Credit card processing is a fundamental part of ecommerce whether you use Apache or another web server, Ubuntu or another platform. Whether you use an ecommerce payment gateway or run a hosting site yourself, validating card numbers on your site is part of the territory of being an ecommerce merchant. Here we look at protecting your business from credit card fraud and chargebacks.
Normal processing of credit cards on ecommerce sites follow these steps:
- Accept the card holder's information via a secured website
- Pass that data to your bank or ecommerce merchant service
- Receive approval of the charge
- Issue the card holder their confirmation of the charge and store your own copy for your records
Proper Credit Card Processing
Proper credit card processing should validate the card information at the first two points for proper validation. The second point of validation is the most well-known. If you send the card information to your ecommerce merchant service and a rejection is returned, the transaction does not go through and fraud is averted.
Validate the Credit Card Number
But blindly sending off the credit card information for processing consumes resources unnecessarily. If the first step is checked sufficiently, it will lighten the load on the second step, where charges can sometimes be assessed. This step entails validating the credit card number before you send it for processing. See "Validating a Credit Card Number Before Processing It" for more on this.
Further Checks Before Credit Card Processing
Once the number has been validated, you can perform further checks with third-party online identity verification services before you send the customer data for processing. These can validate the user's address and phone number, for example. With PHP and the Curl module, you can access different free websites to verify your customers. Alternatively, and more reliably, you can subscribe to a service.
All Processing is Subject to Errors
By virtue of its automation, credit card processing is subject to true negatives. Every automated process has false positives, including the two steps mentioned above. Even if the data validates, your merchant service may still turn down the transaction. However, the greater problem is if an ecommerce merchant service accepts the transaction. This may artificially inflate your accounts and possibly leave you at a loss of inventory. So choose your credit card processing service wisely!
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