What is the Visa Transaction Integrity Fee and How Can I Avoid It?

Introduced in April 2012, the Visa Transaction Integrity Fee is a Visa Card Association Assessment fee on debit and prepaid card transactions. The fee is assessed on both consumer and commercial, regulated and non-regulated transactions that are either not eligible or fail to meet CPS qualification. The fee is $0.10. All US merchants are subject to the Transaction Integrity Fee, regardless of Merchant Category Code. Any transaction that does not meet one of the CPS interchange programs has failed to meet CPS qualification.

Primary CPS qualifications for Card Present Debit & PrePaid:

  • Cardholder and card present, signature obtained, single electronic authorization, merchant name, city, and state included in authorization, read & transmit complete magnetic stripe, transaction settled within 1 day of authorization, authorization response data included in settled transaction. Clearing amount must equal authorization amount except for the following sic codes :  4121 (Taxicabs/Limousines), 5813 (Bars-Taverns), 7230 (Barber and Beauty Shops), 7298 (Health and Beauty Spas).

How Can I Avoid the Transaction Integrity Fee on Card Present Sales?

  • Always settle your  transactions within one day of authorization. This means always batch out your terminal, POS, or payment gateway at the end of every day's business. We recommend making settlement part of your end-of-day cash out procedure and having your terminal programmed for either terminal or host-based auto settlement as a back-up.
  • Always read & transmit complete magnetic stripe data. If you have an older terminal or you frequently must key in sales because it can't read the card when you swipe, or it takes several swipes to get a card to go through, consider either cleaning the card reader or upgrading to a new terminal. Card readers can be cleaned using Card Reader Cleaning Cards, or you can try wrapping a dollar bill around a card.
  • Always authorize and settle for the same amount. If a customer changes an order before that day's settlement, always void the original order and start over. Do not adjust the amount of the existing order. If you are processing Retail With Tips because your Merchant Category Code isn't exempt (like Dog Grooming) consider getting the tip amount prior to authorization so you don't have to perform Tip Adjust. If you are processing more than one MCC under a single merchant ID, and one of the MCC would be exempt (like a Hotel with a Restaurant) consider getting an additional merchant ID for the exempt MCC.  

Primary CPS qualifications for Card Not Present & Key-Entered Debit & PrePaid:

  • Single electronic authorization, authorization must include Address Verification (AVS) with exact match, order number, and customer service number, purchase date equal to shipping date and within 7 days of authorization,  transaction settled on or 1 day after purchase/shipping date, Settled amount must equal authorized amount, authorization response data included in the settled transaction.

Primary CPS qualifications for E-Commerce Basic Debit & PrePaid:

  • Single electronic authorization, authorization must include Address Verification (AVS), order number, and customer service number, purchase date equal to shipping date and within 7 days of authorization,  transaction settled on or 1 day after purchase/shipping date, Settled amount must equal authorized amount, authorization response data included in the settled transaction.  MOTO/ECI Indicator should be a 7 for secure internet transaction.

How Can I Avoid the Transaction Integrity Fee on Card Not Present, Key-Entered, and E-Commerce Sales?

  • Always settle your  transactions within one day of authorization. This means always batch out your terminal, POS, or payment gateway at the end of every day's business. We recommend making settlement part of your end-of-day cash out procedure and having your terminal programmed for either terminal or host-based auto settlement as a back-up.
  • Always authorize and settle for the same amount. If a customer changes an order before that day's settlement, always void the original order and start over. Do not adjust the amount of the existing order.
  • Always obtain an exact AVS (Address Verification System) match on Card Not Present, Key-Entered, and E-Commerce transactions. An exact match is the street address number and zip code matching the billing street adress number and zip code on file with the issuing bank. If you are an E-Commerce merchant that allows sales with partial or no AVS match (to increase conversions), you may want to consider requiring an exact match, depending on average ticket size, the effect this has on conversion ratios, and other steps you might take to screen for fraud (like 3D-Secure, etc.).
  • Ensure that your processor is transmitting the correct MOTO/ECI Indicators with your transactions. If you have changed your business model or added an e-commerce capability to an existing merchant ID confirm with your processor that the correct MCC and Indicators are attached to your transactions, and open additional or new merchant IDs if necessary.