Interchange Fees

CPS CNP Prepaid – Visa Interchange

by Ben Dwyer

CPS / CNP prepaid is part of several interchange categories that dictate the fees a business will pay when accepting a Visa prepaid card online or by keying the card number into a machine.

The “CNP” stands for “card not present,” which tells you that these categories do not apply to transactions where you swipe a customer’s card. (It also does not apply to digital wallet payments – like Apple Pay – where a customer “taps” a phone or smart watch to a compatible credit card machine. Those payments are still considered “card present.”)

In the past, Visa has abbreviated “card not present” but now often writes it out in the interchange category names.

CPS Card Not Present Prepaid Interchange Rates

Despite the fact that there are five card-not-present interchange categories for Visa prepaid cards, there are actually only two different rates.

Volume Rate Per-Transaction Fee
CPS Card Not Present Prepaid 1.75% $0.20
CPS Retail Key Entry Prepaid 1.75% $0.20
CPS Retail 2 Card Not Present Prepaid* 0.65% $0.15
CPS E-Commerce Basic Prepaid 1.75% $0.20
CPS E-Commerce Preferred Retail Prepaid 1.75% $0.20

*This category has a maximum fee of $2.00. If you hit that cap, you may see “CPS Retail 2 CNP Prepaid Max” (or its abbreviation RTL2CNPPMX on your statement.)

Rates in the above table come directly from Visa’s website, but are subject to change.

Card Not Present Prepaid Interchange Criteria

If you accept a prepaid Visa card, the “category” you’ll see on your monthly processing statement depends on which criteria you meet. However, only one category has different rates, and that category is only available to specific businesses. If you don’t operate in those industries, it’s somewhat irrelevant which category you qualify for, as you’ll pay the same prepaid rate no matter what.

However, prepaid cards can still “downgrade” – meaning the transaction drops to a more expensive category – if you don’t meet all the criteria for one of the categories listed above. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you’re properly accepting cards and batching transactions in order to not pay more than you have to.

Here are the main criteria for card-not-present Visa prepaid transactions.

Visa Prepaid Card

No surprise here. These Visa interchange categories only apply to transactions that use a Visa prepaid card. These rates do not apply to credit or debit cards.

Card Not Present

Additionally, the prepaid card is not swiped / dipped / tapped to a card machine. Instead, the customer uses the card online or you key in the card details. Card entry where you swipe a magnetic stripe, dip a chip, or tap a contactless payment method will all instead fall under card present transactions, which have different criteria and rates.

AVS Required

You must use Address Verification Service (AVS) to compare the address the customer providers with the address on file with the credit card issuer, and include the AVS response with the authorization. Some categories may require specific AVS responses, as noted in the individual criteria section later in this article.

Purchase Date

The “purchase date” must be the same as the shipping date, which must be within 7 days of the original authorization.

Settled Within 1 Day, for Amount Authorized

The transaction must be settled within 1 day of the purchase / shipping date. Additionally, the amount settled must be the same as the amount authorized. (That is, the total cannot be adjusted for gratuities.)

Order Numbers and Contact Info

Transactions must have a customer order number. You must also include your phone number (required for some business types) or an email or website address.

Category-Specific Criteria

As noted above, there is only one category with different rates. However, individual categories may have their own additional criteria.

CPS Card Not Present Prepaid

Also known as CNP PP.

There are no additional criteria to qualify for this category. If a transaction meets the criteria noted above, it will typically qualify here.

CPS Retail Key Entry Prepaid

Also known as KEYED PP.

You’ll see the key-entered prepaid category if you hand key a prepaid card number into a card machine to process it, rather than swiping the card. You’ll also seen to receive a zip code match when using AVS.

CPS Retail 2 Card Not Present Prepaid

Also known as RTL2CNP PP.

The CNP Retail 2 prepaid category is the only one with different rates. However, it’s not available to all businesses. In fact, Visa limits eligibility for this category to the following business types:

  • Cable and satellite TV
  • Childcare
  • Courts
  • Government services
  • Insurance Service (including underwriting, premiums, and sales)
  • Real estate agents
  • Religious services
  • Schools (includes primary, secondary, and universities)

Some specific merchant category codes (MCC) include: 4899, 5960, 6300, 8220, 8211, 8299, 8351, and more. Your MCC determines whether you’re eligible to receive these specific Visa interchange rates for prepaid cards.

In addition to business type restrictions, Retail 2 Prepaid requires the transaction to meet criteria for another Visa CPS program. You must be “CPS qualified” for CPS Retail, CPS Retail Key Entry, CPS Card Not Present, CPS E-Commerce Basic, or CPS E-Commerce Preferred.

CPS E-Commerce Basic Prepaid

Also known as ECOMBC PP.

The additional criteria for Ecommerce Basic Prepaid is the ecommerce indicator, or ECI. The transaction will return an ECI of “7,” which indicates that the transaction was handle on a secure channel, but did not undergo 3D Secure authentication.

CPS E-Commerce Preferred Retail Prepaid

Also known as ECOMPF PP.

The only difference between the CPS E-Commerce Preferred and Basic Prepaid categories is the Ecommerce Indicator. To qualify for “Preferred,” the transaction must return either a “5” or a “6,” which both indicate involvement with Verified by Visa.

A “6” shows that the business tried to authenticate the transaction using 3D Secure, but was not able to do so because either the cardholder or issuing bank is not enrolled in 3D Secure.

On the other hand, a “5” indicates a successful 3D Secure authentication. The cardholder and bank that issued the card both participate in 3D Secure, and the cardholder authenticated this particular transaction.

For prepaid transactions, there is no rate difference between Ecommerce Basic and Ecommerce Preferred transactions. However, 3D Secure is still considered a higher level of security for accepting card payments. Enabling 3D Secure for your transactions can save you money on other categories (such as credit and debit) as well as decreasing the likelihood of fraudulent transactions.

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