Credit Card Validation on Joomla

One of the most exciting things about owning a Joomla website is that one can build an e-commerce website in a very short period. Imagine that, it takes just a few days for you to sell your own products/services online and benefit from that huge market! But, unfortunately, in the real world, it’s not always a panacea.

Let’s take, for example, one of our clients who sells training videos on how to use the Internet. Since the absolute majority of his clientele consists of people who are nearly web-illiterate, then, needless to say, the amount of failed transactions that he was getting was enormous. For those who don’t know, there is a fee of about 20 to 35 cents for each transaction, whether that transaction is successful or not! Our client had to increase his price to offset the cost of failed transactions, a move that lowered interest in his products and ultimately reduced his profits. So, he came to us and asked for advice, and he was very glad he did.

Our first response to our client was: “Are you using Luhn to validate credit card numbers before sending them to the payment gateway?” Obviously, his immediate question was: “What is Luhn?”

And suddenly things were more interesting, because at this point we knew that we can help our client… So, let us first explain what is “Luhn”.

“Luhn” is a checksum algorithm that all credit card numbers have to comply with – in other words, a wrong credit card number will be immediately caught by the Luhn algorithm.

But, what is the advantage of using Luhn?

Since Luhn is an algorithm, then it can be implemented as a PHP function, and then integrated into VirtueMart’s checkout page (before sending the information to the payment gateway) or as a system plugin intercepting the checkout process. This means that instead of sending the payment gateway an erroneous card number, the error is caught at the Joomla level and the user is requested to verify the number. This means a saving of 20 to 35 cents every time someone enters a wrong credit card number. Since our client was having nearly a hundred failed transactions every single day because of wrong credit card numbers, we saved him hundreds of dollars every month by implementing the algorithm…

So, is that all?

No, not really… Our customer also had an even bigger problem. Many of his transactions had the wrong address, so not only he was paying the transaction fee on those transactions, he was losing a sale because his clients were not sure of the address on their credit cards. Again, he asked for our help on this one.

Our approach to solve the problem was very simple, we asked our client to scrap AVS (Address Verification System) checking and use CVV verification instead. In our experience, AVS can lead to many failed transactions and is more fraud-prone than CVV. Our customer, based on our recommendation, instructed to implement the change (e.g. drop AVS in favor of CVV) and everything worked like a charm. More sales were flowing in through his Joomla website and there was considerably less fraud. (Note that some payment gateways refuse to disable AVS checking, while others force their merchants to use AVS checking in conjunction with CVV verification.)

So, is that really all?

Well – not quite! There are several other credit card validation strategies that will reduce your fees and increase your ROI, and we can help you implement them on your Joomla website (after all, we are the Joomla experts!) Just contact us and you’ll see how efficient, knowledgeable, and reliable we are! Oh, and don’t you worry about our fees, they are really affordable.

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