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Merchant Sales Insight

Beating the Odds on Chargebacks

Merchant Sales Podcast · Beating the Odds on Chargebacks

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Chargebacks plague our industry and they especially hurt SMB’s, which are the lifeblood of many ISOs and payment service providers.  While solutions exist for large organizations that need chargeback management, SMBs have been largely left out.  Our sponsor for this week’s merchant sales insight, ChargeSentry, is providing a simple, cost-effective, automated system that allows small and medium sized merchants the ability to manage and respond to chargebacks.

It is fascinating to see how far technology and automation around chargebacks has come, from notification, to pulling specific transaction data, to handling the response. If you are involved in payment processing and especially card not present, this edition is a must read! 


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Chargebacks is not a topic I often discuss. After all, most of my work with ISOs, payment service providers, and sales reps involves helping them sell card processing services. Chargebacks don’t fit neatly into those conversations.  

But frankly, our industry spends too much time and money selling merchant services without considering the long-term effects of the antiquated chargeback mechanism that seems to most benefit bad actors, while hurting the merchant and industry residuals.

The chargeback process was created over fifty years ago.  It was intended to protect consumers against liability for charges incurred when credit cards are stolen or when merchants are unscrupulous. Unfortunately, fraudsters quickly learned to game the system. 

Mercator Advisory Group predicts U.S. consumers will dispute more than 33 million credit card transactions this year alone – 0.05% of all transactions. 

With the average disputed transaction at $90, that’s nearly $1.8 billion in fraudulent credit card chargebacks this year. And that’s just the cost of goods and services sold. The all-in cost of a chargeback is $2.40 for every $1.00 of value disputed. In other words, that $90 chargeback costs the merchant $216.

More businesses have shifted to online and other card-not-present situations. Nearly half of ecommerce merchants surveyed last year by the website Payments.com said they were seeing more chargebacks than they had prior to March 2020.

Jack Shenon, CEO at ChargeSentry, has first-hand experience with chargebacks. First, as an ecommerce merchant and then as a payments facilitator (PayFac), Jack employed an army of experts to manage and respond to chargebacks. But even in the best of times, he was only winning about 20% of cases, he told me during a recent Merchant Sales Podcast.

“I had acquired a unique understanding of chargebacks, from the merchant and the PayFac sides of the challenge,” Jack said. He knew there had to be a better way to handle chargebacks – one that leveraged automation, enriched data and artificial intelligence to collect and present fact-based evidence challenging chargebacks. So, Jack built a solution which did just that! And his solution eventually lead him to start ChargeSentry. 

As a result, the ecommerce company he was operating saw its chargeback win rate rise above 60%. “Plus, we were able to reassign staff to other positions in need of their skill sets. The improvements to cashflow and time management, alone, were significant,” Jack said.


Chargeback Basics

It’s incredible, but true: over 60% of chargebacks received by small to mid-sized merchants go undisputed. Why? Because the time and expense of responding often outweighs the cost of refunding a purchase: or so those merchants believe. What many fail to appreciate is that the true cost of a chargeback is much higher than the amount of the transaction. 

Here’s the progression of a typical chargeback:

  1. A Cardholder contacts their Card Issuer to complain.  The complaint is that a transaction posted to the cardholder’s account wasn’t authorized, or that the product/service purchased was defective. Thus, the transaction shouldn’t be honored.
  2. The Issuer provisionally credits the Cardholder’s account and informs the Acquirer of the disputed transaction, along with a reason code. The Acquirer then has 30 days to resolve the problem.
  3. The Acquirer promptly forwards details of the dispute to the Merchant, and provisionally debits the Merchant’s account for the transaction amount. The Merchant is also assessed a chargeback fee, which may range between $25 and $100.
  4. The Merchant can ignore the chargeback and eat the loss. Or, he/she can respond to the Acquirer by providing details substantiating the legitimacy of the sale. The information required can vary depending on Card Brand, Acquirer, and Issuer. Basic information generally includes a copy of the Merchant’s refund/return policy agreed to by the Customer, AVS and CVV matches, and time and date of purchase.
  5. The Acquirer reviews the information provided by the Merchant. When possible, The Acquirer bolsters that with additional information to which they have access.  They present a case to the Issuer for rejecting the chargeback.
  6. The Issuer, after reviewing the facts of the case, decides to honor or reject the chargeback. Often, Issuers reject these rebuttals.
  7. The Issuer notifies the Cardholder and the Acquirer of the decision, and the Acquirer then notifies the Merchant.  

ChargeSentry, sponsor of this Merchant Sales Insight, takes the legwork out of this long and arduous process.

  • They continually monitor client transactions.
  • They leverage technologies like AI.
  • They spring into action as soon as a chargeback claim enters the system. 
  • Then ChargeSentry presents a detailed and compelling rebuttal on behalf of the merchant.


