Managing Visa Disputes during COVID-19

Visa implemented a COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program that will help maintain the dispute process by reducing the number of invalid disputes initiated into the system. It will monitor daily dispute volumes with a focus on consumer-related disputes. The system will monitor the following:

  • Dispute volumes for airlines, entertainment, lodging, transportation, and travel services.
  • A dispute for goods or services not received is considered invalid if:
    1. It lacks detailed explanation of the dispute reason, and
    2. The merchant is able to provide the service, and
    3. The cardholder has not made an attempt to resolve with the merchant directly.

Visa has also provided FAQs for these dispute types and reasons.

If you have any questions about disputed transactions, please contact Adam Lamprecht at 605-335-5104 or [email protected]


Disputes Involving Cancellations by a Merchant


Question 1: The cardholder purchased goods/services and the merchant decides to cancel the good(s) or service. For example, an airline cancels a flight due to low demand. Does an issuer have dispute rights?

Answer: Yes, there is a dispute right when goods/services are not provided for any reason, including bankruptcy or other circumstances. The EXCEPTION is cancellations due to government prohibition as government regulation and/or law supersedes Visa rules on dispute rights. Our expectation is that issuers require a cardholder to attempt to resolve disputes with merchants before initiating a dispute.

 Question 2: The cardholder purchased goods/services and the merchant cancels the good or service due to a government prohibition. For example, an airline cancels a flight because the government closed the border or a gym closes operations because of a government mandate to cease operations. Does an issuer have disputes rights?

 Answer: No, if the merchant has not provided the service due to a government-imposed prohibition, the cardholder does not have a dispute right. Government regulation and/or law supersede Visa rules on dispute rights. The cardholder should work directly with the merchant to resolve.

 Question 3: A cardholder has tickets for an event such as a sports match, a concert or a theater performance that was cancelled and rescheduled; however, the cardholder does not want to attend the event on the alternate date chosen by the merchant. Does an issuer have dispute rights?

 Answer: Yes. The merchant is responsible for providing the purchased service on the agreed upon date and the cardholder is not required to accept an alternate date. However, if the reason for the cancellation of the event was due to a government-imposed prohibition on proceeding with the event as originally scheduled, then the cardholder would not have a right to dispute the transaction. Government regulation and/or law supersedes Visa rules on dispute rights. The cardholder should work directly with the merchant to resolve.


Disputes Involving Cancellations by a Cardholder

 Question 4: The cardholder purchased services, however chose not to use them due to the cardholder’s concerns related to COVID-19. For example, the cardholder chooses not to travel on their scheduled flight and cancels their ticket. Does an issuer have dispute rights?

 Answer: No, the issuer does not have dispute rights if a cardholder chose not to use services made available by a merchant, as the merchant has fulfilled its obligations to provide the service and has properly disclosed its terms and conditions. This also applies to non-airline merchants, such as hotels and other venues that kept their obligations to deliver services. The cardholder should work directly with the merchant to resolve.

 Question 5: A cardholder is unable to take a scheduled flight due to travel restrictions on the cardholder. For example, a cardholder may not be permitted to board a scheduled flight due to their nationality (as a result of government travel restrictions) or medical symptoms, or the cardholder cannot reach a hotel stay due to border closures. Does an issuer have dispute rights? 

Answer: No. The issuer does not have disputes rights if a cardholder cannot use or access services made available by a merchant as long as the merchant and has properly disclosed its terms and conditions. This also applies to non-airline merchants, such as hotels and other venues that kept their obligations to deliver services. The cardholder should work directly with the merchant to resolve.

 Question 6: A cardholder missed their flight (for any reason) and as a result, missed a subsequent separate non-refundable service, such as a cruise or prepaid hotel reservation. Does an issuer have a dispute right for the subsequent missed service?

 Answer: No. The issuer would not have dispute rights for the subsequent missed service. The cardholder should work directly with the merchant to resolve.


Use of Credit / Vouchers in Lieu of a Refund

 Question 7: A cardholder purchased a good or service and decided to not to use it, however the merchant was willing and able to provide the purchased goods / service. As a courtesy, the merchant offered a credit / voucher for future use. The merchant went bankrupt before the cardholder uses the credit / voucher. For example, a cardholder calls the airline and does not want to travel because of COVID concerns so the airline issues a credit voucher for future use. Does the cardholder have a dispute right?

 Answer: No. The merchant was able to provide the service and the cardholder cancelled outside of the merchant’s properly disclosed policy. Since the issuer did not have the dispute right for a refund on the original transaction, the extension of the voucher by the merchant to the cardholder does not later change the dispute rights.

 Question 8: A merchant notifies the cardholder they are cancelling the service and offers a voucher for future use. Even though the cardholder has a right to dispute the transaction and receive a refund, the cardholder agrees to accept the voucher. If the merchant then files for bankruptcy before the cardholder uses the voucher, does the issuer have a right to file a dispute?

Answer: Yes. Since the issuer had the dispute right to get a full refund, the acceptance of the voucher does not change those dispute rights. The cardholder would have to file the dispute in the appropriate time frame which is either 120 calendar days from the transaction date or 120 calendar days from the last date that the Cardholder expected to receive the merchandise or services, not to exceed 540 days from the transaction date.


Disputes Involving the Purchase of Gift Cards

 Question 9: The cardholder purchased a proprietary gift card from a merchant. The merchant goes out of business and the cardholder calls the issuer to initiate a dispute as they cannot receive goods/services or a refund from the merchant. Does the issuer have dispute rights?

 Answer: Yes. The gift card represents purchased services and the merchant is unable to provide the service.

The timeframe to dispute the transaction is either 120 calendar days from the transaction date or 120 calendar days from the last date that the cardholder expected to receive the goods/services, not to exceed 540 days from the transaction date.

 Question 10: The cardholder purchased a merchant-specific proprietary gift card from a third-party (e.g., a grocery store) using their Visa card. The merchant named on the gift card ceasesd operations. For example, cardholder buys a restaurant gift card from a gift card display at the local grocery store. The restaurant goes out of business before the cardholder redeems their gift card. Does the issuer have a dispute right?

