B2B Credit Card Processing Hot Tips

Compliance with credit card processing rules maximizes profits while mitigating risk. This is especially true for business to business companies. But it’s getting harder and harder with the onslaught of new rules, and virtually impossible if not using a sophisticated cloud solution to help manage compliance.

If your B2B company stores credit cards, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not compliant. For example, Visa’s 2017 Stored Credential Transaction framework outlines merchant responsibilities to obtain customer consent as well as storing credit cards, using stored credentials (token), and managing stored tokens. Failure to comply with Authorization rules, for example preauthorization and final settlement do not match, has far-reaching consequences including higher interchange rates (the bulk of credit card processing fees), penalty fees and new chargeback risks. With so many new rules across multiple card brands that vary based on business and transaction type how can a business quickly ascertain if they’re compliant?

Most processing details occur seamlessly behind the scenes so merchants have not had a simple way of knowing whether they’re compliant. Until now.

Quick tips to validate compliance:

  • Is a transaction receipt delivered to customer when a stored credit card credential (token) is created? Compliant answer is yes.
  • Is cardholder authentication with a zero dollar authorization or a purchase transaction performed at the time token is created? (A small charge is not an acceptable practice.) Compliant answer is yes.
  • Does the receipt include “RECURRING” or “REPEAT SALE” for token transactions? Compliant answer is yes.
  • Review merchant statements, usually the last 1-2 pages with the heading “pending interchange” or “fees” section. Do you see EIRF, STANDARD (STD), or DATA RATE I? Compliant answer is no.
  • Can you produce documentation of customer consent to store their card (including with 3rd party service) and how it will be used?

If you’re not in compliance, your payment gateway is the most likely culprit, followed by ERP or other software integration limitation. For a Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics 365, and other ERP integrated solutions, call 954-942-0483 9-5 ET.

Reference: Card brand links.

Christine Speedy, CenPOS Sales 954-942-0483. CenPOS is a cloud business solutions provider with end-to-end payments engine that drives enterprise-class solutions for businesses, saving them time and money, while improving their customer engagement.

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. 

Card Not Present Token Billing Best Practice & CenPOS Training

Ready to improve PCI Compliance with token billing? Step by step instructions for CenPOS card not present token billing including creating, modifying, and using tokens follows.

  1. In the virtual terminal admin, Create a new Role* or Modify an existing role to include token billing permissions, only for what the user is allowed to do. For example, if you employees are allowed to create tokens, but not conduct sales, check the Manage Token and Positive Card only.

    token billing roles

    Virtual Terminal administration- Partial list of permission options; token billing related items are checked

  2. Are email receipts available now? If no, send an email request to support via link on the virtual terminal login page. In the subject put: “your CenPOS MID” email receipt request. In the body, include all your contact info, the MID, and what email address you want receipts to come from.
  3. Prepare training worksheet for distribution
  4. Distribute Self-paced training checklist (10 minutes to complete) to all users
  5. Get documentation of all training- who, what, when. It may be useful as part of an overall PCI Compliance (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) plan to comply with section 12, Maintain an Information Security Policy.
  6. Assign users to the new roles with return of documentation
  7. If there’s any legacy cardholder data on file, plan it’s secure destruction

References: Token Billing Training Videos

*See CenPOS Virtual Terminal Manual for details on using Role Templates.

A sample document, created by Christine Speedy,  for training and documentation is available upon request.

Can you recommend a PCI Compliant policy for storing credit cards?

Distributors and manufacturers can overcome PCI Compliance issues with better awareness of rules, and cost efficient solutions to ease PCI burden. A review of key problems and solutions will help companies with internal credit card authorization and storage policies. For credit card processing, a virtual terminal or integrated gateway, is the only cost efficient and secure option for these business types.

It’s never Ok to store credit card forms that have the CVV2, or security code, on them. It’s also never Ok to store CVV2 electronically in any format, encrypted or not. This is both a card acceptance and PCI Compliance 3.0, section 3 Protect Cardholder Data, problem. For any recurring charges, including variable, merchants only need to validate the CVV one time for a fraud check, and then never again. This is easily accomplished with a zero dollar authorization, however not all gateways support this feature.

The best paper credit card authorization form, is one that doesn’t have full card data, or better yet, doesn’t exist at all. If sales reps in the field are getting card numbers to be charged later, consider a mobile payment app that let’s them swipe and create a token, using a P2P encrypted reader. That way card data is never exposed at any point in time. Instead of getting card numbers over the phone, empower customers to self pay or store card data using online payment solutions, including either a hosted online pay page or electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP). Use this to also eliminate credit card data in emails, which is another PCI Compliance problem.

Need to keep a card stored on file that you initiate charges on? It’s indefensible with today’s technology to have credit card data on paper, and it’s risky to use your own encrypted media. Tokenization, a payment gateway service for merchants to remove sensitive data from their environments, is the best practice for security and PCI Compliance.

Some businesses want a signature on file. A sales receipt is generated with almost any online payment solution and merchants can require a customer to print and sign it, or to simply forward the email receipt from company email address with typed name approving it. For recurring billing, choose a payment gateway that generates a PCI Compliant recurring billing authorization form. They’re useless if stolen, and contain all the right language for credit card authorization. It should be supplemented by a signed document with your own custom business terms and conditions, and limitations for duration and maximum charge amounts allowed. Merchants might also get a signed sales order with all terms and conditions, plus the token ID the customer has agreed you’ll charge to.

Third-party credit card authorization doesn’t exist as far as card issuers are concerned. It’s specifically written in the cardholder terms that they cannot allow any third party to use their card. Any form a merchant creates authorizing other parties is at risk for future disputes. The merchant can eliminate the risk by having the company issue purchasing cards for each buyer, or mitigate risk by sending the sales receipt automatically to the cardholder and asking the buyer to confirm receipt per T’s & C’s.

A huge problem is managing old stored data created prior to new PCI Compliance rules. The reality is, the merchant is not PCI Compliant as long as the old stuff exists. That likely means someone will need to be assigned to identify all the past ways that credit card numbers were captured. For electronic, IT will need to get involved to securely remove old data. There are tools to search emails and servers for card data as well.

PCI 3.0, in effect now, requires merchants not only are PCI compliant at a point in time, but that there’s a plan in place for monitoring and inspecting. Whoever is cleaning up the old problems should document who, what, where, how and when activities were identified and or completed, and continually add this to the master PCI file.


Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, v3.1, pg 36 CVV
Visa Core Rules, October 2014 page 266, Merchant Must Not Request the Card Verification Value 2 data on any paper Order Form