Card-Present Fraud: Code 10 Authorization Request


Place a Fraud Alert with a Code 10 Authorization Request

Thanks to emerging technologies and increased eCommerce popularity, there are always significant risks of fraud for card-not-present merchants. While card-present purchases tend to be safer, merchants aren’t immune to unauthorized transactions.

There are several things a merchant can do to prevent card-present fraud. A valuable fraud detection and chargeback prevention tactic is to conduct a voice authorization request, sometimes referred to as a Code 10 call.

What is a Code 10 Authorization Request?


A Code 10 authorization request is most often performed when fraud is suspected. The authorization request allows merchants to obtain further information about a customer or the card in question before releasing merchandise.

A merchant will call the authorization center, requesting guidance on how to proceed. The issuing bank will immediately investigate the situation and either confirm or deny the merchant’s suspicions.

If the verbal authorization request reveals fraud, the merchant can act accordingly. It might be safest for the merchant to deny the transaction and retain possession of the merchandise. Otherwise, the merchant may have to forfeit the merchandise, void the transaction later, and involve law enforcement professionals.

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A Code 10 authorization request is a great fraud prevention tool. If merchants fail to action their suspicions, fraudsters can use lost or stolen credit cards to go on grand shopping sprees that result in numerous chargebacks once the illicit spending is discovered. By validating fraud with an authorization request, merchants can prevent these unauthorized purchases so chargebacks aren’t filed later.

When to Make an Authorization Request

There are certain situations in which merchants should perform a Code 10 authorization request.

Situation Outcome
The transaction seems suspicious. Even if an approved authorization code is issued, merchants have the right to perform a Code 10 call if they feel uneasy about the transaction. The clerk performing the authorization request should remain calm during the call. The authorization center will ask a series of yes and no questions to determine the legitimacy of the purchase.
The security features on the card are missing or altered. While processing each transaction, sales clerks should carefully inspect the card. If any of the security features on the card (such as holographic images, the magnetic stripe, or the embossed card number) are missing or altered, the clerk should perform a Code 10 authorization request. The clerk may be instructed to retrieve the card from the customer if it is safe to do so or to decline the card and request another form of payment.
The authorization response says “Call, “Call Auth,” or “Call Center.” A “call” authorization response may be issued if the bank would like more information about the transaction; it is not always indicative of suspected fraud. If this response appears, conduct a Code 10 call and supply the information requested. Follow instructions given by the authorization center before approving the transaction.
The authorization response says “Pick Up Card.” Card issuers occasionally find reason to take certain cards out of circulation. This could happen if the card is reported lost or stolen or if the account associated with the card has been closed.Perform a Code 10 authorization request. If it is safe to do so, the clerk should keep the card and follow instructions to return it to the issuing bank. If the customer demands the card back, return the card to the customer and notify the issuing bank.
The authorization response says “No Match.” In the event of an authorization response of No Match, swipe the card again and re-enter the last four digits. If the same response appears, perform a Code 10 authorization to verify the legitimacy of the card.

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code10callCode 10 Authorization Request Procedure

Knowing when it is appropriate to make an authorization request is only half the battle for a vigilant business owner. Knowing how to perform a Code 10 call is also important. If it is necessary to make a Code 10 call, follow the steps below to process the transaction quickly and safely:

  1. Politely inform the customer that you must make a phone call to authorize the card before the transaction can be processed.
  2. Retain the card for the duration of the call.
  3. Call the voice authorization center at your acquiring bank. It is a good idea to have this number available near the payment processing terminal. Never allow a customer to call their bank or use the number on the back of a credit card.
  4. Once an authorization center representative is on the phone, inform the representative that you would like to make a Code 10 authorization request.
  5. The representative will then ask for details about the merchant and transaction in question.
  6. The call will then be transferred to the card issuer, who will connect you with an operator in the authorization department.
  7. The operator will ask a series of yes and no questions to determine the nature of the call and if you are suspicious of fraud. Answer all questions in a normal tone of voice.

Follow the operator’s instructions. Depending on the authorization given, you may:

  • be allowed to process the transaction using an authorization code provided by the operator.
  • decline the transaction and ask for another form of payment.
  • be asked to keep the card. Only follow this instruction if it is safe to do so.

Hopefully, making Code 10 authorization requests are not a daily activity for your business. Still, knowing how to make this type of authorization request when the time arises can mean the difference between unnecessary chargebacks and increased profitability.

Incorporating Authorization Requests into Chargeback Prevention

Code 10 authorization requests can help detect fraud and prevent chargebacks. However, they are only one small piece of a very large puzzle.

Merchants need to implement a pro-active chargeback management system. If you'd like to start preventing fraud, retaining revenue, and preventing profit loss, let us know.

Prevent Chargebacks.

Fight Fraud.

Recover Revenue.

10585    Chargeback Terminology    

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