Filing a Chargeback: What It Is and How to Do It

Carly Cahill
4 minute read

The day has come: that new phone you ordered has finally arrived in the mail. Excited, you tear through the packaging and open the box. After days and days of waiting, you’ve finally gotten… a brick?

This isn’t the only way a debit card transaction can go wrong: sometimes the package doesn’t arrive at all, sometimes you’ve been charged twice for the same thing, or sometimes you’ve been charged several times for a subscription you cancelled. While it’s always good to be careful when using your card details online, there are some problems with card transactions that are hard to anticipate.

What’s a debit card chargeback?

A chargeback is a formal fund recovery process for debit card transactions. It’s basically another layer of protection for your card transactions, online or in person. It’s not an automatic refund or a strongly worded email from us to the business, but it’s a way of disputing a card transaction when something’s gone wrong.

What can you do for debit card transactions gone wrong?

Usually, businesses are willing to correct mistakes that have been made when you get in touch to let them know. It’s quickest to send them an email and get things fixed that way, be it a new product or a refund.

Sometimes, though, a problem can be difficult to resolve on your own. If the business isn’t able or willing to help, there’s another recovery option TransferWise might be able to use to get your money back: a chargeback.

So, how does it work?

A chargeback goes through the debit card company (like Visa or MasterCard) that the issuer (like TransferWise) uses for their cards. It’s a bit like ping-pong or playing lawyer—each side presents their case to the other as to why or why not the transaction should stand. If TransferWise wins, then we’re able to give you your money back.

Like a court case, unfortunately, a chargeback can be a long process, often taking 30- 45 days for us to hear back from the business, and after that we also need a few days to process the results. If we need to continue disputing the transaction, in most cases it will take another 30- 45 days to know the outcome. That’s why it’s usually easier to resolve the issue with the business directly instead.

There are a few factors that determine whether a transaction is eligible for chargeback, for, example: how long ago the transaction was made, if it was made directly to the business or through a payment processor (such as PayPal), and why it’s being charged back.


What doesTransferWise need for a chargeback?

Since we’re only able to submit a chargeback once for your transaction, we want to make sure we have a strong case for you. In most cases, we’ll need to include supporting documentation when we submit the chargeback.

This often includes:

· screenshots or PDFs of your conversation with the business

· receipts or confirmations of your purchase

· specific description of what the purchase was for and what’s gone wrong

There might be other things we ask for too, such as contracts or cancellation policies, or the terms and conditions for this business. When we ask for this additional information, it’s to help build a clear, strong chargeback on your behalf.

Do we really need all that?

On the surface, it may seem like a lot of paperwork, especially if the case is straightforward. Not only does the documentation act as evidence to support your claim, it’s also often required by the debit card company in their chargeback guide. The guides themselves are often several hundred pages long, but we’re here to help make sure you have what you need to submit a chargeback.

When a chargeback is submitted it has a specific reason attached to it and different reasons have their own documentation requirements, so we might ask for different things depending on the nature of the case. One of the most common requirements is proof that you’ve reached out to the business. The requirements may seem tedious but they’re there to make sure the process is fair and efficient.

Once we have what we need, we’ll be able to submit a chargeback for the transaction to try to recover the funds. It can take some time, but we’ll keep you updated.

How do you file a dispute with TransferWise?

You can dispute your debit card transaction by filling out the dispute form. When you fill it out, be sure to give reasonably specific details and add any documents or screenshots you have to speed along the dispute process. We’ll take a look and let you know if we need anything else.

We’re not always able to submit a chargeback for a transaction, unfortunately. If that’s the case, your next best steps might be to get in touch with your local consumer protection board. They may be able to help, even if the chargeback avenue is not a good fit for your transaction.

As always, it’s good practice to make sure you’re using business you trust when making purchases. Reading over online reviews and checking their website before making a purchase can sometimes provide more insight on a business. That said, we’re happy to help if you have any questions about a transaction so you can use your TransferWise debit card with confidence.

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