Level 3 data, Purchasing Card, Commercial Data Rate III, and interchange rate qualification explained

Level 1, Level 2 and level 3 data are general descriptors for the type of information required to qualify for interchange rates applicable to business, corporate, and purchasing cards. Level 3 data can reduce costs over 1%.  This article focuses on business to business, card not present transactions.  (Petroleum, Airlines, T&E and other industries have unique rules and rates, but similar concepts.)

Although interchange fees are the non-negotiable fees all merchants pay, they can be influenced.


example 1

  • Commercial Standard: Business World Elite: 3.17% + $0.10
  • Commercial Data Rate I: Business World Elite: 2.87% + $0.10
  • Commercial Data Rate II: Business World Elite: 2.42% + $0.10
  • Commercial Data Rate III: Business World Elite: 2.02% + $0.10

example 2

  • Commercial Standard: Purchasing: 2.95% + $0.10
  • Commercial Data Rate I: Purchasing: 2.65% + $0.10
  • Commercial Data Rate II: Purchasing: 2.10% + $0.10
  • Commercial Data Rate III: Purchasing: 1.90% + $0.10
  • Commercial Large Ticket I, II, or III Purchasing: 1.35% + $40.00


  • Commercial Card Standard:  Corporate: 2.95% + $0.10
  • Commercial Card Level II: Corporate: 2.05% + $0.05 (and Business Enhanced, Signature Business, Corporate, and Purchasing Cards)
  • Commercial Level III: 1.95% + $0.10 ( U.S. Issued Purchasing, including GSA Purchasing and Corporate Cards.)

What is level 2 data?

Level II Data includes the entry of customer code, card acceptor type, tax ID and sales tax.

  • For MasterCard, a sales tax amount is required, and the amount must be greater than $0.00, but no less than 0.1% – 30 % of the transaction amount.
  • For Visa, a tax amount is not required, but the merchant must indicate whether the transaction is tax exempt.

What is level 3 data?

Level III Data includes Level II data, line item detail and additional data. MasterCard does NOT require a sales tax amount to qualify for level 3 interchange rates.
Level III Summary Data is required to qualify for the related Level III interchange rate. It includes Customer Code, VAT tax amount/rate, Ship to/from Zip code, Destination country code, Invoice number, Order date, Invoice Discount, Freight Shipping Amount, and Duty amount.
If you’re a CenPOS customer, when creating a template, select Level III Light to send only these items that are required.
Level III Full data is not required to qualify for the level III interchange rate, however, particularly if you have GSA contracts, your customers may require you to provide it.
Level III Data Full also includes line items with the Product Code, Commodity Code, Descriptor, Unit of measure, Unit Cost, Quantity, Item Discount, and Total. Some purchasers may want Full Level III Data so they can see these items appear on their statement.

Visa Purchasing Card Requirements

Level II
Level I data elements: Sales tax amount, Sales tax indicator Customer code,Purchase ID, Purchase ID format
Level III – Summary Data
Level I and II data elements plus Ship to/from ZIP code, Destination country code,VAT, invoice, reference number, VAT tax amount/rate Discount amount, Freight/shipping amount, Duty amount,Order date
Level III – Line Item Detail
Level I and II data elements plus Item description, Item quantity, Item unit of measure, Item total Item commodity code, Item product code

Item unit cost, Item VAT tax amount/rate

No outside agent, including automated technology, can create data on behalf of the merchant to submit with a transaction to qualify for level 3 interchange rates.

EDITORS NOTES: Some of the biggest level 3 processing technology companies request merchants submit level 3 data, but do not send the same data; the software replaces it behind the scenes. Caution, the merchant is liable for all fees and fines if transactions qualified for interchange rates that the merchant was not eligible for because of improper representment.

How our application creates efficiencies:

  • Merchants are only prompted for level 3 data on cards that qualify for it. Others prompt for every card because they have no intelligence.
  • Only merchant data is submitted; it is never replaced, in compliance with all guidelines.
  • Prompts users for required information automatically, and will not let them bypass unless you make it optional
  • “Light” option available if your customers don’t require line item detail.
  • Templates help save time
  • SaaS- merchants are never out of date and are not required to install software on local computers

For more information on level III credit card processing solutions, contact Christine Speedy.

1 thought on “Level 3 data, Purchasing Card, Commercial Data Rate III, and interchange rate qualification explained

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