Interchange Fees

Discover Interchange Rates

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July 16, 2019

When you accept Discover cards at your business, you’ll pay fees to Discover, called interchange. These rates vary by card type, entry method, and other details.

There are interchange rates for all Discover card types, including debit, credit, international, and commercial cards. The fee varies by entry method (in-person, keyed, or recurring) as well. In this article, we’ll include the interchange rates grouped by card type.


What are interchange fees?

Interchange fees are the portion of your total credit card processing costs that go to the banks that issue credit cards to consumers. Since Discover acts as its own issuer, it receives the interchange fees. You don’t pay Discover directly. Instead, you’ll pay for card acceptance through your credit card processor, who handles the disbursement of funds to the appropriate parties.

Interchange fees can seem complicated, but as they’re the largest component of your processing costs, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how they work. We have a great article that explains interchange in more detail: Interchange Rates and Fees.

Discover Interchange Rates

Unlike Visa and Mastercard, Discover doesn’t publish their interchange tables. However, processing companies and others in the industry have access to those tables. Below you’ll find the most recent Discover interchange rates for the various card types. Pricing subject to change at Discover’s discretion.

In addition to the type of card, Discover rates break down further by how you process the card. There are different rates for “card present” transactions (defined as a card run through a credit card terminal by swiping, dipping, or tapping) and “card not present” transactions (which can include “keyed” cards or recurring payments.) Discover further separates keyed and recurring transactions; each have their own categories with associated rates.

Credit Interchange Rates

Discover has different rates for basic consumer cards, “rewards” cards, and commercial cards. The current rates are as follows:

Volume RatePer-Transaction Fee
Basic, Card Present1.56%$0.10
Rewards / Premium, Card Present1.71%$0.10
Premium Plus, Card Present2.15%$0.10
Basic, Keyed1.87%$0.10
Rewards, Keyed1.97%$0.10
Premium, Keyed2.00%$0.10
Premium Plus, Keyed2.40%$0.10
Commercial, All Methods2.3%$0.10

The rates above are for “one-time” transactions. For recurring payments (such as subscriptions or memberships), Discover has separate categories and rates, as follows.

Volume RatePer-Transaction Fee
Basic, Recurring1.35%$0.05
Rewards / Premium, Recurring1.35%$0.05
Premium Plus, Recurring1.80%$0.05
Commercial, Recurring2.30%$0.10

Debit Interchange Rates

Discover debit cards have different rates than credit. There are no Discover “rewards” debit cards, so the categories are simply split by entry method. There’s also a category for regulated debit cards, which we’ll explain as well.

Volume RatePer-Transaction Fee
Card Present1.10%$0.16
Keyed1.75%$0.20
Regulated0.05%$0.22

In addition to these one-time transaction rates, Discover has separate interchange categories for recurring debit transactions. The costs for those are as follows.

Volume RatePer-Transaction Fee
Debit, Recurring1.20%$0.05
Regulated Debit, Recurring0.05%$0.22

Note that these debit rates apply to signature debit cards – that is, to debit cards not authorized with a PIN. If a customer enters their PIN for a debit transaction, PIN debit network fees will apply instead.

Regulated Debit Card Definition

Discover, like all card brands, has a separate category for “regulated” debit cards. By law, certain debit card fees are capped at the interchange level. Those “regulated” cards are defined as debit cards issued by a bank with at least $10 billion in assets.

Non-regulated debit cards are not subject to the interchange cap. The current cap is 0.05% + 22 cents per transaction. Card issuers are not permitted to charge more than that for regulated debit cards. However, processors are still able to add a markup on top of the capped interchange. That means that your final rate to accept debit cards will be higher than the 0.05% + 22 cent interchange cap.

Why are my processing fees higher than the interchange fees?

Interchange fees are one of three parts of the total cost to process cards. The other two (called “assessments” and “markup”) also contribute to the total you’ll pay. Interchange is the largest piece, but assessments and markup both add to the final rate.

Assessments go to the card brands while markup goes to your processor. Note that the markup is the only component that you processor can control, and the only “negotiable” part of the costs.

Do I have to accept Discover?

No. You’re not required to accept Discover cards at your business. However, some businesses find it more practical to accept all cards, as it reduces friction at the checkout and avoids customer frustration.

How do I take Discover cards?

In order to accept credit cards at your business, you’ll need a merchant account with a credit card processor. That company will set you up with the equipment necessary to securely accept Discover. The processor you choose will also be responsible for day to day customer service. Lastly, the processor controls the final rates you pay for processing.

There are many different ways a processor can charge for merchant services. The most transparent is called interchange plus (or cost-plus) and refers to a model where the processor will pass the interchange rates to you and then add their markup separately.

If you’re on an interchange plus model, you should be able to see the interchange categories and the corresponding rates on your statement. The rates for your Discover transactions should match the rates noted above.

Finding a Credit Card Processor

If you need help finding a credit card processor with the best rates and terms, sign up for a free CardFellow membership. We’re a wholesale credit card processing club that provides members access to exclusive members-only pricing and great protections not available in the open market. Quotes come with a lifetime rate lock, no cancellation fee, and independent expert statement monitoring to ensure you pay as little as possible for credit card processing. Become a member!

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Ellen Cunningham

BY Ellen Cunningham

Ellen has a degree in English, which she puts to work every day researching and writing articles, processor reviews, and social media posts. She enjoys the challenge of explaining complex topics - making her a perfect fit for credit card processing - and strongly believes in CardFellow's mission of empowering business owners through education. When she's not busy following the latest industry news, Ellen can be found cycling the beautiful trails of southern New England, narrowly losing at pub quizzes, or practicing her trapeze skills in aerial circus class.

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