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When to call in a Code 10

Credit Card Processing
Corner: How to call in a Code 10

With the winter holidays upon us, members will see an influx of customers, many of whom will want to make purchases with a credit card.  If you ever have doubts about the validity of the credit card presented to you for payment, a signature or even a customer’s behavior – you can call in a Code 10. A Code 10 is a unique term that allows the merchant to inform the authorization center of a possible fraudulent transaction without alerting the cardholder.

Here are the steps you will take when calling in a Code 10:

  • Dial the Voice Authorization Center with the credit card in hand, if possible. The Voice Authorization Center’s number can be obtained from your processor. For members in the Council’s program, Global Payment Direct, Inc.’s authorization center number should be on a sticker attached to your terminal.
  • Inform the operator of a Code 10.
  • The operator will put you through to the correct person who will ask a series of
    “yes” or “no” questions. Answer these questions in a calm, normal tone of
  • If the operator decides something is amiss, he or she will deny authorization.
  • The operator may request to speak with the cardholder to ask account information
    questions only the true owner of the card would know.
  • If the operator asks you to retain the card, do so only if you feel safe.

A Code 10 can be used any time a merchant feels a transaction may not be legitimate, even if the transaction is approved or the customer already left the premises. See below for when to call in a Code 10.

When to call in a Code 10:

  • When embossing on the card is illegible.
  • When the last few numbers are not embossed on the hologram, or if these numbers do not match the account number on the sales draft or at the POS device.
  • When there is no Bank Identification Number (BIN) above or below the first four digits.
  • When the name on the card does not match the signature or there is a misspelling.
  • When holograms are not clear or the picture in the hologram does not move.
  • When the card does not have an expiration date.
  • When the card does not start with the correct numeric digit – all Visa cards should start with the number four, all MasterCard cards with the number five, all Discover cards with the number six and American Express cards with the number three.
  • Be aware of cards that don’t swipe – check these cards for other security features.
  • If a card does swipe, make sure the card number and the number that appears on the POS device match.
  • If the message is other than “approved” or “declined.”

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