Forced Transactions Allowed

» Posted by on Jul 5, 2014 in Payment Methods | 0 comments

An Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC)  has overall responsibility for the Travel Card program within his/her Agency/Organization.   A/OPC’s make every effort to control government traveler abuse when cardholders use their Individually Billed Travel (IBT) charge card.  Each agency puts several controls in place such as running specific reports to detect abuse, applying monthly credit limits and ATM withdrawal limits, and blocking several non-travel related Merchant Category Codes (MCC) as well.

One form of what I consider “abuse”, is the fact that merchants can “force” a transaction through the pipeline financially and the charge will post to the cardholder’s account.  The merchant has the ability to override a blocked MCC and push the charge through without approval.  This does violate the policies and procedures for merchant processing, but it does happen.  You cannot avoid a merchant forcing a transaction.  However if this does occur, the charge is a disputable transaction because the credit card company views the charge as unauthorized and it will then be charged back to the merchant.

The credit card companies have established a set floor limit that could possibly reach up to $100 or maybe more.  This is where a merchant can “force” a transaction up to that set floor limit without obtaining an approved authorization.

Merchants are rated by the number of disputes they have filed against them and the reasons for them.  This rating affects their risk to the acquirer and can result in them being terminated as a card accepting merchant.  Still, knowing this makes me wonder why MCC’s are blocked if forced transactions without prior agency approval are allowed to occur.  I think of blocks as being a deterrence to fraud and abuse.

By: Robyn Rice

“The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.”

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