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Merchant Accounts
   
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.

ABOUT THIS GUIDE
About the Author
A Word About Our Membership Community
Frank Merchant knows how to get the best price
The Internet Marketplace
   
UNDERSTANDING IT ALL
What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of accepting credit cards for your business?
6 Benefits of Accepting Credit Cards
Disadvantages of Accepting Credit and Debit Cards
Who are the players? How does the money get in your bank account?
Credit Card Transactions Step By Step
Should I go visit my banker for my merchant account?
How can I tell if I will get good customer service?
Be on the Lookout for Deceptive Sales Practices
How to Avoid Your Money Being Held By Your Non-Cash Transaction Processing Company
Banking Terms You Need To Know
Benefits of Debit as a Payment Option
What You Need To Know About Leasing a Credit Card Terminal
Fraud Protection 101
Cardholder Security: Avoid Monthly Fees, Fines, and Penalties What Is PCI Compliance (PCI DSS)?
   
THE PROCESSES
Four Key Components to Conduct eCommerce Successfully: What They Are, and How They Work
Web Site
Your Merchant Account
Secure Payment Gateway / Payment Transaction Software
Shopping Cart and Catalog
Should I use a third party processor like PayPal?
   
ANALYZING IT ALL
Quick Summary of Costs
Detailed Summary of Setup Fees, Recurring Fees, and Risk Estimate
Total Risk Estimate (TRE)
Total Risk Estimate Worksheet (Low-Medium-High)
   
THE DETAILS
Are you being stung with "Non-Qual" fees for keyed orders?
Have You Ever Felt Betrayed By Your Credit Card Processing Company?
Your Customers' Credit Card Numbers at Risk
Visa: Heartland, RBS WorldPay no longer PCI compliant
PayPal
Marketing 101: Gift and Loyalty Smart Card Technology Ensures Customer Loyalty
Check Warranty and Check Acceptance Policies
How Can I Prevent Credit Card Fraud?
Identity Theft
Merchant Account Comparison Worksheet
Glossary
 
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