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A dispute occurs when a Cardmember notifies American Express about a charge on their Statement that they do not recognise and requests further information.

A Chargeback occurs when, after investigation of the dispute, we debit your Account by the amount of the disputed transaction and credit the Cardmember with the same amount.

Many disputed transactions are the result of fraudulent activity related to lost, stolen or counterfeit Cards. By being alert for fraudulent transactions, you can help to reduce subsequent disputes and Chargebacks.

Here are some measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of a dispute happening, and steps to follow should a Cardmember initiate one.

Always:

  • Help the Cardmember recognise the transaction. Provide as much detail as possible (like the hotel room number, for example).
  • Advise Cardmembers of your returns and refunds policy. This way, they know what to expect if the goods are damaged, or if an order is subsequently cancelled.
  • Ensure you request an authorization code. Never split a charge to avoid your floor limit, or to avoid authorization. Please note that some POS terminals may display the word ˇ§REFERRALˇ¨, with or without a set of numbers next to it. These numbers are NOT a valid Authorization Approval Code and should NOT be keyed into the terminal. When the word REFERRAL is displayed, you should call American Express to request a valid Authorization Approval Code to process the transaction. American Express will not be responsible for transactions not carried out in accordance with the American Express Terms and Conditions. There is a wide range of terminal models. Please contact your terminal provider if you are unsure of the message displayed on your POS terminal.
  • Be especially vigilant with signatures on Cards. Ensure you check the signature on the receipt against the one on the Card. (Not applicable to FastPay transaction)
  • Check all Cards carefully. Be sure that the Card has not been altered or damaged, and has not expired. Click here to find out how to check Card faces.

Ensure your trading name appears correctly on Cardmember Statements. This will help Cardmembers recognise your business and their transactions with you. To verify that we have your correct trading name, call our Merchant Services Hotline on 2277 2277 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am ˇV 6:30pm) (except public holidays).

  • Keep all records of sales and charges. This will help us to explain charges made on Cardmember Statements.
  • Be suspicious. Especially of purchases with different delivery and billing addresses, orders for large numbers of identical items, and requests for immediate delivery of expensive items.
  • Process magnetic strip Cards ˇV without a chip
    • Swipe the Card.
    • If the magnetic strip is unreadable, you can key in the transaction manually and/or take an imprint of the Card to validate its presence.
    • If your POS terminal screen display a message prompting you to call American Express such as ˇ§PLS LIFT HANDSETˇ¨ / ˇ§PLS CALL BANKˇ¨/ ˇ§CALL REFERRALˇ¨:*
    • - For POS terminals with handset, use the provided phone to connect to the American Express Authorization Center to request an Authorization Approval Code to proceed with the transaction.
      - For POS terminals without handset, please call American Express Authorization Center at 2277 1234 for an Authorization Approval Code to proceed with the transaction.
      Key in the Authorization Approval Code provided by American Express Authorization Center into your POS terminal and print out the receipt.
    • Always ensure you compare the signature on the receipt to the one on the back of the Card. If they do not match, refuse the transaction. (Not applicable to FastPay transaction)

  • Process Cards with a chip.
    • Place the Card in the chip reader of your POS terminal.
    • Follow the prompts on the terminal display to process the transaction.
    • If the transaction is approved, return the Card and provide the customer with a copy of their transaction receipt.
    • If the chip transaction fails, follow the magnetic strip Cards procedure detailed above.
    • If the chip transaction is declined, refuse the transaction.
    • If your POS terminal screen display a message prompting you to call American Express such as ˇ§PLS LIFT HANDSETˇ¨ / ˇ§PLS CALL BANKˇ¨/ ˇ§CALL REFERRALˇ¨:*
      - For POS terminals with handset, use the provided phone to connect to the American Express Authorization Center to request an Authorization Approval Code to proceed with the transaction.
      - For POS terminals without handset, please call American Express Authorization Center at 2277 1234 for an Approval Code to proceed with the transaction.
      Key in the Authorization Approval Code provided by American Express Authorization Center into your POS terminal and print out the receipt.

    If in doubt, call our Merchant Services Hotline on 2277 2277 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am ˇV 6:30pm) (except public holidays).

* IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

Please note that some POS terminals may display the word ˇ§REFERRALˇ¨, with or without a set of numbers next to it. These numbers are NOT a valid Authorization Approval Code and should NOT be keyed into the terminal. When the word REFERRAL is displayed, you should call American Express to request a valid Authorization Approval Code to process the transaction.

Unless the POS terminal specifically displays ˇ§enter PINˇ¨, otherwise do not let the Cardmember handle the terminal.

There is a wide range of terminal models. Please contact your terminal provider if you are unsure of the message displayed on your POS terminal.

American Express will not be responsible for transactions not carried out in accordance with the American Express Terms and Conditions.

If you have any queries on how to process an American Express Card transaction, please contact our Merchant Services Hotline on 2277 2277 between 9:00am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

If, despite your best efforts to prevent one, a dispute arises, we will attempt to resolve the matter directly with our Cardmember. However, if we are unable to do so, we may send you a Referral Request letter.

 

It outlines the reason for the dispute, and lists the documents we require from you regarding the disputed transaction. Please be sure to respond by the requested date, either by mail or fax. If we do not hear from you by that date, we will regretfully have to deduct the amount of the transaction from your Merchant Account and then close the dispute.

 

Once we receive your response, we will investigate the dispute, and make a final decision following the investigation. We will then do one of the following:

  • Ask the Cardmember to pay the charge, because we consider the information you have provided to us validates the charge.

  • Debit your Account (Chargeback) by the amount of the disputed transaction, and credit your customerˇ¦s Account with the same amount.

 

In certain circumstances, we will make a Chargeback without sending a Referral Request letter. For example, Merchants who receive a lot of disputes, or conduct transactions in what we consider to be risky business environments, will not always receive one.

 

Provided we have certified all of your terminals and you have followed our American Express Service Establishment Terms & Conditions, you will not be liable for fraudulent Card transactions made with lost, stolen, or counterfeit American Express Cards.



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