Address Verification Service (AVS)
If you’re selling goods or services online, the most common payment method is usually credit or debit card. To prevent fraudulent transactions, the card holder’s address should be verified.
An Address Verification Service will compare the address given by the customer to the billing address on their bank’s database. The address verification works only on numeric values. This means that the street number will be verified but not the street name. City or state will not be identified by their name but by the zip code. If part of the address given does not match, you will receive a code that defines the mismatch—either street number, unit number or zip code. Because the system works only on numeric values, it’s possible for errors to occur but this is rare. Address verification is widely used by online vendors and is a trusted security measure used in conjunction with the CVV2 number at the back of the card.
The codes used to identify false address information will differ between American Express, Visa, and Mastercard. Codes will also differ depending on whether the card holder’s bank is local or international. Some international banks may require manual verification and many address verification service providers may charge different rates for international transactions.
The list of codes for address verification is long and each code is identified by the type of card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express or a foreign bank). The code will also reflect the geographic region of the address and the mismatch details like the street number or zip/postal code. Your Address Verification Service provider will provide a list of code definitions describing the reason for the type of mismatch that is detected.