Cardservice International

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Overview

Cardservice International is a merchant credit-card processing company. I used them for all vbz.net credit card transactions from the very beginning, but I have now switched to PayPal for reasons I expect to write about soon...

Reference

Related Pages

Opinion

As of now, this is the only credit card processing number I've ever used (and I have used them since 1996) -- but I have had a number of issues with them.

  • First, the CardService salesman apparently misrepresented our agreement with LeaseComm regarding the latter's financing of the PTC processing software
  • The PTC software was grossly overpriced in the first place (about $2000), and should have been provided for free
  • CardService has not offered to upgrade the PTC software, despite the huge amount we paid for it, and there is no evidence that any kind of free upgrade is available. They should provide free upgrades in order to ensure that their clients are using the latest security features:
    • The software does not support CVV
    • Their address verification works best only for cardholders whose billing addresses are in the U.S.; for foreign cards, the most it can do is confirm that the street number matches (which is extremely minimal verification indeed, as the U.K. for example has a lot of single-digit addresses) and in many countries it will tell you no more than "foreign card" (code G) or "not supported" (code U).
    • In the event that the cardholder's address does not match the one you have, there is no way to contact the cardholder through CardService (even for a fee) to ask if they authorized the charge.
    • Changing the name or contact information shown on the customer's statement is very difficult, and must be done in writing; CardService support personnel give conflicting and incomplete information about how this is done.
  • When CardService does a chargeback, they do not send email or fax; they send a letter and then immediately remove the funds. This means that you usually get the letter warning about the chargeback after the funds have been removed. (The only way to find out sooner is to check the online account -- why can't the online account send out a notification?)
  • Chargebacks must be appealed within 10 days of notification. Adding in the mail delay, this often leaves less than a week to contact the customer and clarify the matter. The most reliable method of having the chargeback reversed is to have the customer call their bank (which they presumably already called once to question the charge), but there is no clear way to know when they do this unless the customer notifies you. So the business has to choose between continually pestering the customer repeatedly within the short action window (and possibly alienating them) or gambling that the customer will take the necessary action.
  • I could go on, but I've got an order to place, and I need to figure out whether I have enough cash.

Examples

Sample of a typical Cardservice billing statement:

9/30/2005 CREDIT CARD BATCH SETTLEMENTS 5 SETTLEMENT FEES AT (1.60)
9/30/2005 MC/VISA MINIMUM 25.00 MINIMUM LEVEL LESS 16.36 (8.64)
9/30/2005 CUSTOMER SERVICE FEE (12.50)
9/30/2005 AMEX WATS AUTH FEE 2 TRANSACTIONS AT .320000 (.64)
9/30/2005 VISA WATS AUTH FEE 4 TRANSACTIONS AT .320000 (1.28)
9/30/2005 MASTERCARD WATS AUTH FEE 6 TRANSACTIONS AT .320 (1.92)
9/30/2005 AVS WATS AUTHORIZATION FEE 12 TRANSACTIONS AT .0 (.60)
9/30/2005 BATCH CLOSURE FEE 5 CLOSURE FEES AT .320000 (1.60)
9/30/2005 ANNUAL COMPLIANCE SVC FEE (40.00)