Guest Blogger
Table of contents

As a merchant accepting MasterCard payments, chargebacks can be a part of your business reality. A chargeback occurs when a cardholder disputes a transaction, resulting in funds being reversed from the merchant's account. Understanding the chargeback process and the reason codes is crucial for effectively managing these situations.

MasterCard has established different reason codes that categorize chargebacks, including fraudulent activity, authorization and processing errors, and customer disputes. Each reason code has a specific time limit within which chargebacks must be initiated and relevant documentation must be submitted.

By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of MasterCard chargebacks and the significance of adhering to the specific time limits associated with each reason code. So let's begin our journey and equip ourselves with the knowledge necessary to navigate chargebacks effectively.

Understanding MasterCard Chargeback Time Limits

MasterCard chargebacks play a crucial role in ensuring fair transactions and protecting both cardholders and merchants. As part of the chargeback process, there are specific time limits that need to be adhered to. Understanding these time limits is essential for merchants to effectively manage chargebacks and mitigate potential losses. In this section, we will delve into the key aspects of MasterCard chargeback time limits.

Time Limit Framework for Chargeback Reason Codes

Each MasterCard chargeback reason code has its own designated time limit within which it must be initiated. These time limits are established to ensure prompt resolution of disputes and prevent unnecessary delays. It's important to note that failing to meet these time limits may result in the inability to dispute the chargeback or recover funds.

Factors Influencing Time Limits

Several factors influence the chargeback time limits for specific reason codes. Understanding these factors can help merchants effectively manage their chargeback processes. Here are the key factors:

Type of Reason Code

Different reason codes have different time limits. Fraud-related reason codes often have shorter time limits due to the urgency of addressing potential fraudulent activities, while customer dispute reason codes may allow for longer time periods.

Initiation Date of the Chargeback

The clock starts ticking from the date the chargeback is initiated. Merchants must track this date accurately to ensure they meet the required time limit.

Documentation Submission Deadlines

In some cases, there may be specific deadlines for submitting supporting documentation to contest a chargeback. Failing to meet these deadlines can weaken the merchant's case.

Chargeback Time Limits for Specific Reason Codes

1. Fraudulent Activity Reason Codes Time Limits

Reason Code Table
Reason Code Description Time Limit
4863 Cardholder Does Not Recognize 120 days
4831 Fraud Transaction, Card-Present Environment 45 days
4860 Fraudulent Transaction, Card-Absent Environment 45 days

2. Authorization and Processing Errors Reason Codes Time Limits

Reason Code Table
Reason Code Description Time Limit
4802 Requested Transaction Data Not Received 30 days
4808 Authorization-Related Chargeback 45 days
4812 Account Number Not On File 45 days

It is important to note that these are the general time limits. There may be exceptions in some cases, so it is always best to check with your specific card issuer to be sure.

3. Customer Dispute Reason Codes Time Limits

Reason Code Table
Reason Code Description Time Limit
4853 Cardholder Dispute 120 days
4855 Goods or Services Not Provided 120 days
4854 Cardholder Dispute - Defective/Not as Described 120 days

4. Lesser Know Reason Codes with Time Limits

Reason Code Table
Reason Code Description Time Limit
4834 Point-of-Interaction Error 90 days
4837 No Cardholder Authorization 120 days
4840 Fraudulent Processing of Transactions 120 days
4842 Late Presentment 120 days
4846 Incorrect Currency Code 120 days
4849 Questionable Merchant Activity 120 days
4860 Fraudulent Transaction, Card-Absent Environment 120 days
4870 Chip Liability Shift 120 days
4871 Chip/PIN Liability Shift – Lost/Stolen/Never Received Issue (NRI) Fraud 120 days

Tips to Meet MasterCard Chargeback Time Limits

1. Efficient Internal Processes and Systems

To ensure timely compliance with MasterCard chargeback time limits, it is crucial to have efficient internal processes and systems in place. Here are some key steps you can take:

  • Regular Monitoring: Stay vigilant and monitor chargeback notifications regularly. Promptly identify and address any incoming chargebacks to avoid missing the time limits.
  • Dedicated Chargeback Team: Designate a dedicated team or individual responsible for managing chargebacks. This team should be well-versed in MasterCard chargeback rules and procedures.
  • Streamlined Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels within your organization to ensure timely flow of information related to chargebacks. This will help in quick decision-making and response.

2. Document Retention and Retrieval

Proper document retention and retrieval processes are essential for meeting MasterCard chargeback time limits. Consider the following steps:

  • Organized Documentation: Maintain organized records of transactions, receipts, shipping information, and any other relevant documentation. Categorize and store them securely for easy retrieval.
  • Centralized Database: Implement a centralized database or electronic system to store and manage chargeback-related documents. This will streamline the retrieval process and save time when responding to chargebacks.
  • Document Archiving: Adhere to industry best practices for document retention periods. Ensure that you retain relevant documents for the required time frame to comply with chargeback time limits.

3. Communication and Collaboration with Acquirers

Effective communication and collaboration with your acquirer can help in meeting MasterCard chargeback time limits. Consider the following strategies:

  • Proactive Communication: Establish a proactive relationship with your acquirer. Keep them informed about any potential chargebacks or disputes to ensure timely resolution.
  • Clear Documentation Submission: When submitting chargeback-related documentation, ensure that it is complete, accurate, and submitted within the specified time frame. Follow the guidelines provided by your acquirer for document submission.
  • Collaboration for Dispute Resolution: Work closely with your acquirer to resolve chargebacks efficiently. Provide them with all necessary information and cooperate in the investigation process to meet the required time limits.

Remember, meeting MasterCard chargeback time limits is crucial for successful dispute resolution. By implementing efficient internal processes, maintaining organized documentation, and collaborating effectively with your acquirer, you can increase your chances of meeting these time limits and protecting your business from potential financial losses.


Average Dispute Amount
Average Dispute Amount
# Disputes Per Month
# Disputes Per Month
Time Spent Per Dispute
Time Spent Per Dispute
You could recover
$500,000 and save
1,000 hours every month with Chargeflow!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Want to learn how Chargeflow can recover more money for you? Sign up and get a free dispute analysis

Related Articles

What's Chargeflow?

Try it for free

Full Dispute Automation

No more manual work, Chargeflow fully-automates your dispute process from A to Z.

Simple Integrations

We use official and secure API's from our approved partners. We also made it extremely easy to connect.


You get charged only when we help settle a dispute in your favor.


ChargeResponse® uses smart algorithms to generate the most comprehensive evidence response, with industry-leading recovery rates.


ChargeScore® uses proprietary algorithms to determine the chance of recovering each dispute.

Actionable Analytics

In-depth disputes statistics at your fingertips.

Built for eCommerce

Made by DTC Entrepreneurs, for DTC Entrepreneurs.


OAuth 2.0, 128 Bit SSL, secure data encryption, official, secure API's. We have them all, and more.

Get Started with Chargeflow

Chargeflow helps you focus on your business without the burden of disputes, chargebacks and fraud holding you back.

With a fully-featured, automated dispute management solution that offers flexible workflows and unique features such as ChargeScore®, ChargeResponse®, along with our ROI guarantee and actionable analytics, all of your dispute needs are met in one simple platform.