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Address Verification System (AVS)

Please Note:
People often call us and say, "How much is your Address Verification System?" Please read the article. AVS is built-in to the credit card processors. It is not something you buy.


What is the Address Verification System (AVS)?
The Address Verification System (AVS) is an advanced level of credit card security that is built in to the credit card processing networks. It helps thwart identity theft for non-card present transactions. It only applies to United States card holders. It cannot be used for foreign orders.

Address verification is just as it sounds. The billing address of a customer's credit card (entered when they ordered) is compared to the address on file for the card (where their credit card billing statement is sent). The house number portion and postal code must match. If they do not match then AVS fails. The retailer must decide whether or not to process the card. Doing so may be risky. It also costs more.

AVS requirements are set by merchant account providers. Some merchants leave it optional while others 100% require it and 100% require it to pass. Wells Fargo is one such bank.

Retailers who can process cards without AVS must do so with caution. In this day and age, it is risky to be doing credit card transactions online without using AVS. It is also not a good idea to process cards that fail AVS. If a card does fail AVS then it is best to call the customer first to verify that they were, in fact, the one who tried to place the order. You may also want to get the address from them again and try processing the card again with AVS. Transactions that are processed without AVS incur a Non-Qualified Rate.

AVS only applies to the United States. There is not an AVS system in place for foreign countries.

Our Recommendation for AVS Strategies
You should always use AVS when processing credit cards. In the event that AVS fails from an order on your Website, you should always call the customer first to confirm that they were, in fact, the person who placed the order. Once you are sure of this, you can move forward and try to process the card without AVS. However, you will save money on the processing fee if the address verifies so you may want to double-check it with the customer and then try it again.

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