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Electronic Data Capture (EDC) Merchants

Electronic Data Capture (EDC) merchants use a terminal or other electronic device (e.g., cash register or PC) to authorize and settle their transactions. Using EDC is preferable to using paper drafts since an electronic record of your credit and debit card transactions is maintained throughout the business day.

The terminal can be used to validate your totals before settling at the end of the day. If you currently do not use Electronic Data Capture, contact EXS for information on how you can improve your business with newer, more effective technology.

Completing an Electronic Transaction

It is very important to complete a transaction accurately and fully. The quality of the transaction is critical to your business’s financial success and your customer’s satisfaction.

There are six steps to complete an electronic transaction:

    1. Make sure the card is valid
    2. Swipe the card
    3. Compare account numbers
    4. Request authorization
    5. Print the sales draft

Obtain and compare signatures.

Step 1 - Determining Card Validity

Follow these steps to make sure the card is valid:

Visa Cards

Embossed account number begins with 4. All digits must be clear, even, and the same size/shape. A three-dimensional dove hologram appears to move on the label as you rotate or tilt the card. The last raised card numbers appear on top of the hologram. Four-digit number must be printed directly below the embossed account number. This printed number should match exactly with the first four digits of the account number.
The flying “V” is an embossed security character beside the “Good Through” date. If the V is not italicized or is missing, the card is counterfeit.

The signature panel should be white with the word “Visa” repeated in a diagonal pattern in blue and gold print. The words “Authorized Signature” and “Not Valid Unless Signed” must appear above, below, or beside the signature panel.

CVV2, the three-digit value code printed on the signature panel after the full or truncated account number helps mail order, telephone, and Internet order merchants validate that the customer has a Visa card and that the card account is legitimate.

MasterCard Cards

All MasterCard account numbers begin with a 5. The embossing should be clear and uniform in size and spacing. The MasterCard logo may appear on the front or the back of the card along with a hologram. Whether on the front or back of the card, a hologram with interlocking globes showing the continents should appear three-dimensional and move when the card is tilted. The word “MasterCard” will appear in the background of the hologram. The letters “MC” are microengraved around the two rings.

A four-digit number may be pre-printed on the card. It must match the first four digits of the embossed account number.

MasterCard cards have a stylized “MC” embossed on the line next to the valid dates. The word “MasterCard” is printed in multi-colors at a 45-degree angle on a tamper-evident signature panel on the back of the card. All or a portion of the 16-digit account number is indent printed in reverse italics on the signature panel and is followed by a 3-digit card validation code (CVC2).

The card must not be physically altered in any way.

The transaction must fall between the effective date and the card’s expiration date. If the current date is not within the specified range, do not accept the card. Follow the terminal authorization procedures as described in your EXS Quick Reference Guide.

American Express Cards

See the American Express Fraud Prevention Handbook online at:

Discover Cards

Please refer to your Discover Business Services “Merchant Operating Regulations.”

Step 2 - Swiping the Card

  • Swipe the card to request the transaction authorization
  • Hold the card through the entire transaction
  • Avoid sliding the card back and forth
  • Slide the card only once unless prompted to do otherwise by the device
  • Press clear before sliding another card

Use the manual or call the help desk if the system develops problems.

Step 3 - Compare Account Numbers

While the transaction is being processed, check the card’s features and security elements to make sure the card is valid and has not been altered. Compare account numbers displayed on the terminal or printed on the sales draft to the embossed number on the customer’s card. If the numbers match, enter the amount of the transaction into the terminal and request authorization. If the numbers do not match, call the authorization center and say, “Code l0.” Follow the instructions the operator gives over the telephone.

Most point of sale devices have the ability to perform fraud controls. This functionality will help in identifying potentially counterfeit credit cards, and assist in avoiding potential chargeback losses to your merchant account. If the controls are ‘on,’ you will be prompted to input the last four digits of the card number after initially swiping the card. If there are no issues identified, the transaction will proceed as normal. If there is a possible problem, the point of sale device will display a ‘mismatch’ message (see “Request Authorization” below). If you would like to know more about these controls, please contact your point of sale help desk.

Step 4 - Request Authorization

In the authorization process, the issuer approves or declines a transaction. In most cases, transactions are quickly processed electronically. However, to protect against fraud, the issuer may request information about the transaction.

