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Online Shopping - US billing address/US issued credit card required

 8:38 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't understand why some US based websites require a US billing address or a US issued credit card when you shop with them. Is this a way to say that non-US based shoppers are not good enough to be their customers? A lot of famous online shops (Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, etc) accepts international billing address and I would expect their customer base and sales are so much better than those sites who discriminate against international customers. With the melt-down of the US economy, and the bankruptcy of some retailers, I hope those sites requiring US billing address or US issued credit card will open their doors to international customers to boost their sales.



 10:07 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi , i understand your concerns for this at times it can be frustrating , all these steps are to prevent fraud orders from many parts of world . Due to charge backs faced in case of frauds webmasters tend to avoid international customers.

Try looking for the contact address and emailing the seller and see what he says.

Good luck and happy new year


 11:47 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

My UK based processor gives me better terms, and chargeback protection, if I opt to take UK cards only. Probably a similar issue.


 4:48 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Quite simple actually.

1. Fraud rates from overseas are higher than from the US.
2. Address verification does not work for most cards issues outside the US, so cannot verify if the order is being shipped to a legitimate address.

We usually tell customers in many countries to use PayPal, as there is simply no way we can verify European and most other cards.

Corey Bryant

 9:59 pm on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

AVS (Address Verification Service) (albeit an archaic method) is still the first defense to help vet a transaction. Transactions for consumers not based in the United States usually cannot be vetted through AVS.

Sure - the economy might be in a bad place right now, but that is even more of a reason to help prevent fraudulent transactions now. Many small businesses live month to month, and a couple of chargebacks could potentially put the small business out of business.


 11:12 pm on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been burned twice this year on transactions, one of which involved a card drawn on a bank from outside the US. I had no way to deal with the bank, and so had to eat the loss.

I get a lot of people from Canada wanting to order items, and I'll ship to them if they use PayPal.

It's just too easy to get screwed.


 12:07 pm on Jan 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

The other thing is that many credit card processors charge a much higher rate to process international cards than US cards. Mine charges almost twice as much. It's also a hassle just to mail international orders because of the customs form (and I use priority mail, which means free boxes but not for international--I have to buy those). I'm willing to do this because I get maybe 5-10% of orders internationally, but others might not want to bother. It doesn't have much to do with prejudice, I don't think. It's cost.


 5:47 am on Jan 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

It got to the point where all the extra charges and additional time needed to process and ship overseas orders was eating up just about all of our profits from those transactions. When you add to that the fact that the majority of fraud attempts we were getting were also from those orders, it was just plain business sense to stop accepting overseas orders.

It's much more expensive all the way around to accept non-US orders. The credit card company notices are constantly coming in saying those rates are going up even higher so we probably shouldn't even be accepting Canadian orders at this point either. I've actually been accused of being prejudiced against anyone not in the US when I just literally can't afford to accept those orders anymore!


 11:36 pm on Jan 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

We tried exporting to Canada, just 1,000 miles away. Wasn't worth the effort.

There is also the problem of dealing with returns from foreign countries.

With the melt-down of the US economy...

Currently the US economy is in better shape than many other countries.


 12:37 am on Jan 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Blame the lazy credit card companies for not coming up with a system to prvent fraud - they could do it but refuse to imo


 12:56 am on Jan 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Blame the lazy credit card companies for not coming up with a system to prvent fraud - they could do it but refuse to imo

Why should they? Any losses from fraud are just borne by the merchant who processed the charge, not the credit card companies themselves. The only money they're out when a credit card gets stolen is the token amount of time to change the account number and the postage to send a replacement card.


 2:27 am on Jan 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Isn't that token amount to change account numbers and send replacement cards covered many times over by the chargeback fees which are also paid by the merchant?


