Billing descriptor is the way a company's name appears on a credit card statement and is set up when the merchant account is established. It is used by the credit card customer to identify who a payment was made too on a particular transaction.
The name used is typically the trading name of the business rather than the legal name so that it can be easily recognised by the customer. The billing descriptor may also be made up of a soft or dynamic descriptor that includes the name of the service provided, this is often used by large companies that provide many services and where the brand of the service is more familiar than the company name.
Selecting a clear billing descriptor is important for a merchant to avoid a chargeback when the credit card customer does not recognise name on the transaction.
If the company offers a single service or product, this descriptor would be sufficient. (ex. ZXC Services&Products 800-123-4567)
There are dynamic descriptors as well which allows description field in the cardholder’s statement to be modified to include more detailed information of the transaction. Often the merchants name is shortened to three (3) letter, followed by and asterisk (*), followed by a short description of the service or product that the business provides. This field has a limit of twenty-five (25) characters plus the phone number (ex. ZXC* Site Access 800-123-4567)
- "How to Set Up and Manage Billing Descriptor". UniBul credit card blog. April 6, 2011.