Keep Your Money—Avoid Card Disputes (Part 1)

by: Heartland
Saturday, March 21, 2015

 

 

Every day the Heartland Dispute Department talks with merchants who want to know why there are chargebacks on their account. Many aren’t informed about the card brands’ rules and regulations or the risks associated with not running a transaction correctly. Here are tips to help safeguard your hard-earned dollars from the risk of disputes.

Best practices for card-present transactions:

 

  1. Swipe the stripe. Swipe the card through the terminal in one direction only to obtain an Approved authorization.

  2. Obtain a valid authorization for every transaction.

  3. If you receive a decline, do not re-swipe—request another form of payment.

  4. Match the numbers. Check the embossed number on the card against the four digits of the account number displayed on the terminal. Also check to see that the embossed account number on the front of the card matches the number indent printed on the back. If they do not match, ask for another form of payment.

  5. Request a signature. Have the cardholder sign the transaction receipt.

  6. Check the signature. Be sure that the signature on the card matches the one on the transaction receipt.

  7. Handling key-entered transactions. If a card cannot be swiped, it is recommended that you ask for another form of payment. If you key-enter a transaction, you run the risk of accepting a counterfeit card because the magnetic stripe information is unavailable. If you do key in a card number, you must get an imprint of the card or a positive CVV match with the authorization request.

    • Check the expiration date. Look at the “good through” or “valid through” date to be sure the card hasn’t expired. If the card has a “valid from” date, be sure the card isn’t being used before it is valid.

    • Make an imprint. Get a manual imprint of the card completed with transaction details and cardholder signature. Although this is not a guarantee against a fraud loss, your chances of remedying a fraud dispute are significantly better.

  8. Face-to-face deliveries require imprint and signature. Example: Pizza delivery.

 

Dealing with unsigned cards


If the signature panel is left blank:

  • Request a signature. Ask the cardholder to sign the card and provide current government identification, such as a driver’s license or passport (if local law permits).

  • Check the signature. Be sure that the cardholder signature on the transaction receipt matches the one on the card and the additional identification.

  • If the cardholder refuses to sign the card, do not accept the card.

If the card has a “See ID” in place of a signature:

  • Request a signature. Ask the cardholder to sign the card and provide current government identification, such as a driver’s license or passport (if local law permits).

  • Check the signature. Be sure that the name on the card matches the one on the transaction receipt and the additional identification.

Refund & Credit Policies


For card-present transactions, proper disclosure must be legibly printed on the face of the transaction receipt near the cardholder signature line.

  • Do not process a refund on a different card number.

  • Do not refund with cash.

  • Do not issue a check as a refund.

In Part 2, we will discuss best practices for card-not-present transactions.