What is carding and how can merchants mitigate risk?

Ecommerce merchants have been hit by credit card carding attacks by fraudsters for years. There’s tons of cardholder data on the dark web and even DIY instructions on how to commit fraud. With EMV implemented in retail, and the fast growth of ecommerce due to Coronavirus, carding is a serious risk for merchants for both attempted and successful transactions.

What is carding?

Carding, also known as credit card stuffing or card verification, is a web security threat where unauthorized people (carders or attackers) use multiple software tools, primarily bots, to attempt to verify if a debit or credit card is good. A typical bot attack will incur thousands of attempted authorizations. Bots do not typically seek a particular site, just opportunities to exploit a weakness.

What are the costly repercussions of carding attacks?

The merchant is dealt with several financial blows:

  • Attempted transactions will incur a payment gateway fee.
  • Attempted transactions may incur a merchant account authorization fee if the gateway didn’t kill before getting to the acquirer. This can happen if the gateway supports a rules based decision making.
  • Completed transaction fraud whereby the product was shipped to the fraudster because the card was approved.
  • Chargeback fees can be initiated by the issuer or the cardholder. If the merchant is not using 3-D Secure, they will surely be out of luck.

How can merchants mitigate risk of bot attacks?

A key first line of defense is preventing the bot initiating an exchange with payment gateway. For example, reCAPTCHA is a free developer tool from Google to protect your web site from abuse. reCAPTCHA v3 returns a score for each request without user friction, which means if it passes, the user can check out. Have you ever had to go through multiple screen challenges to identify the sidewalks or traffic lights? reCAPTCHA v3 is different from older versions. The score is based on interactions with your site and enables you to take an appropriate action for your site automatically. For more information click here for Google reCAPTCHA.

Note, PCI DSS V 3.2.1 Requirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications. this section includes web sites. Visa cites using Velocity tools specifically in their ecommerce guidance for merchants. For example, a fraud mitigation velocity tool might automatically manage attempted transactions based upon number of attempts from same IP address or other duplicate data within a specific timeframe. Note, fraudsters have gotten smarter and bot attacks are not as simplistic to detect as just a few years ago. For this reason, the use of AI and other tools is growing, especially for larger merchants.

Call Christine Speedy, for simple solutions to card not present payment transaction problems, 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET. Christine is Founder of 3D Merchant Services, PCI Council Qualfied Integrator Reseller (QIR), and is a credit card processing expert with specialized expertise in card not present and B2B payment processing technology. Less than 1% of all merchant services sales representatives are QIR certified. Christine is an authorized independent sales agent for a variety of merchant services and payment technology solutions.

Free credit card transaction fees checkup 2020

Merchant services fees gradually increased over time? While technology can optimize fee management, there are multiple reasons new fees or rising fees may occur. With this information, you can do a quick self-assessment and determine whether it’s worthwhile to engage with a payments professional for further review. This method is easier than my B2B credit card processing fact check, while still revealing problems that must be resolved.  As a processor neutral payments expert, Christine Speedy offers a unique perspective.

The areas needing most attention are rate qualification and other fees.

Here’s a shortcut to determine if you have authorization problems, which directly impact credit card transaction fees. Why is this important? Because unless you fix the underlying problem, switching merchant accounts will only provide partial relief from escalating transaction fees like the new MasterCard .25% misuse of authorization fee. If you have any of these items below on your merchant statement, there’s a problem that is causing unnecessary extra costs.

  • Misuse
  • Integrity
  • Compliance or Non-compliance
  • Standard / STD (any)
  • EIRF
  • Data rate I
  • Data Rate II or Data Rate 2
  • Chargeback: FRAUD TRANS-NO CARDHOLDR AUTH
  • Chargeback reason: Compliance

Hint: If you open your merchant statement in Adobe Acrobat, in OSX with command F you can copy and paste the terms above. It’s not foolproof due to varying abbreviations, but you only need to have one of the bad items to know there’s a problem.

For card not present business to business, these are two interchange types you should see, but many often don’t and that is also a problems resulting in higher costs.

  • Full UCAF
  • Data Rate III

I don’t know why, but I get calls from other salespeople in the industry looking for solutions to help customers qualify for Data Rate II. Why wouldn’t you want the customer to qualify at Data Rate III? Makes no sense.

I also hear from merchants how they were told that the new solution would fix their level 3 data problems, but it didn’t. If you do preauthorizations, and the solution doesn’t automatically get new authorizations and manage reversals it’s not going to fix authorization problems. Always ask, “how will the payment gateway manage authorization reversals if we don’t settle for the original preauthorization amount’? That’s one of several critical key questions. If they don’t know the answer instantly, move on.

Due to massive changes in card network rules and data security compliance rules over the last two years, a review by a neutral payments expert is essential. Did you have any red items? It’s time for a deeper dive into why.  Your FREE report will identify issues impacting profits and security, include action items how to fix them, and rarely requires changing financial partners.

credit card transaction fee checkup form

Call Christine Speedy, to reduce merchant fees with new or existing merchant account at 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET. Less than 1% of merchant account salespeople are PCI Council QIR certified. With Christine as your account manager you’re assured a unique experience to maximize profits and security without business disruption.

