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Thank you to Mercury for sharing these important tips for preventing fraud at the point of sale!

  • If a photograph of the cardholder is present on the card, merchants should compare the photograph on the card with the person presenting the card.
  • Merchants should check cards for the hologram. A hologram is a three dimensional symbol in either gold or silver foil that is designed to help deter counterfeiting. The image should reflect light and appear to move when you tilt the card. NOTE: The Visa hologram is an image of a dove; the MasterCard hologram is an image of a world map; the Discover hologram has four distinct images.
  • Merchants should check cards (including the signature panel) to see if they have been altered.
  • Merchants should check the valid date (some cards are not valid until the date shown) and the expiration date on the face of the card. If the card is not yet valid or expired, the card acceptor should not accept the card and should instead ask for another form of payment. NOTE: Cards are valid through the last date of the month, unless an exact date is displayed.
  • For each card type, merchants should be aware of the first four digits and the total number of characters. NOTE: A Visa-branded card number begins with a “4” and has 13 or 16 digits; a MasterCard-branded cardnumber begins with a “5” and has 16 digits; a Discover card number begins with a “6” and has 16 digits. Merchants should check the first four digits of a card. For Visa and MasterCard, the first four digits of the embossed card number must match the four digits printed above or below that number on the front of the card.
  • The account number on the front of the card should match the number printed on the back of the card in the signature panel. For Visa, American Express and Discover, merchants should compare the entire account number imprinted in the signature panel with the embossed account number on the face of the card. For MasterCard, merchants should compare the four-digit truncated account number imprinted in the signature panel with the last four digits of the embossed account number on the face of the card. For MasterCard, merchants must contact their acquirer for instructions if: • Merchants believe there is a discrepancy in the\ signature. • The last four digits of the embossed account number do not match the four digit truncated account number on the signature panel or displayed on the terminal. • The photographic identification is uncertain. If any MasterCard does not have a MasterCard hologram on the lower right corner of the card face, merchants must confiscate the card and contact their acquirer’s Code 10 operator for instructions on card pick-up and mailing.