40 Credit Card Authorization Form Samples in MS Word
In today’s world, the movement of money is no longer the handing of cash by one party to another. Even if people wished they could pay in cash, the distances between your business and the location from which they are initiating the transaction may be prohibitive. There are any number of circumstances that make plastic preferable to other forms of payment. The bottom line is: if your business can’t accept credit cards, you lose sales.
Do you need a form?
Not all businesses need a card reader to swipe customer’s cards in order to accept credit card payment. Some types of businesses’ payment processes are better classified as “card not present.” This means that the physical credit card isn’t in the hands of the person charging it on behalf of the business. There are many situations in which this might be the more likely scenario, such as when:
- transactions primarily occur over a distance (i.e. on the phone or via postal service)
- transactions are set to occur at a date in the future, requiring the credit card not to be charged until that date
- transactions are of an ongoing or recurring nature for which an agreement is in place to use the card as a standing method of payment
In these cases and others like them, you need specific information from the card in order to process it through a virtual terminal on your computer. As with all things in your business, scrawling the information on the back of an index card isn’t the best way to keep organized and to ensure that you have all of the information you need. You both want to ensure your client that you are handling their information in a secure and professional manner and make certain that you have collected all of the information you need so that you don’t have to take both your time and theirs to clarify the card information later. For these reasons, using a well-designed and comprehensive template tailored to the type of charges you need to make can be key to successfully integrating credit cards into your revenue stream.
Why use Credit Card Authorization Forms
Three most common reasons for using Credit Card Authorization Forms are trust, convenience, protection.
- Trust. Despite the increasing reliance on credit cards as a method of payment, people don’t always feel completely comfortable sharing their card information because of the possibilities present for that information to be misused or appropriated. You have to instill confidence in your customers and one of the best ways to do that is to present a polished and professional appearance through professionally designed charge authorization forms. This helps them to recognize that you aren’t running a fly-by-night operation and that they can entrust their information to you.
- Convenience. Beyond the comfort of your client, you have your own comfort to consider. Using your own form allows you to collect all of the information you need and have it at your fingertips whenever you need it. credit card authorization forms can offer a mechanism for a variety of different charge circumstances that extend beyond the need to make a one-time payment. With a credit authorization, your clients can grant permission for ongoing payments, pre-authorize for a charge the amount of which can’t be determined beforehand, or even assign authority to make charges to a family member.
- Protection. Finally, having a completed credit card authorization form in your records can go a long way to helping you address potential chargeback claims. When the bank or card issuer begins to investigate claims of a fraudulent transaction, one of the first things that they will request is a copy of the documentation for the transaction. The signed credit card authorization form is a proof of transaction authorization in cases where there is no signed credit card slip.
Credit Card Authorization Form Requirements
Many times, rather than having a client fill out several forms in order to collect information, you can simplify the process by combining an informational form with a credit card authorization form. The nature of this additional information will vary depending upon the circumstances of the transaction. There are only four pieces of information that are required for a credit card authorization form to be valid:
- The cardholder information, this includes the cardholder’s full name and address.
- The credit card information, though you should consult PCI DSS for specific information about the type of information that can be collected and stored.
- The name of your business or of the organization that will charge the card.
- The cardholder’s signature.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards
The laws regarding the collection and retention of credit card information vary from state to state. In the vacuum created by the lack of a coherent national code, a proprietary security standard, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was created to provide a way of measuring and maintaining secure practices in organizations that handle cardholder information. The PCI DSS has been updated several times and the current code, Version 3.0 was established to be the acting code until December 31, 2016.
There are 12 “high-level” requirements established through the PCI DSS:
- Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
- Do not use vendor supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
- Protect stored cardholder data
- Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
- Protect all systems against malware and regularly update antivirus software programs
- Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
- Restricts access to cardholder data by business need to know
- Identify and authenticate access to system components
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data
- Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
- Regularly test security systems and processes
- Maintained a policy that addresses information security for all personnel
All organizations, whether Fortune 500 companies or small Internet stores, compliance with safety standards such as these are a vital part of keeping your clients’ credit card information secure. The size of your business will determine the most appropriate pathway for security compliance.
PCI compliance is not a federal law, however portions of it had become part of state laws and there is no reason to assume that more of the PCI standards will not be adopted in the near future. For example, the “Plastic Card Security Act” that was passed in Minnesota in 2007 addresses issues of security compliance drawn directly from the PCI. Rather than assuming, however, that until PCI compliance is mandated by law it is something that can be ignored, it is important to realize that credit card technology evolve faster than laws can change and a voluntary compliance system such as PCI may be the only way to maintain up-to-date security practices.
For in-depth information on PCI compliance as well as access to webinars, tutorials, and guidance visit the PCI Security Standards Council webpage.
Storing Credit Card Information
As a business that uses credit card authorization forms, you should be prepared to answer questions about the way in which that information is collected and retained. The key to addressing client concerns lies in your ability to explain the need for the information requested and the precautions that you routinely take to keep that information secure.
As an added measure of security your organization may determine that it wishes to request a scan of the front and back of the cards for which the client has filled out a credit card authorization form. While you are permitted to request such information, businesses cannot store that information and remain PCI compliant. The CVV and other authorization data could be blacked out with a marker in order to “sanitize” the image to allow for storage. In addition, physical controls must be implemented for the area in which the sanitized information is stored. This means you will need systems such as locking filing cabinets or locked storage rooms.
In point of fact, however, most often copies of the card are needed only to verify physical possession of the card by the person signing the credit card authorization. This is unnecessary if the form is signed in person as the card can be verified directly. Should a copy of the card be required, you can also request that the cardholder themselves black out the security code and all but the last four digits of the card before sending the image.
Download Free Credit Card Authorization Form Templates
On this page, you’ll find all of the different kind of charge authorization forms you could need to address any scenario. They’ll help you simplify your standard procedures, reassure your clients, and keep better records, so you can spend more of your time focused on growing your business.