Amex
Chargeback Reason Codes

American Express chargeback reason codes, much like Discover, bear one important difference from those under Visa and Mastercard: the issuing bank is also the card network.

Visa and Mastercard are both card schemes. They control the respective networks through which transactions involving Visa- and Mastercard-branded cards are processed, but they don’t issue the cards themselves. Amex, on the other hand, issues cards and processes transactions from those cards through their own card network.

With Visa and Mastercard, the bank is a member of the network, meaning there is a level of separation between the card scheme and cardholder. But, anyone who files a chargeback involving an Amex card is a customer of the American Express issuing bank, not just a customer of a network member.

American Express has an incentive to keep their customers happy…which means if a customer files an Amex chargeback, the company as good reason to side with their customer over you.

Authorization

A01

Charge amount exceeds authorization amount

A01

Charge amount exceeds authorization amount

Description

The amount of the authorization approval was less than the amount of the charge submitted by the merchant.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

A transaction is processed for an amount beyond the merchant's floor limit; an error was made entering numbers manually.

Prevention Steps

  • Do not process a transaction when a declined authorization has been received
  • Do not process a transaction for more than the allowed tolerance level above the authorization amount

A02

No valid authorization

A02

No valid authorization

Description

The charge submitted by the merchant was either declined or the card was expired.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Transaction was made after the authorization code and transaction date; the limited authorization index was present in the authorization request; the transaction amount exceeds the amount in the limited authorization response; the vendor did not exclude the tip in the authorization amount; the card was expired and/or the account was closed.

Prevention Steps

  • Always authorize every transaction in accordance with merchant agreement
  • Obtain authorization on the day of the transaction
  • Don't include the tip on a previously authorized amount
  • Obtain confirmation of authorization before completing all transactions

A08

Authorization approval expired

A08

Authorization approval expired

Description

Transaction submission was made after the authorization approval had expired.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The transaction was not approved; the transaction was submitted after the expiration of the authorization approval; the authorization request was denied; or the transaction was made using an expired card.

Prevention Steps

  • Process all transactions in a timely manner
  • Do not process a transaction when a declined authorization has been received
  • Do not process a transaction made with an expired card
  • Train staff on the proper handling of authorization approvals

Cardmember Dispute

C02

Credit not processed

C02

Credit not processed

Description

American Express has not received an expected credit (or partial credit) from the merchant.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant didn't credit the account; the merchant issued the credit but not in time to be posted to the customer's most recent statement; the customer misunderstood the return policy; the merchant processed a transaction receipt that should have been voided.

Prevention Steps

  • Issue credits promptly
  • Share the return policy with the cardholder before completing the transaction
  • Notify the cardholder when the credit has been issued
  • Consider simplifying/clarifying your return policy

C04

Goods / services returned or refused

C04

Goods/services returned or refused

Description

The cardholder refused delivery of goods or services or returned merchandise, but a credit was not processed.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Cardholder refused delivery of goods or services and has not yet received a credit; cardholder returned goods and has not yet received a credit.

Prevention Steps

  • Process all credit vouchers promptly
  • Notify the cardholder when the credit has been issued
  • Properly disclose special refund policies on the sales draft, prominently near the cardholder’s signature

C05

Goods / services canceled

C05

Goods/services canceled

Description

The cardholder claims that the order for goods or services was canceled.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Cancellation not received; cancellation not processed.

Prevention Steps

  • Create and post a clear cancellation policy
  • Acknowledge canceled orders as soon as possible

C08

Goods / Services Not Received or Only Partially Received

C08

Goods/Services Not Received or Only Partially Received

Description

The cardholder claims to have not received (or only partially received) the goods or services ordered.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Merchant did not ship the goods/service by the agreed delivery date or shipped only a partial order; merchant did not clearly explain the expected shipping/arrival date; merchant billed the cardholder before delivery of merchandise; merchant did not make order available for pick-up.

