Chargeback Reason Codes

Chargeback Reason Codes

A Detailed Description of Mastercard and Visa Chargeback Reason Codes

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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.

Visa Mastercard Title and Explanation Causes
30 4855 or 4853 Services 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.
41 4841 or 4853 /4850 Cancelled recurring transaction/Instalment billing dispute – participating EU countries

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 amount and the merchant failed to notify the customer (in writing) 10 days before the charge.
  • The merchant prematurely billed an instalment payment.
N/A 4841 or 4853 Digital goods

Digital Goods were purchased for a value less that USD 25 (or local currency equivalent) with no control settings

  • The merchant did not offer the cardholder purchase control settings for purchasing digital goods (examples of these are books, magazines, games)
53 4853 Not as described, defective merchandise or counterfeit

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

  • 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.
N/A 4853 Addendum

A seperate transaction was processed from a car rental or hotel company after a valid transaction was made.

  • The merchant submitted an additional charge for loss, theft or damage without the cardholder signed consent
N/A 4853 No Show Hotel Charge

The cardholder disputes a no show charge.

  • A merchant participating in the Mastercard Guaranteed Reservations Service incorrect charged the cardholder a no show fee.
57 4840 Fraudulent multiple transactions/Fraudulent processing of transactions

The cardholder has made a purchase with the merchant in the past, but this particular transaction wasn’t authorised (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.
62 4870/4871 Counterfeit 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 authorisation 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).
71 4808 Declined authorisation/ Authorisation-related chargeback

A transaction was processed after the authorisation was declined.

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant circumvented a declined authorisation by forcing the posting, re-swiping until authorisation was provided in error, or using an alternative authorisation method.
72 4808 No authorisation/ Authorisation-related chargeback

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

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant didn’t obtain authorisation, obtained authorisation after the transaction date, or included the tip in the authorisation amount.
73 N/A Expired card

A transaction was processed without authorisation on an expired card.

  • The merchant didn’t receive authorisation for a transaction on an expired card.
74 4842 Late 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.
75 4863 Transaction not recognised

The cardholder doesn’t recognise or remember the transaction.

  • The cardholder did not recognise the merchant’s name or billing information on the card statement.
  • The information listed on the cardholder’s statement was incorrect.
76 4846 Incorrect 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.
77 4808 Non-matching account number/Authorisation 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.
80 4831 or 4834 Incorrect 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.
81 4837 Fraud (card-present)/No cardholder authorisation

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.
83 4837 Fraud (card-not-present)/No cardholder authorisation

The cardholder did not authorise the transaction.

  • The transaction was placed by someone who had fraudulently obtained the account information.
  • The cardholder didn’t recognise the transaction (billing description) on the card statement.
  • A family member used the account without the primary cardholder’s knowledge.
82 4834 Duplicate 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.
85 4860 or 4853 Credit 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.
86 4831 or 4834 Paid by other means/ Transaction amount differs

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

**card-present transactions only

  • After initiating a card transaction, the cardholder switched to a different payment method and the merchant accidentally processed both forms of payment.
N/A 4849 Questionable 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/A 4854 Cardholder 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 authorised against issuers or creditors.

Categorising Reason Codes by the Three Main Causes of Chargebacks

For merchants, it is wise to categorise 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.

Chargeback Reason Codes Associated with Friendly Fraud

Chargeback fraud is commonly referred to as friendly fraud because the assault comes from a traditionally non-hostile enemy–the merchant’s own customers. A customer contacts the bank to inaccurately report a genuine charge as fraud.

Most merchants view this as a form of shoplifting. While there are instances where the fraud might have been accidentally committed, consumers often set out with the intention of getting something for free.


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The following reason codes are commonly associated with friendly fraud.

Visa Mastercard Title and Explanation Causes
30 4855 or 4853 Services not provided or merchandise not received

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

  • The cardholder experienced buyer’s remorse, and regretted the purchase.
  • The cardholder didn’t want to perform (or didn’t qualify for) a return or exchange in accordance with the merchant’s policy.
  • The cardholder didn’t understand the shipping process and expected delivery prematurely.
41 4841 or 4853 /4850 Cancelled recurring transaction/Instalment billing dispute – participating EU countries

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 failed to withdraw permission to charge the account or cancel a membership fee but didn’t want to pay.
  • The cardholder denies receiving notification of a billing change.
  • The cardholder intentionally cancelled a card account to avoid payments.
53 4853 Not 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 cardholder experienced buyer’s remorse, and regretted the purchase.
  • The cardholder didn’t want to perform (or didn’t qualify for) a return or exchange in accordance with the merchant’s policy.
75 4863 Transaction not recognised

The cardholder doesn’t recognise or remember the transaction.

  • The merchant’s name (billing description) was incorrect or unrecognisable.
  • The cardholder didn’t remember making the purchase.
83 4837 Fraud (card-not-present)/No cardholder authorisation

The cardholder did not authorise the transaction.

  • The cardholder experienced buyer’s remorse and regretted the purchase.
  • The cardholder didn’t want to perform (or didn’t qualify for) a return or exchange in accordance with the merchant’s policy.
  • The cardholder didn’t know someone else with access to the card (child, spouse) had made the purchase.

