Special Report Payment and Collections
The following are some of the universal practices in place.
- Authorize every sale on the order date. Authorizations are valid for a specific number of days: Visa, up to 7 days and MasterCard, up to 30 days. Merchandise must be shipped, and sales must be deposited within these timeframes, or the authorization will expire. If shipping dates exceed these timeframes, obtain a new authorization code before shipping any merchandise.
- Ask for and record card type, card number and expiration date. Visa card numbers begin with a "4" and have 13 or 16 digits. MasterCard card numbers begin with a "5" and have 16 digits. American Express cards begin with a "3" and have 15 digits. Discover cards begin with a "6" and have 16 digits.
- Ask for both a billing and shipping address. If the addresses are different, determine whether the difference seems reasonable.
- Ask for a phone number. This information allows you to contact customers to inform them of backorders, to request another form of payment if the authorization is declined, or to verify address information.
- Ask for an e-mail address. Sending an e-mail order confirmation is another way to verify information. If the e-mail address is invalid, you can choose not to process the order until the information is verified.
- Request a customer service number appear on customers' credit card statements. Both Visa and MasterCard regulations permit mail- and telephone-order merchants to place their customer service numbers where the merchant city would normally appear. This may help customers recognize the charge when it appears on the statement, and reduce ticket requests and disputes. E-commerce merchants can place their URL addresses in this space.
The best way to manage your exposure to payment disputes, chargebacks and fraud is to remain vigilant, and follow accepted industry practices.
Fraud Warning Signs