MasterCard Processing Integrity fee update

Effective November 1st 2011, the MasterCard Processing Integrity fee will increase by $0.01 to an amount of $0.055. Unless your merchant account is on a special type of bundled pricing, all merchants will see this on their November 2011 merchant statement, delivered in early December.

WHAT IS THE FEE FOR? This fee is applied to authorized transactions that are not followed by a matching MasterCard cleared (settled) transaction (or in the case of a canceled transaction, not properly reversed). The fee can be avoided by clearing (settling) your transactions. If an authorization is not needed, the authorization must be electronically reversed within 24 hours for face to face authorizations and reversed within 72 hours for Card absent authorizations.

WHO PAYS IT? All merchants pay the fee if triggered by the fee rule.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF I RECEIVE THE CHARGE? All merchants on “interchange pass through” or “interchange plus” pricing will see these charges listed as a separate line item, when the fee applies. If you are not on this type of pricing, then it’s up to the processor how your fees are bundled, though in most cases, I think merchants will see this fee regardless of the type of pricing.

HOW CAN I CANCEL OR REVERSE AN AUTHORIZATION AND AVOID THE FEE? This varies by many factors, including how you are processing.

  • Yahoo stores now have a Reverse Authorization button on the Order Details page.
  • Authorize.net has issued an API. Shopping cart engines are integrating the API, but it is not yet widespread.
  • Check with your processor or POS software provider.

Can you give me an example of when this fee would be applied? An ecommerce store receives an order for an item. The item is backordered and will be back in stock in 3 weeks. The merchant does not want to cancel the order and does nothing. The authorization will be automatically dropped because it exceeds the 7 calendar day maximum. The merchant will also incur the MasterCard Processing Integrity fee.

The fee does NOT apply to:

MCCs 3351-3441 (Car Rental Agencies)
MCCs 3501-3999 (Lodging-Hotels, Motels, Resorts)
MCC 4411 (Cruise Lines)
MCC 7011 (Lodging-Hotels, Motels, Resorts –not elsewhere classified)
MCC 7512 (Car Rental Agencies – not elsewhere classified)

NOTE: The penalty for failure to reverse authorization is $.055 but the merchant per transaction fee is likely even higher. Unfortunately merchants will be hit with two fees in order to reverse an authorization for the benefit of the customer. Here’s a better idea to improve consumer satisfaction. Why not require card issuing banks to fund  consumer accounts faster when merchants issue refunds?  The money comes out of the merchant account per the merchant termsn, usually upon settlement, but the consumer doesn’t see there money usually for 3-5 days, sometimes longer.