Chargeback Reason Codes Associated with Merchant Error

Most merchants assume they are innocent when it comes to chargebacks. In reality, a merchant’s faulty involvement in the transaction process can lead to a significant amount of chargebacks. In fact, there are more reason codes associated with merchant error than any other cause.

The good news is, the majority of these chargebacks are preventable. The merchant who is willing to exert a little extra effort and follow business best practices will reduce chargeback-induced profit losses.

Not all of the following reason codes are caused by merchant error; however, a merchant’s involvement is usually a determining factor.

Visa Mastercard Title and Explanation Causes
30 4855 or 4853 Services 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.
41 4841 or 4853 /4850 Cancelled recurring transaction/Instalment billing dispute – participating EU countries

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 amount and the merchant failed to notify the customer (in writing) 10 days before the charge.
  • The merchant prematurely billed an instalment payment.
N/A 4841 or 4853 Digital goods

Digital Goods were purchased for a value less that USD 25 (or local currency equivalent) with no control settings

  • The merchant did not offer the cardholder purchase control settings for purchasing digital goods (examples of these are books, magazines, games)
53 4853 Not as described, defective merchandise or counterfeit

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 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.
N/A 4853 Addendum

A seperate transaction was processed from a car rental or hotel company after a valid transaction was made.

  • The merchant submitted an additional charge for loss, theft or damage without the cardholder signed consent
N/A 4853 No Show Hotel Charge

The cardholder disputes a no show charge.

  • A merchant participating in the Mastercard Guaranteed Reservations Service incorrect charged the cardholder a no show fee.
57 4840 Fraudulent multiple transactions/Fraudulent processing of transactions

The cardholder has made a purchase with the merchant in the past, but this particular transaction wasn’t authorised (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.
62 4870/4871 Counterfeit 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 authorisation 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).
71 4808 Declined authorisation/ Authorisation-related chargeback

A transaction was processed after the authorisation was declined.

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant circumvented a declined authorisation by forcing the posting, re-swiping until authorisation was provided in error, or using an alternative authorisation method.
72 4808 No authorisation/ Authorisation-related chargeback

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

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant didn’t obtain authorisation, obtained authorisation after the transaction date, or included the tip in the authorisation amount.
73 N/A Expired card

A transaction was processed without authorisation on an expired card.

  • The merchant didn’t received authorisation for a transaction on an expired card.
74 4842 Late 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.
75 4863 Transaction not recognised

The cardholder doesn’t recognise or remember the transaction.

  • The cardholder did not recognise the merchant’s name or billing information on the card statement.
  • The information listed on the cardholder’s statement was incorrect.
76 4846/4853 Incorrect 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.
77 4808 Non-matching account number/Authorisation 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.
80 4831 or 4834 Incorrect 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.
81 4837 Fraud (card-present)/No cardholder authorisation

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

  • 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.
82 4834 Duplicate 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.
85 4860 or 4853 Credit 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.
86 4831 or 4834 Paid by other means/ Transaction amount differs

The cardholder paid for the transaction in question with cash, cheque or another card.

**card-present transactions only

  • After initiating a card transaction, the cardholder switched to a different method and the merchant accidentally processed both forms of payment.
N/A 4849 Questionable 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/A 4854 Cardholder 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 authorised against issuers or creditors.

Chargeback Reason Codes Associated with Criminal Fraud

Determined fraudsters are everywhere. Because fraud can cause significant profit losses, it is important to recognise potential fraud and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening.

There are several reason codes that can result from fraudulent or unauthorised activity.

Visa Mastercard Title and Explanation Causes
62 4870/4871 Counterfeit 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 authorisation 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).
81 4837 Fraud (card-present)/No cardholder authorisation

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

**card-present transactions only

  • The merchant processed a transaction instigated by someone other than the cardholder.
83 4837 Fraud (card-not-present)/No cardholder authorisation

The cardholder did not authorise the transaction.

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

Need More Help?

Reason codes are an essential element in the management of chargebacks. They make it possible for networks to regulate things like time limits and compelling evidence. In theory, reason codes also help merchants understand the consumers’ grievances when they originally disputed the transaction.

However, consumers have learned how to exploit loopholes in the chargeback process. Reason code intelligence isn’t as powerful as it should be. Merchants should be able to look at a chargeback reason code and know exactly what caused the dispute. But because of evolving consumer behaviour, a single reason code could easily fall into all three categories (merchant error, criminal fraud, and friendly fraud).

For example, an unauthorised transaction could result from a friendly fraudster who experienced buyer’s remorse, a criminal who made a purchase with a stolen card number, or a merchant who failed to acknowledge fraud signals associated with mismatched AVS codes.

Unless merchants are able to identify the true cause of chargebacks, they won’t be able to implement an effective prevention strategy.

The Chargeback Company offers Intelligent Source Detection™ technology. We are able to identify the real chargeback triggers that are affecting your business and interpret what those reason codes really mean.

Contact us today for a free ROI analysis. We’ll show you how much more you can earn by accurately identifying chargeback causes, implementing an effective prevention strategy, and disputing illegitimate chargebacks.

 


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