5 Effective Tips to Win More Chargebacks

Chargebacks are a reality of accepting card payments, and no merchant doing any significant volume can avoid them altogether. Sometimes a chargeback is outright fraudulent, and many are the result of poor customer service or misunderstandings between merchants and customers. But whatever the reason may be, merchants need to be ready to fight back when disputes arise. Knowing how to respond is the key to success, and the following five tips represent effective ways to improve dispute responses to ensure more victories and less lost revenues. 

1) Don’t Waste Time

Chargeback disputes carry timeframe requirements for both the issuing side and the acquiring side, and failure to act within the specified timeframes will result in a loss of the dispute. Each credit card company has its own timings that must be met. Visa, for instance, requires a dispute response within 30 days. It’s incredibly important that merchants understand these time frames and act accordingly. It’s also critical that merchants keep on top of the messages they receive from their processors to ensure they’re aware of all disputes as early as possible. 

2) Make Sure Recordkeeping is Flawless

Winning a dispute is difficult enough as is, but without good records, it’s essentially impossible. A dispute response requires the merchant to provide compelling evidence that contradicts the claims of the customer putting forward the dispute. Accurate, carefully kept records of all transactions are the key to doing that. For instance, if a customer claims they didn’t actually buy a product or that a product wasn’t delivered, records proving a pickup or a signature from delivery are difference makers.

3) Understand What the Reason Code is Saying

Chargebacks carry reason codes, which are codes set by the card companies that detail why a customer is filing a chargeback. Each major card company has its own reason codes, so it’s important to verify a code’s meaning every time a chargeback dispute arises. The code will provide useful information to assist with the dispute response, so properly identifying the reason behind the chargeback is key. It isn’t uncommon for fraud to occur with reason codes, but from a dispute resolution perspective, the true motivation for a dispute is irrelevant, and the reason code is all that really matters. 

4) Use Customer Service as a Resolution Tool

Many chargebacks are filed by customers that truly believe they have a valid reason for putting forward a dispute. In those cases, whenever possible, merchants should look to resolve disputes through direct contact with the customer. Good customer service may be able to satisfy the customer to the point that the dispute is dropped, and even more so, good service is a powerful tool for avoiding chargebacks in the first place. 

5) Nail the Rebuttal

In addition to the compelling evidence a merchant must provide, dispute responses require a detailed rebuttal letter to add context to the evidentiary documentation. The rebuttal letter is extremely important, as it represents the merchant’s opportunity to tell their side of the story and explain that they did, in fact, do everything right. Rebuttal letters are not an appropriate place to vent frustration, and they should be approached essentially as legal documents, clearly outlining the facts of the case from the merchant’s viewpoint in a compelling and professional way. The extra time it takes to write a great rebuttal letter is more than worth it, as it can easily be the difference between winning or losing a dispute. 


BAMS offers merchants a number of tools to assist with chargeback defense, including instant notification, online dispute management, cardholder authentication tools, and zero-liability chargeback assurance through Signifyd. To find out more about how a BAMS merchant account can help you win more chargeback disputes will simultaneously providing the lowest possible transaction fees, contact one of our reps today!