Chargeback Reason Code

Mastercard Chargeback Reason Code 4808: Requested/Required Authorization Not Obtained

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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Mastercard Chargeback Reason Code 4808: Requested/Required Authorization Not Obtained

What is Mastercard Chargeback Reason Code 4808?

Did you just receive a chargeback under the reason code 4808? That may be due to a buyer claiming they did not authorize a transaction; hence, they should not be responsible for the payment. This puts the chargeback under the “transaction not authorized” category.

All transactions require buyer authorization per Mastercard rules, except for low-value or low-risk ones. So, processing payment without receiving the buyer’s authorization sets you up for this chargeback. The buyer can dispute the charge and receive a refund.

You can experience this for several reasons, from friendly to actual fraud. Errors on your end can also cause this chargeback. Nevertheless, you can get your money back if the chargeback is invalid and you adhere to all the required protocols.

Important notice:

The 4808 reason code contains several chargebacks, including the following:

  • Account holder not on file
  • Multiple authorization requests
  • Warning bulletin file

You’ll find the specific reason in the data field section. Always confirm the exact reason for the chargeback before proceeding with any remedial action.

Why Did it Happen?

The primary reason for this chargeback is that a buyer has disputed a transaction as unauthorized. That means they did not approve the payment, but it was subsequently debited. Let’s clarify with an example below.

Customer A moves to the check-out page on your website, ready to pay for a service or product. The customer cancels the purchase after you’ve requested card details or a one-time password. However, the customer is subsequently charged for the transaction even though they canceled it during the authorization stage.

Authorization was required and requested, but it was not provided. In another case, the customer moves to buy a product or service but receives no authorization request. The sale was processed, and the money was debited.

So, the primary reasons for this chargeback are as follows:

  • The buyer declined an authorization request for a transaction but was debited
  • The buyer did not receive an authorization request for the payment
  • The payment processing service bypassed authorization and processed the transaction

You may also receive this chargeback if a chip payment was processed but the buyer did not provide online authorization. This does not apply to chip cards that require offline approval.

So, how does actual fraud come in? A fraudster can steal a buyer's card and use a non-EMV-compatible payment terminal to process the payment. Another way is by swiping or keying the card without using the chip.

Conversely, a customer might claim they did not provide authorization when, in fact, they did. This can result in a case of friendly fraud. You can easily fight this claim and get a refund.

Other than in these cases, the error will most likely fall on you. Forcing a transaction after multiple declines can cause this chargeback.

So, how do you fight this chargeback? Let’s explore ways you can file a representment and be refunded.

How to Fight Mastercard Chargeback Reason Code 4808: Requested/Required Authorization Not Obtained

You are well within your rights to challenge this chargeback if you have ample evidence refuting the buyer’s claim. However, you must do so within the guidelines.

The primary documents you need to fight this chargeback are as follows:

  • Proof that the cardholder authorized the transaction

This proof can be divided into two cases. First, the cardholder authorized the transaction at the first request. That validates your initial payment processing and debit on the buyer’s account.

Ensure you have the dates and authorization code for the authorization. Those will be available in the DE 72 data record.

Second, the cardholder provided a late authorization after initial declines. You can take that as evidence that you received permission for the payment.

What if you realized your error and processed a refund but still received a chargeback? All you need to do is prove that the cardholder received the refund. Then, the issuer (Mastercard) will refund the chargeback.

If none of these cases apply to your case, you can prove a violation of Mastercard’s requirement. That could be a chargeback occurring 120 days after the transaction. You’ll need a document showing the transaction date to fight it.

Another violation of Mastercard’s requirements could be transactions that require no authorization. Although at the issuer’s discretion, contactless payments of less than €50 do not require approval. That gives you the standing to dispute the chargeback and possibly get a refund.

Using a non-EMV-compatible payment terminal will impede your efforts to fight this chargeback. In that case, the chargeback may be valid.

How to Prevent Mastercard Chargeback Reason Code 4808: Requested/Required Authorization Not Obtained

Prevention is always the better approach to chargebacks. Although fighting them can be straightforward, the technicalities can be exhausting.

The primary thing is obtaining adequate authorization before processing a payment. That also means removing declined transactions from processing.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to prevent this chargeback under reason code 4808:

  • Include CVV/CVC (card verification value/code) checks in your payment processing.
  • You can add an address verification service (AVS) check to the payment process. Ensure you have a match between the cardholder’s address and the ZIP.
  • Add fraud prevention tools to your transactions and keep details of their scores or recommendations.
  • Use an easily recognizable merchant descriptor on bank statements. That will reduce doubts about a transaction and prevent chargebacks from friendly fraud.
  • Avoid processing a transaction if you’ve not received adequate authorization from the cardholder.
  • Identify and separate card-present from card-not-present transactions. You can do this through internet, mail, and phone orders.
  • Do not force authorization for any transaction.
  • Request the cardholder to use an alternative payment method if there is a persistent decline on the Mastercard.
  • Maintain records of payment authorization and proof of service or product delivery.
  • Use EMV-enabled terminals to prevent authorization bypassing. This will help prevent chargebacks from actual fraud.
  • Request another card or payment method if the current one has expired.
  • Verify the cardholder's identity using a signature, pin, mobile, SSN, or email. Again, this will help checkmate chargebacks from true fraud.


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