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An address verification service (AVS) is a standard used to match billing information on record to billing information at the point of sale in debit and credit card transactions. It is part of the current standards for credit and debit card handling in commerce.
In address verification service designs, the user inputs part of credit card billing information, usually a five-digit ZIP code, a street address, or a combination of the two. That data is sent to be matched against data on file at the bank. The match will facilitate an approval for use of the card. Businesses can set AVS security levels according to what's required by their merchant service providers or banks.
Experts refer to address verification service as a risk management tool for merchants. Services are available from big companies specializing in e-commerce and point-of-sale commerce security. Other kinds of typical security conventions include the use of an additional code written on the back of a card that will be furnished by the user in a commercial transaction. While address verification service is now a popular standard, some criticize it because of its potential for false rejections and any inconvenience that this may cause. Some address verification service systems can be overridden at the point of sale by a cashier to mitigate this kind of problem. In e-commerce transactions, address verification service compliance may be stricter due to the fact that there is no face-to-face human transaction.