Start Accepting Credit Cards

* Merchant Card Check

* Because Internet hackers who work to gain access to databases containing card data pose one of the biggest fraud threats, acquirers need to review their merchant contracts to ensure that they have properly indicated the potential risks and liabilities of maintaining cardholder data. More specifically, contracts should point out that merchants are responsible for the security of the cardholder information that is in their possession.

It's important for the merchants that they have the right to ensure that they are doing business with a legitimate cardholder. They can verify the cardholder's signature to make sure it corresponds with the name embossed on the card. If it does not, merchants can request another credit card or some form of identification as a way to protect themselves.

Merchants can try calling the customer by the name on the card. If the cardholder does not respond, the merchant should ask for another credit card or additional identification. To validate the sale, merchants can request an authorization number by calling the code number provided by their ISO. This automated system guides merchants through the code call by asking them to enter the customer's card number and the transaction information.

Merchant acquirers may also want to provide fraud prevention services to their merchants, such as address verification, which matches a cardholder's street address information with the bank before shipping the merchandise. If the two doesn't match, the merchant can discuss the matter with the customer and resolve the issue before shipping out products. Merchants who have access to these types of services should take full advantage of them to protect themselves to the fullest. Using common sense and obtaining extra information from the customer can go a long way toward reducing chargebacks and protecting the merchant, the ISO and the acquiring bank.

Merchants should be encouraged to check out the security features on every credit card, including holograms that change color in the light, and non-erasable signature lines. They also should be encouraged to call the ISO with any concerns regarding transactions that seem out of the ordinary.

Merchant acquirers, of course, should also feel free to call the merchant to verify any transaction. Merchants often do not understand that the transaction authorization code verifies only that a cardholder has funds available for that particular inquiry. The transaction authorization code does not guarantee that security work has been done to confirm the sale with the legal cardholder. Merchant acquirers can protect themselves by requiring invoices or shipping documents to verify that a charge is legitimate.