Chargeback Reason Code

American Express Chargeback Reason Code F29: Card Not Present

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 F29: Card Not Present

What is American Express Chargeback Reason Code F29?

Online and even offline (in-store) transactions are prone to fraud, although fraudsters often prefer online purchases. These could involve internet transactions and telephone or mail orders. The American Express chargeback reason code F29 indicates a chargeback for a transaction where the card was absent.

This chargeback code falls under the fraud category and is best avoided in your merchant business. That is because regular occurrences can indicate a faulty verification or security system in your operations. Your business will lose its reputation and get blocked in extreme cases.

In this chargeback code, the cardholder disputes the transaction for never authorizing it physically or online. One-time purchases and recurring billings can also fall under this category, provided the cardholder denies authorizing them. The denial shows that the card member’s card was absent during the transaction, making it a fraud case.

Offline (in-store) purchases have better security for card swipes, like the EMV chip technology. However, advancements have made online transactions more secure by the day.

Phishing is one way fraudsters obtain and use credit card details for purchases. Others steal the physical cards and swipe them directly at ATMs or point-of-sale machines. Both approaches set you up for chargeback claims from the original cardholder.

American Express often falls back on this reason code for fraud cases where face-to-face interactions with customers are absent. Hence, read the chargeback message to see more precise details and respond accordingly.

In this case, we will focus more on unauthorized transactions where the cardholder claimed the card was with them during the payment. We’ll explore how to dispute chargebacks under this reason code according to your industry. E-commerce transactions involving digital goods will have a slightly different approach.

With that in mind, here are possible reasons why American Express will use the code F29 for a chargeback:

Why Did It Happen?

Chargebacks under the reason code F29 can occur for the following reasons:

  • The cardholder denies authorizing the transaction and claims the card was not used: This denial and claim can be true or false (friendly fraud). However, American Express takes possible fraud cases seriously. It will issue a chargeback if the cardholder’s evidence is substantial.

In this case, the cardholder denies wiping their card or inputting the card details for the online purchase or transaction.

  • The customer’s card or card number was compromised: Someone other than the cardholder used the card for a purchase or transaction. These are often criminals who defraud their victims. Nevertheless, a family member may purchase items or services with the customer’s card without knowledge of the latter.

Family members using cards without the customer’s knowledge amounts to friendly fraud. Still, American Express will process the chargeback under this code.

  • The card was lost or stolen and was not in the cardholder’s possession when used.

The primary characteristic of disputed transactions in this category is that the card is absent. Some cardholders (cyber-shoplifters) can make false claims about not authorizing a transaction. These cases fall under the “actual fraud” category, although they are unrelated to third parties or card compromises.


How to Fight American Express Chargeback Reason Code F29: Card Not Present

Review the chargeback message thoroughly and send your reply within 20 days. The general approaches to disputing chargebacks under the reason code F29 include the following:

  • Submit proof of delivery of purchased merchandise to the cardholder’s address. This proof should include receipts showing the cardholder’s acceptance of the items.
  • Submit proof that you received no response (or an unchecked response) when validating the card identification number (CID).
  • Provide evidence of validating the cardholder’s address and sending goods to the exact location.
  • Provide evidence that the shipping address in the disputed transaction matches the address from previously undisputed transactions with the same cardholder.

If these and the under-listed approaches are not viable, accept the chargeback. Take steps to prevent such transactions to avoid being flagged for fraud.

Airline and digital goods transactions have a few additions to resolving chargebacks under this reason code.

For airline and other passenger transportation payments

  • Submit proof that the cardholder boarded the flight or used the transportation service
  • Prove that the cardholder received the flight ticket or transportation service ticket at the delivery address
  • Submit evidence that the transaction contains the same passenger’s name from an undisputed transaction with the same card.

For digital goods

  • Provide the cardholder’s name linked to the account
  • Describe the goods or services and their purchase and download dates. Also, include the date the cardholder accessed them.
  • Prove that the card was involved in a previously undisputed transaction. Also, show that the device ID and IP address are currently linked to the cardholder’s account with you.
  • Prove that you used automatic address verification (AAV) or the card security code verification process and received adequate responses.

For recurring billing or subscriptions

  • Submit evidence that the cardholder accessed your website on or before the transaction date.
  • Submit evidence that the customer received the services

How to Prevent American Express Chargeback Reason Code F29: Card Not Present

Fraud-related chargebacks are best avoided to maintain a good business reputation. Hence, you must take active steps to stop them from happening. We can’t control cardholder actions, but we can create a system that deters fraudulent purchases.

Here are a few preventive measures for chargebacks under reason code F29:

  • Always obtain the cardholder’s express consent to bill the account for goods or services.
  • Use the latest anti-fraud tools for your business operations, especially on check-out pages.
  • Use an easy-to-recognize billing description for account statements.
  • Maintain a consistent billing description.
  • Add your customer care helpline to your billing descriptor for customers to call quickly.
  • Use additional validation procedures, like automatic address verification (AAV) and card security code verification.
  • Submit authorization requests for all transactions, no matter how small they might be.
  • Send advanced notifications for recurring billing or notifications before the billing date.
  • Address customer complaints quickly and resolve them satisfactorily.
  • Separate card-not-present and card-present transactions during clearing. Note internet, telephone, and mail orders.


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