How Do Prevention Alerts Work?

Insights about prevention alerts that can help stop more chargebacks from happening.

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

Prevention alerts are a very valuable chargeback reduction tool. They can effectively stop certain chargebacks from happening.

But to achieve the best results possible, you’ll need to understand how alerts work.

Goals & Objectives

The primary goal of the prevention alert service is to enable merchants to resolve disputes before they advance to chargebacks. The most common way to resolve issues with prevention alerts is to refund disputed transactions.

Issuer Participation

Prevention alert networks connect merchants with issuing (cardholder) banks. Through these networks, participants can exchange information and reduce the chance of incurring chargebacks.

Two different vendors maintain prevention alert networks: Ethoca and Verifi.

Banks and merchants have the option to participate in Ethoca’s network, Verifi’s network, both networks, or neither network.

If both you and the bank are enrolled in the same network, the bank can send an alert when a transaction is disputed. However, if you are not part of the same network, the dispute will automatically advance to a chargeback and you won’t receive an alert.

Since participation in a prevention alert network is optional, some issuing banks have chosen not to use this service. Other banks don’t have the data capabilities or technology to support this service.

Billing Descriptors Explained

Billing descriptors play an important role in prevention alert functionality.

A billing descriptor describes a payment and helps the cardholder identify a transaction on his or her bank statement.

If you haven’t already, we suggest you read this help center article. It explains billing descriptors and their variations. This information is very important for effective prevention alert management.

How Prevention Alerts Work

Now that you understand what billing descriptors are, let’s take a look at how they are used in the prevention alert workflow.

The following outlines how prevention alerts are processed:

  1. You share your billing descriptors with Midigator.

  2. Midigator enrolls your billing descriptors to the Ethoca and/or Verifi platform(s).

  3. A cardholder contacts the bank to dispute a purchase made at your business.

  4. The issuing bank initiates the dispute process.

  5. An alert vendor intercepts the dispute.

  6. The alert platform matches the descriptor for the disputed transaction to the descriptor enrolled for your business.

  7. The platform sends you a prevention alert.

Prevention alerts are effective at stopping certain disputes from becoming chargebacks. But unfortunately, the process doesn’t always work as expected.

If your results aren’t what you expected, we can help you diagnose the problem. Check these additional help center articles with troubleshooting tips:

Alert Response Process

You need to respond to all prevention alerts. This is a very important part of the alert process — the response helps stop the dispute from becoming a chargeback.

The following outlines the response process.

1. An alert notice is received by Midigator.

The alert technology (Ethoca and/or Verifi) will notify you that an alert has been issued. Midigator will receive this notice on your behalf and display it within our platform.

2. Action is taken in your CRM or order management system.

When you receive an alert, it usually means you need to complete an action in your CRM or order management system. A prevention alert gives you the opportunity to resolve the dispute. If you don’t, the case will probably advance to a chargeback.

These are the most common reactions to an alert:

  • If the alert is valid, you’ll refund the disputed transaction.

  • If the alert is for a pending transaction, you would void the transaction.

  • If you’ve already refunded the transaction, no CRM action is required.

Some transaction information will be included in the alert notification. This information can be used to locate the transaction in your CRM or order management system. Data typically shared includes:

  • The first 6 and last 4 digits of the credit card number

  • The transaction date

  • The dispute amount (this may differ from the transaction amount)

  • The customer name (only included with certain alerts)

  • The acquirer reference number or ARN (only included with certain alerts)

NOTE: If you use Midigator’s fully-automated service, the technology will refund or void the transaction on your behalf.

But if you use Midigator’s PreventFlow feature, you’ll need to act quickly. Typically, if the issuing bank doesn’t see a refund posted to the cardholder’s account within 24 hours of initiating the alert, the case will advance to a chargeback.

Regardless of the workflow you use within Midigator, you need to batch out your transactions quickly so the refund will be posted to the cardholder’s account within the time limit.

3. A response is sent via Midigator.

You need to inform the alert vendor (Ethoca or Verifi) and the issuing bank of the action that was taken.

Your response lets the bank know if you have or have not addressed the issue. Based on your response, the bank will know if the case does or does not need to advance to a chargeback.

NOTE: If you use Midigator’s fully-automated prevention alert service, the technology will respond on your behalf.

However, if you are using Midigator’s PreventFlow feature, you’ll need to respond to alerts manually. Be sure to resolve each alert within Midigator as soon as you’ve had a chance to review the case and decide which action to take. Click here for a user tutorial that explains how to resolve alerts within PreventFlow.

For best results, we suggest you respond to all alerts within 20-24 hours of receiving them. You can sign up for Midigator’s daily prevention report emails and be notified when you receive an alert. This user guide outlines how to use the notifications feature.

It’s important to remember that once you respond to an alert, you are unable to edit the outcome you selected. Resolutions are submitted to the cardholder’s bank in real time.

To achieve the most complete chargeback protection possible, it’s important to understand how prevention alerts work. If you have any questions about the process or your outcomes, feel free to contact our team. You can reach us via the chat feature in Midigator or by emailing

If this feature isn’t visible in your Midigator account and you want to know why, read this article.

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