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General services

Apart from providing an authorisation for a card transaction, an acquirer may be able to provide a range of additional services to help a merchant and these are listed below in alphabetical order.

AVS and CSC

These two acronyms stand for Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Security Code (CSC). They refer to information that merchants can pass to their acquirer via the terminal (or by other means) to will help them decide whether to proceed with a transaction or not. Used together, AVS and CSC provide a simple fraud prevention tool. Although AVS and CSC do not provide full cardholder identification, they present a tool to deal with most common types of card-not-present (or CNP) fraud. For more information visit Financial Fraud Action UK.

Code 10

There may be occasions, in face-to-face transactions when a merchants are suspicious about cardholders, the card or card type they are presenting or the circumstances surrounding the purchase. In these situations merchants can make a Code 10 call (if they feel it is safe to do so) to their acquirer’s Card Authorisation Centre (CAC) where the operator will guide them through the process.

Answers to the CAC operator during a Code 10 referral will typically require ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses.

Dynamic currency conversion

In the UK, the Dynamic Currency Conversion (or DCC) service will provide holders of foreign-issued cards with the option to be charged in their own currency at the point-of-sale using the latest currency exchange rates or to pay in £ sterling.

E top-up

Merchants can use their terminals where this functionality is available to allow customers to top-up their mobile phone account using their plastic card. The top-up can be paid by using the phone user's payment card or by accepting another form of payment. There may be a commission / payment from the mobile phone company for providing this service and a merchant’s acquire can provide further details.

Gratuity

A service whereby an amount can be added to cardholders' bills, over and above the amount for the goods / service they have purchased. For example, a restaurant can use this service to collect tips from customers. An acquirer can explain how this works and provide details of any additional facilities they may have to track gratuities in the merchant’s business.

Management information

An acquirer may provide a facility for merchants to receive electronic management information about their transactions. This will be in addition to the end-of-day terminal printout that shows merchants the number and value of transactions that have been taken through their terminal that day.

Multi-currency

A multi-currency facility gives a merchant the ability to accept non-sterling transactions. This is of particular use if a merchant intends to accept transactions over the internet where overseas cardholders may wish to pay for goods in their own currency.

Purchase with cash back

This service provides a cardholder with the facility to withdraw cash up to a limit agreed by the merchant’s acquirer. It can benefit merchants as it has the potential to reduce the amount of cash held on their premises. This service can be offered to a cardholder only when making a purchase using certain cards.

Polling

Polling describes the collection of transaction data from a terminal for processing. This service is provided by a polling bureau that will discuss with a merchant when the transactions are to be polled during the day.

An acquirer will provide further details on polling options and completion of the end-of-day procedure.

Recurring transactions

Cardholders can authorise a recurring transaction to be set up on their card giving a merchant permission to periodically bill their account for goods or services delivered over a period of time. For example, this could be for magazine subscriptions or payment installments.

A merchant’s acquirer will give advice on the procedures to be used to accept recurring transactions, which cards can be used, and how they should be processed.

Transax

Transax is a service provided through a terminal by Certegy. This service was designed to support customer payments being made by cheque. However, from the end of June 2011, the UK cheque guarantee card scheme has been withdrawn.

Voice or telephone authorisation

Merchants may use this service if they do not have a terminal, have a terminal that is unable to obtain an automatic authorisation, or if the terminal prompts them to seek a telephone referral authorisation.

An acquirer will provide further details on the correct procedures to follow when a merchant needs to seek a telephone authorisation.

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