Visa Chargeback Reason Codes
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Discover Chargeback Reason Codes

Mastercard
Chargeback Reason Codes

In 2016, Mastercard chargeback reason codes were condensed and consolidated, in a restructuring that resembled Visa Claims Resolution. Prior to this, Mastercard’s list of reason codes was long, convoluted, and confusing; now there are fewer than ten different reason codes relevant to most merchants. All the old reasons are still there, but they’ve been grouped under more comprehensive “umbrella” codes.

Reason codes are meant to tell merchants why a cardholder requested a Mastercard chargeback. In the event of alleged criminal fraud or merchant error, the code returned with the transaction identifies the reason behind the chargeback, potentially exposing faults in the merchant’s processes.

It’s a good idea, but Mastercard’s new reason codes still have the fundamental problem we saw before the overhaul: they can be spoofed by friendly fraudsters. Additionally, the card network has not yet officially retired the legacy reason codes, which can cause confusion. The reason codes listed below provide some insight, but they will seldom tell the full story.

Authorization-Related Chargebacks

4808

Warning Bulletin File

Mastercard

4808

Warning Bulletin File

Legacy

4807

Description

Issuer is unable to verify that an authorization code was obtained at the time of the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • See Code 4808

Authorization-Related Chargeback

Mastercard

4808

Authorization-Related Chargeback

Description

The merchant didn’t obtain authorization or got it too late.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant didn't obtain authorization or attempted to obtain authorization after the transaction date; the merchant attempted to "force" the transaction; the merchant re-swiped the card multiple times after an initial authorization decline.

Prevention Steps

  • Confirm authorization on all transactions
  • Make sure terminal are chip-compliant
  • Do not override declined transactions

4808

Account Number Not on File

Mastercard

4808

Account Number Not on File

Legacy

4812

Description

The issuing bank can’t find an account with the number used.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • See Code 4808

4808

Required Authorization Not Obtained

Mastercard

4808

Required Authorization Not Obtained

Description

The merchant failed to request necessary authorization.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The merchant was required to request authorization for the transaction, but did not.

Prevention Steps

  • Always request authorization request before processing a transaction.
  • Do not exceed 20% when adding gratuities.
  • Adhere to Mastercard regulations and best practices.

4808

Expired Chargeback Protection Period

Mastercard

4808

Expired Chargeback Protection Period

Description

The transaction was not settled until after its expiration deadline, at which point the cardholder’s account was no longer active/in good standing.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The merchant waited too long to settle the transaction.

Prevention Steps

  • Always request authorization before processing a transaction.
  • Settle pre-authorized transactions within 30 calendar days of the latest authorization date.
  • Settle any transaction that are not pre-authorized within seven calendar days of the authorization date.

Multiple Authorization Requests

Mastercard

4808

Multiple Authorization Requests

Description

A card-not-present transaction was declined by the issuer but later approved using Stand-In processing or X-Code.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The original attempt at authorization was not approved, but the merchant swiped over and over to receive authorization.

An alternative authorization method was used (key entering, voice authorization.

Prevention Steps

  • Always request authorization before processing a transaction.
  • Terminate any declined transactions and request an alternate method of payment.
  • Adhere to Mastercard rules and regulations.

4808

Cardholder-Activated Terminal (CAT) 3 Device

Mastercard

4808

Cardholder-Activated Terminal (CAT) 3 Device

Legacy

4807 (Warning Bulletin) or 4812 (Account Number Not on File)

Description

Unauthorized transactions processed at a cardholder-activated terminal (CAT).

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The amount of a CAT 3 transaction exceeded the acceptable limit; a card used in a CAT 3 transaction was not valid at the time.

Prevention Steps

  • Always request authorization before processing a transaction.
  • Terminate any declined transactions and request an alternate method of payment.
  • Adhere to Mastercard rules and regulations.

Point of Interaction Error

Point of Interaction Error

Mastercard

4834

Point of Interaction Error

Description

A single transaction was processed more than one time.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

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.

Prevention Steps

  • Review transaction receipts before depositing
  • Submit a batch only one time
  • Credit any duplicate transactions
  • Deposit receipts with only one acquirer
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for handling credits

Transaction Amount Differs

Mastercard

4834

Transaction Amount Differs

Legacy

4831

Description

The amount the cardholder was charged doesn’t match what’s on the receipt.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant made an error when calculating the transaction amount; the merchant increased or otherwise altered the amount after the transaction was completed without the cardholder's permission.

