Making charges immediately apparent to customers
Poor merchant descriptors will lead to disputes. The situations play out as follows: the customer reviews their bank statement, sees a transaction they don’t remember purchasing and aren’t given any helpful information in the descriptor, so they contact their bank to dispute the transaction. This is one of the most common reasons for chargebacks, and also the most unnecessary and avoidable.
There are several best practices that your business should keep in mind. The most basic is displaying a recognizable company name, as a minimum. You could also include the name of your product or service and any additional information to help them understand exactly what this charge is for. You’ve got 20 characters, so make them count.
If you want to go one step further, you could even add a URL to your descriptor, linking out to a webpage with all the information the customer needs about what the charge is for, contact details so they can get in touch with any questions or queries, and information on your refund policy, in case they’ve changed their mind about the purchase.
A great example of this in practice is 37signals, the company behind the popular product, Basecamp. In their statement descriptor, they include the URL: 37signals.com/charge.
Clicking through to the link or typing this directly into your browser you’ll be directed to a webpage with a whole host of useful information, including the full list of products available, useful FAQs, contact information and their refund policy. Having this information available so easily to your customers will not only reduce the number of chargebacks you’ll receive, but you’ll also be able to use this as evidence when you do get chargebacks that you need to dispute.