A billing descriptor is the term used for the line of text that appears on your consumer's credit card or bank statement. It's a way for your consumer to identify the specific merchant associated to a particular transaction.
Using clear and accurate billing descriptors can reduce chargebacks and disputes. Banks and card schemes require certain types of information in the form of descriptors that help customers identify statement charges.
At Reach, we often act as the "merchant of record (MOR)". This means that we take flash title of the goods that are being sold to your end consumer. The advantage of this MOR model is that merchants can access local acquiring and payment methods when they don't have a local entity in these markets. This leads to higher approval rates, lower fees, and eliminates foreign transaction fees for the cardholder. Read more about our MOR model here.
Being a MOR means that we must be referenced in the descriptor. This is why you and your customers might see "GIP" or "RCH" before your merchant name in the descriptor field.
Descriptors can contain multiple elements, but at Reach, we always endeavor to use the dynamic descriptor functionality. Dynamic descriptors allow our shortened name (i.e. RCH or GIP) followed by your merchant name. This field is variable, but often maxes out at 22 characters. We include our customer support number on the descriptor.
It's important to remember that the final say of what is displayed on a customer's statement is ultimately up to the issuing bank. While most of your consumers might see "RCH_MERCHANTNAME", there is always a small percentage of outliers with an unexpected display configuration.
A complete billing descriptor must have the following requirements:
- Contains only Latin characters
- Contains between 5 and 22 characters (inclusive)
- Contains at least one letter (if using a prefix and suffix, both require at least one letter)
- Does not contain any of the following special characters:
- Reflects your business name clearly
- Contains more than a single common term or common website URL (a website URL only is acceptable if it provides a clear and accurate description of a transaction on a customer's statement)
Your customers may notice that the descriptor on their credit card appears once their card is authorized (but before the transaction has been captured or settled). This "authorization descriptor" is also known as a "pending descriptor." Some issuing banks will display a different line of text from the final descriptor.
Keep in mind that pending transactions are not available to be disputed or charged back.
Understanding your customers and providing proactive information to them is key to avoiding chargebacks. Many Requests for Information (RFIs) or chargebacks come about as a result of the end consumer not remembering a particular transaction. Having a clear descriptor is key to avoiding this pitfall.
Remember again, as mentioned above, that what is displayed to the consumer is ultimately up to the issuing bank. At times, a consumer may see "Reach" on their statement (or our previous name, "GoInterpay").
It is important to ensure that if a customer contacts your company, your customer service team understands the relationship between Reach and your company.
"Fraud" or "No Authorization" chargebacks exist for every card scheme, and can occur more frequently due to poor descriptor selection.
These are the most common ways transaction descriptors are displayed for end consumers who use non-credit card payment methods.
|Alternative Payment Method||Billing Descriptor|
|OXXO Payment Vouchers||The voucher mentions 'Astropay Direct', but not Reach or the merchant.|
|OXXO Payment Receipts||The receipt mentions 'Cobro de Astro Pay', but not Reach or the merchant.|
|Boleto Payment Vouchers||The voucher mentions 'Astropay Brasil Ltda', but not Reach or the merchant.|
|Boleto Payment Receipts||Boleto receipts vary by payment location, but the receipt usually mentions something similar to 'comprovante de pagamento de titulos' with no mention of who the payment is actually going to (i.e. there is no mention of Reach or the merchant).|
|Sofort Receipt||The receipt mentions 'Global Collect BV', but not Reach or the merchant.|
|MXN Installment Payments||The page descriptor is similar to 'PAGOCON*EBANX>>MERCHANTNAME<<'.|
|PayPal||PayPal allows various methods of displaying a descriptor, but depends in part on|
where the transaction is processed,
which PayPal entity is in use, and
* what PayPal checkout method is being employed.
We endeavor to put as much information on the PayPal interface as possible, but the customer may see the merchant's name, "Reach", or simply "PayPal" as the descriptor
If you’d like to update your billing descriptor, find out what your current descriptor is, or inquire about any aspect of descriptors, contact us at [email protected].
Updated 3 months ago