Prevention Steps

  • Double check calculations and the final transaction amount before processing
  • Don't change the transaction amount without the cardholder's consent
  • Void any transactions if the cardholder wishes to use a different payment method

4834

Late Presentment

Mastercard

4834

Late Presentment

Legacy

4842

Description

The transaction was not deposited within 30 days of the date a valid authorization code was obtained

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The transaction wasn't processed in a timely fashion and the account has since been closed; transaction was posted after 180 days of the original transaction date.

Prevention Steps

  • Send completed transactions to your card processor as soon as possible (preferably on day of the sale)

4834

Incorrect Currency Code

Mastercard

4834

Incorrect Currency Code

Legacy

4846

Description

The merchant failed to provide adequate currency information or properly process a credit.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar 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

Duplication-Paid by Other Means

Mastercard

4834

Duplication-Paid by Other Means

Description

A single transaction was processed more than one time.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

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.

Prevention Steps

  • Review transaction receipts before depositing
  • Submit a batch only one time
  • Credit any duplicate transactions
  • Deposit receipts with only one acquirer
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for handling credits

4834

Cardholder Debited More than Once for the Same Goods or Services

Mastercard

4834

Cardholder Debited More than Once for the Same Goods or Services

Description

A single transaction was processed more than one time.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

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 on the same card or to another payment method.

Prevention Steps

  • Review transaction receipts before depositing
  • Submit a batch only one time
  • Credit any duplicate transactions
  • Deposit receipts with only one acquirer
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for handling credits

ATM Disputes

Mastercard

4834

ATM Disputes

Description

The cardholder charges that inaccurate amount of cash was dispensed by an ATM, or that the ATM withdrawal had been debited to the account multiple times.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

ATM issues.

Prevention Steps

  • Reconcile ATMs in a timely manner.
  • Report out-of-balance ATMs.

4834

Loss, Theft, or Damages

Mastercard

4834

Loss, Theft, or Damages

Legacy

4859 (Addendum, No-show, or ATM Dispute)

Description

The cardholder claims an unauthorized charge for loss, theft, or damage was added to the transaction up front.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

90 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The merchant processed a transaction which included an upfront charge for loss, theft, or damage, without the cardholder’s approval.

Prevention Steps

  • Do not add damage charges to a transaction without the knowledge and agreement of the cardholder.
  • Clearly explain any circumstances which might trigger a charge for loss, theft, or damage.
  • If loss, theft, or damage charge is to be added, process the original transaction, the process a second transaction for any additional fees.

No Cardholder Authorization/Fraud-related Chargebacks

No Cardholder Authorization

Mastercard

4837

No Cardholder Authorization

Description

The cardholder claims he or she did not authorize the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The transaction was placed by someone who had fraudulently obtained the account information; the cardholder didn't recognize the transaction (billing descriptor) on the credit card statement; a family member used the account without the primary cardholder's knowledge.

Prevention Steps

  • Create clear billing descriptors
  • Do not accept expired cards under any circumstances
  • Obtain secondary validation (PIN, signature, imprint etc.)
  • Do not override declined transactions
  • Train staff on the proper procedures for handling terminal issues

4849

Questionable Merchant Activity

Mastercard

4849

Questionable Merchant Activity

Description

This transaction violates Mastercard’s rules or the merchant was on a Mastercard security list.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The acquirer processed a transaction for a merchant that later was listed in a MasterCard Global Security Bulletin for violating QMAP

Prevention Steps

  • Maintain accurate records
  • Check transactions against the Mastercard Global Security Bulletin list

Chip Liability Shift

Mastercard

4870

Chip Liability Shift

Description

The cardholder claims a counterfeit transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant did not compare the first four embossed digits to the printed digits; the merchant received authorization 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).

Prevention Steps

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

Chip / PIN Liability Shift--Lost / Stolen / Never Received Issue (NRI) Fraud

Mastercard

4871

Chip/PIN Liability Shift--Lost/Stolen/Never Received Issue (NRI) Fraud

Description

The cardholder claims to not have been involved in a transaction that was processed (possible fraud).

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant did not compare the first four embossed digits to the printed digits; the merchant received authorization 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).

