All four card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Amex) provide written rules and regulations for processing their cards to ensure sound business for all. MasterCard recently changed its standards around determining card validity at checkout.
MasterCard Processing Rules
In its most recent transaction processing rules, which were published on June 1, 2017, MasterCard required businesses to take steps to validate the authenticity of a card at checkout. The steps are as follows:
- Check the valid date and the expiration date on the front of the card. If the card is expired or not yet valid, obtain an authorization from the card issuer.
- Unless a Hybrid Point-of-Sale terminal is used, compare the PAN on the card front with the number displayed on or printed from the terminal.
- If a photograph of the cardholder is present on the card, compare the photograph on the card with the person presenting the card.
- Check that the card is signed.
- For face-to-face individual transactions, request personal identification of the cardholder in the form of an unexpired, official government document (e.g., a driver’s license or passport) that bears the cardholder’s signature, the cardholder’s photograph, or both. For card-present transactions, compare the signature on the personal identification with the signature on the card and the photograph with the person presenting the card.
MasterCard notes that its rules and standards change from time to time, and it’s possible that the documents on its rules page may not be “absolutely current in all regards.”
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MasterCard Makes Card Validation Optional
MasterCard announced immediate changes to its validation requirements. It now affords businesses the discretion to choose to complete certain steps when accepting MasterCard payments for in-person transactions. Yet, there are certain circumstances where a signature comparison is still required. This includes when a bank manually disburses cash or when a business sells a cash-like instrument.
This change shouldn’t affect your business much. While it may speed up the checkout process, we still recommend taking steps to ensure the validity of a card to prevent fraud. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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