Chargeback Reason Code

Discover Chargeback Reason Code DA: Declined Authorization

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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Discover Chargeback Reason Code DA: Declined Authorization

What is Discover Chargeback Reason Code DA?

The Discover chargeback reason code DA indicates a chargeback on a failed transaction where the authorization request was declined. It can apply to online or internet orders and walk-in purchases using physical cards. The latter often occurs at a POS terminal or other payment methods that involve physically swiping or capturing the card.

Declined authorizations are not new to merchants. You may have even experienced it for yourself. The cardholder presents their card, which is entered but receives a declined message.

Sometimes, cardholders will request that you rerun the transaction. The second time might be the charm, or you may still receive a declined message. That shows the card network or the bank has declined the authorization request for payment.

Declined authorizations often have underlying reasons from the card network or bank. It could be due to the following:

  • insufficient balance
  • exceeding the withdrawal limit
  • using a card that has been reported stolen or lost
  • Expired or invalid card
  • Incorrect CVV number

Despite showing “declined transaction,” some cardholders may receive debit charges in their account statements. That does not mean that the money has entered your account.

Sometimes, the reversal is almost immediate. Other times, the cardholder has to file a complaint with the card network or bank before the reverse is processed.

If the complaint is enough to process a chargeback, the card network will process the reversal and use the reason code DA. That is not a final stamp, as you still have time (30 days) to refute the customer’s claims of a declined transaction.

The chargeback reason code DA stands for “declined authorization.” This guide will take you through the most common reasons you may receive chargebacks with this code. It will also explore ways to dispute the chargeback and earn a reversal.

Why Did It Happen?

Chargebacks with reason code DA occur when the card network or bank reverses a payment with a declined authorization. Situations like this shouldn’t lead to a chargeback on your account statement. That is because the card issuer holds the funds temporarily during the processing and doesn’t forward them to your account.

If the chargeback occurs, it means that the funds have made their way into your account. Here are the possible reasons for chargebacks under reason code DA:

  • Forced transaction: This is the most common reason, as it involves circumventing the authorization approval. Sometimes, you try multiple times to get the authorization approval. Alternatively, you may use other means that bypass the standard authorization.

Key entry and voice authorization are alternative ways to process declined transactions. Although available, these should be used carefully.

Whichever method is used, forcing a transaction outside the stand authorization process often results in chargebacks. It can also be dangerous for your business if stolen cards are involved.

  • Fraudulent transactions with stolen cards: Sometimes, those with stolen cards do not have complete authorization. They might coerce or persuade you to bypass the standard authorization procedure while appearing legitimate.

Cardholders who see the charge on their accounts will file a complaint with their card issuers. If the card was reported stolen or lost, that is almost always enough to escalate to chargebacks.

We can’t rule out cardholder fraud from these chargebacks. Some cardholders may use their cards, persuade you to use alternative processing procedures, and then turn around to file a complaint. These cardholders want to have the purchased items and their cash back.

Customers may contact you when they notice the unwarranted charge on their account statements. That should allow you to resolve the dispute without escalating to cashback.



How to Fight Discover Chargeback Reason Code DA: Declined Authorization

Messages in chargebacks with reason code DA may be vague, especially if you are new to the merchant business. Hence, we advise contacting the card issuer for more details. You can also request guidance from your acquirer.

Getting transaction authorization approval is your best defense against chargebacks with reason code DA. With that in mind, follow the guide below to fight these chargebacks:

  • Submit a copy of the authorization approval obtained during transaction processing. The transaction date and amount must be included to show that the approval matches the contended charge that resulted in a chargeback.

This evidence will prove that the chargeback is erroneous. Hence, the card issuer will process a reversal into your account.

  • Submit evidence of processing a refund to the cardholder. The documentation should include the date and amount. Ensure the amount matches the contended charge in the chargeback.
  • Submit evidence of reaching an alternative arrangement with the cardholder. Sometimes, the cardholder may contact you when debited for declined transactions. They may have tried to pay for an item in your store or online. You may have reached an agreement to sell the item or service after confirming that the payment entered your account.

Submit a copy of the new arrangement showing the cardholder’s awareness and approval. If possible, obtain a signed receipt to back up your claims of reaching a new deal.

If neither approach holds for you, the error is likely on your end. Accept the chargeback and take preventive measures.

How to Prevent Discover Chargeback Reason Code DA: Declined Authorization

Receiving chargebacks with this code can hurt your business, especially if stolen cards are involved. Hence, you must proactively eliminate situations that can lead to them.

Our few recommendations include the following:

  • Cancel all declined transactions and ask cardholders to provide an alternative payment method.
  • If you need to call Discover and obtain voice authorization, ensure you use the card details. Print the approval code in the receipt or write it down for voice authorizations.
  • Upgrade your payment terminals. This can help detect fraudulent transactions and prevent them.
  • Always wait for authorization before processing a transaction.
  • Do not attempt a transaction multiple times if the first two are declined.
  • Avoid alternative authorization procedures that bypass the standard security checks. Use them only when necessary and with a trusted cardholder.
  • Contact your acquirer if your payment processing terminal is faulty. Ensure it is fixed before attempting transactions.


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