First Card Payments > Chargebacks  > How Long Does a Merchant Have for a Dispute?

How Long Does a Merchant Have for a Dispute?

In a perfect world, you’d be counting your profits and not worry about any chargebacks from customers. But the reality of running a business with a high risk merchant account means you have to deal with chargebacks often and this could cause huge losses and even derail your business completely if you don’t know how to stand your ground and file to dispute a chargeback.

If you should succeed in challenging a chargeback, you need to start by learning about chargeback time limits so you can make the necessary preparations and file responses on time.


visa logoVisa cardholders are given a 75-120 day window from the date of the transaction to file a chargeback depending on the reason behind it. For instance, a consumer is given 120 days to file for issues relating to incorrect transaction code, counterfeit, fraud, and duplicate processing.

A 75-day window, on the other hand, is given for issues related to invalid data, stolen or lost cards, and declined authorization.

If you’re the merchant, you will be given 30 calendar days to respond to the chargeback. Depending on the s[ecific circumstances, if the acquiring bank fights the chargeback through a representation, the issuing bank initiates a pre-arbitration chargeback and both banks pursue arbitration within a 10-day period.


mastercard logoMasterCard holders are given 45-120 days to file chargebacks depending on the circumstances. Known as the “Central Site Business Date,” the clock starts ticking on the date of the original transaction where cardholders can file a chargeback for issues like lack of authorization, discrepancy, incorrect currency code, and questionable client activity within 120 days.

This time frame drops down to 45 days if the account number is not on file and if there is a warning bulletin.

As the merchant, you are given 45 days to answer and dispute a chargeback. The only difference with MasterCard is that the Central Site Business Date may reset depending on the stage of the dispute.

American Express

american express logoAmerican Express doesn’t impose any time limits for cardholders to file a chargeback while merchants are given 20 days to respond to an inquiry before it becomes a chargeback.

For this reason, many consumers prefer American express and merchants have a tougher time dealing with chargebacks from American Express customers.


discover logoLike American Express, Discover doesn’t have any time limits for clients to file for a chargeback, which usually begins with an inquiry. This will then be sent as ticket retrieval to you as the merchant where you’ll be given 20 days to respond before the bank turns the inquiry into a chargeback.

Chargeback Process Explained:

  1. First of all, the cardholder alerts his bank about a disputed transaction upon which a provisional credit is issued.
  2. The cardholder’s bank contacts the acquiring bank to get some necessary information.
  3. Both of the banks try to resolve the issue amicably; if not, the acquiring bank issues a chargeback notification to the customer/consumer.
  4. Merchant has two options. He either accepts the chargeback or fights back by re-submitting the charge-coupled with the relevant information to disprove the consumer’s claim referring to Representment… A Rebuttal Letter Summary, however, must accompany the evidence.
  5. After reviewing the evidence, the issuing bank will reach the final decision and the merchant will get the money via provisional credit reversal in favor of the merchant.
  6. Either of the party can request to review the decision if they are not happy with that.
  7. However, if the issuing and acquiring banks can’t reach an agreement during the process of pre-arbitration, the process may enter arbitration. In such a situation, the card network will investigate all the cases and examine the received evidence and based on the evidence, will make a final decision.

Chargebacks Are Increasing World Wide

Because of growing awareness, chargebacks are increasing globally. As a result, chargebacks are getting incredibly common among consumers. According to a study, almost half of consumers are likely to initiate a chargeback request through their issuing bank, every year.

Normally, merchants have between 7 and 30 days to initiate a dispute on a consumer’s chargeback but it also depends on the card network as well. In case the merchant doesn’t respond, the consumer’s provisional credit will be made permanent, and the merchant will have to suffer 2.5 times the transaction amount tallying the fees and other costs.

The Bottomline

Chargebacks could hurt your business if you don’t deal with them efficiently. When the clock starts ticking and you need to deal with several disputes, you may miss deadlines and lose money that should have been your profit.

To keep this from happening, it’s very important to have a dedicated team to handle all these chargebacks on your behalf. That way, you’ll be able to stay on top of all disputes and make sure that you provide all the evidences to refute chargebacks from consumers. This way, you’ll be able to protect your revenues and credibility, which is very important.

During an era of electronic means of payment like credit and debit cards, a lot of customers were fraudulently deprived of their money and the product they bought online. So chargebacks were outcomes of the same criminal practices to protect customers from such cheats.

Find a high risk merchant account provider that can help your business every time you have to dispute a chargeback.

Ryan Kemp Zulu Shack Creative
( Director of Digital Marketing )

I am passionate about delivering results and helping my clients succeed. With my expertise in SEO, branding, and marketing, I lead the agency’s efforts to create and implement effective strategies that drive business growth. Our all-inclusive approach sets us apart from other digital media companies and ensures that our clients receive the full range of services they need for online success. If you can think of it, we can build it!

Zulu Shack Creative team members thrive on momentum. Like Zulu warriors, we strive to spearhead your idea with speed and quality.

When I’m not helping my team implement new digital marketing strategies, I enjoy playing music, hosting poker nights, reading Stephen King novels, and spending time with my wife and baby daughter.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

First Card Payments