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Q: How do U.S. E-retailors securely handle International Online credit card orders? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: How do U.S. E-retailors securely handle International Online credit card orders?
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: streetivy-ga
List Price: $59.50
Posted: 08 Jan 2004 02:33 PST
Expires: 07 Feb 2004 02:33 PST
Question ID: 294366
Please Note: Not looking to learn how to set up Merchant Account or
Third Party Credit Card transaction processors.

Catch-22 Problem - 
Background: Website has Merchant Account from Merchant Account
Provider (Such as Card Services International No Address Verification is provided for
International orders (outside of U.S.) MAP says "process such orders
at your own risk". For Address Verification the website must contact
the website International Customer and ask for their credit card's
issuing bank (not a very fast process).
Problem: Issuing bank will not provide E-retailor/Website with address
verifications (multiple casses like this) as they feel that this is a
security breach. Issuing Bank will only talk to and confirm/deny
customer addresses with another bank, and are even then reluctant to
do so over the phone.
Question: Accepting International orders without address verification
is risky. How do other U.S. E-retailors handle International On-Line
Credit Card Orders? Do all MAP's put the burden of address
verification for International orders on the E-retailor?
Idea: I read in another answer on this site about Echo, Inc. which provides Merchant Services but is
actually a bank. Would this make a difference in terms of getting
address verification for International orders.
Fustration: This website can not be the only E-retailor that has this
problem, hence the desire to know what others are doing to securely
accept International On-line credit card orders. It does not seem that
the Merchant Account Providers give any support beyond confirming that
the credit card in question for a specific transaction has funds
available from the issuing bank.

Please investigate creatively, provide specific examples if possible
and I will happily tip appropriately.

Subject: Re: How do U.S. E-retailors securely handle International Online credit card ord
Answered By: hummer-ga on 08 Jan 2004 12:52 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi streetivy,

There are no magic bullets out there, merchants always take a risk
transacting credit cards (no matter from home or abroad). Even though
there are steps you can take to lessen the risk, there is no single
tool to use - check several sources plus use your instincts and common

The first thing to do is to join Merchant 911:
"Our mission:
 *To give merchants the information they need to help themselves
protect against on-line fraud.
 *To bring pressure on the credit card industry to change policies,
procedures, and regulations so that THEY are responsible for their
mistakes and poor fraud screening.
 *To act as a clearing house for merchants to report fraud and educate
themselves about on-line payment related problems and issues."

Merchant911 maintains a wealth of information on its website regarding
credit card fraud and prevention, but it also has a Credit Card
Verification Web Service (BETA) which members can use for free. After
you become a member, you not only will have access to all of the info
and the forum, but you'll also (if you want to) receive fraud alerts
by email.


There are three popular requirements that many merchants use for
international customers:
1) American Express is the only credit card company which verifies
international addresses and many merchants will only accept AMEX from
international customers.
2) For other credit cards, merchants often require that the billing
and mailing addresses match exactly.
3) It is popular to ask for a faxed copy of both sides of the credit
card on a signed authorization form.

Following are policies from eleven online stores:

1) "There are a number of ways for us to obtain acceptance of your
International Credit Card .... Any one of these methods will suffice
 - Have your Issuing Bank call us in the USA Toll Free.
 - Have your Issuing Bank give us their USA or Canadian Toll Free Phone Number.
 - You may send us with a "Photo ID" with your address"

2) To use a non-US credit card, you must provide Proof of Identity: 
"After placing your order through our online shopping cart, please
fax,   email or mail a copy of your:
 - credit card (front and back),
 - state-issued ID, Driver's License or Passport, and
 - your signature"

3) What are the requirements for international orders?:
"For all international credit card orders over $100, you must fill out
an authorization form by hand, including a photocopy of an official
picture ID, as well as a photocopy of both the back and front sides of
your credit card.
International money orders and PayPal orders from outside the U.S. are
not required to provide the above photocopies. For more information
regarding international orders click here."

4) ...the following guidelines be observed when placing your order:
 "1. International orders over $100.00 must select Express shipping to
ensure all orders can be tracked and insured.
  2. Orders over $100.00 must also use American Express whenever
possible to facilitate the use of online address verification systems.
  3. Orders shipped using Global Priority Mail are not insured and
require no signature confirmation.
  4. Many International Orders may be required to provide additional
security information by filling in an Order Authorization Form ...and
faxing it back to us ... or sending via email.
  5. A recent copy of a current credit card statement should be
included with this form to allow us to contact the issuing bank to
verify the billing address.
  6. All orders can only be processed and shipped to the billing
address as verified by the issuing bank."

