Credit and Debit Card Processing For
Retail, Mail Order, eCommerce and Call Centres

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Accepting Cards

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Please find below information concerning the acceptance of credit and debit cards that are of use to merchants who are currently accepting or thinking about accepting card transactions.


  • When accepting a chip card you may have to take the card from the customer and insert into the card reader - this mimics the current process for accepting swipe cards. Alternatively you may have a customer facing card reader and PIN pad - in which case the customer can insert their own card - check that the card is inserted the correct way around and fully inserted in these circumstances.
  • Be aware that if it is the first time the customer is using their PIN they may not be that confident in what they are doing. Some people may ask you to enter their PIN for them - you must not do this explain to the cardholder that they must enter their own PIN.
  • If a customer cannot remember their PIN it may be possible depending on the set-up of your system to override the entry of the PIN and revert to signature verification. This is common in the first stages of the introduction of chip and pin but should be discouraged and you should remind cardholders that they will need to remember their PIN. The override to signature is up to individual Merchants - be aware that if you do allow PIN override and that transaction turns out to fraudulent you will be liable for the amount as you have bypassed the PIN protection mechanism. Pay particular attention to the signature and the customer as they may not know the PIN as they have stolen the card.
  • You can continue accepting all cards that are in circulation - some cards will still be swipe only and some will be chip but without a PIN. In these cases process them just as you would have prior to chip and pin. You will not be liable for any fraud on these transactions as you have chip and pin equipment in place. The number of non-chip and pin cards will obviously decrease as the banks issue cards to all their existing customers.
  • Be aware that some older customers and those with disabilities may take more time in becoming accustomed to chip and pin. Be patient and help them with the transaction. Be aware that people who have problems inputting a PIN may always have a chip and signature card - the equipment you have will recognise this and prompt accordingly.
  • If a customer has entered their PIN incorrectly three times in a row (not necessarily in the same shop) the card will become PIN locked and temporarily unuseable. In this case you will need to let the customer know that they will need to unlock their card. They can do this at cash points or they will need to contact their card issuer.



There are in most cases two stages to a card transaction - the first is gaining authorisation from the bank for the transaction on the card for the amount specified. The second is the submission of these authorised transactions to the bank for settlement. At the time that the card is authorised the available limit on the customers card account (either credit card account if a credit card or their bank account for debit cards) is reduced by the amount authorised. Once authorised you carry out additional checks in customer present environments - for example signature check, ensuring the card number printed matches the receipt etc. At this time you may reject the transaction due to the signature not matching or for any reason you are not happy about the transaction. In these circumstances the available limit will remain reduced on the customer's account and will automatically be increased again in a few days once the bank determines that funds against the authorisation code are not being taken.

A similar thing happens with regards Address Verification System checks and Card Security Code checks. These are the equivalent of a signature check on customer present transactions. The transaction is authorised by the bank (thus reducing the available credit) regardless of whether the address or card security code matches - but information on the outcome of these checks is passed back to you. You can then make a decision as to whether to accept the transaction or to reject it based on this additional information.





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