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Usually when you pay with a Visa or MasterCard online you have to provide a billing address. Many online shops, especially from the United States, will only send purchases to the cardholders billing address, to prevent someone fraudulently using someone else's card.

In what countries is there actually a system that allows the merchant to verify the address the customer entered online - if it matches with the credit card billing address?

I suspect such systems (Address Verification System), for Visa and MasterCard cards, only exists for cards issued by banks from:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom

In all other countries the customer can enter any address during the credit card purchase, and the merchant has absolutely no way of verifying if it matches the cardholder billing address (and if they claim to verify it - its just a bluff).

Are there any other countries where an Address Verification System for Visa/MasterCard exists?

Has anyone ever observed that his online purchase with a Visa or MasterCard from any other country was rejected because of address (on name) mismatch?

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4 Answers 4

The merchant has a way to verify your address in any country. While the system may not necessarily be automated, there's always the fall-back of calling the local Visa/MC call center and doing it over the phone.

Working in a banking institution I've dealt with this particular process, and yes, I've seen cases where purchases were refused because the verification couldn't be performed (some card issuers refuse performing the verification over the phone) or failed.

Whether the on-line merchants in other countries actually do that - is a different issue. I expect that it depends on how many times they've been burned with charge-backs on "fraudulent" purchases from the given area you want to ship to.

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Well, so such verification would require TWO phone calls: merchant to his local Visa/MC center, and during that phone call, the Visa/MC center calling the cardholders bank - this can't work as it'd take too much time, while online transactions are instantly accepted or rejected within seconds. The web browser form POST would time-out while these two phone calls are being made. Not to mention the fact that the cost of employee time for these phone calls would often exceed the credit card processing fee on the transaction. –  miernik Nov 9 '11 at 0:55
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@miernik You're correct, that's how it works. Merchant calls its service provider call center, which in turn calls the issuer's call center. Doesn't have to be while the merchant waits, can be done off-line, or over the fax, after all - the customer is not waiting at the register. The purchase is not complete when you get the "confirmation" page on your browser. –  littleadv Nov 9 '11 at 1:00
    
Living in Israel, I myself had orders canceled a couple of days later because American business couldn't verify my shipping address (curiously, while Americans expect that from everyone else, they themselves wouldn't call the call center to perform it manually). –  littleadv Nov 9 '11 at 1:00
    
Other than that, when online shopping I usually happily use a completely different address then the address provided to my bank - for example in Paypal - and never got a reject. The largest transaction was several hundred UK pounds with a non-UK card, and a different address was happily accepted. –  miernik Nov 9 '11 at 1:01
    
@miernik - that's a fine observation, but is meaningless. Some merchants don't verify anything at all and take their chances, some others verify everything and are very strict, most are somewhere in the middle. In the US I've purchased things online (from domestic merchants) to be shipped to an address that's not even in the same state as my billing address just as well. So what? It's up to the merchant. –  littleadv Nov 9 '11 at 1:04

Keep in mind that there is a significant difference in credit card AVS (Address Verification System) and actually verifying an address. AVS only checks the primary number and the ZIP code. Here's more about the difference in address verification.

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A possible way-around (deviation from original question, but perhaps helpful for those facing this issue):-

The organization that rejected my transaction for inability to perform AVS suggested me to take a pre-paid VISA or Master card.

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In India, all credit card transaction on the Internet require an additional “password” (different from the CVV or cash withdrawal PIN) to be entered. After you enter your card details, you are taken to your bank’s website where the additional password known only to your bank is to be entered. Only after this is the transaction authorized.

Thus it is not necessary to match the address or ship it to a particular address.

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This is called 3-D Secure and has nothing to do with the question. –  miernik Nov 9 '11 at 3:44
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True. However if there is 3-D Secure, do we really need address verification? Address verification was in place to mitigate the risk of internet transactions to an extent. In my opinion 3-D secure makes address verification redundant. –  Dheer Nov 9 '11 at 6:25
    
this is not a question about whether it is needed or makes sense. This is just a question about the current existence of address verification systems. –  miernik Nov 9 '11 at 6:34
    
I found the information about 3D secure helpful because I need to know how to confirm foreign payments, be that with AVS or another method. Thanks Dheer. –  user6992 Aug 16 '12 at 21:46

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