Copy Requests and Retrieval Requests

How Copy Requests and Retrieval Requests Impact Chargebacks

Chargeback terminology is often confusing, especially when the nomenclature differs from one network to another. Copy requests and retrieval requests are two such examples.

What are Copy Requests and Retrieval Requests?


Just like the names imply, these requests are made by the credit card issuer to obtain a copy of the transaction paperwork. The issuer needs additional information from the acquirer to validate a transaction.

Each network has a different name for the process. MasterCard conducts retrieval requests and Visa issues copy requests.

These requests are usually made because…

  • The customer doesn’t remember making the purchase.
  • The customer did not recognize the transaction details that appear on the credit card statement.
  • The amount on the credit card statement did not match the agreed upon transaction amount.
  • The original receipt ink was too light to read.
  • The color of the originally submitted receipt made the information illegible.
  • Copies made of the original sales slip were too small to read.

The most common requests are made to support an investigation into fraud, validate a chargeback, or are in response to a customer’s request.

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Typically, copy requests and retrieval requests are made for transactions conducted at traditional point-of-sale locations.  Problems can occur when credit card receipts are illegible. However, card-not-present merchants may be subjected to these requests as well. CNP merchants may be required to submit additional documentation verifying the validity of the sale, in lieu of a signed receipt, depending on the card used.

For the majority of retrieval and copy requests, though, the merchant is not involved (or aware of) the request being made by the issuer. The acquiring bank has access to all of the original sales paperwork and can respond accordingly to the request. Merchants may only find out about the requests if resulting chargebacks show up on their bank statement.

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MasterCard Retrieval Requests

When an issuer makes a MasterCard retrieval request, the bank is looking for a transaction information document (TID). This term encompasses sales tickets, receipts or other records of transactions. If a transaction was completed with a card-not-present merchant, there are a variety of documents that can serve as a substitute draft.

These substitute draft documents should include:

  • the cardholder’s name and account number
  • the merchant name, location (or customer service number), and website
  • transaction details including the authorization code, AVS code, transaction amount, and order confirmation number
  • the date of the order and the date the merchandise was shipped or services rendered
  • information describing the products or services purchased

The acquiring bank submits a digital image of the document via MasterCard’s electronic communication network. The issuer can reject the image within 10 days if the acquirer provided an incorrect or illegible image.

Rejected images are personally reviewed by a MasterCard representative, who makes a decision in favor of either the issuer or the acquirer. If the representative finds in favor of the issuer, the issuer can submit a chargeback with reason code 4802, Requested/Required Information is Illegible or Missing.

The chargeback time limit for reason code 4802 is 60 days from the retrieval request issuance date. The network also stipulates that acquirers retain all TID paperwork for a minimum of 13 months from the processing date.

In addition to filing a chargeback, the issuer may be eligible to collect a $25 handling fee from the acquirer if the retrieval request proves incorrect information was supplied with the original transaction. Depending on the terms of the processing agreement, the acquirer may pass this fee along to the merchant.

Visa Copy Requests

When an issuer needs additional information to validate a Visa transaction, a copy request will be sent to the acquiring bank. Copy requests are very similar to retrieval requests. The same basic idea applies to both networks; the acquirer must validate a transaction.

Copy request fulfilments for face-to-face transactions must provide:

  • the original sales receipts bearing the cardholder’s signature
  • the account number or token printed legibly
  • the 12-digit copy request identifier and the 9-digit control number

Copy request fulfilments for card-not-present transactions can provide substitute documentation. This substitute documentation should include as much descriptive information as possible.

  • the cardholder’s name and account number
  • the merchant name and website
  • transaction details including the authorization code, AVS code, transaction amount, and order confirmation number
  • the date of the transaction and the date the products were shipped or services provided
  • information describing the products or services purchased

Acquirers must fulfil all copy requests within 30 days. If the retrieval request is not fulfilled within the 30 day timeframe, or if the provided documentation is incorrect, the issuer may file a chargeback.

NOTE:  Visa no longer has a specific chargeback reason code for illegible copies or documentation (formerly chargeback reason code 60). The issuer will simply proceed with a chargeback reason code that best describes the transaction dispute.

Representment may not be an option for the merchant if the reason code used for the chargeback demands a copy request and the acquirer failed to oblige.

What This Means for Merchants

Merchants rarely play a direct role in the copy or retrieval request process; acquirers handle the task on the merchant’s behalf. It may seem like a merchant needn’t be bothered with the card networks’ regulations.

However, it is important for merchants to realize they do play a role in these requests; their involvement happens before the requests are even made.

Card-present merchants need to replace the receipt paper and ribbon before they interfere with legibility. Merchants should always keep the white copy of a receipt and give the colored copy to the customer.

Card-not-present merchants need to work with their acquirers to ensure essential details are captured for each transaction.

Need More Help?

Chargebacks911® strives to provide the most helpful and applicable industry information through our blog and knowledge base. However, these articles shouldn’t serve as a definitive guide for all chargeback related issues.

If you’d like help mastering not just the industry nomenclature, but essential chargeback management techniques, contact us today.

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