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What is the Difference Between a Retrieval Request, a Prevention Alert, and a Chargeback?
What is the Difference Between a Retrieval Request, a Prevention Alert, and a Chargeback?

An overview of the differences between some of the common events and services experienced during the chargeback process

Jenna Acquaviva avatar
Written by Jenna Acquaviva
Updated over a week ago

It’s common to confuse the purpose of a retrieval request, an alert, and a chargeback since they are all interrelated.

In this article you will find an in-depth description of these services, how they differ, and suggested ways in which you should be handling each of them.

Retrieval Requests

A retrieval request is a formal request sent by the cardholder’s bank to obtain additional transaction information. Retrieval requests are typically sent when there is confusion about a purchase or fraud is suspected.

Response expectations differ by card brand (Visa, Mastercard, etc.). Typically, banks expect you to respond with basic transaction information or a copy of the receipt.

If you want to reduce the risk that the case escalates to a chargeback, you can respond with more than just the minimum requirements. One option is to respond with order data and other relevant information, similar to what you would provide for a dispute response. Another option is to issue a refund and respond to the retrieval request with proof that you credited the cardholder’s account.

A retrieval does not impact your chargeback ratio. However, if you don’t respond or the information you send is deemed unsatisfactory, the case may automatically advance to a chargeback.

Prevention Alerts

A prevention alert, also referred to as a pre-chargeback alert, is a notification. It is triggered when a customer disputes a transaction or an issuing bank discovers a transaction is fraudulent.

Prevention alerts give you the opportunity to refund the transaction and potentially stop the dispute from progressing to a chargeback.

Alerts do not impact your chargeback count or ratio. However, if you do not refund the transaction or respond within the submission deadline, the case will likely advance to a chargeback.

There are two vendors that provide prevention alerts: Ethoca and Verifi. It's important to note that not ALL disputed transactions will trigger a prevention alert. Ethoca and Verifi are actively increasing their coverage networks and today typically cover about 30-40% of disputed transactions.


A dispute advances to a chargeback if other resolution tactics aren’t successful.

Unlike prevention alerts and retrieval requests, you do not want to refund a transaction that has a chargeback. Typically, a processor will debit your merchant account for the amount of the dispute at the time the chargeback is filed. Therefore, if you also issue a refund, you’ll incur a loss for double the transaction amount.

Another notable difference between retrievals, alerts, and chargebacks is a chargeback does impact your chargeback-to-transaction ratio.

Have additional questions?

Still not sure how these three services work or how to manage them? Contact our client success team at support@midigator or use the chat feature in Midigator if you have additional questions.

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