Prevention Steps

  • In the case of a delayed order, always notify the customer
  • Provide cardholder the option of either continuing with the order or canceling it
  • Clearly display the expected shipping date and delivery date on the invoice or order receipt
  • Provide a signed order receipt or invoice showing receipt of services or merchandise

C14

Paid by Other Means

C14

Paid by Other Means

Description

Cardholder was charged for a transaction that was paid using an alternate form of payment.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant didn't void multiple transactions; the transaction was processed but the cardholder paid for the same merchandise or service by other means.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check calculations and the final transaction amount before processing
  • Void any transactions if the cardholder wishes to use a different payment method

C18

"No Show" or CARDeposit Canceled

C18

"No Show" or CARDeposit Canceled

Description

The cardholder claims a lodging reservation was canceled, or an expected credit for a CARDeposit charge was not received.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Cardholder was billed for lodging services that were allegedly canceled.

Prevention Steps

  • Always inform the cardholder of your cancellation policy at the time of the reservation
  • Log all confirmation and cancellation numbers as required by the CARDeposit programs

C28

Canceled Recurring Billing

C28

Canceled Recurring Billing

Description

The cardholder claims to have been charged for a canceled recurring transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The cardholder withdraws permission to change the account, or cancelled payment for subscription; cardholder or issuing bank cancels the account; merchant neglects to cancel a recurring transaction; merchant processes a transaction after being notified the cardholder's account was closed.

Prevention Steps

  • Terminate recurring transactions when the cardholder requests cancelation
  • Consider a no-strings-attached cancelation policy
  • Don't increase the transaction amount without the cardholder's consent
  • Don't prematurely bill the cardholder
  • Send notifications for upcoming charges

C31

Goods / Services Not as Described

C31

Goods/Services Not as Described

Description

The cardholder claim that the goods or services were defective or not as described prior to the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchandise was damaged upon its arrival; the merchandise does not match the merchant's description; the cardholder disputes the quality of the product; the cardholder fraudulently claims the merchandise is damaged or not as described.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check orders to ensure the correct item is shipped
  • Package items carefully to avoid damage during shipping
  • Provide honest, detailed product descriptions
  • Accept returns from cardholders and issue credit promptly
  • Never sell counterfeit products

C32

Goods / Services Damaged or Defective

C32

Goods/Services Damaged or Defective

Description

The cardholder claims to have received damaged or defective merchandise or services.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchandise was damaged upon its arrival; the merchandise does not match the merchant's description; the cardholder fraudulently claims the merchandise is damaged.

Prevention Steps

  • Package items carefully to avoid damage during shipping
  • Provide honest, detailed product descriptions
  • Accept returns from cardholders and issue credit promptly
  • Never sell counterfeit products

M10

Vehicle Rental - Capital Damages

M10

Vehicle Rental - Capital Damages

Description

The cardholder claims to have been incorrectly billed for capital damages to a rented vehicle.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

NEED

Prevention Steps

  • NEED

M49

Vehicle Rental - Theft or Loss of Use

M49

Vehicle Rental - Theft or Loss of Use

Description

The cardholder claims to have been incorrectly charged for theft or loss of use of a rental vehicle.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

NEED

Prevention Steps

  • NEED

Fraud

FR2

Fraud Full Recourse Program

FR2

Fraud Full Recourse Program

Description

American Express' Fraud Full Recourse Program flagged the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Merchant falls under high-risk category; The issuer receives an unusual number of inquiries and chargebacks compared to processing history; merchant account has been disabled or cancelled due to suspicious activities or violation of the agreement.

Prevention Steps

  • Always obtain authorized approval for an e-commerce and recurring transactions regardless of the dollar amount
  • Always verify the account number to prevent errors or misunderstandings
  • Properly identify the type of transaction, such as card-not-present
  • Use security codes and AVS.
  • Simplify/clarify billing descriptors

FR4

Immediate Chargeback Program

FR4

Immediate Chargeback Program

Description

This is a program that allows American Express to process any dispute immediately as cardholder files a chargeback for any reason than actual fraud.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Merchant enrolled himself in this program to avoid receiving inquiries and disputes; Amex put the merchant in the program due to odd number of disputes; merchant’s business falls under high chargeback ratio industry

