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As a Merchant, you should be aware that you can "screen out" orders based on whether the billing address the customer gives you matches the billing address that the card issuer has on file.

Make sure you are avoiding fraudulent transactions, unauthorized activity, and costly chargebacks by properly using the Address Verification Service (AVS). To use Address Verification properly you should perform a credit card sale or an authorize-only transaction that verifies the availability of funds. AVS then compares the numeric portion of the customer's street address and ZIP code entered in the point-of-sale terminal or software with the address that the card-issuing bank has on file. If both the ZIP code and street address match, the AVS code will begin with a Y. If they do not match, the AVS code will begin with an N.

A merchant typically receives an AVS code for approved transactions only, regardless of whether the addresses match. If an AVS code indicates that the address or ZIP code does not match, it is then up to the merchant to decide whether he or she will complete the sale. AVS works only for US addresses.

Alert! If you are "keying" orders into a terminal and the machine does NOT prompt you for an address and zip code then you may be paying an excessive rate for those keyed orders. Many credit card processing companies will quote you very low "swiped" rate to gain your business and then sting you with very high "Non Qual" add-on percentages for your keyed business, especially if you are not checking for AVS. Make sure your provider and terminal gives you this capability.

Business owners should use their own discretion when a transaction's validity is in question. AVS is just another tool to help them make sound business decisions.

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