American Express SafeKey Video and B2B tips

American Express SafeKey® leverages the global industry standard, 3-D Secure®*, to detect and reduce online fraud by adding an extra layer of security when Card Members shop online. Merchant and customer experience answers in this article.

American Express SafeKey

 

How does Amex SafeKey impact the customer shopping experience? The cardholder may have some or no difference in the checkout experience, based on many factors, including prior online shopping history. The cardholder may be asked authentication question(s) to confirm it’s really the cardholder.

How does Amex SafeKey impact merchants?

  • Fraud liability for “It wasn’t me, I didn’t authorize it” goes away as liability shifts back to the issuer.
  • For business to business, where cardholder billing and shipping address frequently vary, cardholder authentication plays an important role not available with four digit CID security code validation only.
  • At this writing, American Express merchants do not receive a specific interchange discount as may be available with other card brands.

How can merchants adopt the Amex SafeKey service?

  1. Enroll your company on the American Express web site. https://network.americanexpress.com/globalnetwork/safekey/us/en/merchants-acquirers
  2. Receive e-mail from SafeKey Certification Team with your SafeKey ID and next steps.
  3. SafeKey Certification Team gets approval from Acquirer.
  4. Acquirer and SafeKey Certification Team complete required setup.
  5. Activate 3-D Secure on the application. (Ecommerce shopping cart, payment gateway, or ERP.) Both payment gateway and application must support the service.

* 3-D Secure is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association in the United States and other countries.

Have a question about how to add to your business? Contact CenPOS global sales and integrations reseller, Christine Speedy, 954-942-0483 for more information.

Credit Card Testing Explosion Hurts Merchants Profits

If you accept payments online, have you hardened security to protect from card testing? Card testing is a big criminal business. They’re sophisticated and use hardware and software that can send thousands of stolen credit card data in less than an hour to your payment portal or ecommerce shopping cart before you even know you’ve been hit.

Card testing can be very expensive for merchants. For every attempted authorization, merchants pay a payment gateway fee, plus a fee to the merchant services processor (acquirer).

Example:

  • $.30 per transaction gateway
  • $.10 per transaction processor
  • 20,000 cards tested @$.40= $8,000

There’s no getting back the $8,000. The gateway and processor passed the data you gave them. In the event orders are approved, there’s the additional cost of lost product shipped and the associated chargeback fee. Then there’s the cost of damaged brand reputation from cardholders who voice on social media, where it lives on forever, how their card was used unauthorized.

How can merchants protect online payments from card testers?  Google reCAPTCHA is a free service that protects your website from spam and abuse. reCAPTCHA can prevent bots from submitting a transaction that you’ll pay for.

Protecting against both bots and fraudulent transactions is tricky.

Fifteen percent of all cardholders have had at least one transaction unnecessarily declined in the previous 12 months, according to a 2015 study by Javelin.

Unnecessary declines are also called False Positives. Cardholder authentication is a layer of security to protect against fraudulent purchasing, increasing approvals and reducing False Positives. 3-D Secure is a global XML protocol for Cardholder Authentication; The card brands each has their own name- Verified by Visa, Amex Safekey, MasterCard SecureCode. Benefits of 3-D Secure include automation, shifting liability to card issuers without manual review of orders, increased approvals, and sometimes reduced Visa and MasterCard interchange fees.

Which payment gateways support recaptcha and Cardholder authentication?

reCAPTCHA is easy to implement, just check with your payment gateway provider or web developer. 3-D Secure is quick, easy and requires a few steps:

  • Confirm your payment gateway is 3-D Secure certified for your credit card processor (merchant services provider or acquirer). Ask which are certified: Verified by Visa, Amex Safekey, MasterCard SecureCode. Some have certifications, some don’t.
  • If there’s an application such as a shopping cart or e-invoicing, confirm the payment gateway integration will support 3-D Secure.
  • Contact your acquirer and ask them to register your merchant account for 3-D Secure. Some can, some can’t. It’s usually done in a day.
  • Turn on 3-D Secure in the payment gateway.

