Visa Chargeback Reason Code 73: Authorization

chargeback reason code 73Merchants who receive a chargeback for a transaction placed with a Visa card may encounter reason code 73, which indicates an improperly authorized transaction that the cardholder does not believe they should be responsible for paying. The actual underlying cause of this chargeback is usually merchant error. Merchants who believe they have received an invalid chargeback under reason code 73 may be able to represent the transaction and reverse the chargeback with the right compelling evidence.

What is Visa Chargeback Reason Code 73?

Visa chargeback reason code 73 falls under the “Authorization” category. The shorthand description is “Expired Card.” When you encounter this reason code, it means that a transaction was processed without proper authorization approval, and the card had expired prior to the transaction date.

Credit cards come with expiration dates, and once the expiration date has passed. Typically, you will see cards with four-digit expiration dates indicating the month and the year that the card expires. These cards expire on the last day of the month specified. Therefore, a card with a 02/22 expiration date is valid through February 28, 2022 and would be considered expired on March 1, 2022.

If you send an authorization approval request on an expired card, you should expect to see a “Declined—Card Expired” response code sent back.

What Scenarios Might Lead to This Chargeback?

Since expired cards return a “Decline” response code, you won’t risk incurring this chargeback if you request authorization approval and comply with the response. This chargeback is only possible when merchants disregard the requirement to obtain authorization approval and either skip the authorization step entirely or “force” an unauthorized transaction to go through. It’s rarely a good idea to do this, but some merchants will make exceptions for persuasive customers, or if they believe their payment terminal is malfunctioning and they don’t want to lose the sale.

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

What are the Important Timeframes?

For most disputes, Visa recommends that its cardholders file their claim within 120 calendar days of placing the transaction. The acquirer and/or merchant have 20 calendar days to respond to this chargeback after it is filed.

How Can Merchants Fight this Chargeback Code?

Merchants can fight this chargeback if the basis for it is false or erroneous. Your chargeback response should include the following:

  • An authorization log or other documentation showing that the card was not expired on the date that the transaction was processed.
  • Proof that the transaction was initiated with an EMV chip and authorized offline.

How Can Merchants Prevent this Chargeback Code?

Obtaining authorization approval prior to completing provides merchants with assurance that the card is valid, in good standing, and has not been reported lost or stolen. Authorization is a required step and merchants who process transactions without authorization approval put themselves at serious risk for later chargebacks.

It’s not uncommon for cardholders acting in good faith to try to use an expired card to make a purchase—often, they’ve simply overlooked the fact that the expiration date has come and gone.

However, when an authorization response code indicating an expired card comes back, the transaction must be terminated and started over with a new card—the fact that the cardholder’s account may be in good standing and a new card is on the way does not mean you can push the transaction through on the old card.

The following best practices can help you avoid this kind of chargeback:

  • Check the expiration date on the card before attempting to run it.
  • Always obtain authorization approval before processing any transaction.
  • If a “decline” or ambiguous code is sent in response to an authorization request, ask the cardholder to furnish an alternate method of payment.
  • Pay close attention to authorization response codes that are sent back to you and follow the guidelines specified by your acquirer or payment processor.
  • Never “force” a transaction to go through without authorization, or after receiving a non-approval response.
  • Train your staff on proper transaction handling procedures.

About Visa Chargeback Reason Codes

Reason codes are alphanumeric codes that provide the justification for granting a chargeback. Pursuant to the Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974, cardholders have the right to dispute unauthorized or erroneous charges and issuing banks must reverse a disputed transaction of the cardholder’s claim is valid.

When a cardholder contacts their issuing bank to dispute a transaction and receive a chargeback, the dispute is assigned a reason code that most closely matches the substance of the cardholder’s claims. The reason code provides the merchant and other stakeholders in the dispute with a concise explanation for why a chargeback has been granted.

Each card network—Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover—defines and maintains their own unique set of reason codes, which are applied to disputes by the banks that issue credit and debit cards under their brands.

Visa specifies 46 reason codes under the categories of Fraud, Authorization, Point-of-Interaction Error, Consumer Disputes, and Processing Errors. Visa uses a numeric scheme for its chargeback reason codes.

Understanding chargeback reason codes is one of the most essential parts of effective chargeback management. Identifying the chargeback reason code and the evidence required to fight it is the first step in chargeback representment, and analyzing your chargeback reason codes can provide you with insights into what types of disputes are causing you the most trouble. With this information, you can determine the root causes of your chargebacks and take action to prevent them from reoccurring.