Chargeback Prevention

Disputing Chargebacks: Transaction Receipt Requirements

Blog Image - Transaction Receipt Requirements when Disputing Chargebacks

Table of Contents

  1. Receipts and Retrieval Requests
  2. When Do Customers Request Retrievals?
  3. Transaction Receipt Requirements
  4. Conclusion
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

The retail industry is about making deals, bringing great products to market, and helping consumers find things that they need and enjoy. Most people don’t become online merchants because they want to pick fights and get into conflict, but in today’s shopping environment, merchants are often forced to fight chargebacks and defend their revenue against false claims.

There are many good reasons to fight chargebacks, so many that it is always a mistake to just accept them as the cost of doing business. Not only does fighting invalid chargebacks keep your revenue from being given back to fraudsters, it also protects your relationship with your payment processor by keeping your chargeback threshold low.

Researching the root causes of chargebacks in order to fight them more effectively can also reveal important ways in which you can make improvements to your business operations.

All chargebacks must be fought with the right kind of compelling documentary evidence. Merchants who keep thorough and complete records of their transactions with customers are usually able to provide the necessary proof to dispute chargebacks that result from customer misunderstandings or “friendly fraud.”

Receipts and Retrieval Requests

New call-to-actionFor each chargeback reason code, the card networks have different rules for what evidence they will consider to determine its validity. Many chargebacks that result from customers failing to recognize the charge on their bank statement can be stopped early on in the process by providing transaction receipts.

One of the first steps in the chargeback process is often the “retrieval request,” in which the cardholder’s issuing bank, having been notified that their customer does not recognize a charge on their statement, asks the merchant’s acquiring bank for more information about the charge. If the acquirer does not have that information stored, they will request a copy of the original transaction receipt from the merchant.

As you may have noticed, the layout and content of transaction receipts can vary greatly. The national drug chain might give you a five foot long receipt that contains an afternoon’s worth of reading while the corner store prints out a tiny slip of paper that’s barely legible.

As a merchant, you should primarily concern yourself with whether your receipts meet the retrieval request standards imposed by Visa, Mastercard and other major card networks.

When Do Customers Use Retrieval Requests?

Not all networks mandate retrieval requests, but those that do typically require them at first for non-fraud claims. The truth is that cardholders don't ask for retrieval requests, but the bank may issue one based on the claims of the cardholder. 

There are several reasons a retrieval request could occur:

The customer made a purchase and they don't remember making it. This could be due to a poor item descriptor on their bill. 

The amount billed on their statement doesn't match a receipt or other agreed-upon payment. Sometimes things like tips, fees, or sales tax could confuse a consumer after the fact. 

The customer is actually attempting to engage with friendly fraud. This makes them a fraudster trying to gain some advantage over the merchant and make off with free goods and services. 

The retrieval process helps with this by offering a clarification of the transaction before the a chargeback takes place. In this case, the merchant and acquiring bank can provide additional information about the transaction to address issues due to forgotten or mistaken transactions.

Transaction Receipt Requirements

In Store Receipts

From top to bottom, here is what your card-present receipts should contain if you want them to effectively swat down illegitimate chargebacks.

  1. Merchant name and location
  2. Transaction date
  3. Merchant location code
  4. Description of goods or services
  5. Suppressed account number or token (Visa recommends suppressing the expiration date and all but the last four digits of the account number)
  6. Payment card brand
  7. Transaction amount, with applicable transaction currency symbol
  8. Authorization code, if applicable
  9. Space for cardholder signature, if applicable
  10. Return/refund policy

Online Receipts

For card-not-present businesses, such as ecommerce merchants, the transaction receipt requirements differ:

  1. Download the eGuide, 4 Reasons to Hire a Chargeback Management CompanyMerchant name and location
  2. Transaction date
  3. Merchant’s internet address
  4. Description of goods or services
  5. Payment method used
  6. Suppressed account number or token (the same suppression guidelines apply)
  7. Transaction type (purchase or credit)
  8. Authorization code
  9. Transaction amount
  10. Return/refund policy

After an issuing bank sends out a retrieval request, the acquiring bank has 30 days to respond with a copy of the transaction receipt. If the acquirer needs information from their merchant, they may still be operating within that 30-day timeframe and so it is very important for the merchant to respond by whatever deadline the acquirer gives them.

When responding to these requests from your acquiring bank, you should always keep your own copies of transaction receipts and send them via a delivery method comes with some proof of delivery. This could be certified or registered mail for physical receipts, or simply a digital copy of any requests you respond to electronically.


Responding promptly to retrieval requests can help resolve cardholder issues before they turn into chargebacks. This has obvious and immediate benefits in terms of saving you time and money. Having clearly printed, legible, informative transaction receipts will minimize the number of retrieval requests you have to deal with. Most of the time, they occur when customers don’t recognize a charge on their bill. Make sure that your correct current merchant name, along with a working phone number, is printed on cardholders’ bank statements next to your charges. If this information is out of date, your payment processor can help you update it.

Informative transaction receipts and merchant information will prevent customer confusion and reduce the chances of friendly fraud chargebacks and other time-wasting disputes.


What is a soft chargeback?

Soft chargeback is another name for a receipt retrieval request.


Does a retrieval request count against my merchant account?

No, only fraud and chargeback incidents count when it comes to customer disputes.


What can be a cause of retrieval requests?

Poor billing descriptors, unclear refund policies, unclear payment terms, or poor customer service in general.


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