Ellen Cibula
Written by Ellen Cibula Payments, Finance, and AI Expert: Learn More

AVS mismatch errors can be one of the most frustrating problems for stores. The Address Verification System (AVS) is designed to help protect against fraud.

Still, it can seem overly picky and stops people from buying even when they’re legitimate customers. But don’t worry – there are ways to fix this problem quickly and easily. I’m here to help! As someone who has experience working at a payment processor, I have the insights necessary to help you understand AVS mismatches and know how to fix them quickly and easily.

In my article, I break down exactly what an AVS mismatch error is and look at some tips for avoiding them altogether. Plus, I’ll go over some simple steps that store owners can take to reduce their chances of experiencing this issue in the future.

With my insights, you can minimize these pesky errors in your checkout process! 

  • AVS mismatch occurs when the address on file for a customer’s payment method does not match the one provided by the customer at checkout.
  • Merchants need to verify the identity of their customers to protect against fraudulent activity and ensure customers are using valid payment methods.
AVS Mismatch

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What is the AVS?

The Address Verification System (AVS) is a security measure designed to ensure that the person using a credit card for a purchase is indeed the cardholder. It compares the credit card’s billing address to the one entered during checkout. 

A mismatch between these two addresses could indicate fraud, so the transaction will be declined. Processors use this fraud prevention measure to prevent credit card fraud. This will minimize the number of chargebacks that you will have.

What Is an AVS Mismatch Error?

An AVS mismatch error is when the address does not match the billing address with the credit card issuer. This error occurs when someone tries to buy something from your business using their credit card, but the address entered doesn’t match what is on file for their card account. 

This error results in a declined transaction even if sufficient funds are on the card. It’s important to remember that just because a customer’s information looks valid does not mean it will be accepted during the authorization process simply because of an AVS mismatch.

When a customer’s card is declined due to an AVS policy mismatch, it can cause frustration for both the customer and the merchant.

When processing online transactions, it’s crucial to distinguish between a partial AVS match, where some of the customer’s billing information aligns with the bank’s records, and a full AVS match, which signifies that all the provided details perfectly correspond with the data held by the card-issuing bank, ensuring a secure and reliable payment process.

This transaction will show on the credit card statements as a pending transaction, even though the transaction was declined. However, this pending transaction will be removed from their account because it will not be settled.

key takeaway

AVS mismatch codes are generated when there is a discrepancy between the billing information provided by a customer and the data on file with their card-issuing bank. These codes help businesses identify the specific type of mismatch that has occurred.

An AVS match, on the other hand, indicates that the customer’s billing details align perfectly with the bank’s records. This may indicate that these are legitimate transactions.

Familiarizing yourself with various AVS codes is crucial in understanding the reasons behind AVS mismatches and taking appropriate action to mitigate potential fraud or payment issues in online transactions.

How to Fix AVS Mismatch

The good news is that there are ways to help prevent or reduce the likelihood of an AVS mismatch. Before you go live accepting payments in-store or online, you must review your merchant processor’s AVS response codes and ensure they match what you have set up in your payment system. 

Additionally, provide clear instructions for inputting billing information as customers fill out their checkout forms. For example, asking them to enter their billing address as exactly as it appears on their card statement will help avoid these frustrating issues from arising in the first place.

Here are 4 ways to try to correct a mismatch error:

  1. Retry the transaction.
  2. Trust the customer and accept the transaction.
  3. Verify the customer with their credit card company.
  4. Contact the payment processor to adjust your AVS filters.

How do AVS Filters Work?

The AVS filters are designed to verify the accuracy of a customer’s billing address. When a customer is making a purchase, the payment gateway will ask the customer for their billing address. The gateway will forward this information to an address verification service. This service compares numbers from the street address, or in some cases, the zip code, with the information on file with their credit card issuing bank.

When there is a discrepancy between these two pieces of information, the person making the purchase is likely not the actual cardholder. The transaction will be declined.

For customers whose billing address contains a PO Box, this could present a problem depending on your payment processor’s AVS system settings. For example, some systems strip off any postal abbreviations such as “PO” and just compare the numbers in the address.

However, other systems may require both letters and numbers to match exactly before approving a transaction. This is why reviewing your merchant processor’s AVS response codes is important before going live and accepting payments.

An AVS check will provide three possible results: Match, Partial Match, and Mismatch.

  • A match indicates that the billing address supplied by the customer matches precisely with the one on file for their credit card account.
  • A partial match means an inconsistency between these two pieces of information, but it’s not enough to indicate potential fraud or decline the transaction.
  • A mismatch indicates a discrepancy between the two addresses, which may show fraudulent activity, so the transaction will be declined.

The card issuer sends back the AVS code, and the processor forwards the code to the business, which determines what to do with the transaction.

Why Legitimate Charges Get Flagged by an AVS Mismatch Filter

  1. The customer recently moved and hasn’t updated their billing address (they may have updated their mailing address).
  2. Cards outside the US, Canada, and the UK do not have AVS filters. These transactions will get flagged whether they are legitimate or fraudulent.
  3. Cardholder has multiple cards with multiple addresses


Address Verification System (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV) are two methods that merchants use to verify the identity of their customers when making purchases. 

AVS filters compare the customer’s billing address with the one on file for their credit card account, while CVV is a security code located on the back of credit cards that must be entered during checkout as an added layer of protection

Transaction declined due to AVS settings means that the Address Verification System (AVS) check has determined that the billing address provided by the customer does not match the one on file for their credit card account. This discrepancy could indicate potential fraudulent activity, so the transaction is being declined as a safety measure.


When setting up payment acceptance for your business, don’t overlook any details – especially those related to avoiding an AVS mismatch! Taking a few extra minutes here can save headaches later down the road when cards get declined due to incorrect information.

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