Three Steps to Controlling Chargebacks


Merchants ignoring chargebacks not only lose the value of goods sold, but they also risk getting fined and/or dismissed from the card networks if they have too many chargebacks. 

Existing chargeback response services have neglected the small and medium-sized merchant market for years – often demanding lengthy contracts, charging expensive monthly fees, requiring considerable integration, and heavily relying on merchants’ data to respond to chargebacks. 

ChargeSentry solves these challenges for merchants by 

  • offering budget-minded monthly pricing, 
  • eliminating integration with instant payment processor connections, 
  • enriching chargeback details with fact-based information to increase win rates, 
  • completely automating all chargeback responses – requiring no additional effort from the merchant.

ChargeSentry has a solution more suited to SMBs: a low-cost, fully automated service that requires no complicated integrations. It’s a processor agnostic solution that ISOs, payment service providers, and ecommerce services, and their sales reps can offer SMBs as a value-added service.

Even those merchants who fight chargebacks will often find themselves on the losing side of the dispute. “Most merchants who have employees dedicated to challenging chargebacks are winning about 20% of those challenges at best,” explains Jack.

Unfortunately, most SMBs have no idea how to properly respond, if they respond at all, to chargeback claims. There is a tremendous opportunity to partner with ChargeSentry to add value and revenue to your company. 

Leveraging an automated solution like ChargeSentry helps merchants avoid chargeback losses.  This also eliminates the time and expense for merchants who challenge chargebacks on their own. “Our win rate is about 70% to 80%,” Jack told me. 

ChargeSentry currently offers a subscription service, as well as a pay-as-you-go plan that supports merchants at any level. The solution more than pays for itself in successful challenges to chargebacks.


Three Reasons Why You Should Partner with ChargeSentry and Sell Chargeback Response Services:


Although this is not a usual topic for me to address, I truly believe those serious about building a profitable merchant services portfolio and adding value to their company cannot ignore the risk chargebacks pose to their merchants and their portfolio. 

If you are building a portfolio of ecommerce merchants, it’s more than a good idea; it’s a necessity. According to some estimates, 80% of all chargeback frauds in 2020 occurred in card-not-present channels, like ecommerce. 

ISOs, payment service providers, and agents are well positioned to help merchants respond and win their chargebacks. Here are three good reasons for offering an automated chargeback solution like ChargeSentry.  

Reason 1: Revenue Generation

There is money to be made offering a chargeback solution as a value-added service. 

ChargeSentry has several revenue models for working with ISOs, payment service providers, and agents, from simple referral fees to ongoing residuals. “We approach each partner uniquely,” says Jack. “We offer very generous compensation for our partners.” 

Reason 2: Merchant Retention

Chargeback losses take a huge bite out of merchant revenues. The all-in cost of $2.40 for every dollar lost to a chargeback can prove crippling to some merchants, especially those selling high-priced items. 

SMBs are in particularly vulnerable positions because they lack the expertise and resources needed to successfully challenge chargebacks. Helping merchants protect their revenues from unwarranted chargebacks, and grow their businesses is a great retention strategy. 

Freed from the burden of dealing with chargebacks, merchants have more time and money to invest in their businesses.  They are less likely to be lured away by other payment processing arrangements that could once again leave them vulnerable to chargebacks.

Reason 3: Manage Your Risk with Added Merchant Transparency.

Most ISOs and payment service providers claim that over 70% of small and medium-sized merchants never respond to their chargebacks.  This can raise red flags and keep risk managers guessing. All of which can affect a merchants’ processing ability or even get them terminated. Information is power, and this is especially true in risk management. Acquirers and processors employ armies of risk managers to analyze transaction data and trends to fend off fraud losses. Every chargeback challenge provides more information and insights to support acquirer and processor risk management objectives.


About the ChargeSentry Partner Program


The ChargeSentry partner program offers a customized and integrated chargeback response service to help merchant service providers, independent sales organizations (“ISO’s”), e-commerce software providers, and resellers earn more revenue, improve merchant risk transparency, and reduce customer churn. All this is done while helping their customers increase chargeback revenue recovery, save time, and help maintain a healthy merchant processing relationship.

ChargeSentry eliminates all these hurdles 

  • with no contracts, 
  • with no messy integrations,  
  • with a fully automated solution and simple pricing. 
  • ChargeSentry bolsters transaction-level detail with other information that helps make more informed decisions. 

“No one else is doing this,” Jack says.

Merchants, especially ecommerce merchants, from all over the world trust ChargeSentry to respond to their chargebacks. Reach out today, by clicking here to learn  more about ChargeSentry’s Partner Program.

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