A Detailed Description of MasterCard and Visa Chargeback Reason Codes

Each chargeback is accompanied by a reason code. These numeric codes differ by card network, but all theoretically serve the same purpose: to describe the motivation behind the transaction dispute. ......

A Detailed Description of MasterCard and Visa Chargeback Reason Codes

Each chargeback is accompanied by a reason code. These numeric codes differ by card network, but all theoretically serve the same purpose: to describe the motivation behind the transaction dispute.

Below is an in depth overview of reason codes for Visa and MasterCard along with their description and likely causes.

An Overview of Chargeback Reason Codes
While each card network has its own unique set of chargeback reason codes, the categories are very similar. By looking at the corresponding codes for Visa and MasterCard, merchants can begin identifying trends, weaknesses, and areas of improvement.

VisaMasterCardTitle and ExplanationCauses
N/A4802Requested or required item illegible or missing
  • The merchant failed to provide necessary documentation.

  • The documentation provided was illegible.

N/A4803Documentation received was invalid or incomplete
  • The merchant didn’t provide all the necessary documentation.

304855Services not provided or merchandise not received 

Merchandise or services were not received or not received by the agreed upon delivery date.

  • The merchant didn’t provide the services or failed to send the products.

  • The merchant billed the cardholder before sending the products.

  • The merchant didn’t send the items by the agreed up delivery date.

  • The merchant didn’t make products available for pickup.

414841/4850Cancelled recurring transaction/Installment billing dispute 

A recurring transaction was processed after the cardholder requested termination, the account had been closed, the charge exceeded the predetermined amount, or the merchant failed to notify the cardholder of the upcoming charge.

  • The cardholder requested the transactions be terminated, but was charged anyway.

  • The merchant processed a transaction for a card that had been closed.

  • The transaction exceeded the predetermined dollar amount and the merchant failed to notify the customer (in writing) 10 days before the charge.

  • The merchant prematurely billed an installment payment.

534853Not as described or defective merchandise 

The merchandise was: damaged or defective upon its arrival, not the same as shown (online) or described (telephone), unsuitable for the intended purpose.

  • The merchant sent the wrong item.

  • The item was damaged during shipping.

  • The merchant inaccurately described the products or services.

  • The merchant didn’t perform the services as described.

  • The merchant did not accept a product return (or accepted it and failed to credit the account).

  • The merchant sold counterfeit products.

  • The quality of goods or services wasn’t adequate.

574840Fraudulent multiple transactions/Fraudulent processing of transactions 

The cardholder has made a purchase with the merchant in the past, but this particular transaction wasn’t authorized (the cardholder was in possession of the card at the time).

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant didn’t void multiple transactions.

  • The merchant tried to fraudulently process transactions.

624870/4871Counterfeit transaction/Chip liability shift/Chip/PIN liability shift 

The cardholder did not participate in the transaction (a fraudster made a duplicate or counterfeit copy of the card).

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant did not compare the first four embossed digits to the printed digits.

  • The merchant received authorization without providing required data.

  • The use of an EMV chip card resulted in a fraudulent transaction at a non-hybrid terminal.

  • The use of an EMV chip card resulted in a fraudulent transaction at a hybrid terminal (with or without a PIN pad).

714808Declined authorization/ Authorization-related chargeback 

A transaction was processed after the authorization was declined.

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant circumvented a declined authorization by forcing the posting, re-swiping until authorization was provided in error, or using an alternative authorization method.

724808No authorization/ Authorization-related chargeback 

Authorization was not obtained or obtained using invalid/incorrect information.

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant didn’t obtain authorization, obtained authorization after the transaction date, or included the tip in the authorization amount.

734835Expired card 

A transaction was processed without authorization on an expired card.

  • The merchant didn’t received authorization for a transaction on an expired card.

744842Late presentment 

The merchant didn’t process the transaction in a timely fashion.

  • The transaction wasn’t processed in a timely fashion and the account has since been closed or it was posted after 180 days of the original transaction date.

754863Transaction not recognized 

The cardholder doesn’t recognize or remember the transaction.

  • The cardholder did not recognize the merchant’s name or billing information on the credit card statement.

  • The information listed on the cardholder’s statement was incorrect.

764846Incorrect currency or transaction code 

The merchant failed to provide adequate currency information or properly process a credit.

  • The merchant issued a credit but it was posted as a sale.

  • The merchant didn’t allow the cardholder to make the purchase in the merchant’s local currency.

  • The merchant didn’t deposit the receipt in the country where the purchase was made.

  • The customer wasn’t notified of a currency conversion.

774808Non-matching account number/Authorization related chargeback 

The account number used does not match any on file.

  • The merchant manually keyed the account number incorrectly or incorrectly documented the account number during a telephone or mail order.

804831Incorrect transaction amount or account number/Transaction amount differs 

The card was not charged for the correct amount.

  • The merchant made an error when calculating the transaction amount.

  • The merchant altered the amount after the transaction was completed without the cardholder’s permission.

  • The merchant increased the transaction amount without the cardholder’s permission.

814837Fraud (card-present)/No cardholder authorization 

The merchant processed a transaction without the cardholder’s consent or it was charged to a fictitious account.

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant manually processed the transaction but failed to make an imprint of the card.

  • The merchant didn’t properly document that the transaction was a mail, telephone, or internet order.

824834Duplicate processing 

A single transaction was processed more than one time.

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant submitted a single batch of transactions multiple times.

  • The merchant deposited both copies of the sales receipt (merchant and sales copy).

  • The merchant created two sales receipts for a single transaction.

  • The merchant deposited a receipt with more than one acquirer.

  • The merchant processed a single transaction multiple times.

834837Fraud (card-not-present)/No cardholder authorization 

The cardholder did not authorize the transaction.

  • The transaction was placed by someone who had fraudulently obtained the account information.

  • The cardholder didn’t recognize the transaction (billing descriptor) on the credit card statement.

  • A family member used the account without the primary cardholder’s knowledge.

854860Credit not processed 

The merchant failed to credit the cardholder’s account after a return was made.

  • The merchant didn’t issue the cardholder’s credit or didn’t issue it in time for the credit to appear on the statement.

  • The merchant didn’t share the return policy with the cardholder at the time of purchase.

864831Paid by other means/ Transaction amount differs 

The cardholder paid for the transaction in question with cash, check or other card.

**card-present transactions only

  • After initiating a credit card transaction, the cardholder switched to a different payment method and the merchant accidentally processed both forms of payment.

N/A4849Questionable merchant activity 

The merchant processed a transaction that was in violation of MasterCard rules.

  • The transaction violates rules set forth in a MasterCard Global Security Bulletin.

N/A4854Cardholder dispute not elsewhere classified 

The cardholder has made an unsuccessful good-faith effort to resolve a dispute with the merchant.

  • The transaction dispute reflects a truth-in-lending law claim authorized against issuers or creditors.

Categorizing Reason Codes by the Three Main Causes of Chargebacks

For merchants, it is wise to categories chargebacks by their three main causes: merchant error, criminal fraud, and friendly fraud. Doing so helps make prevention and management more effective. Taking the complete list of reason codes and dividing them into these three categories is enlightening.