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problems with AVS on international cards

authorize.net problem or wider spread?



8:54 am on Dec 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We don't have a LOT of international orders, but we have noticed some international orders where AVS "kicks-in" for international cards, fails b.c. of no address match. The order gets declined.

We use Authorize.net and have contacted them and they say there is nothing wrong, yet one can find blogs out there where there have been complaints about this problem and the common denominator was Authorize.net.

Results for the same credit card can differ .. sometimes AVS failure (no match on street/zip (N)) to insufficient information (U). In the later, AVS is not applied and the transaction gets approved.

Is this a common problem with AVS in general, or is authorize.net having a problem?


12:03 pm on Dec 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Some time ago I talked to authorize.net about this very thing, and they said a different system was used for address verification outside the US, so there would never usually be a match. I was told if the message came back "no match" in fact, that it was likely they were using a US-issued card fraudulently. I don't know about that. I have just turned off the ability of AVS to decline a transaction. Even for US transactions, I sometimes get "no match" when the billing address is a PO box or the street name is a number. My verification for international transactions is my intuition--what are they buying and so on. It works a lot better than AVS.


5:35 pm on Dec 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The most recent example where this happened, the purchaser was in Australia with the card issuer being in GB. All is legit and the customer has purchased before.

What was interesting in this case is that they were able to process is charge w/o address verification but when (after customer's approval) I had to charge a small amount extra for shipping, it declined the same card on AVS no match.

We've had other cases (international orders) where us manually adding the extra shipping onto a customers card did not affect how AVS was handled.

I don't know who (what system/subsystem/entities) actually does the AVS, but it looks like somewhere along the line there is an inconsistency in when AVS gets invoked.

Who makes that decision for a card (e.g. is it Authorize.net) and why would the decision (international vs non-international) vary when it can be demonstrated (documented issuing financial institution) that the card is outside the US?

We are OK with how AVS is handled in the US, it's just the international orders / international cards that we'd like AVS to keep its "paws" OFF!


7:10 pm on Dec 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

We never get AVS matches on international orders. The merchant account we use (not authorize.net) in the US can't match an international address. It just comes up as unavailable. The charge still gets approved.

Thats why we always ask for the bank phone number when taking an international order. We just call the bank and verify that the name and address matches the one on record with the card.


7:34 pm on Dec 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As far as I can tell, we have no control over whether a card (international or not) is forced into AVS. What usually (and should) happen is that international orders should not go thru AVS (because they should return a "U" or information unavailable). In the later case, the customer can complete (pay for) their order.

When an international card is forced into AVS, it fails and the customer cannot place their order and often will not even contact us. I don't think AVS should be invoked, but who do we contact if Authorize.net says there are no problems.

I hate to lose customers. Our merchant services guidelines/best practices says to use AVS, so we need to keep it active for US but turn it off for international orders. I don't think that's do'able with Authrorize.net. Or, maybe there is a way to do that?


12:09 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You can keep it active but not allow it to decline where there is no match. Somewhere in the settings you can adjust that. I am like you and don't want to lose international transactions. I don't know if I get charged a higher discount rate for that. Probably. Is there anything that does NOT cause a higher discount rate to be charged, lol?

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