What Do Banks Call Chargebacks?

The credit card companies themselves call them “chargebacks.” Their relevant rules and regulations are collectively known as “chargeback guidelines.” Your bank is empowered by the credit card companies to issue you their credit cards (and debit cards) but may not call them that. So we checked the websites of a number of leading financial institutions. What do banks call chargebacks anyway?

What Do Banks Call a Chargeback in North America? 

JPMorganChase uses the word “chargeback.” But also euphemisms like “disputed charge” and “disputed claim.” Citibank elects for “cardholder dispute” and “dispute charge.” Bank of America prefers “credit card dispute” and “dispute a transaction.” And Wells Fargo opts for “unauthorized transaction,” “claims process” and “submitting your claim.”

North of the border, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) does call them “chargebacks.” Toronto Dominion (TD), on the other hands, uses the terms “dispute a transaction” and “disputing a transaction.” Scotiabank prefers “dispute resolution” and “commercial card dispute processing.” The Bank of Montreal (BMO) elected to go with “dispute the transaction charge,” “dispute a transaction” and “dispute process.”

What about Down Under? 

In Australia, Westpac uses a triad of “chargebacks,” “unauthorized transaction” and “fraudulent transaction.” But “unauthorized transaction” and “fraudulent transaction” mean the same thing. Both are synonyms for fraud. Chargebacks, however, are not just a remedy for fraud. They are also available for authorized transactions, including scams. Other leading Australian financial institutions do not seem to exclude that. The National Australia Bank (NAB), for example, uses the all-encompassing terms “transaction disputes” and “lodge a dispute.” Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) actually uses the word “chargeback.” It also uses the term “dispute a credit transaction.” And ANZ similarly uses “chargeback,” together with “dispute a card transaction.”  

Across the Tasman Sea, ANZ New Zealand has a different formulation. Its terms are “dispute a transaction,” “dispute a credit card transaction” and “transaction dispute.” ASB Bank uses “dispute a credit card transaction.” The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) prefers “dispute a transaction” alone. Westpac  New Zealand goes with “credit card transactions disputes” and “dispute a transaction.”

Asia? 

So what do banks call chargebacks in Asia?

Malaysia’s Maybank is unique. Its preferred term, “chargeback reversal transaction,” is repetitive. After all, a chargeback is, by definition, a reversal. CIMB Bank goes with “disputed charge” and “disputed transaction. Public Bank Berhad chose “dispute” and “adverse claim.” RHB bank opts for “chargeback,” “dispute” and “fraud debit card transaction.” Of course, fraud can also be committed using a credit card.

In west Asia, the United Arab Emirates is a major international financial hub. Emirates NDB uses the term “dispute a transaction.” Mashreq Bank employs both “credit card dispute” and “fraudulent transaction.” First Abu Dhabi Bank doesn’t refer to chargebacks at all. Instead, it provides a link to a Mastercard site that does. Dubai Islamic Bank makes no mention of chargebacks.  

Europe? 

Switzerland is another major international banking hub. ZKB makes no mention of chargebacks on its website. In contrast, UBS elected to use the term “challenge a transaction.” Credit Suisse selected “unjustified debit” and “disputed transaction.” Raiffeisen mentions “disputing transactions.”

Sweden’s Svenska Handelsbanken opts for the all-encompassing term “disputed card transactions.” Nordea prefers both the neutral “dispute” and “unauthorised transactions.” SEB uses “credit card dispute” (although debit card disputes are also eligible for chargebacks) and “dispute resolution.” For its part, Swedbank covers all possibilities. It speaks of a “chargeback,” a “cardholder dispute” and “card fraud.”

Africa? 

The largest bank in Africa’s largest country, Nigeria, is Zenith Bank. It has come up with the most original ─ and, perhaps, most accurate ─ terminology anywhere. Its customers are asked if “your account has been debited but you have not received value for the transaction.” If so, they are told to “effect a reversal.” GTBank Nigeria suffices with “dispute.” First Bank Nigeria does use the word “chargeback,” as well as “disputed transaction.” Ecobank simply prefers “dispute a transaction.”

Finally, let’s check South Africa. ABSA refers to “unauthorised debit order” and “debit order reversal” instead of chargebacks. But debit orders are not credit card transactions, which, of course, also enjoy chargeback protection. Neither Standard Bank nor FNB mentions chargebacks on their sites. A search of Nedbank’s website reveals only a couple of references to chargebacks, but only for purchases of tickets issued by a certain airline that closed down. 

Why Is It Important What Banks Call a Chargeback?

If and when you need to apply for a chargeback, you will have to follow your bank’s instructions. But what if you don’t know what term your bank uses for a chargeback? In that case, you will have to dig for it. And once you find it you will then have to search for the instructions. Assuming they are posted online. 

MyChargeBack, therefore, advises cardholders to ask their banks for this information when they apply for their credit cards or debit cards. The chargeback process can be bureaucratic enough. You have a right to know in advance.  

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