When buying things over the Internet such as on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, AliExpress, Target, and other e-commerce platforms, part of the process involves filling out the billing address and shipping address. There is much confusion between these two very important terms.
The main difference between the billing address and the shipping address is that the billing address is your address that is linked to the bank of your credit card, whereas the shipping address is the address where you want to have your purchase delivered to.
However, there are other important aspects to consider when it comes to the shipping and billing address. In this article we’ll focus on how these two addresses are different and more importantly how they can be set up properly to avoid any confusion.
We will also take into account the perspectives of the buyer, seller, e-commerce store, bank, and courier. This will help you better understand the importance of both addresses to each party involved in the e-commerce process. A correct understanding will help to facilitate a trouble-free payment and the successful delivery of your purchased goods.
What is a Shipping Address?
To get a better understanding, let’s explore each address type individually, starting with the shipping address. The shipping address is linked to the actual delivery location of your purchase. In other words, the shipping address is where you want the actual goods to be delivered to.
In essence, a verified shipping address ensures your online purchases are sent to your nominated location. An online store or e-commerce seller also uses that information to determine the shipping and delivery fee.
Now, let’s assume the role of the courier. The goods are ready for delivery and there are certain tasks needed to be done to ensure they arrive at the right location, at the right time. Therefore, having a confirmed shipping address minimizes return shipments, service failures, and possible customer complaints due to misdelivery.
Here is an example of the Amazon delivery address section. It includes very important delivery instructions for the seller to pass on to the courier company. Here, you’ll be able to enter the details of where you want the items that you are purchasing delivered to.
Take note that this address can be your residence, your friend’s house or any other location that you wish to nominate. You can also store different addresses, depending on the e-commerce platform you frequent.
Why is it Important to Enter the Correct Shipping Address?
Many shipments are automatically returned to a temporary warehouse or even lost each year, due to incorrectly shipping addresses. When a delivery address is incorrect, the courier will not be able to successfully deliver your items to the nominated location.
Your items will subsequently be returned to the distribution warehouse and another verification will be done with the seller of the goods. Arranging a redelivery can cause additional lead time delays and increased costs.
Therefore, it’s important to understand the meaning behind a shipping address and also the implications of incorrectly filling it in.
A shipping address is the physical address/location where you want to have your purchased items sent to.
What is a Billing Address
Now, we’ll get acquainted with the billing address. The billing address is associated with the credit card you made the purchase with. In other words, it’s the location where you usually receive your physical banking statements.
It’s also the same location where you may receive all other types of communication from the bank that is tied to your credit or debit card. Other examples include statements of account, important notices or collection letters.
As you can see in the image above, e-commerce stores will typically ask for your billing address upon checkout, when paying with your credit or debit card.
A billing address forms part of your personal information used by the bank to identify and verify you as the cardholder and this address is often verified via a utility bill or any other type of statements indicating your physical address.
Why is it Important to Enter the Correct Billing Address?
Indicating your billing address is often neglected or entered incorrectly, as most people deem this information as irrelevant, since they are paying using a credit card. A common misconception is that a billing address is only required for cash on delivery (COD) payments or for sending of invoices.
The reason why it’s extremely important to submit the correct billing address when making a purchase on an e-commerce store is that these details are sent to the payment processor and bank, in order to verify the authenticity of purchase.
It’s often used for fraud detection and any suspicious billing and shipping address discrepancies can trigger a temporary suspension or blocking of your credit card.
A billing address is the physical address/location that is associated with your credit card and bank. It’s typically the same location where you receive your banking statements.
What Are the Differences and Similarities Between a Shipping Address and Billing Address
While both addresses refer to physical locations, both of these addresses have different definitions, purpose, locations, requirements and implications.
When shopping online, it’s important to get these right! Here’s a comparison table between a billing address and a shipping address for easy reference:
|Billing Address||Shipping Address|
|Definition||Refers to the address that is associated with your credit card and bank details||Refers to the address where you want the goods delivered to|
|Purpose||Verification and authorization of payment by bank or payment processor||Determine shipping rates and delivery location of ordered goods|
|Location||Delivery of all bank related communication and credit card statement||Where you want the goods to be delivered to (your residence, P.O. Box or any other location)|
|Requirements||When selecting a shipping method and location upon checkout||When selecting a payment option upon checkout|
|Implications||Payment of order may not be processed if incorrectly indicated||Delayed cargo delivery or failed delivery. Redelivery must be organized|
Can the Billing Address and Shipping Address Be the Same?
Yes. In fact, most of the time the shipping address and billing address are the same. This is because most of the time, people are buying items for themselves and are sending them to their home address.
Depending on the e-commerce website you frequent, you can usually set your billing address to be the same as the shipping address by default. Occasionally, there will also be a tick box that lets you select your billing address to match with your shipping address.
However, if you’re purchasing an item online that you’re not sending to your own house, either to a friend, family member or any other location, you’ll have to add a different shipping address upon checkout.
How Do I Know What My Billing Address Is?
There are many places to check your billing address. Most often, it’s your current home address, but if you’ve moved around you may have forgotten. Here are some ways to check the billing address of your credit cards:
- Check credit card statements delivered by postal mail – if you receive your credit statements by mail, that location is usually the billing address.
- Examine E-statements – if you receive your statements electronically, the billing address will be indicated in the header.
- Visit the banking website – if you are enrolled in a bank’s electronic banking system you can easily find your billing details, which are usually in the settings or profile page.
- Call Customer service – When in doubt, speak with a customer service officer. They will most likely require some form of verification, but are able to help you identify your billing address.