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What are some Best Practices for Accepting Payments?

For all transaction types:

  1. Check the expiration date and do not accept expired cards.
  2. Obtain authorization for the full amount of the sale.
  3. If a card is declined, do not continue to attempt to get authorization.
  4. For large transactions or new customers, we recommend researching your customer. Do a Google search of their name and place of residence or look them up on Facebook, and definitely call to confirm large orders.  
  5. Make sure that your merchant business name is recognizable to the customer and tell your customers how the transaction will appear on their card statement. For instance, If your DBA is “Jane’s Cool Stuff”, a customer may not associate this business name with their retail purchase. Help them recognize your business.

For Card-Present Transactions:

  1. Do not accept a card that appears to have been altered.
  2. It is best not to accept any card which has not been signed. However, If the card is not signed, you should ask for a Government-issued ID. Once again, make sure the signatures match.
  3. Verify that the card number and signature on the receipt match the number and signature on the card.
  4. If you manually key in a card number, get a manual imprint of the card.
  5. Return policies must be printed on the sales receipt close to the signature line.

For Card-Not-Present Transactions:

  1. Ship goods only to the cardholder’s billing address and obtain signed proof of delivery from the shipper for delivered goods.
  2. Pay special attention to international purchases since they have a greater risk of credit card fraud.
  3. Make sure your customers are aware of any warranty and return policies. They can be referenced on a website and included in the e-mail and other correspondence.

Help protect your business from FRAUD. Be on the lookout for the following suspicious behaviors:

  1. Customer requests international shipping and/or expedited shipping.
  2. The customer wants to make indiscriminate purchases without regard to size, style, color, or price. For instance, a new customer is buying whatever you will sell them and then coming back for more in subsequent transactions. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is…
  3. The customer typically orders close to an average order size and now wants to place a much larger order or they start placing consecutive orders in a condensed timeframe.
  4. The customer makes purchases, leaves the event, and returns to make additional purchases. A good rule of thumb for an online event, for instance, is to not take multiple purchases in a day from the same customer.
  5. Customer hurries you to complete the sale or wants to purchase quickly right at the end of an event. 
  6. The customer requests an order to be split between multiple credit cards. Pay very close attention to this type of behavior, and if you are suspicious, ask for a driver’s license.
  7. The customer’s credit card is declined and they want to use a second credit card. In some cases, this could be legitimate, but you need to be wary and compare the cards. A good rule of thumb might be to ask for an ID if someone presents another card after a decline.
  8. Customer refuses free delivery for large purchases.
  9. The billing and shipping ZIP codes don’t match.
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