 Answer: Yes. There is a dispute right when goods/services are not provided for any reason, including bankruptcy or other circumstances. Cardholders must first attempt to resolve the dispute with the merchant of record (in this example the local grocery store). The dispute would be against the acquirer of the local grocery store who is the merchant of record on the gift card sale and is ultimately responsible for that transaction. The timeframe to dispute the transaction is either 120 calendar days from the transaction date or 120 calendar days from the last date that the cardholder expected to receive the merchandise or services, not to exceed 540 days from the transaction date.


Additional General Questions:

 Question 11: Due to a merchant cancellation of a service, the cardholder incurs additional out-of-pocket expenses. For example, a cardholder’s flight is cancelled, and they are rebooked for a flight the following day. The cardholder takes a taxi to a nearby hotel to stay the night and wants to be reimbursed for the additional cost of the taxi and hotel. Can these be included in the dispute?

 Answer: No, the dispute value is limited to the value of the services not received.

 Question 12: If a cardholder orders merchandise from a merchant and the merchandise is not received by the expected date, can a dispute be pursued?

 Answer: Yes. If the merchant fails to provide the merchandise by the expected date, the cardholder would have a valid dispute. Issuers are reminded that cardholder must first attempt to resolve the dispute with the merchant.

 Question 13: A cardholder attempts to return merchandise within the merchants disclosed policy; however, the merchant’s location has been closed for business due to the COVID-19 restrictions, or is no longer in business. Would there be dispute rights?

 Answer: Yes, the issuer can process a dispute. However, if the acquirer can demonstrate that the merchant was open and able to accept return of the merchandise, the liability will sit with the issuer. The issuer is encouraged to remind the cardholder to contact the merchant directly as some merchants have extended their return windows during this time.

Phishing Attempts Increasing due to COVID-19

Phishing is the attempt of stealing a person’s data by a fraudster, mainly login credentials and card information. Fraudsters will then use this information to perpetrate fraudulent transactions. They will often use social media or information bought on the Dark Web to initiate scams.

Fraudsters will use information from social media to make the scam sound more believable. They will also spoof the financial institution’s phone number when contacting the cardholder to make it seem legitimate.

The following is an example of the recent Phishing Attack:

The fraudster gathers information from social media to make the scam more believable. Then, the cardholder receives a phone call from the fraudster posing as a financial institution employee. Fraudsters often spoof phone numbers from the financial institution when contacting the victim, making it seem legitimate.

The fraudster advises the cardholder that they have fraud attempts on their card and they will receive a text with a case number. While on the phone, the fraudster will perform a transaction they know will generate a fraud alert. When the cardholder receives the case number, the fraudster asks for the case number over the phone so the card can be permanently blocked. Instead the fraudster is using the case number to call into the SecurLOCK IVR and validate the activity as valid, so they can continue to use the card fraudulently.

The fraudster may also suggest the cardholder transfer money into their checking account from savings to make it “safer,” thereby giving the fraudster access to more money. The cardholder thinks the fraud was caught and stopped, while the fraudster is busy committing more fraudulent transactions and stealing more money.

As a reminder, SecurLOCK will never ask for the following information:

  • Account Number/Card Number
  • CVV
  • PIN
  • Passwords
  • Social Security Number
  • Online Banking Credentials

Also, SecurLOCK will never suggest transferring money from one account to another. If any information concerning suspicious activity is texted to the cardholder, SecurLOCK does not call and ask the cardholder for the information. When cardholders call into SecurLOCK to validate suspicious transactions, SecurLOCK will request the case number to authenticate them. The cardholder should always reply NO if they are unaware of the transactions in question received via a text or email, no matter what direction has been given to them.

If you have any questions, please contact

The Advantage Network at 605-335-5113.

Visa Perks and Benefits for all Advantage Cardholders

Advantage Checkcards are Visa branded, providing access to a wide variety of discounts and deals including travel, food and wine, dining, shopping, sports, entertainment and more. There’s also information to help cardholders improve their personal lives and businesses. Promote these programs to your cardholders to increase loyalty and spend!

Visa Perks are easy to browse and easy to redeem! All Advantage Checkcards are eligible for Visa Perks. Just choose “Debit” from the “All Payment Types” drop-down menu and scroll down the page. Click on an offer to get more information including redemption instructions. Discounts and offers are available online, in-person or both.

Because these offers are funded by the merchants, there is no cost to cardholders or issuers. Customizable digital and print-ready marketing material can be found on Visa Online.

Here’s a sampling of offers:

  • Target: Save $5 on $50 or more
  • Calvin Klein: 25% Off $150+ purchase
  • Papa John’s Pizza: 25% on regular menu price items
  • Celebrity Cruises: Savings of up to $900 per stateroom on select departures.

The Travel with Visa website offers advice for cardholders including pre-trip preparations, international ATM withdrawals and purchases, and what to do in case of an emergency while traveling.

Visa SavingsEdge is a free merchant-funded program for Business Debit cardholders who can save on qualifying purchases while shopping at participating merchants. A business cardholder enrolls their card and discounts are automatically calculated when a purchase is made. Credits are posted to the associated DDA and included in StarView reports as “DDA Loyalty” transactions. Business owners can enroll up to 10 cards per email address.

Here’s a sample of the VSE discounts available:

  • Panera Bread: Save 2% on purchases of $35 or more
  • Sears PartsDirect: Save 10% on all purchases
  • AutoZone: Save 2% on purchases of $50 or more.

Customizable digital and print-ready marketing material can be found on Visa Online.

Visa also has two Facebook pages with information for different audiences.

  • Consumer cardholders will learn about promotions, Visa-supported causes, and more.
  • Small business cardholders will find posts that include videos, newsletters and varied information to help small business owners reduce expenses, increase cash flow and achieve success while maintaining a good life away from the business.

Help your cardholders get the most benefit from their Checkcards and strengthen their relationship with you by sharing this information with them.

Allpoint Tranx Service Fees – Action is Required

All Advantage cardholders can make withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs surcharge-free. The Advantage Network recently became aware of a programming change that eliminated the opportunity for some of our member institutions to charge a service fee to their cardholders for Allpoint transactions.

Advantage and FIS have determined a resolution and need your input before we move forward. If you received a notification from Advantage, please complete the form and

email ([email protected]) or

fax (605-335-5250) to Advantage

by Friday, March 20, 2020.

Questions: call Karen Bos-Carey at 605-335-2937.

