A chargeback occurs when a customer (credit card or debit cardholder) asks their bank (credit card or debit card issuer) to reverse a transaction that has already been cleared. A customer may file a chargeback with their card issuer or bank. In defining this process, you are defined as the merchant.


Below is an overview of the general chargeback process:

Step 1: A transaction occurs. All chargebacks start with a customer initiating a transaction in person, in an app, or online.

Step 2: Customer initiates the chargeback. After the customer reviews their credit card or bank statement, typically at the end of the month, they may notice a charge they did not authorize. The customer then contacts their credit card company (known as the issuing bank) or their bank (if a debit card transaction), asking to investigate the charge in question.

Step 3: Issuing bank (for both credit cards and debit cards) reaches out to the merchant’s bank. Once a customer initiates the chargeback process, the customer’s bank reaches out to your bank as a merchant, asking it to provide evidence to refute the claim. This can include things such as authorization consents for transactions, invoices, receipts, proof of delivery, or anything else you can demonstrate to prove that the purchase was valid.

Step 4: Decisioning Process. After reviewing all the proof provided by the merchant’s bank, the cardholder’s bank must decide whether the purchase was actually valid. The decision process typically occurs within 60 days for debit card transactions also known as or Automated Clearing House or “ACH” transactions (these are electronic payments that are created when the customer authorizes a debit from their bank account) or up to 90 days for most credit card transactions. Merchants must contest the legitimacy of a charge within the prescribed time or forfeit the right to challenge the dispute. When this happens, the merchant is responsible for the charge despite having proof-positive that the charge was legitimate.

Step 5: Customer is informed. At this point, the customer must accept the proof provided by the acquiring bank and either pay for the goods or continue to dispute the purchase and begin a process known as arbitration. If the acquiring bank determines the purchase was not valid, then the cardholder (customer) receives a refund for the transaction.

Step 6: Arbitration. If the issuing bank and merchant bank fail to come to an agreement, as a last resort, they enter what is called the arbitration process. The arbitration process is governed by the issuing credit card company association rules (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, etc., collectively the “Card Associations”) or issuing debit card bank under the rules promulgated by the National Clearing House Association or “NACHA” (a self-regulating organization that establishes rules and procedures for processing debit card or ACH transactions), and their decision is final.


As a payment processor, we at ZenBusiness will undertake the following:

Step 1: We notify you of the dispute.

Step 2: You decide on how you would like to proceed. You can either accept the dispute as valid or choose to challenge it by sending us all documentation you have related to the transaction.

Step 3: The bank determines whether the purchase was legitimate or not. If the bank rules in your favor, the transaction stands. If the bank rules in the customer’s favor, you will need to pay the fee of $25.00.


Contesting Chargebacks: You will be required, at your expense, to investigate any of your transactions subject to a chargeback. To this end, you will need to assist your processor by sharing information about a chargeback with the customer, the customer’s financial institution, and your financial institution to investigate and/or mediate a Chargeback.

If you fail to assist resolve a disputed transaction in a timely manner when investigating a transaction, including providing necessary documentation within the prescribed response time, the chargeback may become irreversible.

Liability for Chargebacks: There may be times when your customer may not be the authorized user of the card or the account connected to the cardholder such that your customer may otherwise contest the transaction for any chargeback for any situation in which a transaction has been charged back rules established by the Card Association (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.) or NACHA. You would therefore be potentially liable for the full amount of the disputed transaction. In these instances, the amount of a transaction may be reversed or charged back to your merchant account if the transaction (a) is disputed; (b) is reversed for any reason by the Card Association or NACHA, our processor, or a customer or their financial institution; (c) was not authorized or we have any reason to believe that the transaction was not authorized; or (d) is allegedly fraudulent, unlawful, suspicious, or in violation of any agreement limiting certain transaction types.

You also may need to establish reserves for the amount of the disputed transactions for the period of time 60 to 90 days until the disputed transaction is resolved.

Avoiding Excessive Chargebacks: If excessive chargebacks occur you may be subject to additional fees in addition to the amount of the disputed transaction and related fees, as well as being subject to a suspension of services or termination of those services.

Please refer to the ZenBusiness Money Sub Merchant Agreement for a more detailed discussion of your contractual rights and responsibilities with respect to chargebacks.

If you've received a chargeback you don’t feel is legitimate on your account please reach out to our support team as soon as you recognize any suspicious activity. You can reach our support team via the in-app chat. You can also reach out via email to or by calling 1-844-493-6249. Our Business hours are Monday - Friday from 8 am - 5 pm CST.

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