Why did my credit card payment fail?

In order to protect you, our other customers, and ourselves from credit card fraud, our billing system makes use of credit card address verification services.  This functionality is sometimes referred to as AVS (address verification service) by credit card processors.  In short, use of this service matches the street address and postal code of your account information in our system to the billing address on file with your credit card provider.  If neither of those numbers match, then our credit card gateway provider (Authorize.net), will reject the transaction.  Credit card payment failures, provided the CC number, expiration date, and CCV code match along with having adequate funds for the charge, are usually the fault of AVS mismatches.

AVS-rejected transactions may show as “pending” on your credit card, but they will never close and will eventually go away with no money being removed from your account.  Only when you receive the payment confirmation message from our billing system has the charge succeeded and money been scheduled for transfer.

AVS implementation at financial institutions around the world has been somewhat inconsistent.  Since AVS checks for only the numeric portion of a street address, people who have entered a suite, unit, or apartment number may have had that number added to the street number in the AVS database maintained by their card provider.  For example, if your address is 123 Anywhere St., Apt. 45, the AVS system may (or may not) have your street address as “12345”.  Our system sends only the numbers in the “Address 1” field for AVS purposes, so that may or may not match how your credit card provider responds.

Similarly, people who live in countries with postal codes that may contain spaces should be aware that AVS checks of the postal code require an identical match.  Canada, for example, has a space between the 2 sets of 3 characters in the postal code.  Some Canadian banks retain that space in their AVS databases, while some do not.  Even more insidious, some banks maintain or remove the space on a per account basis…thus further complicating the process of getting a match.

It should be noted that the AVS databases maintained by credit card providers are independent of their contact databases.  That means what you see on your credit card statement might not logically match what is in your provider’s AVS database for your account.  Our system offers up what you have entered into your account on our system, and it’s your credit card providers responsibility to validate that as correct or not.

Please understand that an AVS match failure is not any attempt by us to be mean, discriminatory, or just difficult to work with.  We are trying to be responsible vendors in a world where credit card fraud is common.  Please respect our intentions and work with us as we defend against unauthorized use of credit cards.


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