Chargeback reason codes
Get started
Sign In
Chargeback reason codes
Reason codes explain chargebacks, dispute processes, and prevention strategies
success
The chargeback reason codes were created to standardize the list of acceptable reasons a bank may submit a credit card chargeback or a direct debit chargeback on behalf of its customer.

Chargeback representment rights apply to every single reason code. Periodically, a chargeback will be reclassified with a different reason code.

There are numerous card brands around the world. Some are specific to certain regions or countries, while others focus on certain industries such as travel and entertainment cards, and each card network has its system of chargeback reason codes. However, the four most widely used in North America and Europe are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

Visa

Visa’s Reason Codes follow a format of two digits, a period, and a third digit. The first two digits indicate which category the reason code falls under: 10 for Fraud, 11 for Authorization, 12 for Processing Errors, and 13 for Customer Disputes. The third digit indicates the specific reason within this category.

Fraud

Authorization

Processing errors

Customer disputes

Mastercard

Instead of having a different code for each individual reason like the other card networks, Mastercard uses a single code for all Authorization-Related Chargebacks, one for all Point of Interaction Error chargebacks, and one for all Cardholder Disputes chargebacks. Mastercard’s reason codes are listed as four-digit numbers, with all initial chargebacks received by the merchant beginning with 48. For transactions processed through the Single Message System, the 48 is omitted, leaving only the two digits that indicate the reason code.

Fraud

Authorization

Point of Interaction Error

Customer disputes

American Express

American Express has a slightly longer list of reason codes than the other card networks. These reason codes consist of a letter followed by two numbers. The letter indicates the category the Reason Code falls into: A for Authorization, C for Card Member Dispute, F for Fraud, and P for Processing Errors. The two codes that refer to the merchant’s response (or lack thereof) to a request begin with R, and the code that indicates that the merchant authorized the chargeback begins with M. The two-digit number indicates the specific reason for the chargeback. The reason code is used for North America, Canada, and the United States of America; there may be a different identifier for the rest of the world.

Fraud

Authorization

Processing errors

Inquiry/Miscellaneous

Customer disputes

Discover

Unlike the other card networks, Discover’s reason codes do not follow any particular pattern. Most are two-character codes, but there are some exceptions to this pattern. In particular, all reason codes in the fraud category begin with UA (for unauthorized) followed by a two-digit number. For many of these two-digit codes, you can see the meaning at a glance, e.g., NA for No Authorization or EX for Expired Card. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere. For example, the reason code for a changed amount is not AA, but AW. The reason code AA instead means Cardholder Does Not Recognize.

Fraud

Authorization

Processing errors

Not classified

Expired

Customer disputes

Dispute compliance