American Express Dispute Guide

Your comprehensive guide to reason codes, modifiers, time limits, and compelling evidence for American Express Disputes.

American Express Reason Codes

American Express uses the 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.

Code Description Transaction Modifiers Category How to Win
F10 Missing Imprint None Fraud
F14 Missing Signature None Fraud
F24 No Card Member Authorization None Fraud
F29 Card Not Present Airline Transaction Fraud
F30 EMV Counterfeit None Fraud
F31 EMV Lost/Stolen/Non-Received None Fraud
A01 Charge Amount Exceeds Authorization Amount None Authorization
A02 No Valid Authorization None Authorization
A08 Authorization Approval Expired None Authorization
P01 Unassigned Card Number None Processing Errors
P03 Credit Processed as Charge None Processing Errors
P04 Charge Processed as Credit None Processing Errors
P05 Incorrect Charge Amount None Processing Errors
P07 Late Submission None Processing Errors
P08 Duplicate Charge None Processing Errors
P22 Non-Matching Card Number None Processing Errors
P23 Currency Discrepancy None Processing Errors
C02 Credit Not Processed None Card Member Disputes
C04 Goods/Services Returned or Refused None Card Member Disputes
C05 Goods/Services Canceled None Card Member Disputes
C08 Goods/Services Not Received or Only Partially Received Airline Transaction, Digital Goods Download, Site to Store Card Member Disputes
C14 Paid by Other Means None Card Member Disputes
C18 “No Show” or CARDeposit Canceled None Card Member Disputes
C28 Canceled Recurring Billing None Card Member Disputes
C31 Goods/Services Not As Described None Card Member Disputes
C32 Goods/Services Damaged or Defective None Card Member Disputes
M10 Vehicle Rental - Capital Damages None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
M49 Vehicle Rental - Theft or Loss of Use None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
M01 Chargeback Authorization None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
R03 Insufficient Reply None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
R13 No Reply None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
FR2 Fraud Full Recourse Program None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
FR4 Immediate Chargeback Program None Inquiry/Miscellaneous
FR6 Partial Immediate Chargeback Program None Inquiry/Miscellaneous

The chargeback process

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 Limits to Respond

Time limits are for the acquiring bank. Merchants will typically be given half the amount of time the acquiring bank is given to accommodate for the time they need to process internally. Because American Express is both the issuer and its own card network, they have unique rules and regulations.

American Express Inquires Time Limit
0 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
0 days
from the date of chargeback

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.

American Express Transaction Modifiers

A transaction modifier (or modifier) represents specific circumstances associated with a card sale that change what compelling evidence is required to overturn the chargeback.

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 charge, 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

How can you avoid an American Express dispute in the first place? Read on for a few tips.

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 remedied the situation (providing a 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.

The Ultimate Dispute Management Resource

Looking for additional help when it comes to American Express disputes? Download our 100+ page comprehensive guide to reason codes, modifiers, time limits, and compelling evidence.

Why Chargeback?

Real-time dispute management platform

Chargeback offers you a variety of resources to help better manage payment fraud and disputes. In addition to our articles and reason code library, we also provide eBooks, guides, case studies and events.

From lowering dispute ratios to saving you time and eliminating frustration, see how the Chargeback App’s automated dispute management platform can help your business today. We work hard to offer the best solution in order to help merchants lower their dispute ratio, improve their win rate and save time that they could have lost from chargeback responses.