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How Do I Use The Address Verification Service (AVS)? What Settings Should I Configure?

The Address Verification Service (AVS) is a standard credit card verification feature that compares the billing address provided by a customer for a credit card transaction with the billing address on file for the cardholder at the credit card issuing bank. The issuing bank returns a code to the payment gateway indicating the results of the match. For example, the AVS code A indicates that the street address matched, but the first five digits of the ZIP code did not.

The AVS filter settings in the Merchant Interface allow you to specify when a transaction should be rejected based on the results of the AVS match. The following result codes are possible:

AVS CODE

DESCRIPTION

A

Address (street) matches, ZIP code does not

B

Address information not provided for AVS check

E

AVS error

G

Non-U.S. card issuing bank

N

No match on address (street) or ZIP code

P

AVS not applicable for this transaction

R

Retry – System unavailable or timed out

S

Service not supported by issuer

U

Address information is unavailable

W

9 digit ZIP code matches, address (street) does not

Y

Address (street) and 5 digit ZIP code match

Z

5 digit ZIP matches, Address (Street) does not

 

Note: AVS code X is also a valid response. This response indicates the Address (Street) and 9 digit ZIP match. The payment gateway cannot be configured to automatically reject AVS code X.

AVS responses B, E, G, N, R, S, U are the default payment gateway AVS settings. When one of these AVS codes is returned, transactions are automatically rejected by the payment gateway unless you modify the default settings in the Merchant Interface.

To configure transaction rejection settings based on the AVS response code, 

  1. Log into your Gateway Merchant Interface or Portal
  2. Go to Options
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Click Address Verification Service in the Security Settings section.
  5. Select the checkbox (es) next to the AVS codes for which the payment gateway should reject transactions.
  6. Click Save.
 

 

Note: In order to use AVS, you must require the billing address and ZIP code when collecting payment information from your customers. Please contact your Web developer or software provider to confirm that your credit card processing software requires this information.

Tips for using AVS:

  • AVS code N (neither the street address nor the ZIP code matches) is the most fundamental AVS check. If you implement only one AVS rejection setting, this should be it.
  • If N is deselected, then the following settings should also be deselected: B, E, G, R, S, U. These responses mean that the address could not be verified by the card issuer. If you are not rejecting transactions when there is a legitimate AVS mismatch (N), then it is unnecessary to reject transactions that could not be verified with the issuer.
  • To avoid errors when accepting prepaid debit cards or gift cards (stored-value cards with a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express logo), you will need to disable the U filter setting. For this type of transaction, the actual customer's billing address often is not associated with the gift card or does not exist on file at the issuing bank.
  • Not all AVS checks from banks outside the United States will return G (the credit card issuing bank is of non-U.S. origin, and does not support AVS checks). Therefore, this is not an absolutely effective method for limiting transactions to the U.S.
  • Code Y (both the street address and the first 5 digits of the ZIP code match) is the desired response in most cases. This setting should never be selected for rejection.

The AVS filter is designed to provide a basic level of protection from suspicious transactions. However, the AVS filter is not intended for use as absolute protection nor is it intended for use in all processing scenarios as there are many reasons why an address and ZIP code may not match. You are not required to reject a transaction due to an AVS mismatch, but it is recommended that you enable some level of address verification.


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