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Chargeback Time Limit

chargebacks time limit

Time GlobeChargeback Time Limits Applicable to Cardholders and Merchants

In order to ensure both the cardholders’ and merchants’ rights are upheld, all parties involved must adhere to the chargeback time limit of the applicable reason code. Cardholders, banks and merchants must abide by the deadlines imposed by Mastercard and Visa.

Mastercard Chargeback Time Limits

While similar, the chargeback time limits for Mastercard and Visa vary slightly. It is important to note the exact requirements of Mastercard transactions.

Mastercard Chargeback Terminology and Stipulations

Mastercard uses specific terms for each phase of the chargeback process. Understanding these terms will help merchants anticipate the appropriate chargeback time limit for a transaction.

  • First Presentment: the merchant processes the original transaction
  • First Chargeback: the issuer or cardholder disputes the transaction
  • Second Presentment: the merchant re-presents the transaction, accompanied by supporting evidence that contradicts the chargeback (a process also known as chargeback representment)
  • Arbitration Chargeback: the issuer disputes the merchant’s chargeback representment (also known as a pre-arbitration chargeback)
  • Chargeback Arbitration: the merchant, cardholder and issuer are unable to come to an agreement within the traditional chargeback process

The majority of Mastercard chargeback time limits are calculated based on the Central Site Business Date. The predetermined time limits are fixed a certain number of days after the Central Site Business Date (which is considered day one).

The specific date will vary depending on the stage of the chargeback process:

  • When filing a first chargeback, the Central Site Business Date is the day the original transaction was processed.
  • When filing a second presentment, the Central Site Business Date is the day the first chargeback is processed.
  • When filing an arbitration chargeback, the Central Site Business Date is the day the second presentment is processed.
  • When filing arbitration, the Central Site Business Date is the day the arbitration chargeback is processed.

An issuer may file only one chargeback per transaction within the applicable time frame for the given chargeback reason code. However, the process can be expedited in certain situations. For example, if the necessary supporting documentation isn’t provided within eight calendar days of the second presentment, the issuer can submit an arbitration chargeback after the ninth day.

Mastercard Chargeback Time Limits That Apply to the Cardholder

Cardholders must act within a certain chargeback time limit imposed by Mastercard for the applicable reason code.

Most chargebacks must be filed within 60, 90 or 120 calendar days of the Central Site Business Date.

Chargeback Reason Code Time Limit
(In Calendar Days)
4808 - Authorization Related Chargeback 90
4831 - Transaction Amount Differs 120
4834 - Duplicate Processing 120
4837 - No Cardholder Authorization 120
4840 - Fraudulent Processing of Transactions 120
4841 - Canceled Recurring Transaction 120
4842 - Late Presentment 120
4846 - Correct Transaction Currency Code Not Provided 120
4849 - Questionable Merchant Activity 120
4850 - Installment Billing Dispute 120
4853 - Cardholder Dispute, Defective/Not as Described 120*
4854 - Cardholder Dispute, Not Elsewhere Classified (U.S. Region Only) 60 or 120*
4855 - Goods or Services Not Provided 120*
4859 - Addendum, No-show, or ATM Dispute 120
4860 - Credit Not Processed 120*
4863 - Cardholder Does Not Recognize, Potential Fraud 120
4870 - Chip Liability Shift 120
4871 - Chip/PIN Liability Shift 120

While the majority of chargeback time limits are calculated based on the Central Site Business Date, there are a few exceptions.

Chargeback Reason Code Time Limit
4853 - Cardholder Dispute, Defective/Not as Described The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the Central Site Business Date
  • 120 calendar days after the delivery date of the merchandise or services
  • For payments of interrupted, ongoing services, the maximum time limit is 540 days after the Central Site Business Date
4854 - Cardholder Dispute, Not Elsewhere Classified The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 60 calendar days after the cardholder reports the issue
  • 120 calendar days after the Central Site Business Date
4855 - Goods or Services Not Provided The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the Central Site Business Date when goods or services were provided
  • 120 calendar days after the latest anticipated delivery date when the provision of goods or services was delayed
  • 120 calendar days after the cardholder’s realization that interrupted services have ceased, but not to exceed 540 calendar days of the Central Site Business Date
4860 - Credit Not Processed The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the service was cancelled or the goods were returned
  • 120 days after credit documentation is issued (day zero is the date published on the document, the date of the merchant’s letter, or the date the issuer received the letter)

The issuer must wait to process the chargeback until 15 calendar days have passed from:

  • The date on the credit document
  • The date the merchandise was returned
  • The date services were terminated

The 15-day time limit can be waived if:

  • The merchant sends the issuer a letter stating a chargeback can be used to provide credit
  • The issuer has proof of an improperly disclosed in-store credit
  • The TID is voided by the merchant

Mastercard Chargeback Time Limits That Apply to the Banks and Merchants

Merchants have chargeback rights that allow them to dispute the cardholders’ claims; however, the acquirer must submit the chargeback representment in a timely manner. Likewise, the issuing bank must respond within the appointed chargeback time limit.

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Number of calendar days that comprise the second presentment time limit.
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  • The acquiring bank must submit the second presentment within 45 calendar days of the Central Site Business Date (the day the bank receives the chargeback).
  • The issuing bank must initiate an arbitration chargeback within 45 calendar days of the Central Site Business Date (the day the bank received the second presentment).
  • Either party must seek arbitration within 45 calendar days of the Central Site Business Date (the day the arbitration chargeback is presented).
  • The bank must provide the necessary supporting documentation within eight calendar days of submitting the chargeback, second presentment, or arbitration chargeback.

