Earlier this year, Visa announced that it will be implementing a new chargeback dispute process known as the Visa Claims Resolution (VCR) initiative.
Dispute mitigation and risk management firm Chargebacks911 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,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer 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.
Eaton-Cardone 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,” Eaton-Cardone said. “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.”
“I would advise all merchants to begin preparing for Visa’s enhanced dispute resolution process now,” Eaton-Cardone said. “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.”