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Address Verification Service (AVS) is a fraud prevention tool used to verify that the customer performing a payment is genuine.
It does this by performing an AVS check during a payment's authorization stage. The AVS check compares the billing address provided by the customer during checkout with the address associated with the payment card.
If the two values match, it indicates that the person performing the payment is the genuine cardholder.
Before using customer data, you can simulate different outcomes using AVS check testing.
The result of an AVS check is conveyed to you through AVS codes. AVS codes describe whether there was a full match, a partial match, or a mismatch.
An AVS mismatch occurs if the address supplied by the customer does not match the address that the bank or card scheme has on file for the payment card.
While a mismatch can indicate that the customer may not be legitimate, it should not be the sole reason you cancel or decline a transaction. In some instances, a genuine payment may still return an AVS mismatch. For example, if:
the address can be written in multiple ways, especially if there are two numerical parts to a property, such as a flat within a block
the cardholder has changed address but has not informed their bank yet
the cardholder is located in a country where AVS is not available
the cardholder mistakenly enters their shipping address in the billing address field on the checkout page
Similarly, an AVS match is not always a definitive indicator that the customer is legitimate, so do not use it as the sole reason you approve a transaction. Instead, you should use AVS results as one factor of your overall risk strategy, to prevent chargeback fraud.
Checkout.com's Fraud Detection solution lets you set the amount of influence that any given AVS result has over the final authorization decision. For example, if the street addresses match but the ZIP codes do not, you may deem this a low risk mismatch and choose to authorize the payment.
By leveraging AVS within your risk strategy, you'll not only protect your customers, but also find it easier to defend against fraudulent chargeback requests.
AVS is available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, for the following card schemes: