Set Up Rules with Risk Manager

Risk Manager is a tool that helps you catch and manage payments that pose a potential fraud risk. By creating rules with Risk Manager, you can trigger your own fraud alerts, invoke 3D Secure to verify a buyer or automatically decline suspicious payments without the need to manually review the payments you process with Square.

What is a rule?

A rule allows you to choose what happens to a payment if certain conditions are met. You can set a rule to either trigger a risk alert, invoke 3D Secure or to decline a payment. You can also set your rule to be based on factors such as Square’s own risk evaluation, AVS mismatch, invalid CVV or suspicious transaction amounts.

Read more about different rule conditions and payment terms with Risk Manager.

Why do I want to set a rule?

If there are certain conditions of a payment that indicate suspicious behaviour (i.e. a shipping address and billing address do not match), you can set a rule to take automatic action rather than manually reviewing each online payment.

How do I create a rule?

To create a rule within Risk Manager:

  1. Log in to your online Square Dashboard and navigate to Payments > Risk Manager.

  2. Click on the Rules tab > Create Rule.

  3. Indicate a Rule Name, Action, Location and Condition(s).

  4. Press Activate Rule.

Once your rule is saved, payments that meet the requirements set by your rule conditions will either trigger a risk alert, invoke 3D Secure or the payment will be declined.

Which payments are affected by rules?

The only transactions affected by rules are eCommerce payments. Rules will not decline or trigger alerts on payments taken in person or via other payment methods such as Square Invoices or Virtual Terminal.

If you have multiple business locations, you’ll have the option to set different rules for each location or apply a single rule to multiple business locations.

What can I set a rule to do?

You can set a rule to invoke 3D Secure, decline a payment or trigger a risk alert on a payment. Note that setting a risk alert does not stop a payment from processing.

See additional information on managing risk alerts with Risk Manager.

Why do I have rules I didn’t create?

When you first start using Risk Manager, you’ll have two default rules set up. These rules trigger risk alerts when Square gives an incoming payment a High or Moderate risk evaluation. If you want to modify these default rules (e.g. alert me when Square’s risk evaluation on a payment is high and when it’s over $1000) you can delete the default rule and create a new one with those conditions. Until you delete your default rules, you’ll continue to receive alerts for them.

How do I edit a rule?

Locations associated with a rule can be edited at any time. To edit the locations:

  1. Navigate to the Rules tab.

  2. Select the rule in question and make your edit to the locations in the dropdown.

  3. Select Save changes when done. 

What happens if multiple rules deliver conflicting results?

Rule actions are ranked first by  3D Secure, Decline and then by Alert. If you have a payment that matches a 3D Secure rule and a decline rule, 3D Secure will take priority over the decline. And likewise, if you have a payment that hits both a decline rule and an alert rule, the decline will take priority over the alert.

How do I monitor the performance of a rule?

You can view payments that were flagged by alerts by going to the Alerts tab within Payments > Risk Manager section of your online Square Dashboard.

You can view your declined payments by going to Payments > Risk Manager > Blocked Payments. You can also view which rule triggered a decline.

Note: Although this tool is designed to help prevent payment disputes, the risk of a payment dispute is present with all card payments. Sellers will continue to be liable for all payments they accept and the disputes they receive. Square is not assuming liability for payments, regardless of the risk evaluation that is delivered.

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