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An Overview of AVS

AVS stands for Address Verification Service.

It’s a tool that allows you, as a merchant, to check if the billing address of a credit card is linked to the address of the person claiming to own that credit card and making an online purchase. AVS is one of several fraud prevention tools that can prevent stolen credit cards from being used for online transactions.

When a customer has finished adding items to their shopping cart on your site and is ready to pay, they are brought to a payment form. On this form, they are asked to enter their credit card payment information, along with their billing address. This is also a common request when using a Virtual Terminal or card vault.

While the credit card transaction is being processed, the system will also compare the billing address entered by the user at checkout with the address linked on file at the cardholder’s issuing bank. As part of the transaction response, an AVS response code will be returned to you. The code you see could be “X” for “Exact Match,” or “N” for “No Match,” amongst others (see a full list of AVS response codes below).

It’s important to note that the AVS result doesn’t impact whether or not the transaction is approved or declined, it only gives you the result of the address match or mismatch. This means that if the customer enters an incorrect address, the transaction can still be approved by the bank. It will be up to you as the merchant to decide if you’re comfortable going ahead with shipping the item to the customer, or if you want to cancel the order and refund the transaction.

AVS is one of many tools that you can use to review orders and prevent fraud. When you combine an AVS system with other security measures like requiring a CVV on your credit card transactions or implementing a fraud detection tool, you can reduce the risk of exposing your business to fraudulent orders.

Related Articles

Card-Present vs. Card-Not-Present
Transaction Types
Types of Credit Card Declines
Understanding CVV

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