Prevention Steps

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

Cardholder Disputes

Cardholder Dispute of a Recurring Transaction

Mastercard

4853

Cardholder Dispute of a Recurring Transaction

Description

Cardholder claims the merchant continued to bill the card after a recurring transaction was cancelled, or without explicit consent from the cardholder.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

Cardholder did not understand the original terms of the transaction; cardholder received goods/used services after cancelling the recurring transaction; cardholder canceled too late to stop the transaction; merchant did not cancel the transaction.

Prevention Steps

  • Immediately fulfill qualified cancellation and/or non-renewal requests.
  • Confirm cancellations via email or text
  • If a chargeback is issued, immediately cancel future transactions.

Goods or Services Not Provided

Mastercard

4853

Goods or Services Not Provided

Legacy

4855

Description

The product never arrived, or the service wasn’t completed.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

The timeline may vary based on the start date:

Unspecified delivery date or service performance date: Issuer must wait a minimum of 30—but no more than 120—calendar days past the transaction processing date to initiate a chargeback; this 30-day waiting period may be waived if the merchant has gone out of business.

Delivery/service date was specified but has passed: The chargeback must be initiated no later than 120 calendar days past the transaction processing date.

Terminated ongoing services: The chargeback must be initiated within 120 calendar days past the date services ended (not to exceed 540 days of the original transaction processing date).

Prepaid gift cards where the merchants has since gone out of business: In these situations, the chargeback must be initiated within 120 calendar days of the card’s expiration date if the card has no expiration date, the chargeback must be initiated within 540 calendar days of the transaction processing date.

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant failed to provide goods or services; the merchant has gone out of business or can no longer provide the goods or services for some other reason.

Prevention Steps

  • Adhere to promised delivery dates.
  • Accurately describe the services that will be provided, including availability window.
  • Do not process the charge prior to order shipment.
  • Immediately advise customers of unforeseen delays (merchandise is out of stock, shipping delays, etc.)

No-Show Hotel Charge

Mastercard

4853

No-Show Hotel Charge

Legacy

4859

Description

The cardholder claims to have been charged a no show fee when they cancelled with the hotel participating in the Mastercard Guaranteed Reservation Service.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The lodging merchant (typically a hotel) added a “no-show” fee to the original transaction without informing the cardholder.

Prevention Steps

  • Clearly explain all no-show/cancellation terms and costs prior to finalizing the reservation.
  • Respond to cancellation requests in a timely manner, and confirm with the cardholder
  • Train staff members on the correct ways to handle cancellations or reservation changes.

Addendum Dispute

Mastercard

4853

Addendum Dispute

Legacy

4859

Description

The cardholder claims an additional, unauthorized charge was added after a valid transaction without their consent.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant added an additional charge without informing the cardholder.

Prevention Steps

  • Clearly explain all term and conditions and costs prior to finalizing.
  • Respond to cancellation requests in a timely manner, and confirm with the cardholder
  • Train staff members on the correct ways to handle cancellations or reservation changes.

Credit Not Processed

Mastercard

4853

Credit Not Processed

Legacy

4860

Description

The cardholder did not receive an expected a credit.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

Chargebacks must be processed within 120 calendar days of either the date on the credit documentation, the date of service cancellation, or the date merchandise was returned.

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant did not acknowledge the return or cancellation; the merchant failed to process the credit or reversal; the merchant failed to fully explain the return/cancellation policy.

Prevention Steps

  • Process all qualified requests for cancellation or refund as soon as possible.
  • Clearly advise customers on no-return or limited return policies, including any fees.
  • For card-not-present transactions, require customer acknowledgment and confirmation action prior to final purchase.
  • Refuse delivery of any returns that do not adhere to your stated policy.
  • Advise the customer if the credit will be for a lesser amount, and explain why.

Goods/Services not as Described or Defective

Mastercard

4853

Goods/Services not as Described or Defective

Description

The cardholder claims the merchandise received (or service provided) differs greatly from the description provided at the time of purchase.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

Disputes must be processed within 120 calendar days of either the transaction processing date, the date the merchandise was delivered, the service cancellation date, or the date services ended (not to exceed 540 days of the original transaction processing date).120 calendar days.

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant shipped the wrong merchandise to the cardholder; the merchandise was damaged during shipment due to improper packing; the merchandise was defective in some way before shipping; the merchant inaccurately described the merchandise or services; the merchant did not perform the services as described.

Prevention Steps

  • Check all service and product descriptions for clarity and accuracy.
  • Immediately fulfill all valid requests for replacements or refunds.
  • Do not refer customers to the manufacturer in cases of damaged or defective goods.
  • Employ best practices for packing/shipping.

