How Do You Reverse A Credit Card Transaction?

Posted December 7th, 2009 and last modified August 16th, 2013
A hand taking back money Reverse a credit card transaction

You can reverse a credit card transaction for several reasons. Once you have exhausted efforts to do so with the merchant the issuer of your credit card can help.

The short answer is yes, you can reverse a credit card transaction. Your credit card company is there to help you resolve issues but only after you have attempted to find a solution with the merchant first. If they are unable or unwilling to assist you then your next step is to call your financial institution or card issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions about reversing a credit card transaction:

I ordered a product online, my card was charged but the product never arrived.

Now when I got to the website it has been taken down. Can I get my money back? Yes. Most credit card companies have something called a “chargeback” which they can use to reverse the charges on your account. You should also be refunded any interest you were charged for the transaction. Typically a bank will allow two months for a chargeback from the date of the transaction.

What do I have to do to get a chargeback?

After you have attempted resolution with the merchant and have not gotten the assistance you need contact your issuing bank. You will need to give them proof that you purchased the goods, possibly proof of a returned item, the date of purchase, and a description of the product or service you requested.

Is there a fee for a chargeback?

If your application is unsuccessful you may be charged a fee of around $6 on average.

Could I get a chargeback if I ordered a specific brand of product and received another one instead?

Yes, there are various reasons for a chargeback including a “not as described” rule. Getting the incorrect brand falls under that category.

I paid a deposit on furniture that was never delivered and now the business has gone bankrupt. Am I eligible for a chargeback?

Usually this will qualify for a chargeback depending on the bank under a “non-receipt of merchandise” rule. It also means that if there is no money available to refund your account the credit card company should cover the money and they will become an unsecured creditor of the merchant.

I bought some electronic equipment a few days ago and now have found it cheaper elsewhere, will this qualify for a chargeback?

No you can not reverse a credit card transaction just because you found a better deal. You may be eligible for this with the feature of price guarantee on platinum credit cards.

What can I do if the issuing bank refuses a chargeback request?

The first step is to file a complaint with the bank. If you are still not successful you might be able to get the Banking Ombudsman to order them to give you a refund.

Information on resolving credit card disputes

Your issuing bank will get involved to help dispute charges when you need to reverse a credit card transaction It is best if you can solve any issues with the merchant with whom you made your original transaction. Most of them will work hard to ensure that you are satisfied with the outcome.


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26 Responses to How Do You Reverse A Credit Card Transaction?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Paul | July 16, 2014

    I processed a credit card through Square in Jan and Feb 2014. The customer authorized and signed both times as she agrees with the transactions.
    In April 2014, I received a charge back from my merchant (Square) stating that Master Card charged back these two transactions without contacting me.
    The customers never contacted me either about that.
    How long after a product or a service has been provided can a customer come to reverse transactions? How can I handle this issue? Should I contact a lawyer or get in touch with Master Card as Square is refusing to help.

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 17, 2014

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question and we’re sorry to hear about your situation.

      Please contact your credit card provider first to try and solve the issue. If the issue still hasn’t been resolved, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to raise a complaint.

      The Ombudsman will be able to advise whether you’ll need a lawyer.


  2. Default Gravatar
    Jacqueline | April 12, 2014

    I rent a rug shampoo machine and must put a deposit o down which will be refunded when I return the machine. When I do my accounting books how do I
    reverse the deposit.

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 14, 2014

      Hi, Jacqueline.

      Thanks for your question.

      This is a question best directed towards your accountant. It may be the case the entries listed as deposits are treated differently to other entries on your books.

  3. Default Gravatar
    Prashant | February 16, 2014

    I have lost 4000 dollars in a fraud. There was a man who told me he would like to rent my apartment after viewing the add on gumtree. I asked him for advance payment and he sent me 2000 dollars in my account. He said he did it by mistake and I should send him his money back by western union. I did so the next day on 14th Feb 2014. On 17th February , I saw that he Reversed the transaction ( reversal of fraudulent payment). It am in a bit SHOCK. also my student account is also showing 1900 overdraft. I used my new debit card to withdraw money at Westpac and sent him the details. PLEASE HELP Me. Thanks.

    • Staff
      Jacob | February 17, 2014

      Hi, Prashant.

      Please see our page on credit card fraud and scams list of scams and information on how to deal with the situation.

      If you can’t the information you’re looking for on this page, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us again.

      Thanks for your question.

  4. Default Gravatar
    felicia | October 29, 2013

    Hi! My husband made a transaction with his 2 credit card and only to find out that the company he has paid to is a scam he called the bank same day and they said it hasn’t reflected yet at the bank but he must wait 5 days then he can cancel again or something. I want to know if it’s possible will that company won’t be able to get the money from the bank and what should we do. Thank you in advance.

    • Staff
      Jacob | October 29, 2013

      Hi Felicia.

      Thanks for your question.

      Your husband may be able to request a charge back on his credit card. This is where the bank will refund the money. The best course of action is to continue the communication with your card provider. Among other things, if you have paid for goods or services and the merchant has failed to deliver, you’re entitled to get your money back. There are some circumstances where a charge back may be refused, you can read more about this on this page.

      I hope this helps.

  5. Default Gravatar
    bob | August 12, 2013

    I ordered a product online with the checkout – then after payment received – I got an email later in day that I needed to pay more postage. I can’t afford any more and said to just cancel order and refund. If they refuse to cancel, can I speak to the bank about reversing the payment. I don’t think it’s professional or ethical to be adding postage fees after the transaction is complete and finalized. Can I get a refund on that through the bank?

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 13, 2013

      Hi Bob.

