Mastercard
Chargeback Reason Codes

The Mastercard chargeback reason codes were condensed down in 2016, like the process that Visa just underwent with Visa Claims Resolution. Prior to this, the network offered a long and confusing list of reason codes, but there are now fewer than ten different reason codes relevant to most merchants.

Mastercard reason codes are meant to give you some insight on the why a cardholder requested a Mastercard chargeback. In the event of alleged criminal fraud or merchant error, the code returned with the transaction will help you identify potential faults in processes to prevent future instances.

That said, Mastercard chargeback reason codes still have the fundamental problem we saw before the overhaul: they can be spoofed by friendly fraudsters. The reason codes listed below provide some insight, but customers can still easily claim fraud to “get something for free.” If you know that the claim is false, you’ll only have the reason code to go on in compiling evidence and making your case:

Authorization

4807

Warning Bulletin File

4807

Warning Bulletin File

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

  • This code, while currently functional, is being consolidated into 4808, and therefore should not be used.

4808

Authorization-Related Chargeback

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

4812

Account Number Not on File

4812

Account Number Not on File

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

  • This code, while currently functional, is being consolidated into 4808, and therefore should not be used.

Cardholder Dispute

4841

Canceled Recurring or Digital Goods Transactions

4841

Canceled Recurring or Digital Goods Transactions

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

  • This code, while currently functional, is being consolidated into 4853, and therefore should not be used.

4853

Cardholder Dispute

4853

Cardholder Dispute

Description

The wrong item arrived, or it was defective.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant sent the wrong item; the item was damaged during shipping; the merchant inaccurately described the products or services; the merchant didn't perform the services as described; the merchant did not accept a product return; the merchant sold counterfeit products; the quality of goods or services wasn't adequate.

Prevention Steps

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

4854

Cardholder Dispute - Not Elsewhere Classified

4854

Cardholder Dispute-Not Elsewhere Classified

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.

*or 60 calendar days from first learning about the dispute from the cardholder 

4855

Goods or Services Not Provided

4855

Goods or Services Not Provided

Description

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

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days*

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

n/a

Prevention Steps

  • This code, while currently functional, is being consolidated into 4853, and therefore should not be used.

*Other time modifiers may apply

4859

No Show / Addendum / ATM Dispute

4859

No Show/Addendum/ATM Dispute

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

  • This code, while currently functional, is being consolidated into 4853, and therefore should not be used.

4860

Credit Not Processed

4860

Credit Not Processed

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

  • This code, while currently functional, is being consolidated into 4853 and therefore should not be used.

Fraud

4837

No Cardholder Authorization

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

4840

Fraudulent Processing of Transactions

4840

Fraudulent Processing of Transactions

Description

The merchant is accused of fraudulently processing a transaction using card information from a previous transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 Days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The merchant didn't void multiple transactions; the merchant tried to fraudulently process transactions

Prevention Steps

  • Monitor employee activity
  • Make sure all card-present transactions are either chip-read or magnetic stripe-read
  • Obtain an imprint or perform additional validation, such as PIN or signature

4849

Questionable Merchant Activity

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 GMAP or QMAP.

Prevention Steps

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

4863

Cardholder Does Not Recognize / Potential Fraud.

4863

Cardholder Does Not Recognize/Potential Fraud.

Description

The cardholder doesn't recognize or remember the transaction.

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 calendar days

Time Limit

(Acquirer/Merchant)

45 calendar days

Typical
Causes

The cardholder did not recognize the merchant's name or billing information on the credit card statement; the information listed on the cardholder's statement was incorrect; the chargeback is the result of friendly fraud.

Prevention Steps

  • Create clear billing descriptors
  • Add Customer Service contact information to the descriptor
  • Streamline returns policy for user friendliness

4870

Chip Liability Shift

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

4871

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

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

Point-of-Interactions Errors

4831

Transaction Amount Differs

4831

Transaction Amount Differs

Description

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

Time Limit

(Issuer/Cardholder)

120 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

Point of Interaction Error

4834

Point of Interaction Error

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

4842

Late Presentment

4842

Late Presentment

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)

4846

Incorrect Currency Code

4846

Incorrect Currency Code

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

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.