Descriptor Best Practices

One of the most common reasons for disputes is unrecognizable descriptors.

In a recent Merchant Digest, Visa shared reminders and clarification details related to the Merchant Name and Descriptor fields. This reiteration of the correct usage of the Merchant Name / Descriptor field benefits the entire ecosystem by increasing customer recognition of transactions, reducing disputes and cardholder inquiries, improving authorization approval rates, reducing customer service calls and leading to lower operational costs.

Tips to optimize Descriptors

Do include:

  • Merchant name that will be recognizable by cardholders
  • Merchant name on e-comm merchant website, transaction receipts, authorization request, and clearing record
  • Merchant phone number
  • Order number, dynamically (if applicable)
  • 20 – 25 characters
  • Abbreviated words or characters (ie. “&” instead of “and”)

Don’t include:

  • Legal/company registration name, if different from that which is recognizable by cardholders
  • Marketing or advertising statements
  • Frequent modifications to avoid compliance programs

Additional Resource