Digital Goods $25 or less

Mastercard

4853

Digital Goods $25 or less

Legacy

4841

Description

The cardholder claims that card information used to create an account for digital purchases lacked necessary purchase controls, leading to unauthorized purchases.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The merchant did not ensure that sufficient purchase controls were in place for the account, and digital goods were purchased (valued at less than $25).

Prevention Steps

  • Disable purchases by default and require cardholders to opt-in for purchasing.
  • Require cardholders to provide authentication information before each purchase
  • Time-out purchase ability after a set period of inactivity. Clearly show total transaction amounts for pending purchases and require cardholder confirmation.
  • Confirm purchases immediately via email or text.

Counterfeit Goods

Mastercard

4853

Counterfeit Goods

Description

The cardholder claims to have received counterfeit merchandise.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

Disputes must be processed within 120 calendar days of either the transaction processing date, or the date the goods or services were received (in cases of delayed delivery).

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The merchant knowingly or unknowingly shipped goods that were not what they were claimed to be.

Prevention Steps

  • Order and sell only genuine merchandise.
  • Check to ensure that inventory is what it claims to be. Double-check all product descriptions for accuracy.

Transaction Did Not Complete

Mastercard

4853

Transaction Did Not Complete

Legacy

4855

Description

Merchandise or services were not used by the purchaser, who believed the transaction was not actually processed.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The cardholder believed that goods or services were not provided (and therefore were not used) because the transaction was never processed.

Prevention Steps

  • Always confirm transactions via text or email.

Credit Posted as a Purchase

Mastercard

4853

Credit Posted as a Purchase

Legacy

4860

Description

A credit was processed as a debit.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days*

Typical
Causes

The cardholder believed that goods or services were not provided (and therefore were not used) because the transaction was never processed.

Prevention Steps

  • Train staff on the proper procedures for processing credits.

Installment Billing Dispute

Installment Billing Dispute

Mastercard

4850

Installment Billing Dispute

Description

The cardholder claims an installment charge made to their account was incorrect.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days*

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant charged the cardholder prematurely; The merchant charged the cardholder the incorrect amount, or the transaction was not an installment.

Prevention Steps

  • Make sure you bill the cardholder installment transactions correctly as agreed
  • Train staff on importance of accuracy

Cardholder Dispute Not Classified Elsewhere

Cardholder Dispute Not Classified Elsewhere (US)

Mastercard

4854

Cardholder Dispute Not Classified Elsewhere (US)

Description

The cardholder has made an unsuccessful good-faith effort to resolve a dispute with the merchant.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days*

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

Merchant did not resolve the issue, or did not resolve the issue in a timely manner; the cardholder is making fraudulent claims

Prevention Steps

  • Resolve all customer complaints as quickly as possible.

Legacy Codes

4807

Warning Bulletin File

Mastercard

4807

Warning Bulletin File

Note

This is a legacy code. While currently functional, it is being consolidated into 4808, and therefore should not be used. Use Code 4808 instead.

Description

Issuer is unable to verify that an authorization code was obtained at the time of the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

45 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • See Code 4808

4812

Account Number Not on File

Mastercard

4812

Account Number Not on File

Note

This is a legacy code. While currently functional, it is being consolidated into 4808, and therefore should not be used. Use Code 4808 instead.

Description

The issuing bank can’t find an account with the number used.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

45 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • See Code 4808

4859

No Show / Addendum / ATM Dispute

Mastercard

4859

No Show/Addendum/ATM Dispute

Note

This is a legacy code. While currently functional, it is being consolidated into 4853, and therefore should not be used. Use Code 4853 instead.

Description

The cardholder claims not to be responsible for a particular transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • See Code 4853

4860

Credit Not Processed

Mastercard

4860

Credit Not Processed

Note

This is a legacy code. While currently functional, it is being consolidated into 4853, and therefore should not be used. Use Code 4853 instead.

Description

The cardholder did not receive an expected a credit.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days*

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • See Code 4853

As mentioned at the beginning of the section, reason codes can be helpful, but they don’t offer much insight into the true source of chargebacks. Chargebacks911® combines innovative technology and human expertise to identify chargeback sources and assemble winning cases.

You don’t need to rely on Mastercard chargeback reason codes. Chargebacks911 is the answer for genuine, long-term chargeback reduction. Click here to learn more.