10 Ways to Prevent Recurring Billing Chargebacks in Your Association

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10 Ways to Prevent Recurring Billing Chargebacks in Your Association

Billing chargebacks are a routine aspect of association management. However, recurring billing chargebacks introduce potential challenges, including revenue loss, increased processing fees, and risk of fraud.

Also, there is a risk of account termination by the payment processor, irrespective of the legitimacy of the customer-initiated disputes. Thus, it's crucial to note that these recurring chargebacks are preventable with a few considerations.

This blog explains various reasons for recurring chargebacks, explores their potential consequences on an association's growth, and provides insights on how to avoid them.

Read on to discover proactive strategies that can shield your association from these minor shocks and ensure a smoother financial and operational journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Displaying free trial terms prominently and ensuring transparency through clear communication can significantly reduce the chances of disputes and chargebacks during or after trial periods.
  • Providing members with a detailed order summary before checkout, including membership details and billing information, enhances transparency and reduces the risk of chargebacks.
  • Using a billing descriptor consistent with your business name and providing contact information reduces confusion, enhances customer recognition, and decreases the likelihood of chargeback disputes.
  • Reminding members before each recurring bill and promoting an open-door policy for communication can contribute to member satisfaction, minimize chargeback disputes, and strengthen customer-business relationships.
  • Glue Up's Membership Management Software offers a robust solution with features like dispute handling, automated Invoices, and custom reminders. These features collectively empower associations to prevent recurring billing chargebacks effectively.

Clarity is Key: Display Free Trial Terms and Ensure Transparency

When offering a free trial, prioritizing clarity is a must. Maintain transparency by clearly explaining all details, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Ensure members understand your free trial terms


The best approach is to prominently display terms and conditions on your association's website, ensuring that customers entering the free trial are well-informed in advance.

Clearly communicate that their card will be automatically charged after the trial period and proactively send reminder emails as the trial approaches its end, minimizing the chances of disputes and subsequent chargebacks.

To further reduce chargeback rates, it's advisable not to collect credit or debit card details during the free trial sign-up, reducing customer concerns and eliminating the risk of accidental charges. Instead, trust that a quality product or service will attract customers naturally.

In the confirmation emails or messages sent at the start of the free trial, make it a priority to explicitly inform customers about the upcoming charge at the trial's conclusion. Emphasize the simplicity of cancellation, assuring them that it requires just one click for convenience.

Also, send a reminder notification with a link to an online cancellation procedure at least seven days before initiating any recurring transaction, especially when a trial period, introductory offer, or promotional period is expiring, as per Visa guidelines.

This proactive communication aligns with best practices, ensuring customers are well-informed and have enough time to make informed decisions regarding their subscription or service continuation, minimizing the likelihood of disputes arising during or after the free trial period.

Detailed Order Summary

It is advised to provide your members with a detailed order summary in the member portal before checkout to ensure transparency and reduce the risk of chargebacks.

Members with a detailed order summary

The summary will include information such as

  • Membership start date
  • Membership end date
  • Type of billing (recurring)
  • Billing method
  • Membership level
  • Next billing date
  • Amount to be charged

Additionally, the summary will clearly mention the word "recurring" and inform members that charges will commence after the free trial ends. This will give members a clear understanding of what they are signing up for and empower them to make informed decisions.

To further protect your association, the summary will include a checkbox for members to confirm that they have read and agree to your terms and conditions.

This step ensures that members won't file a chargeback out of awareness, promoting a mutually transparent and respectful customer-business relationship.

Utilize a Recognizable Billing Descriptor for Transparent Transactions

A billing descriptor is a vital communication tool that payment processors employ to inform customers about a specific charge. However, if customers encounter an unfamiliar name during transactions, it can lead to panic and potential chargeback filings.

To reduce this risk, it is a must for your association to utilize a billing descriptor that closely aligns with your business name. Avoid generic terms like 'service charges' and, instead, opt for a descriptor that clearly identifies your business and explains the purpose of the charge.

Furthermore, discrepancies may arise when a business operates under a name on its website that is different from its registered name with the payment processor. In such cases, the processor may display the registered name, confusing members who may not recognize the business and subsequently file a chargeback.

To address this issue, it is recommended to ensure that your billing descriptor is consistent with your business name, enhancing customer recognition and trust.

Therefore, you need to consider the following things regarding the descriptor so members can easily identify your business:

  • Choose a clear and descriptive billing descriptor
  • Ensure alignment with your registered business name
  • Avoid generic terms that may cause confusion
  • Verify consistency across all platforms and communications
  • Include contact information for transparency and member verification

Remind Your Valued Members Before Each Recurring Bill

To enhance member satisfaction and minimize chargeback disputes, remind your valued members before each recurring bill. A well-timed notification, sent 15 days, seven days, or even three days before their trial expiration, serves as a courteous heads-up about the impending charge.

While members have agreed to your terms and conditions, sending a friendly email or notification reduces the likelihood of disputes and reinforces transparency. This communication serves as a considerate reminder and functions as documented proof in case of chargeback disputes.

This proactive approach ensures that your members are well-informed and allows for a smoother billing process, ultimately contributing to a positive and trusting relationship with your customers.