Mitigate Fraud with Cardholder Alerts

The best fraud mitigation tool available is an educated and engaged cardholder. Signing up for transaction alerts, avoiding scams, shopping safely online and keeping personal information safe are all essential measures needed to mitigate fraudulent transactions.

Below is a link to a table that provides information about the five alerts products available through Advantage. Two of these products also offer card controls, i.e., the ability for cardholders to turn their card off and on.

Finally, feel free to copy and share the information on fraud mitigation available on the Advantage website, Cardholders pages.

04.11.2019 Checkcard Alerts Matrix 2018

Help cardholders avoid surcharge fees

When a cardholder uses an ATM that is not part of the Advantage, InBalance or Allpoint networks, they are usually charged a surcharge by the ATM owner. These fees can range from $1 to $6 but could run as high as $30, depending on the transaction and how the ATM owner assesses the fees.

Educating your cardholders about free ATM options available to them creates good will and reduces costs for your Financial Institution (FI) and the cardholder:

  • When your cardholders make withdrawals at ATMs not owned by your FI, your cost is higher than when they make withdrawals at your ATM(s).
  • Your institution may charge a service fee to your cardholders for using ATMs it doesn’t own (not-on-us or “foreign” ATMs).

All Advantage cardholders can withdraw cash surcharge-free from any of the 55,000 Allpoint ATMs in the United States and around the world. These ATMs are located in retail locations such as Target and Costco. A listing and map of all Advantage, InBalance and Allpoint ATMs can be found on the Advantage ATM Finder.

There are 144 Advantage ATMs and 175 InBalance ATMs surcharge-free to cardholders. Determine what service fees are charged by your FI and include those specifics in documentation you share with cardholders.

There is a variety of reports available through Advantage to help you determine which ATMs your cardholders are using and to help you build a target marketing list.

With a little education, you could reduce foreign ATM costs for your cardholders and your FI.

eCommerce Best Practices

Debit eCommerce is expected to grow 140% through 2021 and issuers have an outstanding opportunity to encourage debit usage by creating a positive experience for cardholders. Here are six best practices offered by Advantage and Visa to help you develop an effective eCommerce strategy.


1.    Set the foundation


  • At account opening, help cardholders add their new debit card to a mobile wallet.
  • Encourage cardholders to make Debit their default payment method with person-to-person payment apps.
  • Continuously educate cardholders on various online payment methods.


2.    Win their trust


  • 55% of U.S. consumers surveyed fear that using their debit card online is not secure. Ease concerns by sharing debit card security protections such as SecurLOCK fraud monitoring.
  • Reassure cardholders by explaining Visa’s Zero Liability policy.
  • Commit to quick and “hassle-free” reimbursement for disputed transactions.


3.    Improve the experience


The decline rate for Card-Not-Present (CNP) transactions is higher than Point-of-Sale transactions. This decline rate not only hurts the customer experience, it negatively impacts the financial institution’s portfolio performance by creating

– a $58 per month reduction in purchase volume per cardholder.

– a 6% increase in cardholders going completely inactive.

  •  Ensure that cardholder information on CMSe/Cardbase and your core are up to date and match.
  •  Remind cardholders to call in when they travel, when they want to make a large purchase or when they plan to do a lot of shopping either in-store or online. You can then set higher purchase limits and fraud exclusions that can help prevent their card from being blocked for unusual spending.
  • Educate cardholders abut Visa Secure and Visa “click to pay” (formerly Visa Checkout). Some cardholders may be asked to provide a one-time passcode to authenticate their identity.


4.    Provide a reason to try


  •   Offer an incentive, e.g. cash back or gift card, such as the Advantage Marketing Campaigns, to increase usage.
  •   Test a range of incentives to see which works best for your cardholders.


5.    Prioritize your targeting


  •   Drive existing medium/high “face-to-face” debit users to use their debit card for eCommerce purchases.
  •   Educate existing debit eCommerce users about different “Credentials on File” solutions.
  •   Educate existing debit eCommerce users about different “Credentials on File” solutions.


6.    Utilize Visa’s self-service resources


On Visa Online, follow the “Authorization Performance” link under the
“Reference Library” tab to find self-assessment checklists, more best practices, links to Visa tools and services, and more.


SecurLOCK: Maximize Cardholder Experience

SecurLOCK Fraud Management is an FIS Global product that provides industry-leading fraud mitigation tools. SecurLOCK monitoring is applied to all Advantage card products and all card activity including ATM, PIN Debit and signature transactions.

There are two foundational products in the SecurLOCK suite of products:


When one or more authorized transactions on a card cause the fraud monitoring system to suspect fraud, the card is automatically blocked. A case is created and a Fraud Alert Detail email is sent to the FI. All Advantage member institutions participate in SL fraud monitoring and case creation.

What can you do to maximize the cardholder experience? Look up the card in CMSe/Cardbase and review the transaction(s) in question as well as the Notes screen. Set a travel indictor if warranted. Contact the cardholder if necessary. Respond to each Fraud Alert Detail Report via email or telephone. (Email or telephone responses from the institution are required whether the IVR, a Fraud Specialist or the financial institution assisted the cardholder.)If your institution participates in Communicate, verify whether SecurLOCK was able to contact the cardholder. If telephone numbers or email addresses are missing on CMSe, contact the cardholder to get them.


Fraud rules are included in the fraud scoring process and are also applied independently to each transaction. Rules are a fraud protection system which declines high-fraud-risk authorizations based on merchant name and location, risk scoring, or other factors. All Advantage member institutions participate in SL Block. A Fraud Alert Detail Report is not sent to the financial institution when an authorization has been blocked.

What can you do to maximize the cardholder experience? When a cardholder contacts their institution to report their card is not working, look up the card in CMSe/Cardbase and review the transaction(s) in question as well as the Notes screen. Set a travel indictor if warranted. Proactively, you can review the Daily Fraud Reports on StarView and look up the card in CMSe/Cardbase. Review the transaction(s) in question as well as the Notes screen. Set a travel indictor if warranted. Contact the cardholder if necessary. (FAL01D – FAM Real Time Decline Detail and FAL06D – FAM Card Status Change)

Potential Cyber Activity from Iran

There has been some concern raised about the possibility of increased cyber activity from Iran in retaliation of the airstrike that killed the Iranian general on January 3, 2020. FIS has a Global Rule already implemented blocking all transactions from Iran due to OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) sanctions. Also, activity from Iran should be declined by the card brand networks prior to even reaching the FIS systems.

