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Visa Chargeback Reason Codes: A Complete List for Merchants

Explore each Visa Chargeback Reason Code. Learn effective strategies to handle chargebacks. Safeguard your business.

There’s a reason you got a chargeback.

Visa is trying to tell you why.

But the message is in code.

Let’s see what it means.

What are Visa chargeback reason codes?

Visa chargeback reason codes exist to tell you what allegedly went wrong with a disputed transaction. The cardholder’s case ended up in a chargeback against you by the issuing bank. That’s how the process works if the bank believes the cardholder.

However, note that I said “allegedly” went wrong. This is significant.

The issuing bank favours the cardholder and reverses your transaction, costing you money.

But they haven't heard your side of the story yet.

Based on the dispute conditions—known as the reason codes—you can mount a defence of your transaction and possibly reverse the chargeback.

Visa is telling you something. It tells you the reason the cardholder got your transaction reversed. Using the numbered code, you can look up the information you need to understand what is claimed.

It’s always better to prevent expensive chargebacks in the first place. You can accomplish this in four steps.

But once you’ve been hit with one, Visa chargeback reason codes are your best ally. With them, you know what you're up against.

The Visa chargeback reason codes list

Below are all the reason codes Visa uses to describe what happens in a transaction to result in a dispute.

Use these numeric codes to plan your defence.

There are four categories of codes. Each has a different focus.

The categories are:

  • 10.x Fraud
  • 11.x Authorisation
  • 12.x Processing Errors
  • 13.x Consumer Disputes

Let’s go through each code to see what they mean.

10.x Fraud

Each of these codes represents a specific type of fraudulent activity. They are used to categorise and address disputes in transactions, mainly focusing on the environment of the transaction (card-present or card-absent) and compliance with EMV standards.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, which developed the standard. It is a global protocol for microprocessor-based debit and credit cards.

EMV protocol determines who is liable for the fraud—the issuing bank or the merchant. All parties must be EMV-compliant. If they are not, they assume the liability. The party with the least compliance loses.

10.1 EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit Fraud

When a counterfeit card is used in a card-present environment, and the merchant is not EMV compliant, the liability shifts to them.

10.2 EMV Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit Fraud

Similar to 10.1, this code applies to non-counterfeit fraud. It involves EMV compliance and liability issues.

10.3 Other Fraud – Card-Present Environment

Fraudulent transactions where the card was physically present indicate a breach in the secure use of the card.

10.4 Other Fraud – Card-Absent Environment

Where the card is not physically present, it’s used for online or phone transaction fraud.

10.5 Visa Fraud Monitoring Program

Suggestions of potential or suspected fraudulent activity relating to transactions flagged under Visa’s fraud monitoring program.

11.x  Authorisation

If a transaction involves a flagged card or a failure to recognise a declined authorisation, 11.x codes help pinpoint whether the transaction proceeded under proper authorisation.

11.1 Card Recovery Bulletin

This code is used when a transaction is processed using a card listed in Visa's Card Recovery Bulletin. The card may have been compromised or flagged for recovery.

11.2 Declined Authorisation

Was a transaction processed despite the cardholder’s bank declining authorisation? This often happens when the merchant proceeds with the transaction without proper authorisation or overlooks a declined authorisation notification.

11.3 No Authorisation

Transactions processed without any authorisation attempt, when authorisation was requested after the transaction, or for a different amount.

12.x  Processing Errors

Errors in the transaction process, ranging from late submissions and data entry mistakes to processing with incorrect details such as currency, account numbers, and transaction amounts, fall under this category.

12.1 Late Presentment

When merchants delay processing or submit a transaction after completion, the transaction is not presented to Visa within the required time frame.

12.2 Incorrect Transaction Code

Where the wrong transaction code is used during processing. This error can occur if a merchant processes a transaction with an incorrect code, such as a debit instead of a credit.

12.3 Incorrect Currency

The 12.3 code is assigned to transactions processed in the wrong currency. For example, a merchant mistakenly processes a transaction in a currency different from the cardholder's account.

