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. 

Visa Authorization Rentals Rules Change

Visa announced sweeping changes to rental industry card acceptance rules in October 2016. Key changes include defining who initiated transaction, transaction data sent, authorization rules, stored card rules, and customer communications. Compliance will increase approvals and mitigate fraud risk;  Failure to comply will increase financial risk and issuer declines while reducing EBIDTA.

Visa Expansion of Special Authorization Allowances

Effective 15 October 2016, 22 April 2017, and 14 October 2017
Revisions have been made to rules related to the processing of Estimated Authorization Requests, Initial Authorization Requests, and Incremental Authorization Requests, as well as Authorization Reversals, Issuer hold releases, and Chargeback rights. These changes impact issuer, merchant, customer, and acquirer- whatever merchants have in place today is not sufficient for the future.

visa rental authorization rules 2017

Partial excerpt from section 5, Visa Core Rules. Applicable merchants should read the entire table and additional sections.

Truck and heavy duty equipment rental authorizations. Aircraft rental, Bicycle rental, Boat rental, Car rental, Equipment rental, Motor home rental, Motorcycle rental, Trailer park or campground rental are all impacted.

A core concept is authorization validity, which impacts merchant rights and potentially credit card processing rate qualification. An invalid authorization equates to no authorization. Card issuers will be within their rights to use reason code 72 and chargeback, or ACH, funds from merchant bank account on the next settlement day, for failure to comply with authorization rules. This is a significant change for most rental companies, as in the past, businesses typically responded to cardholder initiated disputes, a completely different scenario, and win a good portion of them.

With payment processing technology updates, rental companies can increase profits by complying with the new rules, including for guaranteed reservations. EBITDA is improved with increased approvals, lower qualified interchange rates, and fewer chargebacks.

What’s a valid authorization? It’s partially described in Special Authorization Request Allowances and Requirements. Key elements:

  • Stored credential– rules for storing; what associated data is required on file and what is submitted with transaction, including same transaction ID required for all subsequent authorizations after initial approval.
  • Estimated Authorization– indicator the authorization is an initial estimate and final amount is unknown is sent with transaction. TIP:  If the amount could change because the renter did not bring item back in time, or there are other terms in the contract where customer agrees to pay more under certain conditions such as damages or refueling, then the initial transaction is an Estimate.
  • Incremental authorization  – must use same transaction ID as estimate, and submit with incremental authorization indicator
  • Visa now groups transaction types into ‘customer initiated’ and ‘merchant initiated’. For card not present, a transaction is only considered customer initiated, if Verified by Visa is used. Verified by Visa (VbyV) is their brand name for the global 3-D Secure cardholder authentication protocol for customer initiated card not present transactions.

Updated Checkout Flow For Online Rental Booking:

  • Opt-in to no-show policy, terms and conditions
  • Authenticate cardholder
  • Authorize with the estimate indicator
  • Deliver email confirmation with the policy
  • Incremental auths with same Trans ID only.
  • Close transaction by day 31; partial reversal same transaction ID if applicable.
  • If ticket closed, open new estimated auth.

KEY DATES

  • April 22, 2017 – The Merchant must use the Estimated/Initial Authorization Request indicator.
  • 22 April 2017 – The Merchant must use the Incremental Authorization Request indicator and the same Transaction Identifier for all Authorization Requests.

Without action to update rental authorizations in advance of the April dates, financial exposure for prior months may be significant.

Visa Core Rules see PSR 346 and other pages.

Christine Speedy, authorized CenPOS reseller, provides universal payment processing solutions to maximize merchant profits and mitigate risk across multiple sales channels. To get a CenPOS account and Dynamics AX, SAP, Bluebird or other compatible plugin, contact Christine at 954-942-0483.