      Your first point of call should be to contact the merchant in question and get them to cancel the transaction. Provided that don’t have a ‘no-refunds’ policy, they should be able to give you your money back. If there are still issues, you will then need to contact your issuing bank and inform them of the situation.

      A lender will issue a charge back when the promised good or service has not be delivered or has been delivered in a condition other than the advertised state. You can find out more information about credit card chargebacks here.

      Thanks for your question.

  6. Default Gravatar
    Brian | August 11, 2013

    Hi Jacob,

    I purchased 12 tickets to an Australian music festival for myself, brothers and our group of friends. After I had been charged almost 2,300 I realised I had booked them to the wrong city. The city is interstate and there is no way we can afford to travel there.

    I feel like I am at breaking point as I now read that the promoter does not refund tickets

    Would a charge back be something that would successfully resolve this issue?

    Kind regards

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 12, 2013

      Hi Brian.

      Contact the merchant directly. Speak to them and explain your situation and see if you can come to an arrangement.

      If this fails, then contact the card issuing bank or lender. They may be able to carry out a charge-back. Charge-backs are usually reserved for instances where the goods or services are faulty or never arrives, so an instance where you bought the wrong tickets is more of a grey area. Please contact the merchant and the card issuer.



  7. Default Gravatar
    jay | August 2, 2013

    Hi Jacob,

    I have a charge of £104 on my statement which I don’t recall and I think its been taken fraudulently.

    How long will it take to process a charge back and whats the time frame on getting funds back, Its from a paypal merchant. Thanks

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 2, 2013

      Hi Jay. Thanks for your question. It could take anywhere between a week and month depending on how long it takes the lender to carry out their investigation after you reported the instance of the fraud. The more information you can provide the organisation who is carrying out the investigation, the quicker the process. Contact your card provider and your card issuer. You can find out more information about credit card fraud on this page. Jacob.

  8. Default Gravatar
    Dina | June 13, 2013

    I took a 5-day free membership on a web-site. They asked for my credit card info, making me believe that it is to verify that I am legit. At no point did I request membership other than the 5-day free one and I was also not informed that I needed to explicitly cancel my free membership otherwise it would default to a full membership for which they would process a credit card transaction. Can I get this transaction reversed?

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 13, 2013

      Hi Dina. Thanks for your question. You may be able to do this, but you will need to speak to your card provider as a first point of reference. They may ask that you fill out a disputed transaction form or something similar. Be sure to read the terms and conditions or user agreements when surfing the internet, especially when your credit card defaults are involved. Jacob.

  9. Default Gravatar
    gigi | April 20, 2013

    I booked some air tickets online. Read on the web that the site was a scam. I phoned my bank and asked them to reverse the payment that had gone through. They told me it would take 2-4 weeks for me to receive a form that i would have to check off the charges i wanted reversed. How sure can I be that they will honour their promise to reverse the transaction?

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 21, 2013

      Hi Gigi. You have their word on the matter. Please remember that if you are the victim of credit card fraud, you’re covered by your card issuer’s Zero Liability Guarantee / Policy (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) – this will give you a full refund if you’re found to be the victim of fraud if, among other things, you take reasonable steps to ensure the security and privacy of your credit account. You can read more about this in our, ‘Traveller’s Guide to Using Money Overseas’. Jacob.

  10. Default Gravatar
    Pam | April 20, 2013

    I paid an electric bill for a friend with my credit card and they were supposed to bring me the money but didn’t. Is there a way to reverse this charge.

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 22, 2013

      Hi Pam. Thanks for your question. The process of disputing a transaction will vary depending on the card provider (ANZ, Westpac etc.) and the card scheme (American Express, Visa etc.) However, since you authorised the transaction, your options may be limited. You may have to take the dispute your state or territory government’s small claims tribunal. If you can provide additional information about your card, I can offer more information about disputing a transaction. Jacob.

  11. Default Gravatar
    Peter | April 17, 2013

    I booked and paid in full for some accommodation in January this year and yesterday got an email from the company saying they were in voluntary receivership and to deal direct with the accommodation provider. The accommodation provider advises that they have only received a deposit but not the balance. The payment was made through Amex, do you think I am eligible for a charge back from Amex?

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 17, 2013

      Hi Peter. Thanks for your question. Yes, American Express do reverse transactions for the circumstances you’ve mentioned. There are number of steps you will need to take, and the sooner you start, the better. If the card with issued by a lender, say ANZ or Commonwealth Bank, in conjunction with American Express, best to contact both the bank and the card scheme (American Express). You’re also covered under the Electronic Funds Transfer Code. This page has more information on this topic and contact number if you need them. Jacob.

  12. Default Gravatar
    Bill | January 14, 2013

    I ordered a seat for my RV and I was charged in full and due to an illness I no longer want the chair. The company said it is a custom order and they are going to ship the chair anyway and wont let me cancel it. Is there anything I can do? Bill

    • Staff
      Marc | February 22, 2013

      Hi Bill,
      Thank you for your question.

      It may be worth calling the Department of Fair Trading for the particular state the transaction was carried out in, and discussing options with them.
      For NSW this number is 13 32 20.

      I hope this helps,

  13. Default Gravatar
    mat | September 9, 2011

    hi, i got scammed by a dodgy travel agency in 2009. They told me they went into liquidation because of the gfc. I lost $5700, paid for a holiday, the receipt never had gst and was not specific. I was stupid. They told me they would reimburse me with flight credit and never did. Just scammed my money. I was told i had 5 yrs to take them to court, and was put off because its in qld and im in nsw. Never had the money to do that either. Is it possible to reverse the transaction or anything from that long ago?

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 20, 2012

      Hi Mat. Thanks for your question. Please contact either Visa or MasterCard for further information.

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