Dan Moshkovich
VP Marketing
Table of contents

In recent years in an effort to improve customer service and automate interactions with consumers, financial institutions and card issuers have invested significantly in consumer-facing mobile banking apps. These apps have increasingly incorporated user-friendly features, significantly streamlining various financial processes, including the initiation of chargebacks. As a result, consumers can now initiate a dispute on a transaction with just a few taps on their screens. This ease of use helps consumers and offers them the ability to respond to discrepancies but also introduces challenges for merchants facing increased chargebacks. ‍

Many consumers are not fully aware of the implications and consequences of initiating a chargeback, often seeing it as a simple tool for getting a refund, without understanding the total financial impact on merchants. This lack of awareness contributes to the misuse of the chargeback mechanism, resulting in increased costs and challenges for businesses. In our recent State of Chargebacks Report, we see that almost 8 of 10 chargebacks are actually “friendly fraud”. To address this issue, financial institutions and issuers must invest in educational initiatives that clarify the purpose, process, and repercussions of chargebacks for consumers.

To make the situation worse for merchants, third-party consumer apps available on the Apple and Android app stores make it even easier to initiate a dispute by claiming to automate the chargeback process entirely.  These apps further simplify the chargeback process for consumers, unknowingly exacerbating the challenges for merchants. In this context, it becomes crucial for merchants to understand these trends and implement effective chargeback mitigation solutions.

Understanding Chargebacks

A chargeback occurs when a consumer disputes a transaction, the amount of the transaction is reversed, and the customer is refunded. Originally developed nearly 50 years ago to protect consumers from fraud and unauthorized credit card transactions, chargebacks have morphed into a major drain on merchant revenue. In recent years Financial institutions, issuers, and now third-party personal banking apps have streamlined the chargeback process to enhance customer experience and protect consumers' rights. However, this automation means that consumers can request chargebacks through simple online interfaces, often without needing to provide extensive documentation or evidence to support their claims.

Furthermore, this ease of filing chargebacks can even encourage friendly fraud, where consumers misuse the chargeback process to receive a refund while retaining the purchased goods or services. This misuse not only leads to direct financial losses for merchants but also requires them to allocate resources to dispute illegitimate chargebacks, adding operational costs and diverting attention from core business activities.

The Impact on Merchants

For merchants, the rise of automated chargebacks can lead to substantial financial losses. When a chargeback is filed, the merchant not only loses the revenue from the sale but may also incur additional fees, face higher payment processing charges, and lose the merchandise involved in the disputed transaction. Moreover, excessive chargebacks can damage a merchant's reputation with payment processors and result in enrollment in Visa’s Chargeback Monitoring Program (VCMP) and Mastercard's Excessive Chargeback Program (ECP). They are potentially leading to significantly increased processing fees or even the termination of service. To exit these programs and return to good standings merchants will often need to take drastic measures to reduce and maintain low chargeback rates. 

One such measure is to leverage a chargeback alert solution like Chargeflow Alerts. Chargeflow alerts help merchants by providing an early notification when a customer initiates a dispute, allowing the merchant to address and resolve the issue before it escalates into a chargeback. This proactive approach enables merchants to maintain lower chargeback ratios and avoid the penalties associated with excessive chargeback programs.

Consumer Applications and Their Implications

The recent emergence of third-party consumer banking applications simplifies the chargeback process. While these applications offer valuable services to consumers, they can exacerbate the challenges for merchants by increasing the volume of chargebacks, many of which may be unwarranted.

These applications automate the submission of chargeback requests, making it easier for consumers to dispute transactions without understanding the full context or the consequences for merchants. This automation can lead to an increase in chargeback abuse, further straining the relationship between consumers and merchants.

The Necessity of Chargeback Mitigation Solutions

Given the impacts of chargebacks and Visa/MC chargeback programs, merchants must adopt comprehensive chargeback mitigation solutions. Such solutions can help businesses detect and prevent fraudulent transactions, dispute illegitimate chargebacks, and reduce the risk of friendly fraud.

Effective chargeback mitigation involves a multi-faceted approach, including:

  • Chargeback Analysis: Implementing advanced analytics and monitoring tools such as ChargeScore to identify and predict the probable outcome of chargeback disputes. 
  • Clear Communication: Ensuring transparency and clear communication with customers regarding transaction details, policies, and procedures can help reduce misunderstandings and unwarranted chargebacks.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Providing prompt and effective customer service to address and resolve disputes before they escalate to chargebacks.
  • Documentation and Evidence: Maintaining comprehensive records of transactions, communications, and delivery confirmations to contest unjustified chargebacks.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, while the automation and streamlining of the chargeback process serve to protect consumer rights and improve customer services for issuers and financial institutions it presents significant challenges for merchants. As the landscape continues to evolve with technologies like third-party consumer chargeback applications, businesses must stay informed and proactive in implementing robust chargeback mitigation strategies. By doing so, merchants can safeguard their interests, minimize financial losses, and foster a more sustainable and fair transaction ecosystem for all parties involved. So if you want to avoid card scheme chargeback programs, try the Chargeflow Alerts solution for yourself.


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Time Spent Per Dispute
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