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Why is "AVS" or Address Verification Service important to me?

AVS or Address Verification Service can be very helpful when determining whether to accept a phone or web sale.  AVS is available on US cards.  When you key enter or accept a web transaction through a gateway, you can base your approval on the result of the AVS inquiry.  If you have AVS enabled on your terminal or gateway, it will prompt you for the cardholder's billing street number and zip code.  When that information is provided, the issuing bank checks it against its records and will tell you if that information matches or not.  If it doesn't match, you may not be dealing with the true cardholder.  If it matches, you should only ship your merchandise to that address.  By shipping to another address you lose chargeback protection as the true cardholder may claim it is not authorized.  If you can provide proof you shipped to an address where the AVS was a match, you earn extra chargeback protection.