Interchange Fees

CPS Hotel and CPS Car Rental Card Present Interchange


April 06, 2020

“CPS Hotel” and “CPS Car Rental” are Visa interchange categories that determine the rates and fees a hotel or car rental agency will pay to accept cards in person.

We’re also including “CPS Passenger Transport” (such as airlines, cruises, and railways) interchange categories in this article. The reason is that all of these industries fall under “travel and entertainment” and many have the same requirements and rates despite the different business types.

These categories only apply to “card present” transactions, but apply to all card types: credit, debit, and prepaid.

What does “CPS” mean?

CPS stands for “custom payment service” and refers to rules that Visa creates for transactions. When a transaction meets the conditions that Visa sets, that transaction is said to be “CPS qualified.” In turn, CPS qualified transactions are eligible for CPS interchange categories, which have lower rates than non-CPS qualified transactions.

Read more about Visa CPS.

Visa CPS Hotel, CPS Car Rental, and CPS Passenger Transport Interchange Fees

There are multiple interchange categories for hotels, car rental agencies, and passenger transport. However, the criteria is largely the same across similar-named categories, with the industry being the primary differentiator. Additionally, categories with the same criteria generally have the same rate as well.

We’ve split the categories into groups by card type. All rates come directly from Visa’s published interchange matrix, but are subject to change at Visa’s discretion.

CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport Rates – Credit

The following interchange categories apply to basic card-present credit transactions that take place at a hotel, car rental agency, or passenger transportation business.

Volume Rate Per-Transaction Fee
CPS Hotel CP 1.54% $0.10
CPS Car Rental CP 1.54% $0.10
CPS Passenger Transport – Card Present 1.70% $0.10

Note that this is not the full list of interchange categories that you may see. Rewards cards and “downgrades” can both apply to these business types. We’ll address that later in this article.

CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport Rates – Debit

These categories apply to card-present debit transactions at a hotel, car rental agency, or passenger transportation business.

Volume Rate Per-Transaction Fee
CPS Hotel CP Debit 1.19% $0.10
CPs Hotel Card Present DB Reg 0.05% $0.22
CPS Car Rental CP Debit 1.19% $0.10
CPS Car Rental CP Debit Reg 0.05% $0.22
CPS Passenger Transport – Card Present Debit 1.19% $0.10
CPS Passenger Transport Card Present DB Reg 0.05% $0.22

“Reg” categories refer to regulated debit cards.

Regulated and Unregulated Debit Cards

Every “CPS Car Rental” and “CPS Hotel” debit category in the table above has a corresponding “debit regulated” category. For these categories, the criteria is the same except that the card used was a regulated debit card.

In payment processing, regulated debit cards are cards issued by banks that have at least $10 billion in assets. Unregulated debit cards are issued by banks with less than $10 billion in assets. Regulated debit cards come with “caps” at the interchange fee level. Interchange rates for regulated debit cannot exceed the cap by law. Currently, the cap is set at 0.05% + 22 cents. That’s why every “debit reg” category in the table has that rate.

Keep in mind that a cap at the interchange fee level isn’t a cap on the total costs. Processors still add markups to debit transactions, so the final amount you pay will be more than 0.05% + 22 cents.

CPS Hotel and CPS Car Rental Rates – Prepaid

The following categories apply to transactions with a prepaid card at eligible hotels, car rental agencies, and passenger transportation businesses.

Volume Rate Per-Transaction Fee
CPS Car Rental CP Prepaid 1.15% $0.15
CPS Hotel Card Present Prepaid 1.15% $0.15
CPS Passenger Transport Card Present Prepaid 1.15% $0.15

As you can see, all three prepaid categories have the same rate, so the card type is ultimately irrelevant for anything beyond classification. However, rates are subject to change.

In order to receive these any of these CPS Car Rental / Hotel / Passenger Transport rates, you’ll need to meet the qualifications for the specific interchange categories.

CPS Hotel / Car Rental Rewards Cards

In addition to the base rates noted above, there are times when the type of credit card will affect the category and rate. The CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport CP categories above are the target category for basic consumer non-rewards cards. For basic non-rewards cards, car rental and hotel rates are the same, while passenger transport has higher rates. But when it comes to rewards cards, all three have the same rate when the same type of rewards card is used.

Volume Rate Per-Transaction Fee
CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport CP Rewards 1.95% $0.10
CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport CP Signature 2.30% $0.10
CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport CP Signature Preferred 2.40% $0.10

An important thing to note with these rates is that the rewards category and signature categories are actually classed as CPS / Rewards 2 and EIRF by Visa.

