Learn More | Detecting Fraud

Credit Card Security


If you are a card-present merchant, take the following steps to ensure the legitimacy of every Visa card, cardholder, and transaction. Under credit card operating regulations, merchants or their sales associates must check the card security features, request an authorization, and obtain the cardholder’s signature.

Quick steps to Credit Card Acceptance:

  1. Check the card security features. Make sure that the card has not been altered.
  2. Swipe the stripe. Swipe the card through the terminal in one direction only to obtain authorization.
  3. Check the authorization response. Take appropriate action for the specific response: Approved, Declined, Call Center.
  4. Match the numbers. Check the embossed number on the card against the four digits of the account number displayed on the terminal.
  5. Request a signature. Have the cardholder sign the transaction receipt.
  6. Check the signature. Be sure that the signature on the card matches the one the transaction receipt.
  7. If you suspect fraud, immediately make a call to your voice authorization center.

Handling Key-Entered Transactions:

If a card cannot be swiped, you must key-enter the card account data into your POS terminal. When you key-enter a transaction, you run the risk of accepting a counterfeit card because the magnetic stripe information is unavailable.

  1. Check the terminal. Be sure your terminal is working properly. If the terminal is okay and the problem appears to be with the magnetic stripe, continue to step 2.
  2. Match the account number.
  3. Check to see that the embossed account number on the front of the card matches the number indent-printed on the back. Check the expiration date. Look at the "good thru" or "valid thru" date to be sure the card hasn't expired. If the card has a "valid from" date, be sure the card isn't being used before it is valid.
  4. Make an imprint. Get a manual imprint of the card.
  5. Get a signature. Ask the customer to sign the imprinted sales draft.
  6. Check the signature. Be sure that the signature on the card matches the one on the sales draft. Do not accept an unsigned card.

Six Warning Signs of Fraud:

Certain customer behavior could point to card fraud, but it doesn't necessarily indicate criminal activity. You know your customers, so let your instincts steer you in the right direction. Watch out for customers who:

  1. Purchase a large amount of merchandise without regard to size, style, color, or price.
  2. Ask no questions on major purchases.
  3. Try to distract or rush you during the sale.
  4. Make purchases and leave the store, but then return to make more purchases.
  5. Make large purchases just after store opening, or as the store is closing.
  6. Refuse free delivery for large items.
Card Present Merchant


Card-not-present (CNP) merchants must take extra precaution against fraud exposure and associated losses. Anonymous scam artists bet on the fact that many Visa fraud prevention features do not apply in this environment.

To stay ahead of the crooks and reduce your fraud exposure:

  1. Ask the customer for the card expiration date and include it in your authorization request. An invalid or missing expiration date can be an indicator that the person on the other end does not have the actual card in hand.
  2. Use fraud detection tools like the Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2) as part of the authorization process.
  3. Be on the lookout for questionable transaction data or other signs indicating -out of pattern- orders.

If you suspect fraud:

  • Ask the customer for day/evening phone numbers, then call the customer with any questions.
  • Ask for additional information (e.g., bank name on the front of card)
  • Separately confirm the order by sending a note via the customer’s billing address, rather than the -ship to- address.

Contact us for more information at 615.591.5933 or click here to have one of our associates contact you.


The Neil Group

1616 Westgate Circle | Brentwood, Tennessee 37027 | 615.591.5933

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