Interchange Fees

CPS Rewards 1 and Signature Preferred- Visa Interchange

by

May 17, 2019

CPS Rewards and Signature Preferred refer to Visa interchange fees for consumer credit cards that offer rewards (such as cash back or airline miles) for the cardholder.

Typically, cards that provide rewards to the user cost businesses more than cards that don’t provide rewards. However, it’s not as big of a difference as many people think.

You probably already know from your credit card processing statement that there are many different fee categories. CPS Rewards 1 and Signature Preferred are categories you can expect to see when you accept a consumer “rewards” credit card that meets criteria we’ll detail in this article.

You can expect to pay:

  • CPS Rewards 1: 1.65% + 10 cents
  • Signature Preferred: 2.10 + 10 cents

Other fees will apply on top of these interchange rates. However, your processor does not set the rates for interchange categories, and cannot lower them. You can view all the rates and fees for interchange on Visa’s website.


Rewards Criteria

CPS Rewards and Signature Preferred aren’t technically interchange categories by themselves, meaning they don’t have exclusive criteria. Instead, they’re the categories your transactions will fall under if you meet the criteria for a CPS Retail card present category, but instead of using a basic consumer card, your customer uses a consumer reward card. However, some business types are not eligible.

These two categories only apply to “card present” transactions. That means that you swipe a magnetic stripe card, “dip” a chip card, or “tap” a contactless smart device like a cell phone with Apple Pay enabled. They also only apply to consumer reward cards, not to basic non-rewards consumer cards or corporate / business credit cards.

If you need information on other interchange rates, such as those for card-not-present cards or corporate credit cards, be sure to check out our other articles on interchange fees or use our blog search bar to look for a specific interchange fee.

CPS Criteria

In addition to the requirements above, you’ll also need to meet the criteria for either CPS / Retail or CPS / Small Ticket, which includes:

  • Settling the transaction within 1 day
  • Settling for the same amount as authorized
  • Transaction total under $15 (for CPS / Small Ticket only)

If you don’t meet the criteria, your transaction will “downgrade” to a more expensive interchange category. Read more about CPS Retail criteria.

Ineligible Businesses

Businesses that are not eligible for CPS Rewards 1 or Signature Preferred include restaurants, hotels, car / truck rentals, travel agents, and passenger transportation, including airlines, cruises, and railways. Specific ineligible MCCs include:

  • 3351
  • 3441
  • 3501
  • 3833
  • 5812
  • 5814
  • 7001
  • 7512
  • 7513

This is not a complete list of ineligible MCCs. If you’re unsure about your classification, contact your credit card processor.

Note that some of the businesses that are excluded from these two interchange categories have their own, industry-specific, interchange.

CPS Rewards Interchange Rates

Assuming you meet the criteria noted above and the appropriate CPS Retail category requirements, you can expect to qualify for CPS Rewards interchange categories when you accept a consumer rewards card at your business. In those instances, you could expect to pay the following interchange rates:

Volume RatePer-Transaction Fee
CPS Rewards 11.65%$0.10
Signature Preferred2.10%$0.10

Remember, these are the interchange fees only. Additional costs, including your processor’s markup, will also apply.

Statement Identification

Different credit card processors call interchange categories by different names. This is not a complete list (your processor may use another alias) but here are names that your processor might use.

CPS Rewards 1

REWARDS 1, VI-CPS/REWARDS 1, CPS REWARDS 1

No tricks here – it’s common to see “rewards 1” somewhere in the descriptor for CPS Rewards 1. It may or may not include a “V” or “VI” to indicate Visa. However, that designation isn’t strictly necessary, as the other card brands use different terms for their rewards interchange categories anyway.

Signature Preferred

VSP RTL

This abbreviation indicates Visa Signature Preferred retail. The processor is differentiating from ecommerce by using the phrase retail, indicating a card-present transaction.

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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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