Certain types of orders pose a financial risk to online merchants. These can include, but are not limited to, orders requesting rush shipping, orders where the billing address and shipping address are different, or orders that are a high dollar value on goods or services.
To protect our customers from unauthorized use of their credit card, if any of the following three conditions below apply to your order, we may request additional verification, to ensure that you are the actual card holder making the purchase, or that you are authorized to use the credit card in question.
If any of the above conditions apply, we may require a copy of the card being used, along with your authorization signature (signature must match card). You can either wait to see if additional verification is needed (you will be contacted at the email address you gave us with your order), or you can premptively supply the required documentation.
- If your order is OVER $100 and you are requesting that we ship it to an address that does not match the billing address on your credit card.
- If you entire order is OVER $350, regardless of shipping and billing address match.
- If you are asking us for a expedited shipment (overnight or 2nd day air), of an order OVER $50, and the billing and shipping address do not match.
You can download our Credit Card Authorization Form, proceed with your checkout, and fax the form to our secure fax number to finalize your order, if you feel that any of these condition will apply to you.
Doing so, before we contact you, will help to expedite the shipping of your order. The fax number on the form goes to a secure fax machine, in our billing office. No one else in our office has access to your information. Our company is 100% PCI compliant with our credit card processor. (You can click our Trustwave Security Seal below to verify.)
Seriously, what a hassle!
It is never our intention to make purchasing online difficult for our customers, however online retailers lose millions of dollars annually to credit card fraud. The internet is a major route for fraud against merchants who sell and ship products. Credit card thieves no longer have to have a card in their possession to perpetrate fraud with it.
Customers who have been a victim of credit card fraud themselves tend to appreciate the extra scrutiny we give our payments. They know that we are "on the job," trying to keep them as safe as possible.
So, what's the big deal? If someone uses my card I'm protected by my credit card company!
Absolutely, YOU are! However, the company that accepts the card for an order is the one who bears all the costs of the fraud. This can lead to higher costs of goods and services in the future, as retailers must adjust for the high costs of credit card fraud.
When credit card theft occurs, it is not the card holder who bears the costs of goods purchased with the stolen card, since their credit card company protects them. Nor is it the credit card company who bears the brunt of the lost money, as they charge it back to the retailer who accepted the credit card in the first place.
In the end, it all goes back to the retailer. The merchant loses the value of any goods sold, and any associated fees, as well as the actual product that was shipped. This can be devastating to businesses, especially if it was a "big ticket" item that was purchased, or happens frequently due to their lax credit card verification practices.
The chances of ever finding the goods shipped to the credit card thief, and recovering them, are pretty much zero! Which leaves the online retailer (in this case, us) on the hook for the cost of the entire fraudulent order. Not to mention the costs incurred in the charge back dispute, which are charged to us by the credit card companies, as well as a ding on our record, and a "slap on the wrist" from our merchant account provider, for letting the order get through in the first place!
But, I have supplied all the correct information, so surely you know it is my card!
Actually, this is no longer the case. The card holder may have the card safely tucked away in their wallet, and a credit card thief may still have all the information they need to use that card to order goods and services online, all without anyone knowing it until the charge has already been placed on the card, and the goods have long been shipped and delivered!
If the credit card is not physically present, which is what happens with online transactions, the merchant must rely on the card holder (or someone purporting to be so), as being who they say they are.
It is difficult for a merchant to verify that the actual card holder is indeed authorizing the purchase. Shipping companies can guarantee delivery to a location, but they are not required to check identification, and they are usually not involved in processing payments for the merchandise.
So, when dealing with customers via the internet, it is more risky for the online retailer than it is for someone who is transacting with a customer in person, like at a department store, where the clerk gets to see, and in some cases physically hold, the card the customer is presenting.
But, I am having my goods shipped to the billing address of the card, so of course it is me doing the ordering!
Unfortunately, a common fraud scenario involves the purchaser requesting shipping to the address that matches the billing address on the card, and then intercepting the package when UPS arrives to deliver it. Thus, the retailer doesn't knows that there is third party fraud going on, until the credit card company notifies them, long after the goods have been delivered.
For larger orders, or where an order has been red flagged in our system for extra security, we do additional verifications to determine that it is the actual card holder placing the order.
In the end, we may still require that certain items only be shipped to the billing address of the credit card being used, and a signature be provided upon delivery, at our discretion. You will be contacted by email if that is the case.
If other "red flags" are raised with an order, we may contact you as well, to verify that it is the actual card holder placing the order online.
I've never had anyone else ask for this, and I order online all the time!
Actually, more and more retailers are beginning to require this type of verification, as credit card fraud with online merchants continues to grow.
A quick search online of "credit card authorization form" will reveal thousands of retailers that now require it in some form or another, on orders that they consider "risky" for some reason. Each retailer is going to have their own set of criteria, for what constitutes a "risky transaction," based on several factors, including the type of goods that they sell, the average dollar amount of an order processed through their store, and the countries that they ship to.
One way that you, as a consumer, can avoid running into this in the future is to put any potential shipping addresses that you want associated with your credit card on file with your credit card issuer. Most will allow you to enter alternate addresses, such as a work address, if you are going to be having goods shipped to you and are not home during the day. They will still keep your billing address on file, where they will send your statements, but will have other preferred shipping addresses on file for you as well.
Seems like an awful lot of extra work for you and me!
Not really! The Credit Card Authorization Form is pretty short and easy to fill out. It takes most customer's less than 5 extra minutes to fill out the form, make a copy of the card, and fax or email it back to our billing department. All of the information they need for it is right there on the credit card they are using and their order confirmation email.
And, quite honestly, the majority of our orders don't even require this extra verification step. It is a very small percentage of orders that are "red flagged" for this step, so our billing department is not tied up with this very much.
However, it is imperative, in order to minimize our risk when accepting large ticket transactions, that we know that the person doing the ordering is actually the card holder.
Yeah, but you are asking me to trust your company with my information!
If you have placed an order with us we already have the information. You gave it to us on checkout! All you are sending us is additional verification that you are the true card holder. However, rest assured that our website is scanned daily, and our credit card processing procedures are checked and verified quarterly, by Trustwave, to assure that we are handling our customers personal information in a safe and secure manner, and that we are 100% PCI compliant. We have been around since 2003, and we would not be in business still if we weren't an honest and trustworthy company!