What You Need To Know About Filing A Credit Card Dispute

Noticing an unauthorized purchase on your credit card statement can be panic-inducing. It can cause a dozen worries and questions — Was your identity stolen? Was this the first time? Or have you missed other fraudulent transactions? When this happens, you should contact the card company and dispute the transaction immediately. 

However, you can file a dispute for other reasons, like if an item you purchased online was stolen or damaged or you noticed a billing mistake. When a situation arises that requires you to file a dispute, you usually have 60 days to submit a claim, though this timeframe varies based on the circumstance.

Here are a few situations that may call for a dispute:


  • Fraudulent purchases
  • The transaction failed, but the merchant still charged you
  • You paid with a different method
  • The merchant charged you more than once for the same purchase
  • An item you ordered was lost or damaged
  • The merchant did not process your credit
  • You tried to withdraw money from an ATM, but it did not dispense


Fraudulent Purchases

If you notice something unusual about your credit card statement, you should contact your card provider right away and report the issue. But before you move forward with the dispute process, double-check that the purchase was indeed made by someone you don’t know. 

For example, maybe you forgot that you lent your card to your child so they could buy an item online. Whatever the case, it’s important to determine for sure that the transaction is unauthorized before filing a claim.

You can file a dispute online through your card issuer’s website. When the provider verifies your claim, it will cancel your old card and send you a replacement with new information.

Billing Mistakes

Your lender can quickly help you resolve a billing error if you report the mistake as soon as you catch it. The amount of time you have to file a dispute differs between each lender, so contact yours to find out the timeframe if you need to file a claim. 

You can dispute a transaction for many reasons, such as charges that are:


  • The incorrect amount
  • Dated wrong
  • For something you didn’t accept
  • For something you never received


You can file a dispute by sending your credit issuer a letter, on the phone, or through their website. Make sure you have all of the necessary information and proof that the charge is incorrect. While you don’t need to pay for the disputed purchase, you are still responsible for the remainder of your balance. 

When You Should Not File A Credit Card Dispute 

While you have the right to file a credit card dispute, there are several situations where you shouldn’t, such as:


  • The purchase wasn’t made by a thief, but by someone who you know. If you have other authorized users on your account, always ask them if they used the card for something you didn’t know about.
  • You are unsatisfied with a product or service, but you haven’t contacted the merchant. It’s essential you try to handle this situation with the merchant before reaching the credit card issuer. 


Documents For Reporting A Dispute

The documents you need to move forward with a dispute depend on the type of transaction. Your credit card issuer can tell you if you need anything else, but generally, you should have your proof of identity and:

Unauthorized Purchases

  • Police report
  • Copy of your credit card
  • Your account information


Lost Or Stolen Cards

  • A copy of the police report
  • Your account information

Billing Mistakes

  • Bills, receipts, etc.
  • Proof of refund (if applicable) 
  • Documentation of alternative payment (for failed purchases)


Make sure you check your credit card provider’s rules for opening a dispute. Generally, you will have to send a claim in writing, though you can expedite the process by calling your provider and asking for help. Your card issuer will provide you with any paperwork you need and tell you what information you should have. 

You can also begin the process online through your lender. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask your lender for help. They can help you navigate the process and ensure that the process is resolved as painlessly as possible.


  • “When You Should – And Shouldn’t Dispute A Credit Card.” CreditMantri, CreditMnatriCreditmantri, 21 Feb. 2020, www.creditmantri.com/article-when-you-should-and-shouldnt-dispute-a-credit-card/.
Ian Schindler