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Transactions, Disputes & the Power of Automation

Transactions, Disputes & the Power of Automation 40

By Gabe McGloin, Head of Business Development EMEA at Verifi 


Everyone wants the transaction to happen

Online payments are evolving toward ensuring every card-not-present (CNP) transaction is a dependable, secure, and seamless experience for the customer. And rightly so, as e-commerce retail sales rose by over 32% in 2020.1 Just to authorise and authenticate a cardholder’s purchase requires data retrieval from many sources, and with all the data matching happening in microseconds, the transaction needs to proceed to completion quickly. It’s understood that for e-commerce transactions, if there is too much friction at checkout, there is a possibility of cart abandonment.

Why disputes deserve the same attention

No less vital to ensuring swift online transactions is the right for the customer to dispute a transaction. Disputes are the safeguard that ensures customers can be compensated for fraudulent transactions, damaged goods, or any errors made in transacting. Unfortunately, disputes, and the entire post-transaction experience, have been largely bypassed by automation – until recently.

Customers are making it known when they don’t receive the post-transaction services that they expect. If a customer can’t obtain clarity on a transaction they don’t recall, they’ll might file a dispute. If they return goods and don’t see a refund in a timely manner, they might file a dispute. And, with the increase in e-commerce transactions over recent years1, it has become more apparent than ever that we need to remove dispute friction from the post-transaction environment.

To make a meaningful reduction in disputes will require increased attention to the customer’s post-transaction experience. This means implementing automation and increased data transparency at key points along the dispute life cycle, starting with the first customer inquiry. The antiquated retrieval request which can take 2-6 days is obviously not the answer. When a customer wants to clarify information concerning a transaction, it should be at least as quick and easy as making the initial transaction. This is completely attainable with the right infrastructure in place.

Automation, data transparency, and disputes 

Say a customer calls their issuer seeking clarity for an unrecognised CNP transaction on their billing statement. Using the transaction identification from the statement, the issuer can request business and receipt-level data directly from the seller’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. This detailed data can cover seller information such as address, phone number, items purchased, purchase date, along with additional transaction data points. This information can be retrieved in near real-time, while the call centre agent is on the phone with the customer. Just to put this in perspective, up to 25% of calls to the issuer are to seek clarity of unrecognised transactions,2 and issuers commonly don’t have the level of detailed information to remedy the situation.

Other reasons for a customer “clarity call” include simple forgetfulness, an unacknowledged purchase from a shared family card, or first-party fraud (disputing a transaction the customer knows is valid). In each case, issuer and seller collaboration can afford the automation and data transparency to quickly and decisively prevent an unwarranted dispute from proceeding. This provides the expected customer experience, as well as the best outcome for the seller and issuer.

Now, consider a customer calls their issuer to file a dispute. Historically, that meant the seller would not even know about the dispute until it was past the point of no return, and well on its way to becoming a chargeback. More recently, through data transparency and issuer and seller collaboration, issuers have been able to alert sellers of a dispute in flight with a 24-hour to 3-day window to issue a credit resolution or allow it to escalate. But these types of solutions still requires the seller to expend hands-on operational time, in case review and credit issuance, should the case warrant it.

Now, with current technology, issuers can process the dispute through a simple, logic-driven decision engine populated with seller-defined rules and parameters. This process can enact a decision, with credit in process, in less than one second – again, all while on the phone with the customer. The outcome is an improved customer experience that also removes the operational time and expense of a manual review or a dispute representment for both the seller and issuer.

Keep an eye on customer experience

We are right on the verge of having automation, data transparency, and issuer and seller collaboration align throughout critical points in the payment life cycle, at the point where it’s needed the most – the post-transaction stage. Customer confidence and satisfaction are essential to promote the health of payments, both pre- and post-transaction. These recent developments clearly indicate that it will take a new level of collaboration and innovation to reduce disputes in the post-transaction environment.

Keep these innovations in mind to protect your business – and keep an eye on your customer’s experience, for the benefit of all transaction stakeholders and the entire payments ecosystem.


1 US Ecommerce Forecast 2021 – Insider Intelligence, July 2021

2Improving the Dispute Experience – Aite, May 2020


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