Typically, the authorization process is quick and easy, taking just a few seconds. Ninety-five percent of all authorization requests are approved. When requesting authorization, you may receive one of the following or similarly worded responses:

  • Approved: This response means the issuer approves the transaction. If you have a terminal printer, the approval is noted automatically. If you do not have a terminal printer, write the authorization code clearly on the sales receipt.
  • Declined or Card Not Accepted: Issuer does not approve the transaction. Do not process this transaction. Quietly inform the cardholder that the card has been declined. Ask if the cardholder would prefer to use an alternative form of payment. Do not attempt to authorize for lower amounts.
  • Call or Call Center, or Referral: This means that the issuer wants the associate to call. Call the Voice Authorization Center and follow the operator’s instructions. Most of these transactions are authorized, and you may want to inform the cardholder this is to protect against fraud.
  • Pickup: Means that the issuer wants the sales associate to keep the card. If you can, try to retain the card; however, never put yourself in any danger.

Mismatch: When using the available fraud control features (see “Available Fraud Controls” above), if the 4 digits that were entered do not match the information imbedded on the magnetic stripe, this message appears. Start the transaction again, reentering the 4 digits as requested. If the message appears again, the card is potentially counterfeit or fraud. In this case, follow Code 10 procedures, and do not accept the card as a form of payment.

Note: Obtaining an authorization does not guarantee against chargebacks.

Step 5 - Print the Sales Draft

Follow these steps if you are using a printer:

  • Have the cardholder sign the printer-generated sales draft.
  • Compare the signature on the sales draft with the signature on the back of the card. Make sure that the signatures match.
  • If the signatures match, hand the cardholder the customer copy of the sales draft and return the card. Your sale is now complete.
  • If the signature looks suspicious, or if you are suspicious about the card, call your voice authorization center and request a Code 10 authorization. You must also take a manual imprint of the sale.
  • If the display on the terminal is CALL, call the voice authorization center. When the authorization operator answers, give the following information:
    - Bank Identification Number
    - Your Merchant Identification Number
    - Cardholder Account Number
    - Amount of Sale (dollars and cents)
    - Expiration date on the card
    · Write the authorization code on the provided space on the sales draft.

Note: All transactions authorized by phone need to be re-entered into your terminal in order to be electronically deposited. Follow the terminal procedures for Force Transactions (sometimes also referred to as “Post Authorization”), located in your EXS Quick Reference Processing Guide.Remember to imprint and fully complete a sales slip for all sales that are forced into the terminal. If the terminal is out of order, please contact the Terminal Help Desk. To reduce your risk of incurring a chargeback on a fraudulent card, when receiving a referral response, the issuing bank requests an authorization through a voice operator. Contact the voice authorization center and speak directly to an operator.

Do not use the Automated Response Unit (ARU) on these voice referral transactions.
If a terminal swipe is unsuccessful, you must obtain an imprint of the card on a standard sales draft. Complete the sales draft (including a cardholder signature) and attach a copy to the printer-generated draft for your records.

Follow these steps if your terminal is not connected to a printer:

  • Place the card on the imprinter face up. Make sure the card is properly positioned so that all information embossed on the card and your merchant identification plate will be legible on the sales draft.
  • Place the sales draft face up over the card in the imprinter, making sure that the imprinter’s guides hold the draft properly.
  • Move the imprinter handle completely across the draft with a quick, firm motion, and return the handle to its original position.
  • Be sure that the imprinted information is legible on ALL copies of the draft.
    If not, print the complete information above (not over) the imprinted information. Note: Truncation mandates do not apply to manual card imprints, only to electronically printed cardholder receipts.
  • Use a ball point pen (not a soft felt tip), to enter the date, description of merchandise or services, sales amount, approval code, tax, total and clerk’s initials on the draft.
  • Have the cardholder sign the sales draft.
  • Compare the signature on the sales draft with the signature on the back of the card. The signatures must match.
  • Hand the cardholder the customer copy of the sales draft and return the card to them. Your sale is now complete.

All transactions authorized by phone need to be re-entered into your terminal in order to be electronically deposited. Follow the instructions in your terminal procedures for Force Transactions, located in your EXS Quick Reference Processing Guide. Remember to imprint and fully complete a sales slip for all sales that are forced into the terminal. If the terminal is out of order, contact the Terminal Help Desk.

Step 6 - Obtain and Compare Signature

Have the cardholder sign the draft. Compare the signatures on the card and the draft. If the two match, return the card with the copy of the draft. If they don’t match ask for additional information, such as a driver’s license or another credit card and call voice authorization center for instructions.

If there is no signature, ask for additional information. Have the cardholder sign the card, and then compare the signature to a signature on the government-issued ID (such as a driver’s license).

Retain a copy of the sales draft for your records and for protection against possible disputes.




CONTACT US |  EXS is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA