Understanding card chargebacks

A chargeback occurs when a cardholder disputes a payment made on their debit or credit card and asks for it to be reversed, on the basis that it was invalid or unauthorised.

The cardholder’s bank will decide whether the disputed payment should be reimbursed, based on rules set out by the card schemes. Macquarie only acts as an intermediary in the process and doesn’t decide the outcome.

If a chargeback is received and you can’t prove that the cardholder has authorised the transaction, then you’ll be liable for the transaction amount. The cardholder’s bank will take the funds from Macquarie and we’ll debit your account for the disputed amount.

Why do chargebacks occur?

A chargeback can occur for several reasons, mainly if a cardholder notices a transaction which they haven’t authorised or don’t recognise.

With DEFT, the most common reason for chargebacks is when a payer has fallen victim to a scam. This involves the scammer using an innocent third-party’s stolen card to pay via DEFT.

A chargeback will also occur if you don’t respond to a retrieval request, the request is left unanswered or the supporting documentation you’ve supplied isn’t sufficient/not accepted by the cardholder’s bank.

Other scenarios where chargebacks can occur include:

  • unauthorised transactions and unauthorised use of card
  • incorrect transaction amount
  • processing error
  • transactions performed on a lost or stolen card

What is the chargeback process?

  1. The cardholder initiates the chargeback by disputing a payment made on their debit or credit card with their bank.
  2. The cardholder's bank will process a dispute through the card provider (Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Diners Club) and Macquarie is notified of the chargeback.
  3. Macquarie will contact you via email to notify you of the dispute. If you believe the transaction was valid and authorised by the cardholder, you’ll have ten business days to gather supporting documentation for us to submit on your behalf.
  4. If the supporting documentation isn’t accepted by the cardholder’s bank or you choose not to contest the chargeback, the disputed amount will be debited from your account.

How to avoid chargebacks and protect your business?

DEFT billers

We recommend you:

  • Always process refunds to the original method of payment. Never send a funds transfer to refund a card payment. You can contact Macquarie to initiate a refund.
  • Remind payers to always pay DEFT directly, e.g., via DEFT.com.au or BPAY®. Payers should never transfer funds to an intermediary who offers to pay DEFT on their behalf.

If you prefer not to accept card payments, you can ask us to switch off this payment method at any time.

Macquarie Merchant Terminal and Macquarie Navigator clients

We recommend you follow the security checks provided below in order to minimise the risk of chargebacks in connection with transactions where a card is not present:

  • Check the validity dates of the credit card are current.
  • Obtain an authorisation for all transactions.
  • Check the client’s name, address, and telephone number from a trusted source.
  • Call the client directly to confirm the order.

®Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518

Authorised transactions

Please note, that authorisation of a transaction doesn’t represent or warrant that a transaction is genuine. It also doesn’t mean a transaction isn’t subject to a chargeback.

Authorisation only verifies that the relevant card account is open and there are sufficient funds available in the account to meet the transaction amount. It also doesn’t guarantee that the person using the card is the authorised cardholder.

It’s important to remember that card not present transactions carry an inherently higher chargeback risk. If these transactions are disputed by a cardholder or if you’re unable to satisfactorily confirm the transaction, then the liability will remain with you.

What supporting evidence can be used to dispute a chargeback?

If you wish to contest a chargeback, you need to provide sufficient evidence to support the legitimacy of the disputed payment and that it was authorised by the cardholder. The evidence documents required are determined by the card providers.

Please see below for examples of evidence that can be used based on your industry classification:

Real Estate

  • Signed contract or agreement - e.g. tenancy agreement.
  • Tenant ledger.


  • Levy notice or invoice.
  • Relevant bylaws or rules that support the charge.
  • A copy of correspondence between the strata committee and cardholder.


  • Signed contract or agreement outlining the terms of the legal services provided.
  • Invoices or statements showing services provided and fees.
  • A copy of correspondence between the lawyer and cardholder.
  • Evidence of outcome, such as a court ruling or settlement agreement.


  • Insurance policy documentation - e.g. certificate of currency or renewal notice, outlining the cover and premiums.
  • A copy of correspondence with the cardholder. 

Before submitting any evidence, you need to satisfy yourself that your client (e.g., tenant or lot owner) owns the card used to make the payment. You can do this by verifying the card details provided in the chargeback notification email with your client. If the card belongs to someone else, the above evidence won’t prove any link between your business and the cardholder.

What do I do if I receive a retrieval request?

If you receive a retrieval request, you need to reply within the timeframe specified on the request email and with all relevant supporting documentation as required by the retrieval request. Please note that we are bound by relevant card scheme rules and are unable to alter the chargeback timelines so it’s important that you address chargeback notices quickly. 

You should email all relevant supporting documentation in relation to the transaction, including the following records to business@macquarie.com.

Supporting documentation may include:

  • signed sales receipt
  • method of shipment (if applicable)
  • sales record, invoice, or order form
  • signed delivery receipt and any other written confirmation of delivery
  • brief letter stating what occurred with the transaction
  • any other documents or records relevant to the transaction.

If you require assistance for merchant services, please contact the Merchant Support Team on 1800 183 879.

If you require assistance for DEFT, please contact the DEFT Support Team on 1800 620 673.

Additional information

The nature of the dispute and the type of chargeback will greatly influence what can be done about defending chargebacks. Please also note that any supporting documentation must be provided within the time frames specified. If it's determined that the evidence provided is insufficient, it may result in a chargeback.

Merchants can also contact their customer to resolve the dispute. Macquarie doesn’t determine the scheme rules and regulations regarding Visa, Mastercard, American Express or eftpos. All banks/ financial institutions are governed by scheme rules and regulations.

Important Note: While evidence provided to the Macquarie Bank Fraud team will be used to validate the case, there is no guarantee or full protection against the chargeback. Please ensure you abide by guidelines provided by the bank and industry best practices to minimise fraud and chargebacks. Please refer to the Macquarie Merchant Services Terms and Conditions.