FAQ

Is there a cost for reCAPTCHA? No, it’s free from Google. If your payment gateway supports reCAPTCHA, it may just need to be activated on your account, no programming needed. Contact your payment gateway support or check their FAQ to find out.

Is there a cost to register for 3-D Secure? That’s up to the individual company doing the registration. Costs start at $0.

Is there an ongoing cost to use 3-D Secure? Yes, and it’s up to the individual company offering the service. Costs typically range from $.075 to $.30 per attempted authorization.

If hit by a card tester, can I negotiate to reduce fees? It’s unlikely because services were delivered as per your agreements.

Christine Speedy, authorized CenPOS reseller, provides universal payment processing solutions, including reCAPTCHA and 3-D Secure cardholder authentication, to maximize merchant profits and mitigate risk across multiple sales channels. Contact Christine at 954-942-0483. 

VISA FRAUD DISPUTE RULES CHANGES IMPACT CARD NOT PRESENT

April 5, 2017—This alert contains critical information regarding new and revised Visa card acceptance rules effective now and coming in the future for merchants. Business to business companies may be at higher risk of associated chargeback losses or declines due to the average size of order. Effective April 22, 2017, Revisions have been made to split the “Other Fraud” Dispute condition under Enhanced Dispute Resolution into separate conditions for Card-Present and Card-Absent Transactions, and to incorporate changes to the payment flow related to Disputes.

Christine’s Analysis: Merchants need to support both EMV chip for Card-Present and Verified by Visa for card not present. Verified by Visa is their brand for 3-D Secure, a global security protocol for cardholder authentication across all card brands. For example, a  cardholder might be asked to enter a PIN number or answer some other type of authentication question. Cardholder authentication for Card-Absent Transactions shifts liability for “it wasn’t me” disputes to the issuer. This card-absent cardholder authentication process requires cardholders self-initiate payments, eliminating collecting card numbers via phone or paper credit card authorization forms. Merchants are rewarded for using cardholder authentication with reduced interchange rates and increased approvals.

Christine’s TIP: Per Visa rule 5.4.2.5, a US merchant or its agent must not Request the Card Verification Value 2 data on any paper Order Form. Replace paper forms with digital, PCI Compliant forms and online payment solutions with cardholder authentication ASAP.

Online payment solutions include a hosted pay page like the one shown below.

hosted paypage online payments

A hosted pay page empowers customers to make secure payments online using a 3rd party provider (Payment Gateway also known as a Payment Facilitator.)

Other solutions include pushing out payment requests, such as via a text or email. electronic invoice presentment and payment eippWith new and revised rules impacting the entire payment ecosystem including issuer, acquirer, gateway, merchant, and potentially other software like ERP’s and ecommerce shopping carts, merchants should verify all parts their payment ecosystem supports them. Desktop terminals are not capable of supporting all the rules for card absent needs; a cloud-based payment gateway is required whether non-integrated, or integrated ecommerce shopping cart, ERP or other software.

Does your online payment solution support Verified by Visa, or do you need a solution? Contact Christine Speedy at 954-942-0483 for a fast and easy solution, compatible with your existing credit card processor.

What is Auth Code 14, declined?

A credit card processing response of Auth Code 14, is a decline for Processor Declined, Fraud Suspected. Why does this happens for recurring billing, including unscheduled recurring billing using a stored credential, also known as a token on file? The method used to store the first transaction, and process subsequent transactions can impact authorization approvals.

For example, a merchant has successfully processed unscheduled transactions using a token on file since 2016. However, in 2017, declined for Auth Code 14 appeared.

auth code decline 14

Why would a previously stored and working card decline now? Look at the AVS,  ZIP, and CVV response above. Compare to the example below.

token billing

For the second receipt, AVS match Y= address and 5 digit zip match, Zip match Y=Address and 5 digit zip match, CVV = match X, cannot verify CVV. Because CVV was verified a match on the initial zero dollar authorization it’s not required to be presented on subsequent transactions.

