With the current social distancing practices in place due to COVID-19, many business owners are shifting to remote methods of taking payments. This is a smart and necessary step to keep businesses open and the economy moving, but it does raise some concerns. This post will show you how to protect your business from remote payments fraud.

Use the Address Verification System (AVS) Every Time

When you key in a remote sale, your credit card terminal should ask you for some additional information you may not be used to providing, like the cardholder’s billing address, zip code, etc. While it’s possible to bypass these prompts, doing so opens you up to the possibility of remote payments fraud. Not only that, but you’ll feel the effects when your statement arrives. Transactions made when the card is not physically present in your business are seen as riskier by credit card issuers because you can’t check ID, have a conversation with the customer, etc., so they charge higher rates on these types of transactions. Responding to all AVS prompts reduces your fraud risk in the eyes of the card issuers and will help you keep your rates low.

Consider Only Selling to Known Customers

This is a hard one, especially during these difficult times where every single dollar matters. However, only selling over the phone to customers you have served in the past can protect you from remote payments fraud. While it’s certainly possible that your lifelong customer could have had their credit card data stolen during this time period, it’s more likely that they’re trying to continue to patronize their favorite businesses from before the pandemic. Turning away new or unknown business is hard and awkward, but if you’re serious about avoiding remote payments fraud it’s one option to consider.

Trust Your Gut

If you think a sale sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Again, this is another hard line to walk. Trust the voice in the back of your head that says something feels off about a given customer or sale, particularly if you’ve never sold to the customer before (see above). It might even be a good idea to temporarily suspend international or out of state orders or orders where the customer’s billing and shipping addresses don’t match. These measures may result in lost sales, but you will need to weigh that loss against the potential increased risk of remote payments fraud.

Doing Business as Unusual

Several of the practices suggested in this article may seem over the top and unnecessary, but they are necessary to protect your business. Although you may relax some of these measures once our world starts to open back up for business, AVS should remain a staple of all phone transactions. Remember, AVS is about more than remote payments fraud – it’s about keeping your rates low.

If your current credit card processor isn’t helping you navigate these trying times, it’s time to make a change. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’re ready to help you combat remote payments fraud.

PS – Here’s why remote payments are critical for your business during COVID-19.

PPS – Here’s our full guide to navigating coronavirus as a business owner.