Credit Card Processing

Visa Acquirer Processing Fee (APF)

by Ben Dwyer

Visa began charging an acquirer processing fee (APF) on July 1, 2009 on all authorizations acquired in the United States. The acquirer processing fee is a flat transaction fee that is currently assessed at $0.0195.

Update: July 23, 2012
Visa now charges a separate acquirer processing fee for debit and credit card transactions. The APF for credit card transactions is $0.0195, and the APF for debit card transactions is $0.0155.

Important Note:
Merchants that are assessed fees by a processor on a tiered pricing model will not benefit from the lower APF for debit card transactions.

This is not an interchange fee, and it is not passed to card-issuing banks. Instead, the acquirer processing fee is kept by Visa and generates roughly $500 million in annual revenue.

Visa added its acquirer processing fees shortly after going public, and many industry experts feel confident that the fee was imposed in response to shareholder demand for increased revenue.

Unlike MasterCard’s network access and brand usage (NABU) fee, Visa’s acquirer fee is charged on all authorized transaction regardless of whether the transaction is actually settled.

The Green Sheet, a credit card processing industry newsletter, has an informative article about Visa’s APF that was written shortly before Visa began charging the fee.

Statement References
The acquirer processing fee is referred to by processors in several different ways on merchant processing statements. Some of the common references are:

  • ACQR Processor Fee
  • Network Access Fee
Ben Dwyer

BY Ben Dwyer

Ben Dwyer began his career in the processing industry in 2003 on the sales floor for a Connecticut‐based processor. As he learned more about the inner‐workings of the industry, rampant unethical practices, and lack of assistance available to businesses, he cut ties with his employer and started a blog where he could post accurate information about credit card processing. As the blog gained in popularity, Ben began directly assisting merchants in their search for a processor. Ben believes in empowering businesses by providing access to fair, competitive pricing, accurate information, and continued support. His dedication to transparency and education has made CardFellow a staunch small business advocate in the credit card processing industry.


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