AVS (Address Verification System)

« Back to Glossary IndexWhat is the Address Verification System (AVS)? Address Verification System (AVS) is a fraud prevention system that helps to limit chargebacks & fraud. AVS is the system which verifies that the card holder's billing address matches the billing address associated with the credit card account. AVS is widely used by major […]

What is the Address Verification System (AVS)?

Address Verification System (AVS) is a fraud prevention system that helps to limit chargebacks & fraud.

AVS is the system which verifies that the card holder's billing address matches the billing address associated with the credit card account. AVS is widely used by major credit card companies to prevent card-not-present (CNP) fraud.

"AVS codes" or "AVS response codes" are single-letter codes sent to the merchant during a credit card's authorization process.

How does that Address Verification System (AVS) Work?

  1. A customer begins the the checkout process for a CNP transaction.
  2. They enter their billing address
  3. That address is referenced against the card address on file with the issuing bank.
  4. The addresses are compared, and the issuing bank then returns an AVS code to the merchant.
  5. The merchant can then use this to guide them on how to proceed with this particular transaction.

If the address provided by the consumer doesn't match the one on file with the issuing bank, the AVS code will indicate this mismatch of addresses, and the transaction may be declined. If the addresses match, the AVS code will indicate a match and the transaction will be authorized.

The entire AVS process typically takes only a few seconds, and completely out of sight from the consumer.

AVS Response Codes

AVS Response codes are the codes standardized by the card brands.

A = Street Address: Match — First 5 Digits of ZIP: No Match
This code signifies a perfect match between the street address entered by the customer and the billing address on file with the credit card issuing bank, but a mismatch between ZIP codes.

B = Address not provided for AVS check or street address match, postal code could not be verified
This code signifies that the transaction was submitted to without address information, so the AVS check could not be performed.

E = AVS Error
This response code signifies that an error occurred on the processing network while processing the AVS request so AVS information is not available for this transaction.

G = Non U.S. Card Issuing Bank
The credit card-issuing bank is not of U.S. origin and does not support the AVS system.

N = Street Address: No Match — First 5 Digits of ZIP: No Match
Neither the street address nor the ZIP code provided by the customer matches the billing address and ZIP code on file with the card issuing bank.

P = AVS not applicable for this transaction
This response code is returned when address information is not checked against the AVS system. Examples of this would be eCheck.Net® transactions, credits, voids, prior auth capture transactions, capture only transactions, declines and other transactions that do not include address checking.

R = Retry, System Is Unavailable
AVS was unavailable on the processing network or the processor did not respond.

S = AVS Not Supported by Card Issuing Bank
The card issuing bank does not support AVS.

U = Address Information For This Cardholder Is Unavailable
Address information is not available for the customers credit card at the processor

W = Street Address: No Match — All 9 Digits of ZIP: Match
The nine-digit ZIP code provided matches the billing ZIP code on file with the card-issuing bank, but the street address provided does not match.

X = Street Address: Match — All 9 Digits of ZIP: Match
The nine-digit ZIP code and street address provided matches the billing ZIP code and street address on file with the card issuing bank.

Y = Street Address: Match – First 5 Digits of ZIP: Match
The five-digit ZIP code and street address provided matches the billing ZIP code and street address on file with the card-issuing bank.

Z = Street Address: No Match – First 5 Digits of ZIP: Match
The five-digit ZIP code provided matches the billing ZIP code on file with the card issuing bank, but the street address provided does not match.

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