Name on Credit Card: Has to Match Billing Address?

Here’s whether the name on a credit card has to match the billing address:

Yes! In most cases, your billing name must exactly match the name on the credit card you use to make a purchase. 

Spouses or other family members cannot use your card with verbal authorization. So, check the name on the billing address carefully.

If you want to learn all about why the name on a credit card has to match the billing address, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in!

Table of Contents

Does the Name on a Credit Card Need to Match the Billing Address?

The vast majority of vendors will ask you to enter your name exactly as it appears on the credit card. 

Although you can find anecdotal stories about people using their family members’ card with their own names, this is largely a fluke.

In order to ensure that your purchase goes through properly, therefore, use the same name on your credit cards and billing information.

For example, let’s say you use your full middle name on your credit card. Ensure that you use your full middle name when signing up for a retail account online, via mail, or in a store.

According to at least one Avvo-rated lawyer, it’s “common practice” for merchants to require that the billing and credit card name match. That said, it’s usually easy to change your billing name to match the credit card name so that you can continue your purchase.

Let’s look at an example.

How Do Vendors Notify You of This Requirement?

Target is among the vast majority of vendors that require a match for the billing name and credit card name. 

According to the company’s website, the billing name and name on your credit card have to match in order for them to provide legal authorization for the purchase.

The official policy also states this rule applies to every situation. Therefore, if a spouse claims that they have verbal authorization to use a credit card, the purchase will still be denied.

What Happens if Billing and Credit Card Name Mismatch?

MasterCard and Visa may send an error such as “Address did not match” if you use one of their credit cards to make a purchase. This means that the information entered doesn’t match the information used by your credit card company.

You can typically fix this by providing the name on the credit card to the vendor.

According to Visa, it’s up to the vendor whether or not to accept the card if the names do not match.

What Happens if Billing Name Is Wrong Online?

If you put in the wrong billing name wall making an online purchase, the vendor may cancel the order or ask you to provide the correct name. 

Because vendors want to make it as easy as possible for you to make a purchase, they will probably prompt you to enter the name on the credit card.

After you make the change, your purchase will probably go through without a hitch.

What Happens if Customers Use the Wrong Name for a Credit Card Purchase?

If a customer uses the wrong name for a credit card purchase, you could enter the name on the card. Presuming that your POS system allows this, it may resolve the problem. 

You might also want to ask for identification to make sure that the person is authorized to use the credit card.

The credit card holder receives fraud alerts if someone attempts to use their card online or in a store using the wrong name.

Why Does the Name on a Credit Card Matter?

The issuing bank for a credit card keeps the cardholder name and address on file. If the billing information coming from a vendor does not match this information, the bank may deny the purchase.

In order to avoid issues with online or in-person purchases, cardholders should ensure that they enter the name on their credit card when filling out the billing information.

Who Requires Exact Name Matches?

Target.com is one of the thousands if not millions of vendors that requires your billing name to match your credit card. The company will not authorize purchases if the two did not match. This mainly impacts online sales.

You can avoid issues by correcting the billing address online. This ensures that the billing name matches the name on credit cards linked to your account.

Spouses and other individuals cannot use your card even with your verbal or written consent.

What’s an Example of a Credit Card/Billing Name Mismatch?

Let’s say John Green authorizes his wife Penny to use his credit card for online purchase. When entering the billing information, Penny enters her own name instead of John’s. In this case, the credit card company will probably deny the purchase, as it should.

Penny is not the credit card holder and is therefore not authorized to use the card. (Keep in mind that some credit cards have authorized users. However, authorized users typically have their own credit card linked to the same account as the primary cardholder.)

In another scenario, let’s say that Penny enters John’s name when filling out the billing information. Technically, Penny has just committed fraud, even though she has her husband’s permission. 

Since she has entered the correct name, the order goes through and arrives at their home three days later.

Is This a Liability Issue?

If John forgets about the purchase and later sees it on his statement, he can request a chargeback from the bank. This causes the company that shipped the order to lose the payment because it accepted a “fraudulent” purchase. 

That’s true even if Penny received the package and the company can prove it.

Why Ask for Billing Name that Exactly Matches the Credit Card?

As you can see, even the latest fraud detection software cannot always detect name mismatches. 

However, it’s important for vendors to ensure that they collect the right information and double-check it. This can help prevent credit card fraud and chargebacks, some of which are legitimate purchases.

By asking for the name of the credit card when collecting billing information, retailers and other businesses can save themselves a big headache. It may also decrease their liability in cases like the one above.

Visa and MasterCard have put multifactor identification in place to reduce fraud. 

For example, these companies typically ask for a code sent to a cell phone or email address as a secondary proof of identity. 

However, fraud prevention tools can be expensive. Therefore, small and midsize companies are unlikely to have them online or in retail stores.