An authorization center is a common entity encountered during credit card processing. Nearly all credit and debit card transaction requests go through one of these centers, but you’ll rarely notice them because the requests are electronic and tend to go through automatically. There are other times when authorization centers must step in to either stop payments or ensure that the credit card is being used properly. Nearly every bank has or uses one of these centers to prevent fraud.
Though authorization centers are a common occurrence during credit card processing, you’ll rarely notice them because the majority of requests are electronic. The business or merchant account holder will run your card, the request will go through the center and then the money will be removed from your account and transferred to the business owner. While most requests for money are legitimate, they must still be run through an authorization center so that the system can check for red flags.
For example, using a card in another country or too often during a single day might cause the system to decline a card because the charge looks suspicious. If this happens, then you’ll often have to call the authorization center.
If a red flag occurs, then the cardholder will typically have to call the authorization center to confirm that the payment is legitimate. In most cases, the charge will then go through and everything will be fine. Some people also set their credit cards so that they can only be used if the center is called first. This is more common with credit cards attached to a merchant account because they have higher limits and more users, but anyone can set their card to this by calling the center first. Many centers are now using automated voice recognition to make things easier for cardholders.
The primary purpose of these centers is to stop fraud and ensure that all authorizations are legitimate. If a red flag occurs, the center will typically ask for personal information that only the card only should have. They may also freeze the account if things look suspicious to avoid further damage to the cardholder’s account.
Authorization centers may be annoying at times, but they are essential to preventing fraud. The staff members work tirelessly to check for red flags and other issues, and they are there to help protect the cardholder and bank from unauthorized transactions.