ClearForms lets you deal with chargebacks and contested payments within our system. You can find the Charge Disputes section under “Teams.” A chargeback is when someone disputes the validity of credit card charge. This can happen if a charge is actually fraudulent (someone used someone's credit card without their permission, although it's pretty unlikely that a thief would steal a card and then use it to....file a business license :-)

More commonly, chargebacks happen on ClearForms when someone doesn't recognize or remember that they made a payment for a permit or license. It’s part of why it’s important to set a Statement Descriptor to include your government name on applicant's credit card statements.

Here's an example of what the Charge Disputes page looks like. If you have no charge disputes, this page will be blank.

CityGrows charge disputes page

When a chargeback occurs, ClearForms will notify the Team via email and include a link to more specific information.  The card issuer will automatically deduct the disputed amount and a chargeback fee of $15.00 plus 2% of the total (a portion of the processing fee) per dispute from your government’s account on our payment platform.

CityGrows chargeback page


At this point, you will have the option to either accept or dispute the chargeback. If you agree that the charge is not valid (for example, if an applicant has already contacted you and told you that someone used their card without their permission), you can accept and immediately close the dispute.

You can also contact the applicant (using our Discussions feature or via email or phone) to see if they correctly understood the charge as listed on their statement. Usually, the applicant eventually remembers what the charge is for and then they contact their credit card company and resolve/ abandon the dispute. If that happens, the funds will be returned to the account.

If the applicant isn’t responsive and you believe the charge is valid, you can still defend the charge. You can upload the record of the process payment, and ClearForms will send evidence of transaction validity to the card issuer, via the Charge Disputes tab in the Team section. If you win the dispute, ClearForms will deposit the amount back into your payment account soon after it’s resolved.

Our governments almost always win charge disputes because the platform provides so much information about how, when, and why each charge was made.

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