Posted by admin on Jul 15, 2010


What is a Descriptor?

A descriptor is identifying information about a transaction which appears on buyers’ credit card statements.  Descriptors remind cardholders of the details of the purchase and give buyers a way to contact the merchant.   It is advantageous to both buyers and merchants to use clear descriptors.

Types of Descriptors

There are two major categories of descriptors: static and dynamic.

Static descriptors, sometimes called hard descriptors, assign a single description and customer service number to all products and services.  Some merchant account providers allow only a single static descriptor to be used with each merchant identification number (MID).

Dynamic descriptors, also called soft descriptors, allow merchants to associate a distinct description and phone number with different products or services.  Dynamic descriptors give companies the option to use the name  of the product or service as the descriptor on the customer’s credit card statement.  This significantly reduces customer disputes and chargebacks.

Benefits of Dynamic Descriptors

Many companies offer a variety of products or services.   If a company name appears as the descriptor on customers’ card statement rather than the name of the product or service, the customer may not recognize the charge.   As a result, customer disputes/chargebacks occur because customers may not identify the company name with the specific product or service which was purchased.

This happens even if a company clearly advises the customer at the time of purchase of the name which will appear on the customer’s credit card statement.   Another common reason this happens is when the spouse who did not make the purchase handles the family finances.  The spouse may not recognize the name of company but would recognize the name of a product or service that was purchased.


Dynamic descriptors and phone numbers can help reduce the occurrence of customer disputes and chargebacks by clearly identifying the product or service on customers’ credit card statements. Dynamic descriptors are helpful to  both standard & high risk merchants to keep chargebacks low.

Does your descriptor give enough information to your buyers?