Address Verification Service (AVS): What You Need to Know

Learn what an address verification service is, how it works, and if you need one. Our expert guide explains everything you need to know as a merchant.

As a small business owner, ensuring your customers trust your payment system is crucial to getting customers over the buying line and keeping them coming back for more. However, avoiding fraudulent charges can be a challenge.

There are many types of authentication for credit cards out there today. One such measure is an address verification service – a way for credit card processors to easily match the name and address of customers attempting to purchase goods or services with a credit card. 


What Is an Address Verification Service and How Does It Work?

An AVS is a tool used by credit card processors and banks to help detect fraudulent credit card activity. First introduced by Mastercard, it’s since been adopted by all the major credit card companies. 

An AVS will verify that the billing address provided by a customer matches the billing address the issuing bank has on file for that customer, as part of the authorization process.

This helps mitigate credit card fraud and allows merchants to avoid running problematic transactions that may need to be refunded down the line. However, it’s not a perfect system and should be used in conjunction with other fraud detection measures like CVV, 3D Secure, and IP address verification.

When Is AVS Used?

AVS is most common in card-not-present transactions, like online or over the phone, where fraud is harder to catch. However, it can also be used during in-person transactions, especially in large or high risk transactions.  

For merchants, using AVS either separately or with another authentication process like 3D Secure can better help you defend against chargebacks by showing you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to credit card transactions. 

What Are AVS Codes and How Do They Work?

When the address verification is performed, the credit card processor only checks that the name, house number, and zip code of a billing address match. 

There are a number of different single letter codes that are used across credit card companies. These codes mean a variety of different things with the most common being:

  • Partial Match (A, W, or Z): Part of the address matches, but not all of it
  • International Card (G): No address verification is possible
  • Retry (R): An issue occurred during the process
  • Unavailable (U): Either the bank does support AVS or there isn’t information on file
  • Full Match (X or Y): Both the zip code and the address match

The Benefits of Using as Your Payment Service Provider is a safe and convenient payment service provider for any type of business. It offers an array of security features like credit card tokenization to convert sensitive information into randomly generated tokens. Your customers can feel confident when entering their credit card information. 

Additionally, boasts Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, the highest level that is regularly audited by an independent assessor. You can proudly display the PCI DSS logo on your website, further instilling confidence into your customers. 

Finally, with robust 3D Secure 2.0 (3D2S) authentication for certain transactions, you can reduce the risk of fraudulent activity leading to chargebacks. Like AVS, this is an added layer of protection to help you ensure you’re protecting your customers’ information, as well as preventing unnecessary stresses for your business. 

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The Bottom Line

AVS is one way for merchants to authenticate credit card transactions that may be riskier. It’s not the only form of credit card authentication, and shouldn’t be used as a single measure of authenticity. Instead, AVS works best when it is part of a larger authentication process. offers a reliable authentication process for credit card transactions through 3D2S. This system reduces fraudulent activity and ensures your customers feel safe and confident paying online.  

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What’s the most secure way to accept credit cards? offers the most secure way to accept credit cards. With Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, 3D Secure 2.0 authentication, and credit card number tokenization for added protection, prioritizes security to help your customers feel confident when paying you online. 

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What is AVS in credit card processing?

AVS is an address verification service and it is a way to help prevent credit card fraud. Credit card processors check the billing address the customer entered with the one on file to see if they match. It is usually used together with several other fraud prevention measures.

Is AVS mandatory?

No, AVS is not mandatory, though it is supported by all major credit card companies. However, it is recommended that you use some sort of credit card authentication, whether that is AVS or another authentication process like 3D Secure. This helps you to mitigate fraudulent credit card charges.

What is an address verification fee?

Address verifications fees are the associated costs with completing the address verification service. These are charged by your credit card processor, though occasionally they are waived, primarily if you work exclusively with card-not-present transactions.

Meet the author
Andrea Miller
Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. Specializing in business and finance, she has written for some of the major websites in the financial sector. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her family and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.
The Simple Way for Your Business to Accept Credit Cards offers an easy-to-implement payment solution for all types of businesses. With our level 1 PCI DSS compliance and 3D Secure 2.0 authentication, you can protect your business from fraudulent purchases.

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