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Frequently Asked Questions

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Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we get regarding our products, network and industry in general.

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Merchant FAQ

Who is Ethoca?

  • Since 2005, Ethoca has been stopping fraud and chargebacks for merchants who process customer-not-present (CNP) transactions.
  • Ethoca is a communication platform enabling merchants to access confirmed fraud and transaction dispute data from card issuers through a real-time secure portal or API.
  • Ethoca has exclusive relationships with a global network of banks that issue credit and debit cards to receive pending chargeback notifications and distribute them post authorization.

What are Ethoca Alerts?

  • Ethoca Alerts are notifications for specific transactions (confirmed fraud and customer disputes) that will result in a chargeback unless a merchant takes action. The merchant needs to issue a refund as soon as possible or stop settlement (objective is within 24 hours), and provide a notification to the issuer through the Ethoca portal or via API that such actions have been taken.

What are the benefits of Ethoca Alerts?

  • Providing that a refund is issued in a timely manner and the outcome is submitted, a Chargeback Alert enables a merchant to avoid the chargeback altogether – and all the direct and indirect cost associated with getting a chargeback. If a merchant is shipping physical goods or providing a service, Ethoca Alerts also help merchants recover fraud-related losses.

What data elements are included in an Ethoca Alert?

  • Each Ethoca Alert provides the following information; Credit Card Number (cancelled), Authorization Date/Time, Amount of the transaction, and the Merchant Descriptor.

How are the Ethoca Alerts sent?

  • Via Portal – Ethoca notifies the merchant via email when a new Ethoca Alert is available. The merchant clicks on a link in the email notification and enters their username and password to access the portal. Once in the portal, any and all Ethoca Alerts can be accessed and actioned by the merchant.
  • Via API – Ethoca has a web service API that can be used to consume and action the Ethoca Alerts automatically.

What action does the merchant take when they receive an Ethoca Alert?

  • Simply refund the transaction immediately and record the outcome within the Ethoca portal (or API) as “Stopped” and insert “Refunded on <date/time>” within the comment field.

How does Ethoca match Ethoca Alerts to affected merchants?

  • Ethoca uses the merchant descriptors to match Ethoca Alerts to a merchant company. If you open new merchant descriptors, advise Ethoca as soon as possible.

What if you get a Chargeback on a transaction that has been refunded?

  • Ethoca works closely with card issuers to prevent this from occurring. In the event however, you receive a chargeback, simply contact Ethoca by emailing our customer service department at customerservice@ethoca.com. Ethoca will work with the card issuers to address the issue and where the credit was submitted in a timely manner, no charges will be applied for the Alert.

What if you don’t refund a transaction that you get an Ethoca Alert for?

  • Actioning the alerts are at the sole discretion of the merchant. However, not actioning Alerts will result in a chargeback being processed by the card issuing bank.

Issuer FAQ

Who is Ethoca?

  • Since 2005, Ethoca has been stopping fraud and chargebacks for merchants who process customer-not-present (CNP) transactions. 
  • Ethoca is a communication platform enabling merchants to access confirmed fraud and transaction dispute data from card issuers through a real-time secure portal or API.
  • Ethoca has exclusive relationships with a global network of banks that issue credit and debit cards to receive pending chargeback notifications and distribute them post authorization.

What are Ethoca Alerts?

  • Ethoca Alerts enable issuers (post-authorization) to easily and quickly notify merchants via Ethoca whenever the issuer has confirmed a card has been fraudulently used.
  • Merchants then stop fulfillment of goods/services and issue refunds, thereby eliminating costs and fees associated with fraudulent transactions, inclusive of chargeback-related costs.
  • As an Issuer you can benefit from this service as it gives you the ability to recover funds from transactions that you may not have chargeback rights for (including low value transactions and 3D Secure transactions). Even on transactions that are merchant liable, Ethoca’s network provides a more efficient and cost-effective method of recovery than the chargeback process.
  • The service also saves costs and associated fees including operational costs associated with processing chargeback (claims processing costs, etc.).

How do I participate?

  • To fully benefit from this program you would submit ‘confirmed’ fraudulent transactions or pending customer dispute chargebacks to Ethoca as well as create a window of time (e.g. a delay) prior to issuing the chargeback.

Do I need to get our development team involved?

  • Through customization of our solution, we aim to make the process as simple as possible to minimize or eliminate any required development work on your end.
    • If you have a report available today or a data team that can produce a report with the minimum require fields, Ethoca will customize our secure processing of the file.
    • Your agents have the ability to enter in the Alert data while they are closing the call with the cardholder.
    • Ethoca can customize our “Copy and Paste” tool that enables operators to select and copy transaction data from their in-house systems (e.g. TSYS, Falcon, etc.) and paste the information directly into the Ethoca portal.

What fraud or pending chargeback types do I send?

  • All pending chargeback types can be sent to Ethoca inclusive of both fraud and non-fraud coded pending chargebacks.
    • Note: It does not matter if the issuer initiated the callout to the cardholder or if the cardholder initiated it to the issuer – both types of origination can yield benefit to you when using Ethoca.

How do I maximize my return with Ethoca?

  • Today we have issuers sending us confirmed cases of fraud or pending non-fraud chargebacks using a variety of interfaces (e.g. batch file, portal entry, real-time, etc.) and on various frequencies (e.g. real-time, every 15 minutes, daily), we have shown that a higher fraud-stop rate and credit rate is achieved the quicker the issuer can supply us with the data following confirmation.
  • Ensuring a lag exists between confirmations of fraud or pending non-fraud chargeback and the actual submission of the chargeback results in a greater probability the merchant will issue a refund that would eliminate the need for your organization to invest in the fees and operational costs associated with submission.
  • Ethoca is piloting other programs that are designed to both increase issuer revenue through increased acceptance while reducing exposure to fraud losses. Contact us for more details!

What other information regarding our operations could we share with Ethoca to maximize success?

  • If Ethoca understands your recovery operations (e.g. manual vs. automated chargeback processes and associated lag times) and chargeback policies (e.g. chargebacks under value $X are written off, total account claim minimum needs to be $Y, etc.) then we can work with you to optimize your return.

How do I know if a transaction has been credited?

  • During your recovery process, your operators may already see within your systems that a credit has already arrived.
  • Alternatively, your operators can perform a quick search in the Ethoca portal to see if the merchant has issued a refund.
  • The system can also be configured such that a given team is alerted (via email) whenever a merchant has issued a credit.

Do merchants attempt to stop and credit 3DSecure transactions?

  • Yes! Our experience has shown that typical merchants using 3D Secure strategies are good corporate citizens and have a vested interest in stopping fraudulent transactions and crediting them.

Is Ethoca secure?

  • Ethoca is PCI Certified and routinely audited by many of the world’s largest financial institutions to ensure data and information security.

What type of reporting will I receive?

  • You can use the Ethoca Portal to configure various reports enabling you to review all alerts sent, their status and outcomes and download/export them to excel. You can also use this reporting interface to search for specific transactions.
  • We offer customized reporting upon request