Prevention Steps

  • Always obtain an authorized approval for e-commerce and recurring transactions regardless of the dollar amount.
  • Always verify account numbers
  • Use security codes and AVS
  • Set billing descriptor correctlyTrain staff on the proper handling of terminal issues

FR6

Partial Immediate Chargeback Program

FR6

Partial Immediate Chargeback Program

Description

The cardholder has disputed the charge and the merchant has been placed in the Partial Immediate Chargeback Program by American Express.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Merchant enrolled himself in this program to avoid receiving inquiries and disputes; Amex put the merchant in the program due to odd number of disputes; merchant’s business falls under high chargeback ratio industry

Prevention Steps

  • Always obtain an authorized approval for e-commerce and recurring transactions regardless of the dollar amount.
  • Always verify account numbers
  • Use security codes and AVS
  • Set billing descriptor correctly

F10

Missing Imprint

F10

Missing Imprint

Description

Cardholder did not participate in a purchase and was not provided a copy of the card imprint (card-present environments only).

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant did not obtain correct card information from the cardholder or processed a transaction erroneously; transaction was processed on an account not associated with a valid card; a family member used the primary cardholder’s account without permission.

Prevention Steps

  • Always request authorization for mail order, telephone order, internet, and recurring transactions, regardless of the dollar amount
  • Obtain additional validation, such as an imprint or PIN, or through CDCVM
  • Obtain additional validation, such as an imprint or PIN, or through CDCVM
  • Set billing descriptor correctly

F14

Missing Signature

F14

Missing Signature

Description

The cardholder claims to not have been involved in a transaction that was processed (card-present environments only).

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant neglected to give the cardholder a copy of the signed receipt; signature on the receipt is invisible or not prominent due to light ink, ribbed or colored paper, or fading; the original order receipt is mishandled or is scanned at a smaller size.

Prevention Steps

  • Scan or make copies of the order receipt at actual size
  • Maintain full ink/toner in machines
  • Print and keep a copy of the order receipt
  • Always provide cardholder with a copy of the receipt

F24

No Cardmember Authorization

F24

No Cardmember Authorization

Description

The cardholder denies participation in the charge submitted by the merchant, who cannot prove otherwise.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant processed an invalid account number; a family member ordered from the primary cardholder’s account without permission; the cardholder is not able to recognize purchase on the billing statement; criminal fraud was committed.

Prevention Steps

  • Always obtain authorized approval
  • Use secondary validation methods such as PIN
  • Set clear billing descriptors

F29

Card Not Present

F29

Card Not Present

Description

The cardholder claims an unauthorized transaction occurred without the physical card involved.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

In a card-absent environment (online/phone/direct mail sales, etc.), either a) an unauthorized (fraudulent) claim was processed using an invalid or stolen account number; or b) Due to an unclear or a confusing merchant name the cardholder believes the transaction to be fraudulent.

Prevention Steps

  • Always request authorization for mail order, telephone order, internet, and recurring transactions, regardless of the dollar amount
  • Obtain additional validation, such as an imprint or PIN
  • Clearly and properly identify card present and card absent transactions

F30

EMV Counterfeit

F30

EMV Counterfeit

Description

The cardholder denies participation in a situation where a counterfeit chip card was used at a POS system, but the transaction was not processed as a chip transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The POS system was not an enabled for chip, or the transaction was manually keyed; the merchant's card processor did not transmit the full chip data to Visa; a chip-reading terminal was not actually used.

Prevention Steps

  • Upgrade to compliant terminals
  • Make sure to obtain additional validation, such as an imprint or PIN
  • Take an imprint (either electronic or manual) for every card-present transaction
  • Train staff on the proper handling of terminal issues

F31

EMV List / Stolen / Non-received

F31

EMV List/Stolen/Non-received

Description

A fraudulent transaction was made using the actual credit card, according to the cardholder.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

Merchant did not ensure that the card was either swiped or that the chip was read; merchant did not obtain manual card imprint on a key-entered transaction; a card-not-present transaction was not identified as such; fraud was committed.