12.4 Incorrect Account Number

If the account number processed in the transaction does not match the account number provided in the authorisation, it typically occurs due to manual entry errors or system misconfigurations.

12.5 Incorrect Amount

A discrepancy between the transaction amount authorised and the amount processed could be due to manual errors in entering the amount or system issues.

12.6 Duplicate Processing or Paid by Other Means

Assigned to situations where a single transaction is processed more than once or if the cardholder claims the transaction was paid for by other means.

12.7 Invalid Data

Generally, due to errors in entering transaction details like dates, merchant category codes, or other essential information, this code is used when a transaction is authorised using invalid or incorrect data.

13.x  Consumer Disputes

These reason codes cover a range of customer disputes. Delivery, quality, authenticity, representation of goods and services, issues related to transaction credits, and ATM transactions are identified and addressed.

13.1 Merchandise or Services Not Received

If the merchant fails to deliver, the item is lost in shipping, or there are delays beyond the expected delivery time, the cardholder claims they did not receive the merchandise or services they paid for.

13.2 Canceled Recurring Transaction

This applies when a cardholder claims they have been charged for a recurring transaction that they had previously cancelled. This often involves subscriptions or recurring services where the merchant did not implement the cancellation process correctly or was misunderstood by the cardholder.

13.3 Not as Described or Defective Merchandise or Services

This could be due to discrepancies in product descriptions, quality issues, or receiving the wrong items. In any event, this code is assigned to disputes where the cardholder claims the goods or services received were not as described or were defective.

13.4 Counterfeit Merchandise

It is used when a cardholder disputes a transaction because the merchandise received is counterfeit.

13.5 Misrepresentation of the Purchased Good/Service

In this case, the cardholder believes that the goods or services were misrepresented at the time of purchase. Misleading descriptions, false advertising, or other forms of misrepresentation may be involved.

13.6 Credit Not Processed

This code is used when the cardholder claims that the merchant did not issue a promised credit for a return or a cancelled service.

13.7 Cancelled Merchandise/Services

Assigned to transactions where the cardholder claims they cancelled the merchandise or services but were still charged.

13.8 Original Credit Transaction Not Accepted

Used when a refund or credit was processed as an original credit transaction but was not accepted.

13.9 Non-Receipt of Cash or Load Transaction Value at an ATM

This is for situations where the cardholder claims they did not receive the cash or the loaded transaction value from an ATM transaction.

Moving forward

When you’re stuck in a chargeback, these reason codes will help you understand and fight this charge.

Still, chargeback prevention is the better policy.

Merchants have two challenges with credit card payments.

  1. Dealing with chargebacks. They are expensive ($20+ each!), time-consuming to defend, and you risk having your account shut down if you receive too many.
  2. Accepting more payments. In an effort to tame fraudulent chargebacks, most will have aggressive fraud-blocking rules or extremely generous refund policies.

ChargebackStop.com offers a way to gain up to 5% more revenue lost due to chargebacks and blocked payments.

Plus, with our automated chargeback prevention, you can avoid most disputes that lead to chargebacks.

We're the ultimate chargeback detection & prevention platform. We help companies scale without chargebacks.

Visit ChargebackStop.com for more information or to schedule a free demo.

FAQ: Visa Chargeback Codes

What is a Visa chargeback reason code?

A Visa chargeback reason code is an alphanumeric code that identifies the specific reason for a chargeback. Each code explains why a cardholder or issuing bank has disputed a transaction.

Where can I find a list of Visa chargeback reason codes?

In addition to a complete list on ChargebackStop.com/blog, Visa's official website and documentation include a list of chargeback reason codes, also known as dispute conditions. Your bank or payment processor can also provide you with this information.

Does every Visa chargeback have a reason code?

Yes, every Visa chargeback is assigned a specific reason code, which helps identify the dispute’s exact nature and guides the merchant on addressing it.

About the author

Don is an expert technical content writer and researcher. He works with ChargebackStop to write informative and digestible content on the topic of chargebacks, payments and more. His writing is crafted, not computed.

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