What laws are there that govern credit card chargebacks? Is it the fair credit reporting act? What is the rationale/reasoning behind these legislatively mandated provisions?

Why do the consumer protections for credit card transactions seem to be stronger than for debit card transactions?

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    For debit cards, I think the main law is the Electronic Funds Transfer Act of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-630 Title XX), as amended, and Federal Reserve Regulation E (12 CFR 205) which implements it. Debit card transactions are considered as electronic fund transfers, with refunds for unauthorized transfers that act as chargebacks (Reg E Section 205.6). Jul 1, 2022 at 15:29
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    But I don't think EFTA / Reg E applies to credit cards, and it may not include things like chargebacks where the charge was authorized by the cardholder but the goods purchased were not delivered. It's possible that those terms are purely contractual, and are a matter of standard industry practice instead of law. There are some areas where the card networks voluntarily provide more protections than the law requires, e.g Reg E makes a consumer liable for the first $50 of an unauthorized debit transfer, but Visa, Mastercard, etc, have a policy to waive it. Jul 1, 2022 at 15:34
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    As to rationale, Congress stated its purpose for the EFTA in Section 902 of the Act. Jul 1, 2022 at 16:48
  • I've been surprised to read that credit card protections for undelivered goods are required by law. Jul 1, 2022 at 18:20
  • Where did you read that? Link? Jul 2, 2022 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


With minor exceptions, the general law of contract and the language of the contracts, and possibly arbitration law, such as the Federal Arbitration Act in the usual case where the decisions are resolved by arbitration in the event of a dispute, are what control in U.S. law.

(If I am wrong I don't know what other law would apply.)


In certain cases, cardholders can also dispute purchases they made, such as when merchants provide unsatisfactory goods or services or fail to provide promised goods or services. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects your right to dispute charges under these circumstances.


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