No vendor wants to have to deal with chargebacks. They are costly and annoying. It may seem that they are an unavoidable part of taking credit cards these days. While it may be impossible to prevent all of them, it is possible to reduce the number that you have to deal with. Here are some ways to make sure you are doing all you can.
Get to know your processor’s protocols and follow them. The protocol for taking credit card payments differs from credit card processor to credit card processor so you will have to get to know what yours expects from you when it comes to taking credit card payments. For payments taken in person, you should make it a point to check things like the expiration date and the signature. Most require merchants enter the security code. If you want to handle “card not present transactions,” you may be required to get specific permission to do that. MasterCard and Visa have verification programs so you should use those.
- Make sure your payment descriptor makes sense. This is the name that will appear on the credit card statement that your customers receive. You may do business under a different name than the one you use at your establishment. If you have a parent company, that name may appear on the credit card statement. You can understand it when the customer gets their statement and has no idea what that company is and calls to complain. You can save all this hassle by having a descriptor that makes sense to your customers.
- Be good at customer service. When there is a problem with any of the credit cards you accept, you should receive notification of that pretty quickly. If you call any customers who are disputing charges on their credit card statements, you have a chance to really make a positive impression on them. A lot of the time, a chargeback is because a customer is unhappy with something they purchased. You may be able to deal with whatever issue they have and then prevent the chargeback completely. Plus, you look like the conscientious business owner that you are.
- Know how to spot fraud. There are a number of warning signs that you can look for. A big one is when the shipping and billing address are different. Another one to look for is when the security code is wrong. You can also look up the customer’s social media sites or call them to see if they meant to use their credit card to buy something from you online. People appreciate it when their security is being paid attention to. If you have reason to believe some of your the purchases being made with credit cards is fraudulent, taking a few extra steps to deal with that can save you a lot of stress and work later on.
- Make sure your employees are trained well. It is important to have a good protocol to use when you are taking credit cards. If you take the credit card in your establishment, have your staff check the signature and expiration date. It may take an extra few minutes but it will be worth it and can prevent them from accepting a stolen card. If they are suspicious about a customer, they should feel comfortable asking for identification. If they take orders on the phone and need to take credit cards that way, they should always get the security code and the billing zip code. If a customer balks at that, they should not make the sale.
- If it makes sense, fight the chargebacks. Chargebacks are expensive and they hurt your reputation with the credit card processor. You have to be careful with this and need to be able to prove that you did all that you could to verify the customer. There are some charges where it just is not worth the cost and effort that it will take to fight it. There are times when it makes a lot more sense to fight than not. Just remember that you need to pick your battles.
In today’s world, it is impossible to do business without taking credit cards. Sometimes it can be risky but is worth it.