What is the proper way to process a swiped transaction?
In order to properly process a swiped transaction you must swipe the card through your terminal, obtain a valid authorization and obtain a signature on the sales slip that prints. You must validate that the signature on the back of the card matches the signature from your customer. If there is not a signature on the back of the credit card, you should ask for another form of identification that includes a signature. If you are unable to swipe the card due to a bad magnetic stripe on the card, you should obtain an imprint of the card to prove it was present at the time of the transaction.
What is a Voice Authorization and when would I have to obtain one?
In very rare incidents you may receive a call center or other similar message on your terminal. These occur when there is a chance there could be a problem with the transaction you are attempting to authorize. It usually means that your customer is behaving outside the norm of her usual spending patterns. For example, she might be on vacation and actually live in an area far away from your business or this may be a larger than normal purchase. Her Bank just wants to ask her some questions to insure she is the true cardholder and that the transaction is safe for her and you as the business.
You may also just need to obtain an authorization when your terminal is not working. Call the voice authorization center and follow the prompts to either obtain your approval number or decline. Be sure to record the approval number so you can Force or Offline the sale into your terminal later so you will be paid. When your terminal prompts you for the authorization code number enter the number the voice authorization center provided.
Why is "AVS" or Address Verification Service important to me?
AVS or Address Verification Service can be very helpful when determining whether to accept a phone or web sale. AVS is available on US cards. When you key enter or accept a web transaction through a gateway or terminal, you can base your approval on the result of the AVS inquiry. If you have AVS enabled on your terminal or gateway, it will prompt you for the cardholder's billing street number and zip code. When that information is provided, the issuing bank checks it against its records and will tell you if that information matches or not. If it doesn't match, you may not be dealing with the true cardholder. If it matches, you should only ship your merchandise to that address. By shipping to another address you lose chargeback protection as the true cardholder may claim it is not authorized. If you can provide proof you shipped to an address where the AVS was a match, you earn extra chargeback protection.
Why should I accept credit cards for payment?
Accepting credit cards is an important part of conducting business today. By accepting credit cards, you are creating the opportunity for more impulse purchases by your customers. You are also inviting your customers to spend more at your business since they can spread the purchase over several monthly payments. Convenience, security and speed of check out are also good reasons to accept credit cards.