What is AVS?

Have you paid for your online order with credit or debit card and your order is declined?

Some of us have experienced this at some point. There are many reasons why your credit or debit card is declined when placing your order online.

Online stores are taking measures against fraudulent activities online by using a service called Address Verification System or AVS  which serves the purpose of verifying  that the information  the card holder  enters in the billing portion of the order in fact matches the information that the account holder   has registered on his  credit cards records.

For instance you enter  101 Main Street, Cliffside Heights, AZ  10228 as your billing address because this is your work address but the address on your credit card records shows 2040 Valley Street, Cliffside Heights, AZ 10228 which is your home address; your order will be declined due to address mismatch. The same applies  to your zip code if enter incorrectly.

Why  does  my money  show it was charged in  my account?

Once you order is declined, the payment is put on hold by your credit card institution waiting for the merchant to claim the payment. Since the merchant is informed buy the AVS institution that there is a mismatch on the address the merchant will not claim the payment and the money will return to the account holder usually at the end of the day or the next day.

Some international ( outside US) credit cards and debit card institution block addresses  from the Address Verification System so the order can be declined just because the information cannot be verified. You will have to use another method of payment such as Paypal or money order payment.

Keep in mind that merchants are more aware of fraudulent activities and they may request additional information. Make sure you send your information to the right place by emailing merchant directly and not responding the email if you are not sure it is coming from a reliable source.

Credit cards institution strongly advice merchants to send payment to the billing addresses to avoid “unauthorized charge” claim from the card holder and to protect the consumer victim of delinquent transactions.

What to do when paying with credit or debit cards?

So next time your order is declined or before placing your order make sure you follow guidelines that will prevent you shipping  for being delay:

1. Enter your address as it appears on your credit or debit card records

2. Some Merchants will follow the guidelines from the credit or debit cards institution so they will ship your order only to the billing address.  Make sure billing and shipping address are the same

3. If you are buying with a Gift Card. Login to the gift card website and register your address with them first.

4. Declined orders placed with debit card, will hold your money for several hours so try to enter the information correctly.

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