Frequently Asked Questions

The NearlyFreeSpeech.NET FAQ (*)

Troubleshooting (*)

Q. Why does your credit card form say my address (or zip) "failed validation" even though I know it is correct?

We have no idea. We do not determine whether your address information is correct or not. (We have no way of knowing!)

When you enter your address information, our credit card processor forwards it to your card-issuing bank. Your bank sends us one of three responses:

If our system tells you that the information you entered isn't correct, it's because that's what your bank told us. Your bank does not tell us why it is incorrect nor do they provide the correct information (according to them).

Consequently, any questions you have about why your address was reported as incorrect should be directed to the bank that issued your card, not to us.

Should you find yourself in this situation, you should also be aware that your bank may place a temporary pre-auth hold on the funds, even though the transaction was declined. Also, if you call your bank's customer service, they will see the pre-auth hold. Many bank customer service reps will incorrectly claim that the transaction was approved without looking into it any further.

You may also encounter this issue if you use a US-based bank, but your billing address is outside the US. We have seen several cases where the banks could get the foreign address right on statements, but their address verification system could not cope with it.

If you find yourself in this situation, for whatever reason, you have a couple of options:

The above applies primarily to US-based members and those in other countries with compatible AVS implementations. The UK, for example, uses an entirely different system. For reasons we do not fully understand, certain banks in the UK falsely return that the address (or zip) is incorrect when they should return that they do not support US-style address verification. This error on their part will cause our system to reject your card no matter what you enter for your address details. This affects about 10% of our UK members.

This could happen even if you have successfully used the card online in the past. We are not only unusually strict in address verification enforcement to protect our members and ourselves from fraud, but we are also not large enough to have specialized card processing options for the UK as many huge Internet retailers (e.g., Amazon) do. (We use Stripe, which is one of the largest and most capable payment processors. That has cut back, but not eliminated, UK-based complaints about this issue.)

Of course, you can try contacting your bank. But bank customer service agents are rarely trained on the intricacies of address verification. (And that goes double if they're in a country that uses a different system.) There's somebody deep in the bowels of the operations department of your bank who understands what's going on, but good luck getting them on the phone; we've never had a report that a member accomplished that.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to the handful of our members who run into these kinds of problems. They affect only a few, and the cause is completely beyond our control, but it's still endlessly frustrating.