The first example is returning that information does not match, thus the reason for suspected fraud. Without looking at the very first authorization when token was created, several possibilities exist, including  cardholder issued a new chip card with same number but other changes occurred in the interim; cardholder address changed or was never validated.

Merchants are at risk of issuer initiated chargeback if authorization rules are not followed. Refer to  Visa Product and Service Rules, Table 5-21: Requirements for Prepayments and Transactions Using Stored Credentials for more information. With recent rules changes, and more coming October 2017, merchants need a cloud based solution that can automate compliance. Not all of them have that intelligence. For example, some cloud based payment gateways enable merchants to perform prohibited transaction requests that put the authorization at risk of chargeback for non-compliance.

Due to many recent and upcoming changes for card absent and recurring billing with stored credentials, merchants are advised to review processes to include empowering customers to self-manage adding cards on file, and using cardholder authentication. Visa requires Verified by Visa for cardholder authentication in a card not present environment; without it, expect increasing declines.

Disclaimer: The rules of card acceptance are very complex and change typically twice a year, sometimes with interim bulletins regarding more changes. Merchants should read the manual for complete details regarding card acceptance for your business type.

Christine Speedy, authorized CenPOS reseller, provides universal payment processing solutions, including cardholder authentication, to maximize merchant profits and mitigate risk across multiple sales channels. Contact Christine at 954-942-0483. 

Hotel credit card authorization form 2017 change

Hotel and lodging industry must update best practices due to 2016 and 2017 changes in Visa and MasterCard rules. Cardholder authentication and multiple authorization indicators are two key components of change. Hotels that comply will maximize profits and security. Noncompliance will result in higher credit card acceptance fees due to penalties, increased declines, reduced profits, and new chargeback risk.hotel credit card authorization formFor those still using paper credit card authorization forms, few are in compliance with Visa Core Rules 5.4.2.5 Prohibition against Requiring Cardholder or Account Data – US Region.

“A US Merchant or its agent must not: Request the Card Verification Value 2 data on any paper Order Form.”

Authorization validity is front and center to the 2017 rules changes. Merchants used to get and authorization, and settle it later at checkout. Now merchants must send the correct transaction types and link them all together with a unique identifier:

  1. The ESTIMATE (Visa) or UNDEFINED (MasterCard) indicator is sent when the final settlement amount is unknown. The customer must be informed that it is an estimate as well.
  2. INCREMENTAL authorization is obtained when the original authorization expires or to increase the amount on hold.
  3. Final Authorization says this is the final transaction.

TIP: Merchants need 3-D Secure (Verified by Visa, MasterCard SecureCode), a global cardholder authentication standard for card absent transactions, to maximize profits and compliance for card not present transactions, which is only available with customer initiated transactions: hosted pay page, digital payment request, online booking. Paper forms don’t create a digital record tied to the credit card, and cardholder authentication is not possible, as defined by the card brands. It’s also not possible to comply with the rule by key entering data into any desktop terminal.

The unique transaction transaction identifier can be a point of breakdown in the process. For example, the events manager obtains a paper credit card authorization form. The first charge is a deposit; the second charge is at the end of the event; a third charge occurs after assessing damages to a room. In each case, the amount is key entered into the payment processing terminal. Since there is no transaction identifier tying them all together, the authorizations are invalid and the ISSUER is within their rights to chargeback for invalid authorization, example Visa reason code 72.

There are so many nuances to the rules, and changes needed in the payments ecosystem, hotels should not assume existing partners have completed the required updates to comply. Technology that can automatically manage the authorization and settlement process- not the old way, but with all the new rules changes- requires a sophisticated payment gateway. Like EMV, there will be vendors that struggle to adapt.

For compliant solutions that can be used standalone or integrated, improving your customer experience, contact Christine Speedy, 954-942-0483.

Reference materials:

  • MasterCard® Pre & Final Authorization Mandate by CyberSource, December 2016.
  • Visa Core Rules October 2016.
  • MasterCard Revises Standards for Processing Authorizations and Preauthorizations by Vantiv December 2016.
  • MasterCard Transaction Processing Rules, November 2016.

See merchant bulletins – downloads for links to many resources.