Currently the client I'm working for charge 2 small amounts on adding credit card to authenticate credit card. After that they ask end-users to check the exact amounts on their monthly statements and enter the amounts back. This way they confirm that end-users have really access to the account and the card is not stolen.

As this is complicated way and end-users don't want it, is there any user-friendlier way to protect users and the company from stolen credit cards being used to make purchases from the company?

  • It's not any more user friendly, but I'll just add that: PayPal uses a system where they create a single charge and add a 4-digit code to the "charge description" that the user will have to type back on the PayPal site.
    – Joel L
    Aug 12, 2013 at 9:39
  • I think PayPal actually deposits money in to the account with the 4 digit code you mention. Obviously similar situation but less likely to annoy users when money comes in rather than out :)
    – emtunc
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:12

3 Answers 3


If the card has been stolen, it should have been cancelled. Alternatively, it should be on a blacklist and flagged as such if your client is doing any fraud analysis.

The current process for authenticating a user does sounds rather laborious for clients. It should be possible to perform a null value pre-authorisation of the card. This means that for the initial authorisation, the PSP/acquirer will require the PAN, expiry date and CVV2 of the card. After the card has been authorised, future transactions can be performed against this card using the PAN and expiry date only.

The methods for the above to work are dependent on your acquirer or Payment Service Provider. It's worth discussing possibilities with them or reading their API documentation. To reduce fraud rates, you could also [where possible] push users to use Verified By Visa/MasterCard during the authorisation process.


Similar to your other question. If the cards is stolen there are only 2 scenarios.

The user has reported it stolen: The card issuer will block the card and the transaction will not be processed.

The user has not reported it stolen: No one apart from the thief can know it is stolen and the card will continue to work until such a time it is reported stolen.

Short of using an additional further method like charging amounts to the card / Verified by Visa/Mastercard or unique references attached to a transaction, there is no way to determine if the card is stolen.

  • Thanks for your reply. Could you please tell me some more about 'unique references attached to a transaction'. Thanks Aug 12, 2013 at 13:23
  • The transaction can have an associated description or reference set, just insert say a 4 digit PIN and ask them to check their statement to verify the number. This isn't too dissimilar to just charging a small random amount and asking them to verify that. Aug 12, 2013 at 13:28

That you can implement directly, not easily, however there are verification services available that will check things like exact billing address or even pull public record information about the card holder to ask. These aren't foolproof, but they do stop casual theft and the latter prevents some amount of database theft.

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