Friendly fraud chargebacks – when legitimate transactions are disputed by the cardholder – are among the biggest pain points for online businesses. However, friendly fraud chargebacks are easier to win than most companies realize! And one of the best resources to help recover funds from these chargebacks is by using data provided by your fraud service provider.

What’s “compelling evidence”?

In 2013, Visa implemented what they call “compelling evidence” exceptions to their chargeback dispute rules. Prior to this, there wasn’t a lot of recourse companies could take on chargebacks with a fraud reason code. If a cardholder claimed a transaction was fraud, merchants couldn’t do much to prove the chargeback was invalid and recover the funds. Some of the items that Visa considers compelling evidence include:

– Evidence, such as photographs or emails, to prove a link between the person receiving the merchandise or services and the cardholder.

– Evidence of one or more undisputed payments for the same merchandise or service.

– When merchandise was delivered to a business address, evidence that the merchandise was delivered and that, at the time of delivery, the cardholder was working for the company at the address.

– For the sale of digital goods downloaded from a merchant’s website or application, description of the goods or services successfully downloaded, the date and time such goods or services were downloaded, and two or more of the following types of evidence:

  • Purchaser’s IP address and the device’s geographical location at the date and time of the transaction
  • Device ID number and name (if available)
  • Purchaser’s name and email address linked to the customer profile on record with the merchant
  • Evidence that the account set up on the merchant’s website or application was accessed by the cardholder and successfully verified by the merchant before the transaction date
  • Proof that the merchant’s website or application was accessed by the cardholder for goods or services on or after the transaction date
  • Evidence that the device and card used in the disputed transaction were the same as in any previous, undisputed transactions

Using your fraud tool’s data to provide compelling evidence

Your fraud tool can be a great resource for meeting some of this criteria. All of the data points that made the fraud team certain that the order was not hostile fraud can be used to prove to the bank that it wasn’t either.

Identity information

A screenshot of the transaction review screen can show the addresses used (billing & shipping), if the device ID or IP information are a match to the same address used to match AVS, if the cardholder was employed at the business where the product was shipped, etc.

fraud identity information

Identity information from the Sift Science console

Purchase history

The fraud management tool can also be used to prove that the cardholder set up the account and was verified by the merchant, or to provide a transaction history with the same email address, phone number, etc. to demonstrate the cardholder has made purchases without any issues in the past.

Transaction history – fraud

Transaction history from the Sift Science console

Geographic proximity

Sift Science’s fraud review screen has been especially beneficial to merchants in showing geographical proximity between the billing address, shipping address and device information, providing each coordinate on a map, allowing chargeback analysts at the merchant processing bank a visual example of how close all three are to one another. It also links to social media accounts based on the email address and name used for the order.

Locations card from the Sift Science console

When utilizing any of the points in compelling evidence rules for a representment, it’s important to note on the documentation that you are “submitting the following as compelling evidence criteria to prove that the chargeback was invalid.” Many times, if it is not called out, the chargeback may not be won. Although compelling evidence is specific to Visa, you can respond to MasterCard chargebacks in the same way.

Implement a chargeback response process

If your company is not responding to chargebacks at this time, you may want to consider the benefits of implementing a chargeback response process. Beyond the opportunity to recover funds through disputing chargebacks, you can also learn a lot about why customers are seeking to have their funds returned to them and also prevent future chargebacks.

Responding to chargebacks can prevent future losses in one of two ways:

First: More than one issuing bank has confirmed that they will sometimes look to see if a merchant responds to chargebacks before filing them. If they do, the issuer may be reluctant to send one to the merchant if they know it’s in a gray area and may not be won (in their favor).

Second: As you learn more about why customers are issuing chargebacks, you can work to fix these issues, whether they’re due to processes, rules, a loophole that customers have found to have their money returned or true fraud.


While most companies implement a fraud-prevention tool to prevent losses due to fraud, consider using it to also prevent losses due to friendly fraud in the chargeback process. Doing so will potentially make you a superhero in your own company, returning even more funds to your company’s bottom line, and maximizing the value of the relationship with your fraud service provider!

Related topics

chargeback disputes



friendly fraud

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