P2PE for Dynamics AX & D365

Microsoft Dynamics AX and D365 validated P2PE solution elements vary by vendor plugin and their certifications which can be researched on the PCI security standards council website here https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/assessors_and_solutions/point_to_point_encryption_applications?reference=2017-00113.005. Merchants can choose either P2PE terminals or validated P2PE solutions with their terminals. The latter requires extra steps to implement and maintain.

A PCI P2PE solution can significantly reduce the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) validation effort of a merchant’s cardholder data environment as well as the cost of a third party assessor reviewing a merchant’s card data environment. Another benefit is simply the reduced risk of a data breach, and the potential millions in costs and lost reputation. An qualified assessor informed me at a conference, there has never been a data breach in an environment with properly implemented validated P2PE solution; The same cannot be said for merchants using P2PE terminals.

P2PE Applications are intended to be loaded onto PCI-approved point of interaction (POI) devices used as part of a P2PE Solution. Use of a P2PE Application on a PTS-approved POI device (outside of a listed P2PE Solution) does not constitute use of a P2PE Solution. I am frequently asked by consultants about other payment gateway compatibility with Cardconnect and the related CardConnect Bolt application dependency. Other payment gateways and or P2PE solutions, including CenPOS, are distinct solutions. Each has its own P2PE certification as documented on the PCI council website. Two different solutions cannot be used together; merchants must decide which is the better overall solution for their environment. Sidenote: CenPOS does not have any application dependencies for their P2PE certification.

Can you mix P2PE solutions, for example, for call centers vs retail? Excellent question. Certainly transactions would need to be run on different merchant accounts and each would be defined as to scope i.e. not entire business, but only part of an operation. This arrangement is not ideal, but maybe is a useful gap solution during a software or hardware migration.

Which P2PE application is best for your Microsoft Dynamics AX or D365 environment? This question is best answered by speaking with a payments consultant who is familiar with credit card processing rules, data security rules, and integration nuances. Differences in the integration methods and native features for the respective products often determine why to choose one vs another.

Christine Speedy, Founder 3D Merchant Services, is a credit card processing expert with specialized expertise in card not present and omnichannel technology. Christine is an authorized reseller for Elavon and CenPOS products and services, in addition to other solutions and is QIR certified by the PCI Council. Call Christine for all your Microsoft Dynamics payment gateway and payment processing needs.

3 Things Accountants Must Advise B2B Clients in 2020

Credit card processing may be a big part of the revenue stream or a small part. It doesn’t matter. B2B companies all suffer from the same issues that impact EBITDA and risk. Compliance, cost and security. It’s fair to say, most businesses have no idea what the hot buttons or repercussions are.

Three things every B2B company needs to know about credit card processing right now:

  1. If you store credit cards, you must be compliant with Visa Stored Credential Framework. I posted this in 2017. Guess what? Most payment gateways (if you accept payments online from an invoice or any other source, a payment gateway is involved) are still not compliant! There are significant financial and risk consequences for non-compliance, including penalty fees, fines, and issuer generated chargebacks.
  2. Failure to settle transactions with a proper authorization will be even more expensive starting in April 2020. For example, many Visa credit card rates will go to 3.15%, reflecting upwards of 0.75% increase in some cases; that’s strictly interchange fees, nothing more. Instead of assuming you’re already settling properly, go to your merchant statement and look for DATA RATE I (instead of Data Rate III), STD/Standard, and EIRF. Do you have any of these? See also https://3dmerchant.com/blog/merchant-processing-services/credit-card-transaction-fees-checkup
  3. It’s a Visa rules violation to request the card security code on a paper credit card authorization form, or any digital form where the business can decrypt and view it. It can’t be stored, period. Not by the merchant nor service provider, including payment gateway. Yet even the AICPA

Why these 3 things? Because 100% of B2B companies I talk to will fail on at least one, and usually two or three. That includes CPA firms. Among the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants missions is to provide “the most relevant knowledge, resources” etc. Yet as of this writing, AICPA affinity credit card processing partners include a long list of technology solutions that are not compliant with all three of the above.

86% of all data breaches in 2016 were from level 4 merchants, defined as “Any merchant processing fewer than 20,000 Visa e-commerce transactions per year, and all other merchants — regardless of acceptance channel — processing up to 1M Visa transactions per year.” By complying with the three items on my list, B2B companies will harden their systems and increase profits. The latter occurs because compliance with rules reduces fees. 

If your current acquirer could truly fix all the problems above, why haven’t they taken the initiative to help you in the past? By the way, if someone ever says they help you qualify for level 2 rates, run! All B2B companies should have the right technology to qualify for level 3 rates. Why pay more?

Christine Speedy, 954-942-0483. For a fast, free checkup on your merchant account, contact us today for a secure, cloud-based solution optimizing acceptance for all payment types across multiple channels without disrupting banking relationships.