One of the most frustrating things about operating a business is dealing with chargebacks. These can lead to high losses. The merchant has to pay back the full amount of the transaction, plus a chargeback fee. A chargeback occurs when a cardholder disputes a transaction charged on their card. Once the card issuer determines that the claim is valid, they refund the amount to the consumer, then send the chargeback request to your payment processor.
Having excessive chargebacks can also cause your payment processing company to close your merchant account, deeming it a high-risk merchant account. These are a few guidelines to follow to prevent chargebacks on your merchant account.
Ensure that the name that appears on your customer’s credit card statement is the same as that of your website and not your legal name if different. Chances are the customer will not pay attention to your legal name, and if this charge shows up with that name, they will dispute it. Providing a detailed transaction description helps in this scenario as well.
Each payment processor has their requirements and rules when accepting payments. Checking the expiration date and security code when processing purchases is vital. If a processor gives you permission to process card payments by phone or online, they may also need a digital signature when you ship the customer’s product.
Customers will be more inclined to come to you first with their complaints if you give excellent customer service. Make sure they have an easy way to contact you. Put an email address or phone number on your website. Payment processors will send you chargeback notifications. Contacting the customer at this point to handle the dispute can sometimes resolve the issue.
If the billing and shipping addresses do not match, or if the security code is incorrect, contact the customer to make sure that the transaction is legitimate. Train employees to look for suspicious transactions, and verify signatures in card-present transactions every time.
As recommended by CreditCards.com, maintain records of customers’ credit card transaction dates, amounts, and authorization information. Keep signed documentation such as receipts and contracts. These are valuable if you need to fight a chargeback. Keep these records for at least 180 days, as chargebacks can occur up to that time.
Ask customers to sign contracts that detail the services your company offers. Make it possible to return these contracts to you by fax or email, or have the client sign electronically. This signed authorization can be used to prove that the customer purchased the service in the event of a dispute.
Chargebacks are a risk for the merchant as well as the payment processor. High-risk merchant accounts such as adult entertainment services, debt collectors, travel agencies, and check-cashing services are more likely to be faced with chargebacks due to the nature of their business. Following these precautions will allow you to conduct your business successfully.