If you have further questions, please contact Adam at 605-335-5104.

Fuel Pump Fraud Mitigation

Approximately 1.3 percent of total U.S. payment fraud occurs at fuel pumps. The gas station can be a popular first stop for fraudsters because they can test stolen or counterfeit cards without the risk of facing an employee. Research shows that when prompted to go inside a store to complete a transaction, most criminals will drive away instead.

As an issuer, your financial institution benefits from the following Visa fraud mitigation tools. Another layer of mitigation will be implemented with chip technology at AFDs in October 2020.


Visa Transaction Advisor (VTA) is a merchant service that has been able to reduce fraud by more than half for merchants using the service.

When a debit card is inserted at the pump, Visa analyzes more than 500 pieces of data about the cardholder’s account and global fraud trends. VTA determines the risk of the transaction and provides a risk score that helps merchants identify transactions with a higher risk of fraud.

If a transaction is denied, the cardholder may be prompted to go inside the station to pay. If the cardholder does go inside, the clerk will swipe the card to preauthorize the transaction and the cardholder can then pump their fuel up to that preauthorized amount.

The reject reason on CMSe for the original transaction will be “AE-Account on Neg File” and the denial on Data Navigator will be “903-Re-enter Transaction.” This message also appears if a cardholder was asked at the pump to key in their zip code and the incorrect zip was keyed.


Address Verification Service (AVS) verifies the card ZIP Code. If the cardholder swipes their card at the fuel pump and is prompted to enter their zip code, the merchant sends an AVS ZIP request to the issuer. The issuer responds with a code that indicates whether the zip code given by the cardholder matches the address in CMSe. A partial or no-match response may indicate an elevated fraud risk. Depending on the risk score, the cardholder could proceed with pumping fuel, be prompted to pre-pay inside the store or be denied. The AVS process is separate from the transaction authorization process.


Velocity Checking is a feature of SecurLOCK Fraud Manager that monitors the frequency of transactions on the same card. Two AFD transactions for the same card within a 24-hour period at the same location will cause the cardholder to be directed to the store to complete the purchase on the third attempt.

Advantage User Guide Updated

Two sections of the Advantage User Guide have been updated: ATM Services and ATM Cash Balancing. Updates include additional detail to instructions as well as the ATM Cleaning, Security and Compliance Checklist.

The Advantage User Guide – which also includes the updated Table of Contents – was mailed to member institutions July 26th. Please contact Karen Powell at 605-335-5103 or [email protected] with questions.

What is a Person-to-Person (P2P) Payments App?

A P2P payment app is a service that allows one user to send money to another using an app or website. P2P apps are linked to your deposit account or through your debit card. Payment apps include PayPal, Venmo, Cash and many others.

Transactions include anything from splitting a dinner bill, to paying rent, or contributing to charity. Some P2P apps are built in to or available through mobile banking apps or smartphones. Most are available as stand-alone apps that can be downloaded. You can even send money through Facebook Messenger by adding a US-issued debit card to your Facebook profile.

Benefits Each mobile payment app has its own advantages and limitations; choosing one depends on the features you want. For example, a P2P app available through a mobile banking app may only allow you to send or receive money from someone who also has an account at that institution. Some apps may have a processing delay and others may charge a small processing fee.

Choosing an App You may be asking yourself, “How do I choose the right app? Is one safer than the others?” Do what most folks do and ask friends and family for recommendations. Look for a service that encrypts transaction data and complies with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

P2P is flourishing due to the convenience of being able to immediately and safely send and receive funds, pay bills and make purchases anytime, anywhere.

Visa SRC to replace Visa Checkout

Starting in September in the United States, Visa will transition Visa Checkout to Visa Secure Remote Commerce (Visa SRC). Visa Checkout is Visa’s current mobile wallet that allows a cardholder to register a card they can access when making an online purchase. The online wallet makes the checkout experience easier and faster for the cardholder because they do not have to enter their shipping or payment information on each merchant’s website.

Visa recommends that issuers make the Visa Checkout to Visa SRC changes visible on your websites, in mobile applications and in other marketing collateral close to September.

This icon will appear on merchant websites to indicate “Click to Pay;” consumers can click on the icon to pay with a debit card, major credit card or an alternate payment type such as PayPal.

  • If your institution does not participate in tokenization, a consumer’s identity will be protected with one-time passcodes (initiated by Visa at this time).
  • If your institution participates in Visa Tokenization, tokens will be requested by merchants that utilize Visa Token Service.

If you have any questions about Visa SRC, please contact Karen Bos-Carey at 605-335-2937 or [email protected]


Signature/Credit vs PIN/Debit transactions

Advantage ATM & Checkcards are accepted worldwide for purchases in person, online, in-app and by telephone; wherever Visa is accepted.

When a cardholder makes a purchase at a merchant, they may be asked to authorize the purchase with a signature or PIN. In many Point-of-Sale (POS) scenarios, the cardholder is not immediately presented with a choice regarding the authorization method.

Choosing Credit at a Merchant

  • If a merchant accepts both “Credit” and “Debit” payment options, you may be presented with the option to choose the payment method you prefer. Just swipe, insert or tap your card and select either Credit or Debit.
  • On some terminals, you may not be offered the choice of credit or debit after swiping, inserting or tapping your card. If you are prompted to enter your PIN, you may be able to press CANCEL or tell the cashier you want to make a signature or Credit purchase.
  • Some terminals will prompt you to choose “Visa Debit” vs “US Debit.” Visa Debit means that the transaction will run on the Visa network as a “credit” (for most purchases) while “US Debit” means it will run on a debit network (NYCE, Pulse, etc.).

Credit transactions may be authorized with or without a signature and usually post to your account in 1-3 business days. Debit transactions may be authorized with or without a signature or PIN. You may choose to receive up to $100 cash back at participating merchants. These transactions usually post to your account in one business day.

Both transaction types will be subtracted directly from your checking account so it’s easy to keep track of your purchases. Plus, detailed information about the purchase will be included on your statement.

