The Inside Scoop on International Transactions

Ok, so many of you have had this come up at least once. You have an international customer who tries to either book or pay their invoice online and their cards are declined. This may have even happened when you tried to process the transaction through the back end making life really frustrating for you and your international guests, especially when you can’t figure out why and you are 90% positive you have been told that Arctic is internationally friendly, capable of handling international phone numbers and addresses. So you start thinking you were bamboozled and Arctic isn’t internationally friendly. It’s an Isolationist who only likes US citizens and is screwing up your business with your international guests. All of which is accompanied by a choice selection of expletives, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Can I get an amen?

Well, I am here to set the record straight. Arctic is not the evil villain of this story. Your payment gateway is the one who is thwarting your international transactions. Arctic is, in fact, capable of accepting international addresses and phone numbers. Arctic provides the gateway with all of the information needed to verify the card. The problem, when processing international payments, is that your gateway fraud protection settings are most likely set to reject transactions where the address and zip code cannot be verified.

“Wait a minute!” you shout with brow furrowed in frustration, “I entered the correct billing address for the card into Arctic, so what’s the deal? Why is the card still being declined?”

If all of the information was entered correctly, there is still another issue at play and that is certain international countries or regions don’t allow or support address verification. Germany and Australia tend to be common culprits. Most gateways can work with some international countries or regions without an issue, but there is just nothing to do for the countries that, either for legal reasons (consumer protection) or technological reasons (different credit card infrastructure), cannot validate addresses. So, when you have address verification as a requirement for your fraud protection settings on your gateway, the unverifiable addresses will be declined every time.

To fix this issue, you should contact your payment gateway provider and discuss changing your fraud protection settings to allow for transactions where the address doesn’t match or can’t be verified. You may be able to negotiate a little higher rate for those instances where this happens, as is the case with international transactions, and a lower rate for the instances where they are able to successfully verify the address for the card being used. Once you have your fraud protection settings adjusted with your payment gateway provider, your international transactions should start going through without a hitch and you will once again be merrily singing, “It’s a Small World After All”. 🙂




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