Credit Cards, Security and Order Problems

December 9, 2010

There are a lot of people concerned with the security of their credit cards online. I am a consumer too and I am concerned about my own security when I shop online. As a merchant, I want to do everything reasonably possible to make sure that anyone who shops at Graphics Unleashed feels that their card is secure. If we need to make a decision, security always wins. Sometimes this creates ordering problems and I wanted to explain some of those problems as they could affect your online shopping with Graphics Unleashed and elsewhere.

When credit cards are processed online, computers will inspect various pieces of data to determine if the transaction is legitimate. One of the most basic checks is to try and match the address to which an item is shipping to the billing address on the card. If it matches, the transaction will most likely go through. When it doesn’t match, a red flag is raised that could cause the transaction to be rejected. Debit cards do not have an address to match and they will always fail! Credit cards also provide protection to consumers if they are misused. Debit cards do not. In short, you shouldn’t shop online with a debit card!!!

OK, so now you know it is important to have a matching address. Maybe you need to be able to reliably order something that ships to an address different from your billing address. For example, the bill goes to a PO Box yet UPS and FedEx won’t deliver there. It is as simple as calling your credit card provider and giving them the alternate addresses. If you’ve had problems ordering online, this could solve a lot of your problems! If you are having problems with your credit card at Graphics Unleashed, we offer a payment method titled “Offline Credit Cards and Debit Cards”. Those cards are processed by a human and this is the best way to get your card to process successfully. In this case, the human goes through a checklist to determine if a card is fraudulent or not. It also allows debit cards to process successfully.

Now let’s talk about PayPal and addresses. When we receive a payment from PayPal, they offer what they call “seller protection” to us if we deliver to the physical address on file with PayPal. If we ship a product to any other address, PayPal could later reject the transaction. In that case we have shipped a product and have received no payment. So if you use PayPal, make sure they have the right address on file.

All of these systems are automated and the bad guys do everything they can to get their fraudulent transactions to go through. If it was your credit card that was stolen, you wouldn’t want the transactions to work. There are various ways we can evaluate an order to help determine if it is legitimate. I don’t want to help the bad guys, so I won’t list them here. If for some reason we reject your order, please contact us and we will help you process the order. Strangely enough the customers who complain the most about an order being rejected are often the crooks. Funny, because it is usually pretty easy for us to identify which orders are absolutely fraudulent. Again, I won’t tell you how we know, just that they are easy to spot.

You’ve probably also heard to look for the “lock icon” to determine if a site has a security certificate. Graphics Unleashed has such a certificate and you’ll find a link at the bottom of every shopping cart page that allows you to verify the certificate and our identity. You might not see the lock icon on every page and that is simply because a secure connection isn’t needed to look at a product. Where it is needed is in the process of entering payment information and we definitely secure those pages.

If you order a product from us, we definitely want your money. We just want to make sure it is a legitimate transaction!

Post Discussion


  1. Dick

    i wish more people/businesses used paypal. we have multiple ship to addresses because we divide our time between california and utah. and there are wrinkles with the addresses at both ends. ups is different than mail (same street address in one but ups and po want different cities. that drove the po crazy for awhile) palpay always works for us.

    any suggestions on where to search for security hints like what you have learned to do? a secure website of trusted people on both sides to discuss how to prevent fraud? does verisign and such have such suggestions? all who do business on the web should have information like unleashed.


  2. Foster D. Coburn III


    We communicate with our merchant account providers, our online processor, PayPal and others. All of them have useful information for us as merchants so that we can provide a good experience for customers.

    As a consumer, I also communicate with my card providers and follow any tips they provide.

    Verisign is one company that sells SSL certificates and they certainly have a lot of information in that area. We use Thawte (a subsidiary of Verisign).


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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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