What are street and zip/postal code checks (address verification or AVS), and how should I use them?

Address verification checks (also known as Address Verification System or AVS) provide additional levels of confirmation that the person using the card is the legitimate owner of the card, useful to help identify and avoid fraud.

For each charge where we have an address supplied, Stripe checks to make sure that the ZIP/postal code matches the address for the customer on file with their bank.

You can collect all of the information you need for this check by using Stripe.js, Checkout, or our mobile SDKs. If you’re using a third-party plugin or marketplace, check with its developer or support team to see if they support providing address information.

What should I do if the address checks fail?

If the address check fails, there’s a higher chance that the person making the payment is not the legitimate owner of the card. However, it’s worth noting that there are situations where address checks can fail on legitimate transactions, for example if the customer has entered their address incorrectly, or has moved house and not yet updated their address with their bank.

Stripe provides you with all the information available from the banks to tell whether a payment is legitimate, so if you have any doubt we recommend that you contact the customer and ask them to provide additional confirmation to verify their identity. In particular, we recommend all users who are shipping physical goods perform additional verification or reject orders where the customer’s address cannot be verified.

If you are uncomfortable accepting a payment, we recommend refunding the payment and canceling any product or shipment. This will prevent you from being liable for the payment and additional chargeback fee if the cardholder later disputes the charge as fraudulent. We return all fees for refunded payments to you, so you never lose out by choosing to cancel and refund a payment.

Can I enforce an address check?

If your business is often affected by suspicious payments where you are unable to verify the customer’s identity, you can enable a setting to automatically refuse all payments where the zip check fails. Our fraud prevention toolset, Radar, includes a built-in rule to block all payments that fail the ZIP code verification check. Note that this setting will only apply to charges where a zip code is provided and the particular bank supports zip code checks.

What if the address checks show as “unavailable”?

Address checks are primarily used in Canada, the UK, and the US, though banks in other countries can also support them. However, not all banks do support ZIP code verification checks, and some countries do not use postal codes. Radar’s built-in rule can only be enforced if the ZIP code verification check fails. If a bank does not support the check, the rule cannot take action against the payment.

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