A chargeback is a form of customer protection by the bank in case of fraud. This allows account and cardholders to file a complaint about fraudulent transactions, potentially receiving a refund. As a merchant, if you cannot or do not prove that the transaction was legitimate, the bank will take back the entire amount plus a fee. The fee can be as high as $100.
Reasons Chargeback Occurs
Fraud: Fraudulent transactions are the most common cause for chargebacks. This occurs when a credit card is used without the consent of the cardholder, often by means of theft or identity fraud. In this case, the merchant is held responsible.
Item Not Received: A chargeback can occur when a customer does not receive an item she paid for by credit card.
Technical Issues: Technical problems can occur with the credit card payment system. Miscommunication between the bank and the merchant can cause cardholders to be charged twice for one transaction. If there is a problem during the authorization process, the account may be charged even if the transaction is declined.
Tips for Preventing Chargebacks
- Make your refund policy clear: Your refund policy should be transparent to all customers. You may even make reading the policy a requirement for customers to complete a purchase. Also, be sure to process refunds in a timely manner and inform the customer about how long it will be before the credit is added to their account.
- Make your contact information visible: Customers need to be able to contact you in case they have a question about billing or delivery. If they do not know how to contact you, they are more likely to cancel and you will receive a chargeback. If you use another business name for billing, make it clear to customers so they are not confused when they see an unknown name on their statement.
- Contact suspicious orders: Call or email orders that seem odd or particularly large.
- Get proof of delivery: Provide a shipping log that says when the customer received the goods.
- Look at billing and shipping addresses: Orders often turn out to be fraudulent when they have a domestic billing address and a foreign shipping address.
Credit card fraud costs the U.S. over $8 billion each year, and the projected amount of worldwide fraud loss in 2020 is estimated to be as high as $35.45 billion. In 12% of card fraud cases, a website is the point of contact, so as a merchant it is essential to make sure your site is secure.