Chargeback Reason Codes

Under the proper circumstances, chargebacks are available from all credit card and debit card networks. But deadlines and requirements vary, often due to the chargeback reason codes that are used.

What Are Chargeback Reason Codes?

Since transaction disputes arise due to various reasons, there is a need to standardize the way they are reported in order for the bank to be able to determine if a chargeback is justified. In submitting a chargeback request, therefore, the cardholder has to select what is known as a “reason code.” That is not necessarily as simple as it seems, since, on the surface, many disputes can look like they fit more than one reason code. Selecting the most appropriate one, therefore, is crucial for ensuring a positive outcome.

Moreover, each card network publishes its own list of these codes and has its own way of stylizing them, so they are not interchangeable. Visa reason codes, for example, are numerals with decimals. Mastercard reason codes are four numerals without decimals. American Express, Discover (and Diners Club International, which it owns) use a combination of numerals and letters.

From time to time, card networks update their reason codes and the definitions of what they precisely cover. MyChargeBack keeps abreast of all reason code changes. We will ensure that your dispute is filed using the proper reason code that is valid when your paperwork is submitted to your bank.

Chargeback Timetables

Similarly, card network chargeback calendars are not uniform either. And they also change, albeit at a much slower pace. In such cases announcements are made far in advance.

What this means is that if you raised a dispute with your bank in the past, the relevant reason code and/or the timetable may now be different. And they are bound to be different in the event this new dispute involves a different credit card or debit card network. This is yet another reason why you should first consult with a chargeback professional, especially when the dispute involves a complex card-not-present transaction.

One potential complicating factor is that for Visa and Mastercard, certain reason codes reduce the time a cardholder has to file for a chargeback. That is why, in the table below, different deadlines appear for the initial request. 

Chargeback Terminology

Quite often clients come to us after having used two or more credit cards or debit cards to transfer payments to a merchant. In such cases, we have to prepare each case separately, each with its own reason code and each according to its timetable. What our clients will discover is that card networks employ their own proprietary terminology throughout the chargeback process. Visa, for example, uses the term “dispute” while Mastercard uses “chargeback” (and to remain neutral we use both on this page and throughout this website).

This chart enables you to compare many of the chargeback filing requirements and deadlines of the major card networks. These deadlines, however, are not applicable in all situations. Each reason code is unique and specific ones have their own deadlines.

 

 

Network

Visa

Mastercard

American
Express

Discover and Diners Club

Initial Chargeback Request

75 or 120 days from the last relevant transaction*

60, 90 or 120 days from the last relevant transaction*

 

120 days (with some flexibility)

 

No deadline

For Payments of Interrupted, Ongoing Services

 

540 days

 

540 days

 

As above

 

No deadline

Merchant’s Representment

 

30 days later

 

 

45 days later 

 

20 days

 

20 days maximum

Cardholder’s Representment

Up to 30 days later

Up to 45 days later

None

 

30 days

Arbitration

Within 10 days

Within 8 days

None: Merchant has 20 days to appeal

 

Within 15 days


* Depending on the reason code cited.