Archives: FAQs

Mastercard Consumer-Issued Cards

Mastercard credit cards are issued to customers not by Mastercard, but by an issuing bank. These credit cards will have varying terms/rewards, as every bank is different. The below guide is a handy reference to see how cards are typically classified. Note that issuing banks have a lot of “leeway” in how they classify a card. So, some cards may have similar benefit structures, yet will fall into different categories. What’s important to keep in mind is that you have NO control over this aspect of card acceptance. You can’t tell what type of card you’re accepting just by looking at it, and most customers won’t even know their card type if you ask them. This process is designed to be “invisible” and in the background.

Visa Consumer-Issued Cards

Visa offers several different card types that banks can issue to their customers. The more “perks” that each card offers, the more they cost in interchange fees. See the main categories of Visa cards and see how it all works out by reading on.

Visa Retail Rates

CPS stands for “Custom Payment Service”. The CPS classification is typically known as the best rate structure offered by Visa, and CPS requirements are often the “minimum” qualification requirements for more advanced interchange rates. Read all about CPS here. In a nutshell – you have to first qualify for CPS rates before other more advantageous rate structures will apply. The “CPS Retail” category encompasses traditional consumer credit cards, as opposed to rewards/business/purchasing cards. Barring a few exceptions (below), most merchants are able to receive this interchange rate. Read on to see how different types of CPS Retail cards are assessed.

Visa Standard

Standard rates are the worst rates that you can receive on Visa cards. Typically, you’ll receive Standard rates when your sales don’t meet any of the basic qualifications. This can include not submitting AVS data, not settling your sales on time, or failing to submit otherwise required data, based on your merchant type. You want to avoid this rate classification at all costs!

Visa EIRF – Electronic Interchange Reimbursement Fee

“EIRF” is an acronym for “Electronic Interchange Reimbursement Fee” – and it’s a card-type you’d prefer not to receive, if possible. This is the rate category that many cards will “downgrade” to. Some business types (like restaurants) will auto-downgrade to EIRF for many card types, and an EIRF classification can be totally normal. For standard retailers though, an “EIRF” classification often indicates that data was missing from the transaction when processed, which resulted in a downgrade.

Visa Charity Rates

Visa has a special rate category specifically designed for nonprofits. Not all nonprofits will qualify – but if you’re classified with the MCC of 8398, or as a “Charity or Social Service” organization, then you’ll qualify for far-reduced interchange rates.

Visa Hotel & Car Rental

Hotels, Lodging merchants, and auto-rental merchants have special interchange rates from Visa. Because these merchants often take “extended authorizations” where transactions may be altered later on, there are different requirements. Visa allows for a longer authorization timeframe for these merchant types, but you’re required to submit additional information to take advantage of these rates.

Visa Utility

Visa has incredibly low interchange rates for merchants who are classified as a Utility. As these payments are considered “low risk” from a processing perspective, the interchange rates reflect that. You’ll see that many of the rates have no percentage fee, and just a flat, per-transaction fee.

Visa Emerging Markets

Since not all industries accept credit cards, Visa tries to incentivize “newer” industries with lower, more advantageous interchange rates. These are called Emerging Market interchange rates. The only qualifying business types are Schools, Government Offices, Insurance-sales, Fuel Dealers, Child Care Services, and Direct Marketing Subscription services. Charities and Telecommunication merchants are eligible for debit rates only.

Visa Small Ticket

Almost all merchants are eligible for the Visa CPS Small Ticket program. Click through for the full qualifications – but typically, if you accept a sale that’s under $15, it will qualify for lower interchange rates from Visa.