What is a Chargeback?

A chargeback is a dispute resolution process credit card companies use to protect consumers from unauthorized or fraudulent transactions. If a buyer feels that a purchase made using their credit card was fraudulent or made without their knowledge or permission, they can file a chargeback with their credit card issuer. The credit card company will then investigate the claim and reverse the charge if it finds the dispute valid, reimbursing the buyer in full and debiting the business’ account. Chargebacks are an important aspect of consumer protection, but they can be frustrating for businesses as they can lead to reduced income and penalties.

Chargeback meaning

A chargeback is a way for a customer to tell their credit card company that they didn’t make or approve a charge on their card. When this happens, the disputed amount is taken from the merchant’s account and returned to the customer.

Chargebacks were first created to help fraud victims, but they can also happen when a customer disagrees with a legitimate charge. To fight a chargeback, merchants may need to show evidence that the charge was valid, such as proof of delivery or records of customer communication. Chargebacks can be expensive for merchants because they may lose the transaction amount and paying additional fees.

What is a bank chargeback?

A bank chargeback is a process that allows a cardholder to dispute a transaction on their debit or credit card with their bank. Like a credit card chargeback, a bank chargeback involves reversing a transaction and returning funds to the cardholder’s account.

When a bank chargeback is initiated, the bank will investigate the dispute and determine its validity. The bank may request additional information from the cardholder or merchant to support their investigation. Suppose the bank determines the transaction was fraudulent or unauthorized or that the merchant did not deliver the goods or services as promised. In that case, the bank will initiate a chargeback and refund the cardholder’s account.

The bank chargeback process can be initiated for various reasons, such as fraudulent transactions, goods or services not received, duplicate charges, and billing errors. Like credit card chargebacks, bank chargebacks can be costly for merchants, as they may result in the loss of the transaction amount and additional fees imposed by the bank. Therefore, merchants must maintain accurate records and promptly address customer concerns to minimize the likelihood of bank chargebacks.

Understanding Chargeback Reversals: Reasons and Categories

Chargebacks, also known as reversals, can be initiated by consumers for various reasons, with fraud being the most common. However, another type of chargeback is “friendly fraud,” where the buyer claims a refund after receiving the item. Regardless of the reason, chargebacks can be costly for businesses.

Credit card companies provide the reason for the chargeback reversal, which can fall into four categories. The first category is fraud, where the purchase was made without the buyer’s knowledge or consent. The second is quality, where the buyer never received the item they paid for. The third is clerical, where the buyer was billed more than once or received an incorrect refund. Finally, technical chargebacks occur when the buyer’s account lacks funds or due to a bank error. Understanding these categories can help businesses prevent chargebacks and minimize losses.

What is the chargeback process in India?

In India, the chargeback process is similar to that in other countries. A chargeback is a process initiated by a customer who disputes a credit card transaction and requests that their card issuer reverse the charge. The disputed amount is then returned to the customer’s account, and the merchant’s account is debited for the same amount. The chargeback process is intended to protect consumers from fraudulent transactions but can also occur when a customer disputes a legitimate charge.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued guidelines on chargeback and dispute resolution for electronic transactions in India. These guidelines cover disputes related to unauthorized transactions, non-receipt of goods or services, goods or services not matching the description, and defective goods or services.

To initiate a chargeback, the customer must contact their card issuer and provide details of the disputed transaction. The card issuer will investigate the matter and may require the merchant to provide evidence of the transaction’s validity. If the merchant cannot provide satisfactory evidence, the chargeback will be upheld, and the disputed amount will be refunded to the customer.

Merchants in India should reduce the risk of chargebacks by ensuring their transactions are secure and providing clear and accurate descriptions of goods or services. They should also maintain records of transactions and customer communications to provide evidence in case of a dispute

Chargeback Disputes: Understanding and Prevention

Chargebacks can be a costly headache for businesses, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of disputes. While chargebacks were originally intended to protect consumers from fraud, they can also result from misunderstandings or mistakes by the buyer or seller.

Businesses can take the following measures to avoid unnecessary chargebacks:

  • Provide proof of shipment or delivery to avoid claims of non-receipt.
  • Prevent fraudulent transactions by gathering as much information as possible from buyers.
  • Avoid manual processing, which can increase the risk of clerical errors.
  • Make it easy for customers to contact you with questions or concerns by including your phone number on credit card transactions.

By implementing these best practices, businesses can reduce the likelihood of chargebacks and protect their bottom line.

What is a chargeback? FAQ’s

1. What is a Chargeback?

A chargeback occurs when a customer contacts their credit card company to dispute a charge on their account. The credit card company then reverses the transaction and debits the merchant’s account for the same amount. The merchant may be required to provide evidence that the charge was valid to receive a chargeback reversal. This process can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

2. Is a Chargeback the Same as a Refund?

No, a chargeback is not a refund. A refund is a voluntary return of a customer’s payment by a merchant. A chargeback is a process that allows a cardholder to dispute a transaction with their card issuer and potentially have the purchase amount credited back to their account.

3. What Happens When a Customer Disputes a Charge?

When a customer initiates a chargeback, the merchant’s bank will retrieve the funds from the merchant’s account and return them to the customer’s issuing bank. The merchant will receive a notification that a chargeback has been initiated and will be asked to provide evidence to support the disputed charge. If the merchant cannot provide sufficient evidence, the chargeback will be upheld, and the customer will receive the refund. If the merchant can provide enough evidence, the chargeback will be reversed, and the merchant will receive their funds.

4. What is a Chargeback in Simple Terms?

A chargeback process allows a customer to dispute a credit card transaction and have the money returned to them. It involves the credit card company reversing the transaction and returning the money from the merchant. The customer usually initiates chargebacks, which can be a complex process for merchants.


The author writes about fintech, banking, and future of SAAS services. He works as an SEO analyst at Easebuzz, so if you're looking for an account that tracks India's fintech scene, you should check out his Easebuzz blog.