Once a chargeback has been filed, the merchant must act quickly. Chargeback time limits are disproportionally skewed in favor of the consumer; while the cardholder can wait several months to dispute a transaction, the merchant has a matter of days to respond.

In order for the acquiring bank to process the chargeback and submit the necessary paperwork in the allotted time limit, merchants usually have less than a week to compile evidence and prepare their defense.


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Visa Chargeback Time Limits

Like Mastercard, Visa has predetermined chargeback time limits too.

Visa Chargeback Time Limits That Apply to the Cardholder

Cardholders must act within a certain chargeback time limit imposed by Visa for the applicable reason code.

Visa calculates the chargeback time limit based on the Transaction Processing Date. The Transaction Processing Date is day zero; the chargeback time limit begins the following day.

Visa Chargeback Reason Code Time Frame
(In Calendar Days)
71 - Declined Authorization 75
72 - No Authorization 75
73 - Expired Card 75
77 - Non-Matching Account Number 75
78 - Service Code Violation 75
30 - Services Not Provided or Merchandise Not Received 120*
41 - Canceled Recurring Transaction 120
53 - Not as Described or Defective Merchandise 60 or 120*
57 - Fraudulent Multiple Transactions 120
62 - Counterfeit Transaction 120
74 - Late Presentment 120
75 - Transaction not Recognized 120
76 - Incorrect Currency or Transaction Code, or Domestic Transaction Processing Violation 120
80 - Incorrect Transaction Amount or Account Number 120
81 - Fraud, Card Present Environment 120
82 - Duplicate Processing 120
83 - Fraud, Card-Absent Environment 120
85 - Credit Not Processed 120*
86 - Paid by Other Means 120
93 - Merchant Fraud Performance Program 120*

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While the majority of chargeback time limits are calculated based on the Transaction Processing Date, there are a few exceptions.

Chargeback Reason Code Time Limit
30 - Services Not Provided or Merchandise Not Received The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the transaction processing date
  • 120 calendar days after the last date the cardholder expected to receive the goods or services (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)
  • 120 calendar days after the cardholder realizes the goods or services will not be provided (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)

The issuer must wait to process the chargeback until 15 calendar days have passed from:

  • The transaction date if the a specific delivery date for goods or services was not provided
  • The date the cardholder attempted to return merchandise that was delivered late
53 - Not as Described or Defective Merchandise The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the transaction processing date
  • 120 calendar days after the cardholder was told the goods were counterfeit (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)
  • 120 calendar days after the date the cardholder received the goods or services
  • 120 calendar days after the transaction processing date of the balance portion of a delayed delivery
  • 120 calendar days after the last date the cardholder expected to receive the goods or services (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)
  • 120 calendar days after the cardholder realizes the goods or services will not be provided (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)

The chargeback time limit is 60 calendar days after the date the issuer is informed of a dispute if all the following are true:

  • Negotiations between the cardholder and merchant have been implemented and the attempt to resolve the dispute is ongoing
  • The negotiations occurred within 120 days (but not more than 540 days) of the transaction processing date

The issuer must wait to process the chargeback until 15 calendar days have passed from:

  • The date the cardholder attempted to return the goods or terminate the services
85 - Credit Not Processed The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the transaction processing date
  • 120 calendar days after the date the cardholder cancelled the advance deposit transaction (if credit has not been issued)
  • 120 calendar days after the anticipated arrival date if the merchant provided an adequate alternative but didn’t process credit
  • 120 calendar days after the anticipated arrival date if the merchant didn’t inform the cardholder of its cancellation policy

The issuer must wait to process the chargeback until 15 calendar days have passed from:

  • The date the goods were returned
93 - Merchant Fraud Performance Program The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
  • 120 calendar days after the recognition of the Merchant Fraud Performance Program

Visa Chargeback Time Limits That Apply to the Banks and Merchants

Visa’s chargeback time limits are very similar to Mastercard’s expectations.

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Number of calendar days that comprise the supporting documentation time limit.
  • The acquiring bank must submit the chargeback representment within 45 calendar days of the chargeback processing date (the day the bank receives the chargeback).
  • The issuing bank must initiate a pre-arbitration chargeback within 45 calendar days of the representment processing date (the day the bank received the chargeback representment).
  • Either party must seek arbitration within 45 calendar days of the pre-arbitration processing date (the day the pre-arbitration chargeback is presented).
  • The bank must provide the necessary supporting documentation within five calendar days of submitting the chargeback, chargeback representment, or pre-arbitration chargeback.

Prospering Despite Strict Deadlines

If merchants don’t fight illegitimate chargebacks, they are needlessly throwing away profits. Each chargeback representment is a unique attempt to reclaim money that never should have been lost in the first place.

While it is possible to effectively dispute chargebacks, the process isn’t easy. The biggest roadblock merchants face is tight deadlines.

Most acquirers give merchants just a few days to formulate their defense. This short chargeback time limit makes effective representment challenging for busy merchants; few merchants are able to research the cause of the chargeback, locate the necessary documentation, and compose a compelling chargeback rebuttal letter.

Outsourcing the task of chargeback representment ensures a much higher win rate. In fact, Chargebacks911® offers a guaranteed ROI for all chargeback disputes we compile on your behalf. Contact us today; we’ll tell you more about ensuring representment success amid restrictive chargeback time limits and improving your business’s bottom line.


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