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Visa Modifications to Interchange Notice: Effective Dates April 18, 2020 & October 17, 2020

Upcoming Visa Interchange Changes Effective April 18th & October 17th 

Dear Valued Customer 

This notice is to advise merchants of upcoming interchange modifications that the card associations will begin enforcing in April and October 2020. These changes may impact the existing interchange rates, pricing, consumer convenience fees and other merchant operational practices.

As a result of the upcoming Visa interchange modifications, Forte is reviewing merchant and partner portfolios to assess pricing impacts as a result of these Visa changes. We will notify impacted parties of any resulting changes or adjustments to pricing at least 30 days prior to the pricing becoming effective on invoices. Please read this notice in it’s entirety, there may be required action on your part as outlined in this communication.

What’s Changing in April 2020?
Effective April 18, 2020, Visa will eliminate the electronic downgrade interchange rates for transactions failing Custom Payment Service (CPS) qualification, which provides the best available interchange rates in the system. Transactions that fail to qualify for CPS are downgraded to Electronic or Standard interchange rates which merchants pay a premium for. Key impacts that need to be considered are:
  • Visa mandates that Card Not Present (CNP) transactions must be passed with AVS (customer address). Transactions passed without, at minimum, the zip code will be downgraded.
  • Some existing interchange tiers have been consolidated, eliminated and/or modified. Visa will eliminate the Business-to-Business interchange rate on Small Business products.
Please click here for details specific to each interchange tier. Note that impact to your price is dependent on your current pricing structure (see details below).

Actions Required by Merchants & Integrated Partners for April Interchange Changes
  • Saved payment methods with scheduled transactions need to be updated with customers address info, at minimum the zip code should be updated/added. Partners and/or merchants are responsible for making these updates in the system the information is stored (i.e. Forte Virtual Terminal, Dex or Integrated Solution, etc.). Please inquire with your payment software vendor(s) if you not control stored cardholder information.
What’s Changing on October 17, 2020?
Visa has introduced New Consumer Credit Merchant Segment Incentive Interchange Rates in addition to modifying and eliminating previous interchange tiers that may have impact to merchant’s processing business and potential increase to consumer convenience fees. Below are key items impacted:
  • Visa will introduce new, segment-specific interchange rate for Insurance, Services, Education, Healthcare, Real Estate, and Advertising. The Retail 2 Program is being eliminated.
  • Visa will eliminate the Business-to-Business interchange rate on Visa Signature Preferred and Infinite (Spend Qualified)
  • Consumer Card-Not-Present interchange rates modified
  • For Services, Education, Healthcare, and Real Estate transactions, the newly created segment interchange rates will have a ticket size qualification – additional information related to this can be found in the link below.
  • Visa will rename and modify the interchange rates for Card-Not-Present CPS qualified transactions into unique interchange rates by consumer credit products.
  • CPS-qualified key-entry transactions will no longer qualify for card-present interchange rates for specific products. This approach supports EMV® and chip technology as the preferred Point-of-Sale Entry mode standard, with magnetic stripe instead of key entry as the fallback method.
  • Small ticket qualifying merchant categories refined; small ticket interchange rate created for Visa Signature preferred.
Please note: Transactions qualifying for Automated Fuel Dispensers (AFD), Service Station, Utility, Charities and Religious Organizations and Government interchange rates remain unchanged. Click here to view tiers impacted effective October 17, 2020.

How would the new Interchange Rates Impact my Fees?
There are no changes to pricing taking effect today. The payment card associations typically announce the new rates in advance of the scheduled semi-annual change windows, which are April and October. In the past, Forte may have absorbed the increase, therefore it’s possible that you have not seen an increase semi-annually, even if the card associations did make a change.

Any changes will be reviewed by Forte and merchants will be notified at least 30 days in advance of the change. Depending on your rate structure, the change could vary. With the recent updates from the card brands, here is what we could expect based on your rate structure with Forte.
  • Flat-Rate Merchants: An increase to your overall rate on all transactions
  • Tiered Rate Merchants: An increase to your Qualified, Mid-Qualified, and/or Non-Qualified rates
  • Interchange-Plus Merchants: A direct increase to all rates matching the new release from the card brands
  • Convenience Fee Merchants: An increase to your overall convenience fee charge on all transactions
As additional information emerges related to these changes, Forte will make every effort to communicate this information to our merchants and partners to inform them of potential impacts. A follow up communication will be sent with details related to pricing or basis point changes that may impact our customer base. If you have any questions related to this notice please contact your assigned Account Manager or our Support Team at via email or 866-290-5400 (Option 1) by phone.

Thank you,

CSG Forte Payments

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