Transaction Security

  • All Advantage Checkcard transactions are covered by industry-leading fraud management which offers continuous fraud monitoring that deters and detects suspicious activity on Checkcards.
  • Transactions that route through Visa are covered by Visa’s Zero Liability policy which means cardholders are not held responsible for fraudulent charges.
  • All consumer debit card transactions are covered under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) aka Regulation E.

Debit cardholders benefit from reliability, flexibility and security no matter how they use their card!

Visa No Longer Requiring Signed Dispute Forms

Visa has updated their dispute process and no longer requires a cardholder signature on the dispute form when submitting the dispute.

It is important, though, to still obtain as much information as possible that pertains to the dispute to increase the possibility of the dispute being successful.

You may still have the cardholder sign a form for your own records at your financial institution.

If you have any questions, please contact Adam at the Advantage Network at 605-335-5104 or [email protected]

ATM Skimming: Actions You Can Take to Protect Yourself

  1. Do a quick scan. Before using any machine, take a look to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. If the card reader seems loose, crooked or damaged, if the graphics aren’t aligned, or if part of the machine is a different color, don’t use. If there is another machine nearby (such as two ATM machines next to each other) compare them to see if there are obvious differences. For example, if one machine has a flashing slot to insert your card and the other doesn’t, that may be an indication that there is something wrong. 
  2. Be wary of non-bank ATMs. FICO reports that 60% of skimming occurs at privately-owned ATMs. These are typically cash-dispensing machines and tend to be located in convenience stores, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, or check cashing establishments.
  3. Check the keypad. If the numbers are hard to press or feel too thick, it might have a false keypad installed and you should move on to the next machine.
  4. Block your PIN. When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand in case a camera is recording your number.
  5. Stay in public view. Always try to use machines that are in public view with security monitoring – these machines are less likely to be tampered with. For additional protection, use a machine inside the store or an ATM inside your bank.
  6. Check your account regularly. Technology is advancing and so are skimming devices so the best thing you can do is monitor your account. Rather than wait for your monthly statement, check your account regularly using online and mobile banking. This way, if anything were to happen, you can catch it immediately and report it to your bank.
  7. Sign up for alerts. See what type of fraud alert system your card provider has in place and take advantage of it.
  8. Above all, trust your instincts. If you suspect foul play, or if you’re in doubt about the authenticity of a machine, use a different machine or payment method.

Social Media Solution Introduced

Social media has become a mainstream marketing and communications tool. In fact, studies have shown that it’s probable that your cardholders already have used social media to research or discuss your institution. Whether you are actively using it to market or not, you are participating in social media. If your institution has not yet defined its social media strategy, now is the time to act.  

The FIS™ Social Media Solution can be used in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model or as a broader service offering that allows you to select from a spectrum of choices. 

COMPLIANCE CONSULTING assesses your social media risk profile and develops a risk management program tailored to your company’s size, activities and risk profile. 

MARKETING CONSULTING assists you with creating and maintaining effective social media programs. 

BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING provides the resources you need to engage appropriately with customers and respond in a timely manner.

For more information please contact us at 605-335-5113.

Bring Real-time Payments to Your Cardholders

  • Attract and retain a younger demographic.
  • Increase cash flow for business accounts.
  • Implement tokenized transactions.

Explore the possibilities available with the FIS “Real-Time Payment Incubator.”

For financial institutions, revenue is realized from increased card-based payment volume and operational expenses are reduced as other payment methods are streamlined or replaced.

FIS Global, the processor for The Advantage Network, now offers a “Real-Time Payment Incubator” to Advantage member institutions. Explore the possibilities available for offering real-time payments solutions to your cardholders with no up-front costs, a short implementation timeline (4-6 months), and innovative strategies that take advantage of a variety of products and solutions.

For more information about the Real-time Payment Incubator contact us at 605-335-5113.


Tips to mitigate online fraud

Counterfeit card fraud has decreased by 66% as more merchants accept – and more cardholders use – Chip cards. However, in response, online fraud has increased 26%.

How can a financial institution mitigate online fraud for their cardholders?

  1.  50% of fraud is found by the cardholder. Help them reduce the chances of fraud on their cards by providing them with this information: Protect-yourself-from-fraud.
  2. Let cardholders know how to sign up for transaction alerts offered by your institution or Visa Purchase Alerts.
  3. Educate your staff about SecurLOCK fraud alerts as well as real-time rules authorization blocks and how to respond to each.
  4. Consider addition SecurLOCK Equip to your arsenal.
  5. Request free on-site or webinar training and user guides for your staff.

Contact us for details!

Cardholders to See Changes at POS

Here are some new scenarios that might be encountered by Advantage Checkcard holders for transaction authorization and posting:

  • The merchant terminal may ask for a signature but route the transaction to a PIN debit network.
  • When a cardholder is given the option to choose “credit,” the transaction may not be routed to Visa. And, a cardholder may be prompted for a signature instead of a PIN if they choose “debit.”
  • Some merchants may not allow the cardholder to choose “credit” to opt out of PIN entry at the terminal.
  • The merchant may not ask for either a PIN or signature. The major networks announced this week that a signature is now optional for all chip-enabled merchants. PIN networks have announced that PIN entry would be optional for all purchases. Overall, the number of “No Cardholder Verification Method (CVM)” transactions is expected to grow.

Cardholders with rewards or affinity cards (cards that earn benefits for schools, community projects, etc.) may see the opportunity to earn rewards and benefits dwindle.

At this time, there are only a few merchants using the signature-for-PIN debit option but authorization and routing changes will be made by more merchants as they look to reduce their costs and speed checkout times.

To mitigate a drop in interchange, continue to promote the use of Checkcards and choosing signature at the POS. Many cardholders enter their PIN at POS simply because that is the option initially offered to them by the terminal. And, many cardholders are under the impression that signature transactions are not safe. Remind your cardholders of the security provided to them for their transactions as well as the many things they can do to protect themselves from fraud; see below.

As payments processes make it easier to use a debit card and cardholders feel secure in using their debit cards, financial institutions will benefit from greater usage and increased interchange.


VRU Updates Improve PIN Security

The VRU is an automated system that handles card activation and PIN changes via the telephone.

When a cardholder calls the VRU to change their PIN, the VRU will prevent the cardholder from selecting a new PIN that has repetitive digits (e.g., 1111) or sequential digits (e.g., 1234 or 4321) or that matches the last four digits of their Social Security or Tax Identification number.