5) International Ordering Guidelines:
"Due to the high amount of credit card fraud, up to 25% of all
international orders, we manually screen all International orders
Only American Express provides us with the ability to verify
International credit cards. For this reason we highly recommend you
use this card if it is available.
International orders placed with a credit card require manual
processing to ensure their validity.
Most International orders will be required to provide additional
security information by filling out the authorization form.
A recent copy of a current credit card statement should be included
with this form to allow us to contact the issuing bank to verify the
billing address."

6) New Shipping Policy International Orders:
"We only ship to the US, its possessions, and the following countries:
Canada, UK, and Australia.
Sorry, but due to the high incident of credit card fraud using
international orders, no exceptions will be made.
International Credit Card orders are limited to 50.00 or less."

7) We ... welcome our friends from around the world.. 
 - Canada, United Kingdom and Australia:  
"We can ship almost as easily as to USA locations.  We normally have
to call your bank to verify your credit card billing address and name.
 - All other countries:  Verification of the validity of credit cards
is much more difficult.  We can not process other overseas order until
we receive one of the following:
    1- Scanned images of both sides of credit card sent via
attachments to email, OR
    2- Scanned images of both sides of credit card sent via fax."

8) On all International Orders we require the following:
"Faxed or scanned copy of credit card and photo identification, i.e.
drivers license or passport."

9) For countries outside of the United States or Canada.:
"Pay online with your credit card:
Step 1) Check to see if we ship to your country.
Step 2) Use your billing address for your shipping address.
Step 3) Enter your billing address exactly as your bank has it on file.	
We are required to phone your bank and verify the accuracy of the billing address. 
Note: If these steps are not followed exactly, your order will not be
processed even if you get an approval code while checking out."

10) International Orders:
"We do accept orders from International customers. However due to an
alarming increase in use of stolen credit cards, all new international
customers are subject to a credit verification process. This process
may take up to 4 days to complete. We have to communicate with your
bank to make sure that the credit card is being used by the original
card holder. Some banks take longer than others to respond. If you are
in a hurry to get the order shipped then you can fax us a legible copy
of your credit card, front and back, with a copy of some

11) Payment Options:
"Credit Cards - For all credit card orders, an Credit Card
Authorization Form must be filled out and faxed back to us.
Download a copy of Credit Card Authorization Form by clicking on one
of the links below:
  >Credit Card Authorization Form.pdf - (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
  >Credit Card Authorization Form.doc - (Requires Microsoft Word)"


Some things you can do manually on your own to try and verify a credit
card in regards to international orders:

Type in the first six digits (BIN) of the credit card number to find
out the issuing bank. Provides a way to see if the issuing bank is in
the same country as that provided by the card holder.:

Request the customer's phone number that is attached to the credit
card, then validate it and the billing address by calling the issuing
bank. This may require asking the customer to call their bank first to
authorize them to give you what you need.

Fax the customer an authorization form that he can fill out and sign. 
Have him fax it back to you with copies of both the front and back of
the credit card.

Match up the billing address of the card holder with the customer's
actual physical location.

Insist on a local email address (not a web-based free account such as Hotmail).

These hide the true location of the client - use caution.


Additional Links:

Match a Telephone Area Code to a Postal Zip:

Reverse Phonebooks, Reverse Email and Cell Phone Lookup Tools:

Visa (& M/C) Merchant Verification Service: 800-847-2750

American Express verification of billing address: 1-800-528-2121 





I hope this helps and I wish you many years of trouble-free online
sales. If you have any questions, please post a clarification request
before closing/rating my answer.

Thank you and Good Luck!

Google Search Terms Used:

"credit cards" international verification
"credit cards" international verifying
"credit cards" address verification
international fraud  "credit cards"
streetivy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $15.00
Particularly appreciated Hummer's ability to provide a solution for me
as well as provide an answer to my question!

Subject: Re: How do U.S. E-retailors securely handle International Online credit card ord
From: hummer-ga on 09 Jan 2004 07:56 PST
Hi streetivy,

Thank you so much for your nice note, rating, and tip - I really
appreciate them all and I'm happy to hear I found a solution that
worked for you. In my answer, I focused on sellers who had special
requirements for international sales, but you know, there are many
sellers who ship worldwide and treat all orders equally by just
keeping alert and using common sense. Again, good luck and thank you.


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