 4:23 pm on Jan 7, 2009 (gmt 0)



 10:25 pm on Jan 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

The biggest isuue I had (I did try international) was it was almost impossible to check the card as has been said before, then I had customs seize and order (guess who ate the order), then I had FedEx double to cost due to box size (they do weight and or box size whatever is more they charge that), then I had delivery problems and dealing with that with 12 hour time difference and on and on.

I would love to ship world wide but unless you have a huge profit margin it is impossible not that I don't want to it is not good business.


 1:43 pm on Jan 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I tell customers out front that I cannot refund them if their customs seizes the package or if it is lost in their mail system. I also tell them that there is no tracking on international shipments, because I use USPS and that's the way they do it for first-class international mail. I have found that with certain countries, it is problematic. I no longer ship any of certain items to Australia or NZ because of everything getting seized, for instance, and postal services in some Eastern European countries seem to be either incompetent or run by thieves, because packages get through customs but never arrive at the customer's door. But generally to Europe and of course Canada, there isn't any problem. Right after 9/11, it was more of a pain.

In terms of the checking the card, I look at what they are buying and how much of it. If I get a funny feeling, I check the ip address. I used to check a lot more closely and ask them for their bank phone number and actually call, but now I just go by gut. No evil eye, it works. I think it depends a good deal on what you sell, also.


 2:08 pm on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Currently the US economy is in better shape than many other countries.

Of the western/1st world countries the US is in the worst shape. It is the epicenter of the meltdown.


 3:45 pm on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not to hijack the thread, but the US at least has an economy that produces stuff.

The UK also has a huge public borrowing, we relied (def past tense) massively on the Financial sector, and British Manufacturing has been in decline for a generation. Retail, the other bastion of British economic growth, is taking a pummeling.

Token contribution to the thread:
We can do security checks on UK cards, but not foreign ones. We tend to use verified Paypal accounts for international orders- and only with a Signed For service. The gut instinct theory works well for us- and the profit we're making on international orders justifies the risk.

Of course, we look quite cheap as the pound collapes against the Euro and even the dollar.


 12:41 am on Jan 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Of the western/1st world countries the US is in the worst shape. It is the epicenter of the meltdown

2008 stock market returns

New York - down 33.84%
London - down 31.3%
Paris - down 42.7%
Frankfurt - down 40.4%
Mumbai - down 51.9%
Singapore - down 49.2%
Sydney - down 41.3%
Hong Kong - down 48.3%
Shanghai - down 65.2%
Tokyo - down 42.1%

Iceland is off over 90%!



 11:28 pm on Jan 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Getting back to the original topic, I'll give an example of a Canadian order that I turned down.

I received an order for a widget. The billing and shipping address were a street in a small town in upper New York state. When I went to run a name and address verification with American Express, I was told it was an international card (warning sign #1). I called the name and address verification department, and was told that the name verified, but the address did not.

I emailed the customer and told him I needed the correct billing address. The one he emailed back was in Ontario. (warning sign#2: why didn't he give me his correct address the first time?)

I know that American Express will not protect me at all in a dispute unless the product is shipped to the billing address. I politely told the customer that I could not ship to the New York state address, as I would not be protected should something happen in shipping.

He replied that he's bought things on the internet all the time and had them shipped to New York, told me to cancel the order, and that he would buy from someone else. (He'll have to pay a lot more, though, since my price on this item is far lower than anyone else's.).

I suspect that, if I'd shipped it to the New York address, I would have been hit with a chargeback, and would have lost.


 2:06 pm on Jan 12, 2009 (gmt 0)


The stock market is not the best indicator of the state of an economy. You must be aware of that.

December job losses in the US was 650 000, December job losses in Canada was 30 000. The US is 10 times bigger, so you are losing jobs at a rate twice as fast as we are. I believe that the US has lost close to 2.5 million jobs in the last 12 months, many banks have failed, close to a 2 trillion dollar deficit, home values plunging.

Completely opposite up here, no banks have failed or are even close to failing, our guv was still in surplus the last quarter and home values are holding steady.

</completely off topic>

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