If a cardholder attempts to change their PIN to one of these prohibited numbers, the VRU will announce, “Your new PIN does not meet our security standards.” If the cardholder makes three failed attempts, the VRU will direct them to contact their financial institution.

In addition, cardholders can now set a PIN that begins with a zero.

The telephone number for the VRU is printed on all card mailers: 1-877-219-4344.

These changes are effective immediately.


Checkout Fees Not Allowed on Debit Cards

Effective January 13, 2018 surcharges (“Checkout Fee”) on credit and debit card transactions in the European Union are prohibited.

In the United States, confusion about checkout fees still lingers; here are some facts you should know:

1.  The surcharge only applies to credit cards; it does not apply to debit cards (Advantage Checkcards for example) or prepaid cards (gift cards for example).

2.  Cardholders who use a debit card or prepaid card at checkout and choose the “Credit” button in order to make a “signature” purchase should not be charged the checkout fee. If a store attempts to add a surcharge on a purchase made with an Advantage Checkcard, cardholders should inform the clerk they are using a Debit Card and not a Credit Card and the surcharge is not allowed.

3.   The Checkout Fee may not exceed four percent (4%) of the transaction amount and merchants must disclose the actual dollar amount of the surcharge on the receipt. For credit card returns, a prorated share of the surcharge should be refunded as well.

4.   Merchants who implement the Checkout Fee are required to post a notice at the point of store entry and at the point sale. Online merchants must post a notice in the first web page that references credit card brands. The disclosure must include the amount of the surcharge and the fact that the fee is being charged by the merchant, not the card issuer.

5.   Some merchants will charge a “convenience fee” to the cardholder for using a card for their purchase, for example, taking online payments for rent rather than accepting checks only.

6.   Merchants are allowed to require minimum purchases for credit card purchases — up to $10.

7.   Merchant are allowed to offer discounts for cash, checks, or other non-credit card means of payment.

8.   Several states have laws restricting surcharging; if you suspect a violation in these states, contact the state attorney general’s office.

9.  Cardholders may report merchants charging excessive Checkout fees, or surcharging debit or prepaid card transactions, or setting minimum debit purchase requirements by going to this website and filling out the “Report a Merchant Violation” form:

10.  For FAQs and information about credit cards and debit cards visit

Click Here for more News and Updates.

Cash Popularity and Your ATMs

Contradicting proclamations that the world will become cashless and fully digital in the near future, cash is still the most commonly used form of payment according to the Cardtronics 2017 Health of Cash study:

  • Cash and debit are more frequently used for in-store purchases.
  • People still mostly prefer to give and receive monetary gifts with cash.
  • Cash payment is preferred in fast food restaurants and bars.
  • 68% of people use cash for purchases under $10.
  • Cash leads in charitable giving and checks remain a leading form of payment in this area.
  • 68% of those surveyed prefer cards or digital payments but specifically keep cash in their wallet as back-up form of payment and use it regularly.
  • Survey participants said they use cash because they value these attributes in payment methods: Convenience, Safety, Ease and Privacy.
  • Participants revealed that using cash helps them stay on budget because it “feels more real than other forms of payment.”

This is good news for ATM owners, who earn surcharge and network fee income on transactions at their ATMs. Beyond dispensing cash, each ATM also

  • generates income and reduces teller expense while providing convenience to cardholders and other ATM users.
  • serves as a public-facing representative of your financial institution.
  • is a marketing tool you can brand with external signage and customize with screen messages and graphics.

How can you maximize the potential of your ATM(s)? See below for some suggestions from Advantage.

1.    Purchase an ATM that best serves the needs of your institution, your cardholders and the public according to location. Will a cash dispenser suffice or will you install a full-service ATM or even an ITM (Interactive Teller Machine)? What telecom method will you use? Will it be located indoors or out? Has the location been predetermined or are you contemplating a move or addition of an ATM?

2.    Monitor “up” time so the ATM is available for use by providing software updates and equipment maintenance as needed. Fill cash regularly; use Self-Service Gateway to look up cash balances. Review and update your fault response process including contact information and contact timeframes.

3.    Perform exterior maintenance to keep the ATM clean and approachable. Make sure the area is well lit.

4.    Consider upgrading your ATM to attract more usage by adding services such as Fast Cash, Cardholder Preferences or Cardless Cash.

5.    Review data available to understand and influence cardholder behavior, increase usage and enhance profitability. Here are some questions you can ask in your research:

  • Is the surcharge at each ATM appropriate? (Surcharges can be set individually for each ATM.
  • Are your cardholders using your ATM(s) or foreign ATMs?
  • Are service fees for your cardholders using other ATMs appropriate? Your estimated average cost per transaction as an issuer for your cardholders using

– an Advantage ATM: $0.533

– an Allpoint ATM: $0.778

– your ATM: $0.06.

6.    Evaluate the location of your ATM(s). Is an ATM in the right location but needs more promotion?

7.    Do you market and promote your ATM locations? Advantage locations? Allpoint locations? Use StarView Settlement Manager reports to assist your research.

  • 3242E-04: Monthly Acquirer Summary by Terminal. “Not On Us” transactions are Advantage cardholders.
  • 3242E-08: Monthly Acquirer Summary- all Terminals. “Not On Us” transactions are Advantage cardholders.
  • 3245E: Monthly Surcharge Totals (Acquirer report; all ATMs listed individually)
  • 0431E: (Issuer) Daily Foreign Surcharge Report. Surcharges your cardholders paid for withdrawals listed by card number; does not include Visa transactions. (Used to target cardholders who are not using your ATMs.)
  • 3212E: Monthly Issuer Summary. “On Us” transactions are your cardholders at your ATM(s)
  • 3471E-00: Monthly Foreign ATM Usage Report. (Top 10 or 25 foreign ATMs your cardholders used.)

8.    What factors can you consider to determine profitability of your ATM(s)?

·   Income and expenses reported on Advantage invoice

·   Quarterly statistics provided by Advantage

·   Operating Supplies

·   Cost of Cash

·   Communication Costs

·   Security/Alarm Costs

·   Personnel Costs

·   Maintenance Contracts.

You may decide that certain ATMs do not need to be profitable if they fulfill a need for the location, give your institution a presence in the market, or serve a need for cash access in a market.