In the snippet from Visa’s interchange table, below, I’ve greyed out the irrelevant categories so we can just focus on the CPS Hotel and Car Rental and CPS Passenger Transport categories.

CPS Hotel and Car Rental Interchange Chart

As you can see, Visa lists the non-rewards category (labeled “all other products”) rate, without an alternate name. However, “traditional rewards” and “Visa Signature / Visa Infinite” both have a different interchange category name (EIRF and Rewards 2) with the interchange fee associated with those categories.

Lastly, the most premium rewards category (“Visa Signature Preferred / Visa Infinite”) has a rate without an alternate category name. So, two of the categories (non-rewards and premium rewards) have their own name and rates, while the middle class of rewards cards will instead be charged the rate for other categories, notably EIRF and CPS Rewards 2.

Note: While “EIRF” is typically a downgrade interchange category, that’s not always the case. If you accept a traditional rewards card for CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport, the best possible interchange category is actually the EIRF category. In that case, it would not be a downgrade.

Let’s take a look at true downgrades.


In credit card processing, “downgrades” occur when a transaction doesn’t meet the requirements for a lower cost interchange category. So, for example, if you don’t meet the requirements for the basic non-rewards CPS / Hotel category, your transaction will downgrade. Instead of paying 1.54% + 10 cents at interchange, you’ll pay one of the penalty rates. For consumer cards, the first downgrade is typically EIRF.

Downgrades are not entirely avoidable, so a few on a statement isn’t an issue. But if you’re seeing a lot of downgrades, it’s a good idea to investigate why. Excessive downgrades mean you’re paying more than you should.

CPS Hotel and Car Rental Interchange Qualifications

Okay, now that we’ve gone over the rates, what are the actual requirements for CPS Hotel / Car Rental / Passenger Transport?

For all categories, the transaction must:

Be card present

That means the card has to be run through a credit card machine, whether it’s using a magnetic strip, chip, or contactless function. Any online or hand-keyed transactions do not count and will receive card-not-present interchange.

Meet authorization and settlement criteria

This includes passing at least 1 electronic authorization, including that authorization information at settlement, and having a matching MCC for both authorization and settlement.

CPS Hotel Interchange Requirements

In addition to the general requirements noted above, to qualify for CPS / Hotel interchange, a transaction must:

  • Include the check-in date, duration of stay, and a no-show indicator, if applicable
  • Have a settlement date within 2 days of the check-out date

Not meeting these requirements and the requirements listed above will result in downgrades. If the card used is a credit card, it will receive the credit rate and category classification. If it’s a debit, the debit rates noted earlier will apply.

On statements: When it comes to labeling interchange on statements, different processors use different names or abbreviations. However, you may see categories such as CPS Hotel (for credit), CPS HOTEL D (for debit), CPS HOTEL DR (for debit regulated) and HOTEL PP (for prepaid.)

CPS Car Rental Interchange Requirements

For car rental interchange, transactions need to be the general requirements noted earlier, plus:

  • Include a rental agreement number, return data, and no-show or extra charge indicator, if applicable
  • Have a settlement date within 2 days of the return date

If a transaction doesn’t meet all of the requirements (the general ones noted and the specifics for this category) it will downgrade.

The card type will also affect whether it receives credit or debit CPS car rental rates.

On statement: While it’s true that processors can use whatever names or abbreviations they want on processing statements, you might see ones such as CPS CAR (for credit) CAR D (for debit), CAR DR (for regulated debit) or CAR PP (for prepaid.)

CPS Passenger Transport Interchange Requirements

The Passenger Transport categories need to meet the general criteria noted earlier, plus:

  • Include a ticket number, sequence number, and itinerary information
  • Have an authorization date matching the actual transaction / purchase date
  • Have a settlement date within 8 days of the transaction date

If a transaction doesn’t meet all of the criteria, it will downgrade to a more expensive interchange category. If the card used for the payment is a credit card, CPS Hotel CP for credit will apply. If it’s a debit card, either CPS Hotel CP Debit or Debit Reg will apply.

On statements: Different processors list interchange categories differently. However, you may see CPS Passenger Transport with an abbreviation or variation on that name, such as CPS AIR CP (for credit), CPSAIRD CP (for debit), CPSAIRCPDR (for debit regulated), or CPSAIRPPCP (for prepaid.)

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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