American Express Chargeback Reason Codes

American Express uses four main categories to organize its reason codes: Authorization, Card Member Disputes, Fraud, and Processing Errors as well as two additional categories, Inquiry/Miscellaneous and Chargeback Programs, to classify just a handful of reason codes. These codes can help a merchant with an inquiry or chargeback reversal.

CodeDescriptionTransaction ModifierCategory
A01Charge Amount Exceeds Authorization AmountNoneAuthorization
A02No Valid AuthorizationNoneAuthorization
A08Authorization Approval ExpiredNoneAuthorization
C02Credit Not ProcessedNoneCard Member Disputes
C04Goods/Services Returned or RefusedNoneCard Member Disputes
C05Goods/Services CanceledNoneCard Member Disputes
C08Goods/Services Not Received or Only Partially ReceivedAirline Transaction, Digital Goods Download, Site to StoreCard Member Disputes
C14Paid by Other MeansNoneCard Member Disputes
C18“No Show” or CARDeposit CanceledNoneCard Member Disputes
C28Canceled Recurring BillingNoneCard Member Disputes
C31Goods/Services Not As DescribedNoneCard Member Disputes
C32Goods/Services Damaged or DefectiveNoneCard Member Disputes
F10Missing ImprintNoneFraud
F14Missing SignatureNoneFraud
F24No Card Member AuthorizationNoneFraud
F29Card Not PresentAirline TransactionFraud
F30EMV CounterfeitNoneFraud
F31EMV Lost/Stolen/Non-ReceivedNoneFraud
FR2Fraud Full Recourse ProgramNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
FR4Immediate Chargeback ProgramNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
FR6Partial Immediate Chargeback ProgramNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
M01Chargeback AuthorizationNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
M10Vehicle Rental - Capital DamagesNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
M49Vehicle Rental - Theft or Loss of UseNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
P01Unassigned Card NumberNoneProcessing Errors
P03Credit Processed as ChargeNoneProcessing Errors
P04Charge Processed as CreditNoneProcessing Errors
P05Incorrect Charge AmountNoneProcessing Errors
P07Late SubmissionNoneProcessing Errors
P08Duplicate ChargeNoneProcessing Errors
P22Non-Matching Card NumberNoneProcessing Errors
P23Currency DiscrepancyNoneProcessing Errors
R03Insufficient ReplyNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous
R13No ReplyNoneInquiry/Miscellaneous

What is the American Express dispute process for merchants?

American Express disputes will vary from merchant to merchant, but typically the process goes as follows. First, the cardholder contacts American Express customer service to dispute a transaction. American Express first tries to solve the dispute without contacting the merchant. If the dispute is still unresolved, they will reach out to the merchant with an inquiry or issue an immediate chargeback. Again this depends on numerous factors with the customer and merchant.

American Express Time Limit

American Express inquiry time limit is 20 days from the date of inquiry. If the merchant fails to reply within the time frame with the proper documentation or fails to address the issue at hand, the inquiry will turn into a chargeback. Additionally, if your business receives many inquiries from financial institutions, American Express will continue the dispute process without an inquiry and just issue a chargeback instead.

American Express chargeback time limit is 20 days from the date of inquiry. If the merchant gives the proper documentation within the 20 day time frame, you have the potential to reverse the chargeback. Otherwise, after 20 days, the chargeback will stand. Keep in mind that cardmembers have no time limit when it comes to disputing a transaction.

How to Win an American Express Dispute?

Winning an American Express dispute depends on the reason code of the dispute.

Airline Transaction

Applies to Reason Codes:

How to Respond

One of the following must be provided in your response:

  • Evidence that the cardholder or designated passenger participated in the flight (e.g., scanned boarding pass or passenger manifest)
  • Credits of frequent flyer miles for the flight in question, showing a direct connection to the cardholder
  • Proof flight in question was available during airline bankruptcy proceedings
  • Additional transactions related to the original transaction, such as seat upgrades, baggage payment, or purchases made on board the aircraft

Digital Goods

Applies to Reason Codes

How to Respond

For internet transactions representing the sale of internet electronic delivery goods, provide a description of the digital goods or date and time the digital goods were downloaded, and one of the following:

  • Proof that the cardholder’s IP address at the time of purchase matches the IP address where the digital goods were downloaded
  • Proof the cardholder’s email address provided at the time of purchase matches the email address used to deliver the digital goods
  • Proof that the Merchant’s website was accessed by the cardholder for services after the transaction date

Site to Store

Applies to Reason Codes

How to Respond

Provide all of the following in your response:

  • The cardholder signature on the pick-up form
  • Any additional proof to demonstrate that the identity of the cardholder was verified at the time of pick-up

How to Prevent an American Express Dispute

Verify delivery address

Verify the delivery address and always provide the delivery address and tracking number on the order forms of an item. This helps for proof of delivery and can be important information when solving a potential dispute.

Accommodate your customers

Always keep dissatisfied customers informed on the steps you are taking to remedy the situation (providing an exchange, return, etc.). Always make sure you handle these situations to the card member’s satisfaction.

Obtain a signature

Make sure to get the customer’s signature on items that are picked up in store, work orders, etc., for when a service is completed.

Make sure your info is clearly available

Make sure your business information and policies are comprehensive and easily accessible for your customers. This includes providing a customer service number.

Refund in a timely manner

Issue credit for items that were not received, returned, or cancelled, in a timely manner. Let customers know when they will receive their credit. If you are not issuing credit after a return, provide a thorough explanation and a number to call for further questions.

Bill after shipping & services

Never bill the customer for items that are backordered or voided. Only bill customers after the product is shipped or the service is provided.

More reason code information is available on the MasterCard and Visa chargeback reason codes pages.