Promote an Open Door Policy to Encourage Member Communication

You must value open communication with members and encourage them to contact you directly for inquiries, concerns, or feedback. Your contact information should be prominently displayed across various platforms, including your website, social media handles, emails, and even invoices, making it easy for them to connect with you.

encourage members to contact you directly


Urge your staff, especially those handling customer care, to actively listen to members, empathize with their concerns, and make every possible effort to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, as 43% of consumers find long wait times frustrating.

Responsive customer care ensures members receive a prompt and helpful response when they reach out. This demonstrates a dedication to addressing members' needs and encourages them to share their concerns.

By promoting open communication, you aim to create an environment where members feel heard and supported, which can lead to resolving a dispute even before it is initiated.

Make Subscription Cancellation an Effortless Process

Prioritize member satisfaction by making subscription cancellation straightforward. With just one click, they should be free to end membership hassle-free. Understand that members appreciate the flexibility to manage their subscriptions easily without complications.

make it easy for members to cancel the subscription


The cancel button should be displayed everywhere, ensuring accessibility across all platforms. Make it a frustration-free experience so they can confidently exit anytime without worrying about hidden charges or post-cancellation complications.

A seamless cancellation process aims to build trust and demonstrate dedication to putting members in control. Providing this level of freedom enhances their overall experience.

You must value your members' preferences and strive to make every aspect of their subscription as effortless as possible.

Offer Refunds When Needed

Sometimes, offering refunds can work to your advantage. When dealing with chargebacks, the decisions made by banks or credit card companies hold more weight than yours, potentially resulting in increased processing fees, fines, penalties, or even suspension.

offer refunds to your members


Therefore, releasing the refund promptly is advisable in cases of legitimate refund requests. Mistakes can happen from both ends, so maintaining a transparent and detailed refund policy is essential. Regularly monitor pending refunds and process genuine ones promptly.

Despite the short-term loss, refunding builds trust and goodwill among members, contributes to long-term positive relationships, and demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and fair business practices.

Eliminate Hidden Fees and Avoid Sudden Cost Surprises

For the lasting impact of your association, ensure transparency in all your charges. Guard against any confusion that may lead members to discover undisclosed fees on their bills, such as service, processing, technology, or settlement fees.

Hidden charges damage your reputation and break members' trust in your association. Avoiding these undefined fees is crucial to preventing chargebacks, as such practices are generally disliked.

Even in instances where a fee increase is unavoidable, inform your members well before their next billing cycle. Send them an email or a notification to provide a considerable notice period.

This proactive member communication not only demonstrates respect for your members but also helps prevent chargebacks by eliminating surprises and promoting a sense of transparency and trust within your association.

Utilize Technology

Utilize the power of technology to proactively prevent disputes and chargebacks by integrating automated billing software into your operations. Automated systems ensure accuracy in monitoring both regular and recurring bills and significantly reduce the likelihood of human errors.

Studies indicate that the average employee makes around 118 mistakes at work per year, highlighting the importance of leveraging technology to avoid such errors.

Investing in the latest automated technology allows you to streamline processes, enhance precision, and provide a better member experience. Automating tasks minimizes the risk of billing discrepancies that can lead to disputes, building a more efficient and error-free environment.

Embracing automation is a strategic move to boost operational efficiency, reduce human error, and create a seamless member experience.

Stay Compliant

You must adhere to industry and regional billing regulations to avoid revenue loss. Fulfilling the criteria set by PCI and other regulatory bodies safeguards your financial transactions and helps you stay compliant.

Maintain all necessary documents and adhere to matching standards, allowing you to serve your members more confidently.

Ignoring compliance may result in severe consequences; for instance, violations of PCI compliance rules can lead to financial penalties from credit card companies and payment processors ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per month.

Glue Up's Membership Management Software: Your Shield Against Recurring Billing Chargebacks

Glue Up's Finance and Billing Management within the Membership Management Software provides a seamless and comprehensive association solution, effectively preventing recurring billing chargebacks.

Glue Up CRM

Here's how Glue Up serves associations with its key features:

  1. Dispute Handling: The Dispute Handling feature empowers associations to promptly manage disputes seamlessly with integrated payment gateways like Braintree, Stripe, and others, ensuring efficient and effective resolution processes.
  2. Automated Invoicing: The Automated Invoicing feature automatically sends detailed bill summaries to members, promoting transparency and clear communication in every financial transaction.
  3. Custom Reminders: Custom Reminders play a crucial role in member engagement, alerting them about the conclusion of trials and upcoming recurring bills. This proactive approach significantly reduces the likelihood of chargebacks.
  4. Real-time Analytics: Glue Up's Real-time Analytics provides valuable insights into various financial metrics, enabling associations to make informed decisions and comprehensively understand their financial performance.
  5. P&L Reports: The Profit and Loss (P&L) Reports offered by Glue Up's Finance Management give associations a clear overview of their financial standing, identifying areas that require attention to prevent potential losses.
  6. SSL Protection and PCI DSS Certification: Glue Up prioritizes security with SSL protection and PCI DSS certification, creating a secure environment for all financial transactions. This commitment enhances member trust and safeguards sensitive financial information throughout billing.

In conclusion, Glue Up's Membership Management Software is a robust solution with features designed to address associations' needs and prevent recurring billing chargebacks effectively. Book a demo today to explore the full spectrum of capabilities and witness how Glue Up can elevate your association management.

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