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Merchants: Prepare for Changes to Visa Claims Resolution

Earlier this year, Visa announced that it will be implementing a new chargeback dispute process known as the Visa Claims Resolution (VCR) initiative. Chargebacks911, a leading dispute mitigation and risk management firm, applauds Visa’s long-term goal of improving processes and expediting resolution but emphasizes that the move could have unanticipated implications for many merchants. The company counsels merchants to actively engage in representment and maintain detailed supporting data; otherwise, they risk losing a growing proportion of revenues to chargebacks and friendly fraud.

Under the new VCR initiative, Visa aims to streamline the processing of disputed transactions, expedite resolution and eliminate invalid disputes whenever possible. However, these changes will require merchants to play a much more active role in the process. Not only must they maintain a detailed transaction database and be able to submit compelling evidence to Visa on demand, but they must be prepared to dispute the majority of chargebacks or face costly financial consequences.

“While Visa’s communications focus on the benefits of VCR, merchants are facing major changes that will require more work and effort on their behalf,” asserted Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911. “Similar to the implications merchants are experiencing as a result of MasterCard’s dispute administration fee, the new VCR initiative means that merchants will have to effectively represent each and every dispute to mitigate rising chargeback losses. Considering that only 2 in 10 merchants are actively engaged in representment, the majority clearly have a very long way to go.”

Eaton-Cardone points out that most merchants have no training in representment methods, as it is not a prerequisite to obtaining a merchant processing account. Responding to disputes requires time and effort, and the rules can be complicated; consequently, Eaton-Cardone says there is often insufficient motivation for merchants to take action until rising chargeback fees and losses threaten their profits. She also stresses that there are currently no standards for basic record-keeping, which can make it challenging for merchants to meet the evolving requirements for compelling evidence in credit card chargeback disputes.

“Though Visa’s new VCR initiative is intended to remove friction from the chargeback process, this type of system cannot be truly effective without regulations and standards,” remarked Eaton-Cardone. “There is an urgent need for the payments industry to focus on compliance and address the current lack of standardization; we must first achieve industry-wide compliance before we can attain equal balance.”

She notes that eCommerce merchants, in particular, have been struggling to combat rising chargebacks and friendly fraud. Visa openly acknowledges that “card-absent merchants may experience higher chargebacks than card-present merchants as the card is not electronic read, which increases liability for chargebacks.”(2) Furthermore, Visa’s efforts to expedite dispute resolution may mean that merchants have less time to gather and submit evidence. Those who “do not respond by the time specified on the request … will not be able to remedy the chargeback.”

“I would advise all merchants to begin preparing for Visa’s enhanced dispute resolution process now,” counsels Eaton-Cardone. “This involves two key steps: preventing transaction disputes and creating compliant representment cases. Merchants who develop these capabilities internally or partner with an experienced chargeback management specialist will not only be VCR-ready, but they’ll also succeed in reducing chargebacks and combating friendly fraud.”

For more information on Chargebacks911 and its comprehensive chargeback management solutions, as well as informational resources for eCommerce merchants and details on Monica Eaton-Cardone’s upcoming seminars and speaking engagements, visit chargebacks911.com.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.