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The merchant account must be able to handle all types of credit card processing challenges. The online marketplace has placed plenty of obstacles in the way of achieving proper verification (or authentication) of credit cards. Here are four (4) types of Authenticators that assist with the process: 1. Private Identification, 2. Acquiring Banks, 3. Computer Algorithms and 4. Authenticator Tokens.

Verifying the Truth

Before an e-Commerce transaction can be completed the identity of the credit card holder, card and account must be discerned. Identity theft has involved both the physical theft of credit cards and cyber hacking into vulnerable digital connections. Authenticators include identification numbers, processes and organizations checking the veracity of the data.

1. Private Identification

During physical “card present” transactions, a customer can swipe or insert a credit card into a point-of-sale (POS) machine and provide his PIN for authentication. For e-Commerce “card absent” transactions, the credit card account number, card owner address, PIN and 3- or 4-digit security codes are used as authenticators. The most high-tech merchant account permits electronic signatures and private authentication services passwords.

2. Acquiring Bank

The acquiring bank is the entity that will have the task of actually checking the private identification against the credit card databases. During e-Commerce transactions, a “gateway provider” may be the link between the merchant account and acquirer bank. At all times, this sensitive financial information must remain encrypted. The authentication process will also check to see if the card was reported lost or stolen.

3. Computer Algorithms

To save time, complicated computer algorithms, application programming interfaces (API) and authentication software programs are being used as authenticators. These can quickly search for matching sets of data between the customer seeking to complete the transaction and data stored when the credit card was issued.

4. Authenticator Token

The latest technology has added smart flash drive IDs (or authenticator tokens) that can transmit electronic data through a computer network. The older magnetic stripe on most credit cards is representative of the old floppy diskette era. Gradually, credit cards are becoming more digital with EMV microchips and “near field” technology. The authenticator token also requires a separate PIN for usage.