods/Services Not Received
C14 Paid by Other Means
C18 “No Show” or CARDeposit Cancelled
C28 Cancelled Recurring Billing
C31 Goods/Services Not as Described
C32 Goods/Services Damaged or Defective
Processing Error  
P01 Unassigned Card Number
P03 Credit Processed as Charge
P04 Charge Processed as Credit
P05 Incorrect Charge Amount
P07 Late Submission
P08 Duplicate Charge
P22 Non-Matching Card Number
P23 Currency Discrepancy
Inquiry/Miscellaneous  
R03 Insufficient Reply
R13 No Reply
M01 Chargeback Authorization
M10 Vehicle Rental - Capital Damages
M49 Vehicle Rental - Theft or Loss of Use
FR2 Fraud Full Recourse Program
FR4 Immediate Chargeback Program
FR6 Partial Immediate Chargeback Program

 

2021 Discover chargeback reason codes

Here's a list of all the current Discover reason codes:

Chargeback Code Description
Fraud  
UA01 Fraud – Card Present Transaction
UA02 Fraud – Card Not Present Transaction
UA05 Fraud – Chip Counterfeit Transaction
UA06 Fraud – Chip and PIN Transaction
UA10 Request Transaction Receipt (swiped card transactions)
UA11 Cardholder Claims Fraud (swiped transaction, no signature)
Authorization  
NA No Authorization
DA Declined Authorization
AT Authorization Non-Compliance
EX Expired Card
Processing Errors  
IN Invalid Card Number
LP Late Presentation
Services  
5 Good Faith Investigation
AA Does Not Recognize
AP Recurring Payments
AW Altered Amount
CD Credit/Debit Posted Incorrectly
DP Duplicate Processing
IC Illegible Sales Data
NF Non-Receipt of Cash from ATM
PM Paid by Other Means
RG Non-Receipt of Goods, Services, or Cash
RM Cardholder Disputes Quality of Goods or Services
RN2 Credit Not Processed
Other  
DC Dispute Compliance
NC Not Classified

 

Know the reasons behind your chargebacks

Identifying your chargeback reason codes, understanding them, and taking steps to remedy the root causes of your chargebacks is key to keeping your merchant accounts intact. 

Getting down to the root cause of your chargebacks is also the first step to fixing internal issues and preventing future chargeback disputes.

FAQ

What are the reasons for chargebacks?

Reasons for chargebacks include true fraud, friendly fraud, and merchant error. Reason codes typically fall into one of these three categories.
 

Can you always win chargebacks?

No. In cases of true fraud, you should not win, and in cases of friendly fraud, you still need to provide compelling evidence during representment.
 

Is there a time limit for chargebacks?

Cardholders have 75-120 days to dispute a charge. Note that merchants may not find out about chargebacks until well into the chargeback process, so when one happens you may not learn about it until much later.
 

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Get the guide, Chargebacks 101: Understanding Chargebacks & Their Root Causes