Chargebacks are a standard part of doing business, especially if you accept payments online. But don't worry – we're here to help!
Here are some important terms to keep in mind:
- Chargeback: A claim against a charge, initiated by a customer with their bank
- Dispute: The act of challenging any claim over the legitimacy of a transaction; a synonym used for chargeback and pre-arbitration
- Pre-arbitration (pre-arb): When a chargeback you have won is challenged for a second time by the customer – read more
- Retrieval: A request initiated by a customer for more information about a charge – read more
Before we discuss ways to reduce chargebacks, it’s important to know what happens behind the scenes when a chargeback is issued. While the steps can sometimes vary depending on your banking partner, most chargebacks follow the same lifecycle:
- A customer issues a chargeback with their bank
- You are notified of the chargeback and can choose to either accept the chargeback or dispute it
- If you choose to dispute the chargeback, the customer’s bank will review the case and provide a ruling
- If you win the case, the disputed amount will be returned to you; if you lose or accept the chargeback, the customer will receive the funds
How the funds are handled depends on your banking partner. The funds from the disputed transaction are either immediately debited from your account and returned to the customer when the chargeback is issued, or held from both accounts while the verdict is being determined. Detailed information on when the funds are removed and returned can be found in your bank-specific articles. If you’re unsure where to find those, contact us.
Chargebacks are between customers, merchants, and issuing banks. We can help facilitate the dispute process, but as your payment processor, we are never liable for chargebacks or pre-arbs. It is your responsibility as a merchant to manage your cases.
There is a chargeback fee associated with chargebacks and pre-arbitrations. The amount of the fee – and at what point in the process it is debited – is dependent on your merchant account type. Specific information on chargeback fees can found in your bank-specific articles. If you’re unsure where to find those, contact us.
When a customer needs more information about an unidentifiable charge, they can initiate a retrieval. You will be notified of the retrieval request and will be given the opportunity to respond with the requested information.
Retrievals do not result in the movement of money and do not have any associated fees. In fact, retrievals give you the opportunity to provide customers with more information on a charge before they initiate a chargeback. We recommend always responding to retrievals, because they can help lower the number of chargebacks issued.
A pre-arbitration, or pre-arb, happens when a customer contests the result of a chargeback that was ruled in your favor. While you can dispute pre-arbs, it's been our experience that merchants rarely win these cases without the introduction of new and compelling evidence.