As out-of-work people scramble for any advantage to find a job, some are turning to merchants promising that for a fee the consumer will be certified for an occupation. Many consumers, however, are finding that such merchants have little to deliver and asking for charge-backs against their credit card transactions, Bryan Baumgartner, business leader of acceptance risk at Visa USA, told attendees this week at the Electronic Transactions Association Compliance Day in Las Vegas. Baumgartner loosely defined this group of merchants, along with those providing health and diet supplements, financial advisors for debt consolidation and loan modification services, online government grants, discount buyer clubs and travel clubs, as having charge-back ratios of as much as 10% of all their transactions. Baumgartner said the job assistance category recently came to light as the economy weakened. He strongly recommended that acquirers and the independent sales organizations working with them analyze their merchant portfolios to find these merchants and evaluate them. Too many risky merchants could jeopardize an ISO's ability to work with Visa, he said. "We had three cases last year where we had to either terminate a sub-ISO or an ISO or put restrictions on them because of the risk," Baumgartner said. Charge-back risk is not dissipating. "It's happening more and more," he said.

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