DEFINITION of 'Address Verification Service - AVS'

A tool provided by credit card processors and issuing banks to merchants in order to detect suspicious credit card transactions. The Address Verification Service (AVS) checks the billing address submitted by the card user with the cardholder's billing address on record at the issuing bank. This is done as part of the merchant's request for authorization of the credit card transaction. The credit card processor sends a response code back to the merchant indicating the degree of address matching, depending on which the credit card transaction may be accepted or rejected.

BREAKING DOWN 'Address Verification Service - AVS'

AVS is one of the most common tools used by merchants to prevent credit card fraud. However, it is not a foolproof system, since the billing address provided by a bona fide customer may not always match the address on record at the card issuer. Reasons for such a mismatch would be a recent move by the cardholder or an address of record that was incorrect to begin with. In such cases, the merchant runs the risk of rejecting a perfectly legitimate transaction.

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