Address Verification Service (AVS)
AVS allows you to check a cardholder’s billing address with the card issuer. An AVS request includes the billing address (street address and/or zip or postal code). It can be transmitted in one of two ways:
- As part of an authorization request
- By itself
AVS checks the address information and provides a result code to you, which indicates whether the address given by the cardholder matches the address on file with the issuer. AVS can only be used worldwide – however it is an optional service and not all issuers participate – more and more countries are adopting AVS checks each years.
AVS Works as Follows
- The customer contacts your website to place an order.
- Confirm the usual order information.
- Ask the customer for the billing address (street address and/or zip or postal code) for the card being used (i.e. the address is where the customer’s monthly card statement is sent for the card being used).
- Enter the billing address and the transaction information into the authorization request system and process both requests at the same time.
The issuer makes an authorization decision separately from the AVS request and compares the cardholder billing address sent with the billing address for that account. The issuer then returns both the authorization response and a single character alphabetic code result that indicates whether the address given by the cardholder matches the address on file with the card issuer.
The value of AVS as an indicator of potential fraud has been amply demonstrated in card studies. Since the person fraudulently using a card is not likely to know the cardholder’s billing address for that card account, a “no match” AVS result can be a key predictor of potential fraud.
Using AVS potentially reduces fraud-related chargeback volume. Reduced fraud-related chargebacks translate into maximized profitability.
Improved Bottom Line
For card-not-present merchants, fraudulent transactions can lead to lost revenue and can also mean extra processing time and costs, which often narrow profit margins. AVS complements the merchant’s current fraud detection tools to provide a greater opportunity to control losses and operating costs.
AVS Result Codes
One of the following AVS result codes will be returned to the merchant indicating the issuer’s response to the AVS request.
|A||Street addresses match. The street addresses match but the postal or ZIP codes do not, or the request does not include the postal or ZIP code.||Yes||Yes|
|B||Street addresses match. Postal or ZIP code not verified due to incompatible formats. (Merchant bank sent both street address and postal or ZIP code.)||Yes||Yes|
|C||Street address and postal code or ZIP code not verified due to incompatible
(Merchant bank sent both street address and postal or ZIP code.)
|D||Street addresses and postal or ZIP codes match.||Yes|
|F||Street addresses and postal codes match. Applies to U.K.-domestic transactions only.||Yes|
|G||Address information not verified for international transaction. Issuer is not an AVSparticipant, or AVS data was present in the request but issuer did not return an AVS result.||Yes|
|I||Address information not verified.||Yes|
|M||Street addresses and postal and ZIP codes match.||Yes|
|N||No match. Merchant bank sent postal or ZIP code only, or street address only, or both postal or ZIP code and street address.||Yes||Yes|
|P||Postal or ZIP codes match. Merchant bank sent both postal or ZIP code and street address, but street address not verified due to incompatible formats.||Yes||Yes|
|R||Retry. System unavailable or timed out. Issuer ordinarily performs address verification but was unavailable.||Yes|
|S||Service not supported at the Issuer||Yes||Yes|
|U||Address information is unavailable for that account number, or the card issuer does not support.||Yes|
|W||9 digit ZIP matches, Address (or street) dos not match.||Yes|
|X||Exact AVS match|
|Y||Street address and postal and ZIP code match.||Yes|
|Z||Postal or ZIP codes match, street addresses do not match or street address not included in request.||Yes||Yes|
|0||No service available (might be at the issuer or at the acquirer side)||Yes||Yes|
Guidelines for Using Domestic and Cross-border AVS Result Codes
While we cannot recommend any particular approach, the following general guidelines are drawn from card-not-present industry practices and may be helpful. You should establish your own policy regarding the handling of transactions based on AVS result codes.
|Domestic||Cross-border||Definition||Explanation||Action(s) to Consider|
|Y||D||Exact Match||Both street address and ZIP or Postal Code match.||Generally speaking, you will want to proceed with transactions for which you have received an authorization approval and an "exact match."|
|F||M||Exact Match||Both street address and ZIP or Postal Code match.||Generally speaking, you will want to proceed with transactions for which you have received an authorization approval and an "exact match."|
|A||B||Partial Match||Street address matches, but ZIP or Postal Code does not.||You may want to follow up before shipping merchandise. The issuer might have the wrong ZIP or Postal Code in its file; merchant staff may have entered the ZIP or Postal Code incorrectly; or this response may indicate a potentially fraudulent situation.|
|Z||P||Partial Match||ZIP Code matches, but street address does not.||Unless you sent only a ZIP or Postal Code AVS request and it matched, you may want to follow up before shipping merchandise. The issuer may have the wrong address in its file or have the same address information in a different format; the cardholder may have recently moved; merchant staff may have entered the address incorrectly; or this response may indicate a potentially fraudulent situation.|
|N||N||Street address and ZIP or Postal Code do not match.||You will probably want to follow up with the cardholder before shipping merchandise. The cardholder may have moved recently and not yet notified the issuer; the cardholder may have given you the shipping address instead of the billing address; or the person may be attempting to execute a fraudulent transaction. “No match” responses clearly warrant further investigation.|
Please note that on ZIP or Postal Code only requests and P.O. Box addresses, issuers may respond either with a “Y” (Exact Match) or a “Z” (Partial Match — ZIP Code/Postal Code Matches).
AVS result codes and explanations provided here are meant to give you enough information to make your own determination of what works best for you. How you treat these codes may be different than the way another merchant may choose to interpret them.
Address Verification Service is one of the fraud prevention tools to reduce your risk. Where available:
- Verify the cardholder’s billing address via AVS. This helps to validate the cardholder’s billing address directly with the issuer.
- Submit the authorization request with the cardholder’s billing address and necessary CVV2 code information. The issuer will return a CVV2 and AVS result codes with the authorization.