Prevention Steps

  • Upgrade to compliant terminals
  • Make sure to obtain additional validation, such as an imprint or PIN
  • Take an imprint (either electronic or manual) for every card-present transaction
  • Train staff on the proper handling of terminal issues

Inquiry / Miscellaneous

R03

Insufficient Reply

R03

Insufficient Reply

Description

Complete support and/or documentation were requested but not provided.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

NEED

Prevention Steps

  • Provide full documentation

R13

No reply

R13

No reply

Description

American Express did not receive a response to an inquiry within the specified timeframe.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

NEED

Prevention Steps

  • Provide full documentation

M01

Chargeback Authorization

M01

Chargeback Authorization

Description

The merchant authorizes a chargeback.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

NEED

Prevention Steps

  • NEED

Processing Errors

P01

Unassigned Card Number

P01

Unassigned Card Number

Description

The card number used for the transaction is not assigned to a valid account, or not assigned to the cardholder.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant erred, either in entering or calculating information; the cardholder supplied an incorrect or invalid card number.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check numbers
  • Obtain secondary validation, such as PIN

P03

Credit Processed as Charge

P03

Credit Processed as Charge

Description

The cardholder was debited for a transaction that should have been a credit.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant processed a debit instead of a credit, processed a credit instead of processing a reversal, or in some other way processed a transaction that differed from the obtained authorization.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check calculations, amount, and type of transaction before processing
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for processing credits, debits, and reversals

P04

Charge Processed as Credit

P04

Charge Processed as Credit

Description

The cardholder was credited for a transaction that should have been a debit.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant processed a credit instead of a debit, or in some other way processed a transaction that differed from the obtained authorization.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check calculations, amount, and type of transaction before processing
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for processing credits, debits, and reversals

P05

Incorrect Charge Amount

P05

Incorrect Charge Amount

Description

The amount in the authorization does not match the amount from the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant erred, either in entering or calculating information; the merchant changed the amount of the transaction for some reason, such as adding a tip; exchanged the amount post-transaction without cardholder permission.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check calculations and the final transaction amount before processing
  • Don't alter the transaction amount without the cardholder's consent

P07

Late Submission

P07

Late Submission

Description

The charge was not submitted within the required timeframe.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The transaction wasn't processed in a timely fashion and the account has since been closed; transaction was posted after 181 days of the original transaction date.

Prevention Steps

  • Deposit order receipt with your acquirer as soon as possible, preferably on the day of the sale
  • Complete payment batches as soon as possible
  • Process transactions within 180 days of the original purchase
  • Be aware that paper receipts typically take longer to process

P08

Duplicate Charge

P08

Duplicate Charge

Description

A single transaction processed two or more times.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The merchant tries to submit multiple batches at one time; the transaction has multiple receipts; the transaction is duplicated in the merchant's system; the transaction was processed but the cardholder paid for the same merchandise or service by other means.

Prevention Steps

  • Review transaction receipts before depositing
  • Submit a batch only one time
  • Void and credit any duplicate transactions
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for handling credits

P22

Non-Matching Card Number

P22

Non-Matching Card Number

Description

The card number used for the transaction is not assigned to a valid account, or not assigned to the cardholder.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The processed the transaction to an incorrect account number; The merchant did not authorize the transaction and it was processed to an account number not on the issuer's master file.

Prevention Steps

  • As far as possible, swipe card or read chip for transactions
  • Double-check numbers before processing
  • Confirm account numbers with customers for card-not-present transactions
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for processing transactions

P23

Currency Discrepancy

P23

Currency Discrepancy

Description

The merchant made one or more errors related to the transaction currency.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

n/a

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

20 days

Typical
Causes

The transaction currency differs from the currency transmitted through Visa; the cardholder was not advised or did not agree that Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) would occur.

Prevention Steps

  • Inform cardholders of the use of currency conversion and applicable fees
  • Always give the cardholder the option to make the purchase using local currency
  • Train your sales staff on proper procedures for transaction using a different currency

It’s important to keep American Express’s dual card network/issuer role in mind and pay close attention to the Amex chargeback reason codes as you assemble a case. Need help with the added complexities of the Amex system? Click here to speak with one of our chargeback experts.