September 9, 2004, 12:00 AM

How Shari’s Berries tweaked its payment process to get rid of fraud

Until recently, Shari’s Berries wasn’t able to complete transaction authorizations until after an order was shipped. Now authorizations are done instantly at the time of order, virtually ridding the retailer of all card fraud.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


Under its original online credit card acceptance system, Shari’s Berries wasn’t able to complete card transaction authorizations until after an order was shipped. Now authorizations are done instantly at the time of order, enabling Shari’s Berries to virtually rid itself of card fraud, Christopher Schipper, business applications manager, tells

Before tweaking its system to improve the card authorization process, Shari’s Berries would catch up to 90% of the as many as 50 attempts at card fraud each month on its, which specializes in selling chocolate-covered strawberries. But Schipper believed the company could do far better in preventing fraud, noting that the problem centered on poor integration between its consumer-facing e-commerce platform and its back-end operational software. “We didn’t have a good interface between our front and our back end,” he says.

Schipper, who is Shari’s Berries’ one-man web site IT staff, took about two months in a part-time effort with his company’s offline counterpart to re-code connections between the web site and an AS/400 system that runs Shari’s Berries back-end software applications. If done as a full-time project, it would probably take only a couple of weeks, Schipper adds.

The new integration enables Shari’s to process card authorizations in virtually real time as customers place their orders. The process includes instant fraud-prevention features like address verification.

“In the past, we would catch only up to 90% of fraud attempts, and after orders were shipped, but now we catch nearly 100% before they’re shipped,” Schipper says.



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