What happens when a credit card expires for your customer or nonprofit donor who is set up on recurring billing? Card account information changes for many reasons including expirations, compromised, lost, stolen, upgrades, and card product changes. There’s a huge turnover in credit card numbers every year, and with US EMV implementation, millions of cards are being replaced with newer chip cards. A card updater service automates updating cards for recurring billing. The card brands, including Visa and MasterCard, have a card updater solution to benefit those making the payments, and the merchants who receive them.
Visa Account Updater (VAU) enables the automatic electronic exchange of updated account information among participating Merchants, their Visa Merchant Bank, and Visa card Issuers in North America and Europe. MasterCard Automatic Billing Updater does the same for their brand. U.S. for Discover transactions, and American Express does not support.
All parties must be approved for the service. The acquirer (your merchant services provider), the payment gateway (where billing tokens reside), and the merchant.
How does card updater service work?
- Participating issuers submit their account changes to the Updater database.
- Registered merchants submit their billing files inquiries to their acquirer. (Tokens sent from the gateway)
- Acquirers submit the billing file inquiries to the Automatic Updater database.
- Acquirers return updated account inquiries records to their specific merchants.
- Merchants update their billing files (gateway updated) with the changed account information, and have more successful billing
How can merchants sign up for service?
To get started with a card updater service for recurring billing, contact your credit card processor (merchant services provider). Requirements:
- Complete paperwork for each participating card brand via merchant acquirer aka credit card processor.
- Register for the service with acquirer
- Wait up to 8 weeks for the card brands to respond with approval
How much does the card updater service cost?
There’s an application fee for each brand. Like merchant services, fees are negotiated. I’ve heard of large non-profit software solutions companies charging as much as $.30 per record updated. My merchants pay pass through costs of $0.09 per transaction, and one time Visa Setup fee $250, MC Setup fee $350 per merchant account.