Chargeback Reason Code

American Express Chargeback Reason Code F30: EMV Counterfeit

General Information about Reason Codes

In 2016, Mastercard chargeback reason codes were condensed and consolidated, in a restructuring that resembled Visa Claims Resolution. Prior to this, Mastercard’s list of reason codes was long, convoluted, and confusing; now there are fewer than ten different reason codes relevant to most merchants. All the old reasons are still there, but they’ve been grouped under more comprehensive “umbrella” codes.

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American Express Chargeback Reason Code F30: EMV Counterfeit

What is the American Express Chargeback Reason Code F30?

Skimming or credit card cloning is one-way fraudsters use to make unauthorized transactions on a cardholder’s account. The American Express chargeback reason code F30 indicates transactions where cardholders deny authorization. It falls under the fraud category and is of serious concern to American Express and merchants.

The specifics of disputed transactions in this category boil down to physical card payments. However, the cards have counterfeit chips, and fraudsters use them on point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

EMV-enabled terminals can detect these counterfeits and flag the cards. Hence, fraudsters often use POS terminals that cannot process chip cards, or they do not swipe their cards. That allows them to get away with the transactions.

Fraudsters often start with small transactions after cloning a credit card to see if it works. Then, they progress to more substantial purchases, drawing the attention of the cardholder. The latter files chargeback claims, denying ever authorizing the transactions.

Our primary concern in chargebacks under this reason code is who should bear the liability for the fraud. You might be on the receiving end if you fail to apply adequate and recommended security measures to your transactions. Hence, American Express or the issuer will review the transaction and the security measures you used before shifting the liability to you.

We’ll show you how to avoid taking the liability for chargebacks under this reason code. However, you should first learn the possible causes that will make a cardholder alert the issuer to a fraudulent transaction.

Poor or outdated equipment is a primary cause for chargebacks under this reason code. They have less ability to detect and flag more sophisticated fraudulent transactions like credit card cloning.

Disputing chargebacks under this reason code involves proving that you employed all available security measures. 

Important notice:

This chargeback reason code does not apply to fraudulent transactions involving contactless payments. Cloning requires copying the encoded data on the original card’s magnetic strip.

Why Did It Happen?

A few things must occur before the issuer resorts to using the reason code F30:

  • The cardholder must deny authorizing the disputed transaction.
  • The transaction occurred on a non-EMV-enabled payment terminal
  • The merchant manually keyed the card details for the payment.
  • Your card processor did not transmit the complete chip data to American Express or the issuer.
  • American Express believes the transaction to be fraudulent

Compromised cards are primary to transactions that result in chargebacks under this reason code. Cardholders can also report their cards stolen before filing chargeback claims and denying the validity of the transactions.

American Express or the issuer will likely send a retrieval request for more information about the disputed transaction. This approach helps it assess who should bear the liability for the fraudulent charge.

You’ll bear the liability if the issuer realizes you did not apply all the security measures within your reach. It will process the chargeback from your account to refund the cardholder.

Some fraudulent cardholders can capitalize on the EMV chip liability rules and file chargeback claims. They might attempt to use their EMV-enabled card for swipe transactions to allow them to demand chargebacks later.

Friendly fraud can also occur when cardholders request manual entry during the purchase but forget. They may file chargeback claims later, forgetting their earlier approval for manual card entry.

Disputing chargebacks under reason code F30 boils down to whether you used the appropriate security measures. With that in mind, let’s explore how to respond to these chargebacks without compromising your chances of a refund.


How to Fight American Express Chargeback Reason Code F30: EMV Counterfeit

We recommend the following approaches to dispute chargebacks under reason code F30:

  • If the transaction was a card-not-present one: Submit evidence to prove that the transaction did not use a physical card. This approach is viable if the transaction occurred over the internet or a contactless connection. Telephone and mail orders are also acceptable as card-not-present transactions.

Ensure the transaction dates and amount match the disputed transaction. That shows they refer to the same payment.

This approach negates the association of the transaction with the chargeback reason code F30. Without further disputes, American Express will reverse the chargeback.

  • If your POS system processed a chip card transaction: Proof that your POS terminal performed a chip card transaction on the disputed payment. You must show your POS terminal’s ability to process chip card payments during this period. Submit relevant documents and ensure you satisfy all requirements from American Express.

This proof shifts the EMV liability to American Express or the issue. The EMV chip card transaction shows you took adequate steps within American Express’s standards to secure the transaction.

  • If you processed a credit to refund the cardholder: Submit proof of the credit refund to the customer. Include the transaction amount and other relevant details to show that the refund is for the disputed transaction.

This approach is helpful because cardholders can contact you and still contact their issuers. Hence, the chargeback might occur after you’ve settled the customer.

The last thing is to accept the chargeback if none of the above works. However, we’d rather you don’t have chargebacks under this reason code often. It shows your laxness in implementing the latest security systems and procedures.

Fraud cases should not be treated with kid gloves. Do all you can to ensure your terminals are EMV-enabled.

How to Prevent American Express Chargeback Reason Code F30: EMV Counterfeit

The following are preventive measures against chargebacks under reason code F30:

  • Ensure your POS systems are EMV and chip-enabled where necessary.
  • Check IDs for face-to-face transactions. Do this for transactions involving large amounts.
  • Ensure you have valid authorization codes and imprints for manually keyed transactions or the four-digit key CID.
  • Ensure you obtain sufficient consent from the cardholder before conducting card-not-present transactions. This process covers the provision of goods and services.
  • Maintain records and documentation that show the cardholder’s consent for the purchases
  • Update your payment terminals.
  • Inform cardholders about any unavoidable delays in credit refunds and your likely processing date.


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