Address Verification System (AVS)

If your business depends primarily on online orders, then perhaps you’ve come across the acronym AVS. AVS stands for “AddressVerification System” and it is a fraud prevention tool used to verify the billing address provided by the customer with the address on file with the credit card issuing bank. AVS checks the numeric portions of the address—like street number and zip code—in order to return a verification. Sometimes this results in false positives or negatives which may result in having to do manual override, but overall it is a good means of preventing fraud.

Additionally, making sure to use AVS can also affect your interchange rate! Credit card companies like to see merchants taking the initiative to protect against fraud and merchants who capture AVS data can receive lower interchange rates. Overall, it is a good idea to institute a policy of AVS, especially if you’re a merchant that relies on card-not-present transactions.

The codes for AVS are alphabetical, and some are card brand-specific. The codes are:

  • A: Street address matches, ZIP does not.
  • B: Street address matches, but ZIP is not verified.
  • C: Street address and ZIP not verified.
  • D: Street address and ZIP match (International only).
  • E: AVS data is invalid or AVS is not allowed for this card type.
  • F: Street address and postal code match (UK only).
  • G: Non-US issuing bank does not support AVS.
  • I: Address information not verified for international transactions.
  • K: Not applicable.
  • L: Not applicable.
  • M: Street address and postal code match (International only).
  • N: Street address and ZIP code do not match.
  • O: Not applicable.
  • P: Zipcode matches, street address unverifiable due to incompatible formats(international only).
  • R: System unavailable, retry.
  • S: AVS not supported.
  • T: Not applicable.
  • U: Address information unavailable. Returned if the US bank does not support-US AVS or if the AVS in a US bank is not functioning properly.
  • W: 9-Digit ZIP matches, street address does not.
  • X: 9-Digit ZIP and street address match.
  • Y: 5-Digit ZIP and street address match.
  • Z: 5-Digit ZIP matches, street address does not.