Hopefully this information will help you with evaluating your ATM program. If you need any assistance, we are more than happy to assist you! For more information contact Karen Powell at 605-335-5103 or [email protected]



Charitable Giving Webinar Slide Deck Available

On February 13, 2018, Advantage hosted a webinar about the FIS Charitable Giving platform; here is the slide deck:  FIS Charitable Giving Deck 2018.

Increase cardholder loyalty and engagement with this integrated giving solution that empowers your cardholders to give through an easy-to-use online portal.

For more information contact Brady Daly with The Advantage Network at 605-335-5192 or [email protected]

Click Here for more News and Updates.



SecurLOCK Webinar for Advantage Members

Advantage recently hosted a webinar to discuss the SecurLOCK Fraud Management SuiteClick Here to view the presentation to learn more about protecting your cardholders while decreasing false positives. There are two foundational products in the SecurLOCK suite of products in which all Advantage member institutions participate, SecurLOCK BLOCK and SecurLOCK Communicate. In this presentation we discussed these and other optional SecurLOCK services. To learn more about all of these services please Click Here.

Feel free to contact Brady Daly with any questions. 605-335-5192 or [email protected]

Click Here for more News and Updates

Charitable Giving: Help Cardholders Make Sound Decisions

About 40 percent of all donations are made in the last few weeks of the year, according to nonprofit rating site Charity Navigator. Here are more statistics about charitable giving:

  1. The 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey shows that households with incomes below $20,000 gave 4.6% to charity.
  2. The other income levels with the most generous levels are $45-50K and $10M+.
  3. The largest contributor group is individuals and the average gift per household is $2,400 per year. On the extreme end, Warren Buffet pledged 85% of his entire $45+ billion fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  4. One in seven charitable transactions is a recurring payment; credit and debit make up 50% of recurring payments.
  5. 93% of all giving was “off line,” i.e., checks, cash, ACH, etc.

Here is some information you can share with your cardholders to help them make sound decisions about charitable giving:

  1. Before giving to any charity, ask yourself: What’s my realistic budget for charitable contributions? What really inspires me and how can I make the greatest impact?
  2. In order for the donor to receive a tax deduction for a donation, the charity must be a qualified 501(c)3 organization. The I.R.S. has a searchable database of charities where you can verify that the organization holds this status.
  3. The Better Business Bureau’s The BBB Wise Giving Alliance provides a national-level seal of approval with its Standards for Charity Accountability. There are 20 standards that a charity must satisfy. If some standards are not met, consumers will see that in the charity’s listing. In addition, the BBB states that a charitable organization should spend at least 65 percent of its money on program activities — that is, activities directly related to its cause.
  4. Charity Navigator and Guidestar are two online sources of information about the structure and performance of many nonprofit organizations.
  5. Never make a donation to a telephone solicitor. The solicitor might not even be legitimate. Telephone charity scams use names similar to those of well-known organizations, or they may say they are raising money for causes that tug at the heartstrings, such as supporting military families, veterans or police officers. In reality, your money will be used simply to profit the person calling.
  6. Email and social media scams and misinformation abound. Before clicking on a link or forwarding information, do some research at the sites listed above or, a fact-checking and Internet reference source.
  7. Mailed donation requests may also be fraudulent; do your homework before giving.
  8. You can make a greater impact by making your donation part of a matching program. Does your employer make a matching donation? Is there another matching option, for example, during a telethon, on giving Tuesday or a donation drive?

Americans are the most generous donors in the world, and, on average, households in South Dakota and Minnesota generously gave 4.1 percent of discretionary income to charity. Help your cardholders make the most impact with their dollars.

Click Here for more News and Updates

Cardholders Can Mitigate Fraud, too!

Fraudsters use a number of methods to obtain card information: phishing, vishing, skimming, and malware for example. They then use the information to make fraudulent transactions by creating counterfeit cards or making online purchases.

Although we can’t prevent compromises, the good news is Advantage Checkcards are covered by several layers of security to mitigate fraudulent transactions.

  • Continuous Fraud Monitoring (SecurLOCK) deters and detects suspicious activity.
  • The 3-Digit Security Code on the back of Checkcards provides Internet and phone security by verifying the cardholder is in possession of their Checkcard.
  • Verified by Visa is a free, simple-to-use service that confirms the cardholder identity with a personal password when making an online transaction. Learn more at
  • Chip Checkcards, used at a chip-enabled terminal, generate a onetime code for that transaction. This makes it nearly impossible for fraudsters to use stolen transaction data to create a counterfeit card.

In addition, Visa’s Zero Liability policy applies to all “Signature” or “Credit” purchases and PIN transactions that route through Visa so cardholders are protected in case of a lost card or fraudulent use.

Did you know that the most important fraud fighter is the cardholder? About 50% of fraud is found by the cardholder. Following is good information you can share with your cardholders to encourage them to become actively involved in mitigating Checkcard fraud.

  • If a Checkcard transaction is suspect, our fraud monitoring system attempts to contact the cardholder to verify the transaction. For this reason, it is important for your institution to have a current phone number (preferably a cell phone number) and email address on Cardbase. If the cardholder cannot be reached, the card may be blocked to prevent further transactions. Also, cardholders should notify the institution when traveling or before unusual spending.
  • Daily limits for purchases should be set at an appropriate amount for your spending habits. The daily limit can be temporarily raised for vacations, special purchases, etc. where a higher daily limit is needed.
  • Sign up for Transaction Alerts through your mobile banking or at Visa Purchase Alerts (whichever your institution offers).
  • Friendly fraud (the fraudster knows the victim – a relative or friend) accounts for about 10% of fraud.  Don’t leave confidential information out in the open.
  • Don’t give out personal private data over the Internet or phone unless you initiate the interaction with a trusted source.  Do not respond to emails, phone calls or text messages that ask for sensitive information.
  • Do not to give out card and PIN information. Do not write your PIN on your card or put it in your wallet.  Do not use a PIN that can be found in your wallet (birthdate, part of social security number, house number, etc.).
  • Social networking sites are becoming a hazard for information breach. Do not reveal any sensitive personal information on your Facebook, Twitter or other social networking site.
  • Do not respond to text messages, phone messages, emails or pop-up windows that offer a gift in exchange for providing card information. There are so many scams circulating, it’s hard to stay current; in general DO NOT respond to ANY requests for personal and/or financial information.
  • Do not provide your card information to any web site that is not a secure site. A secure website will have an “s” after the http: in the URL address bar and look for the padlock symbol.  Double click on the padlock and the SSL certificate will appear.
  • Install and regularly update anti-virus, anti-spyware software and keep computer systems updated.
  • Be aware of those around you…don’t let others overhear sensitive financial or personal information.
  • Shred documents with sensitive information prior to disposal.
  • Select more complex passwords for your online accounts.  Also avoid using the same password for all accounts.


