Say I purchase an item from an online retailer. I give them my credit card, address, cvc code, etc. When the retailer attempts to charge my card, what information will my bank (or mastercard/visa/etc.) give to them?

Will my full address be given back to them? Or simply a yes/no regarding if the one I provided was correct?

I'm curious about the same thing with ACH deposits, but that should probably be in another question.


  • 1
    It would obviously be a pointless security measure if the response to an incorrect address was "Rejected because the address should be '4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging.'", since that would enable them to try again with the right address. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:11
  • @DJClayworth Good point! Looks like what's in use is called an address verification system and returns back certain codes that say how close the address was or if it matched.
    – dmcmulle
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


It depends on what provider they are using to process your charge and if it's through a website, a phone application or a desktop application.

For example, if they build a desktop application with Authorize.net, the desktop application will take your information in, and then make a webservice call with it to a secure authorize.net processing platform. Something similar is true for FirstData.

However, if they are using PayPal to process your request, you are routed to a paypal site to make the charge, then the funds are sent to the merchant.

As for what is returned that also depends on the provider and the application. If you are using a website it's likely an XML response with all the information they provide upon a transaction attempt. If it's a desktop application they may just hand the cc info off to a library which processes the charge and then returns specific confirmed or denied flags.

So to be totally honest without knowing the exact situation in which you are charging your card, it's impossible to know. For all you know they are putting your credit card information in a database unencrypted and then charging them all at the end of the week in one giant batch.

If you are able to find out whom they are using as a credit card processing provider then you can look for that companies developer documentation. It will provide you with all the information you are looking for including examples.

  • I guess I more meant the actual charging process to the card and what visa/mastercard will return, not the party trying to make the charge.
    – dmcmulle
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:18
  • Visa and Mastercard are so obfuscated from the process that whomever is charging your card will never get information from them. There is always a middle man that processes the charges. Authorized.NET, First Data, PayPal and others build platforms that work with companies that want to charge cards Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:20
  • As for what is returned, it is based on those companies protocols. PayPal isn't going to give you really anything other than yes, you can make a charge, yes you can place a hold on the account and yes or no that the charge processed. Whereas, the other companies I identified will return in depth details about the charge. I don't think I have ever seen personal information returned. Usually you send information to them and they say if it matches or not. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:22
  • Thanks. I think this was what I was looking for since my card is MasterCard. I would be curious as well what information giving a business your routing/checking account numbers would provide. If they make a deposit to my account, I wonder if they can see any personal information, such as my business' address...
    – dmcmulle
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:27
  • @AnthonyRussell, actually, I'd say quite the opposite: Paypal can provide a lot more information than a regular card processor, because they have more information (most people going through Paypal have a Paypal account, and have entered lots of info). For instance, if requested, Paypal can return shipping details (though the user would probably have seen/selected/confirmed it beforehand).
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 18:40

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