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How to Form a Good Payment Descriptor

Updated: Jan 7

Of all the reasons a merchant may receive a chargeback, having a confusing or mysterious billing descriptor shouldn’t be one of them (especially when running a business is already hard enough). Fortunately, this costly and unnecessary chargeback situation is completely avoidable! By following these simple tips on how to form a good payment descriptor you’ll be able to relax knowing your business’s charges will always be recognized.


Payment Descriptors

A payment or billing descriptor is what helps the cardholder identify transactions on their bank r is what helps the cardholder identify transactions on their bank account statement. When a cardholder doesn’t recognize a charge, they can dispute it. This dispute to a charge can become a chargeback, where the merchant must refund the customer’s money (plus pay extra fees and fines associated). Payment descriptors are supposed to help protect cardholders from fraud, which is why you want your business’s billing descriptor to be as obvious as possible.


There are 3 different types of descriptors to be aware of: pending descriptors that appear with pending charges that have yet to be settled, default (or static) descriptors that are the “permanent” billing descriptors, and dynamic descriptors only offered by some payment processors that allow the merchant to alternate the descriptor based on the service, product, or location involved with the transaction.


Best Tips for Good Descriptors

While most payment descriptors will include a limited character count stating the merchant’s name and location, and sometimes a phone number, there are certain things you can do to help your charges be recognizable.


· Choose a supportive payment processor: your payment descriptor is managed by your merchant account provider so opting for a helpful payment processor, like Align ecommerce, is beneficial in making sure you’re always taken care of.

· Use your trade name: some companies advertise or do business under a name that is different than its legal business name. If these names differ, try to include the name most recognized by your customers.

· Keep it simple: the best way to avoid confusion is by keeping the descriptor as clear, simple, and direct as possible.

· Include a customer support phone number: if there is a second spot on the payment descriptor (after the original character count) use it! Including a customer support phone number will allow customers to contact your business first before reaching out to the bank to initiate a chargeback.

· Try test transactions: this is essential to make sure the formatting of your payment descriptors look correct before you start processing.


Choosing a good billing descriptor is important because it is an easy way to help reduce chargebacks and save you money. If you want to learn more about how Align ecommerce can save your business money, or if you have any other payment needs- get in touch with us today!





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