Other resources to check out:


Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline: 877-ID-THEFT


Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline: 800.269.0271


Credit bureau fraud hotlines

– Equifax: 800.525.6285

– Experian: 888.397.3742

– Trans Union: 800.680.7289

Click Here for more News and Updates

Cash Flow and Expense Management for Small Businesses

Small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7% of all businesses in the US. About two-thirds of new businesses survive two years, half will survive five years, and one-third will survive 10. Poor cash management accounts for 82% of business failures and cash flow is a “continuing” problem for one in five small-business owners.

In regard to expense management, employees losing paper receipts is the top complaint from finance professionals. And, the IRS won’t just take your word for undocumented expenses.

There are many strategies small businesses can undertake to create and maintain optimal cash flow and manage expense reporting:

  • Keep accurate records regarding customers, sales, and inventory as a historical reference and as a guide in planning for the future.
  • Monitor cash flow. For a business to be successful, it must have sufficient cash to pay its expenses, make loan payments, pay taxes, and purchase new assets.
  • Track spending. It is estimated that most companies are wasting about 30% of their expenditures on items that do not have any impact upon their customers.
  • Segregate personal and business accounts. Having a separate bank account keeps records distinct and will make life easier come tax time. Partnerships, LLCs and corporations are legally required to have a separate bank account for business. Sole proprietors don’t legally need a separate account, but it’s a good idea nonetheless.
  • Set up automatic deposits and payments. Customer payments and other deposits can process immediately and recurring bills can be paid on a specific day, providing better control of cash flow.

Advantage can partner with your financial institution to provide solutions for your business accounts including business debit cards, Checkcard alerts, prepaid gift and incentive cards, and rewards programs.

Click Here for more News and Updates

Allpoint Surcharge-Free ATM Network Updates

Spring Break, camping season and folks headed north for the summer; remind your cardholders they have surcharge-free access to more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs around the world!

Allpoint ATMs are surcharge-free to all Advantage cardholders.

Allpoint has a website dedicated to financial institutions which includes free marketing material such as graphics, newsletter articles, digital collateral such as ATM screens and much more!

To log in, click on the link below and use the provided credentials.

User name: AdvantageNetwork

Password: LNMG2874


New Surcharge Reimbursement Form and Process

Allpoint has changed the Surcharge Reimbursement process. The Surcharge Reimbursement form now must be completed by the financial institution. The form will be accessible to FI employees in the Members Only sections of the Allpoint website and the Advantage website. Complete the form on behalf of your cardholder and email it to [email protected] and [email protected]. The credit will be passed from Allpoint through Advantage to your institution.


Allpoint Transaction Search Process

Do you know how many Allpoint transactions your cardholders are conducting? It’s easy to find out! Just use the Transaction Search function on the Allpoint member website: Enter the six-digit BIN you want to search and the date range. (A BIN is the first six digits of a card number.) Transaction results can be searched back to 2013.


Allpoint FAQs for FI Staff

Click Here to open and share with members of your staff so they’ll be ready to answer cardholder questions.

Click Here to see more News and Updates

Business Checkcards make purchasing fast and easy!

Business Checkcards can be used for equipment, monthly utility payments, office supplies, and more! Business Checkcard holders have access to account funds at over a million ATMs and millions of merchant locations.

Several cards can be ordered for each business, allowing employees access to company funds without carrying the business checkbook. Each employee will have his or her name printed on the card along with the business name for easy recognition.  Each card can have customized spending limits to determine the amount of access each cardholder has to company funds.

 Protection against fraudulent use of a Checkcard, including transactions made via telephone or on the Internet.

Business Debit programs must offer these core Visa enhancements to cardholders.  These enhancements include:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Purchase Security/Extended Protection
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Service
  • Emergency Card/Cash Disbursement
  • Cardholder Inquiry Service
  • Lost/Stolen Card Reporting.

Visa Savings Edge provides Advantage Business Checkcard holders discounts on qualifying purchases at participating merchants. All Advantage member institution Business Checkcard programs are automatically enrolled. A mobile app is available for cardholders to download.

Your institution may choose to offer a rewards program for your Business Checkcard holders. Rewards enhance cardholder relationships and encourage increased Checkcard usage, earning additional interchange for the financial institution.

Small Business Owner Resources
Cardholders can share advice, resources and ideas for taking care of a small business. This free page offers connections with other small business owners, a variety of blogs and helpful videos.

Contact us
to learn how you can start a Business Checkcard program at your institution!

Click Here to see more News and Updates

Advantage Fraud Rate Lowest of All Visa Debit Issuers

One of the reasons Advantage has such a low fraud rate is that we process disputes for all members in our network and receive all fraud notices. Because of this we are able to see fraud trends and common points of compromise before an individual institution would be able to spot them.

In addition, Advantage offers a number of best-in-industry products and services to member institutions including:

  • Free Consumer Education/Awareness  The best defense against fraud is the cardholder. By being aware and engaged they can help protect themselves from fraud.
  • Checkcard Alerts About 50% of fraud is found by the cardholder.
  • Chip Card Production When you complete a transaction at a chip-enabled terminal, a one-time code is generated for that transaction. This makes it nearly impossible to use stolen transaction data to create a counterfeit card, reducing in-store fraud.
  • Data Navigator is a web-based tool that collects real-time data on all Checkcard and ATM card transactions made by your cardholders as well as all transactions made at your ATMs.
  • Debit Insights is a data analytics tool that provides information about the behavior of your cardholders so you can meet their needs with Checkcard products and features.
  • FIS SecurLOCK, Fraud Alert Management Fraud scoring and rules are applied to all Advantage card products and all card activity including ATM, PIN Debit and signature transactions.

Click Here to see more News and Updates