Credit Card Processing

Assessments: Discover International Processing Fee and International Service Fee


March 21, 2018

Discover imposes two assessment fees specifically for international transactions: The International Processing Fee and the International Service Fee. Both fees can apply to one transaction.

If you take a Discover card that was issued outside the US, you’ll be subject to international processing fees.

Discover Assessments

Assessment fees are a non-negotiable component of credit card processing costs. Assessments are set by the card brands and are the same for everyone. Therefore, it is not possible to negotiate lower assessment costs.

The International Processing Fee and the International Service Fee are two of Discover’s assessment charges.

Discover International Fees

As of 2018, Discover set the International Processing Fee at 0.55% of the transaction total for applicable transactions. The card brand set the International Service fee at 0.80%. For transactions that incur both fees, the processor adds the amounts together, so the total charge comes to 1.35%. This fee is in addition to any other interchange and assessment fees that apply.

Discover charges the International Processing Fee and International Service Fee on US-acquired transactions when a customer pays with a Discover card issued outside of the United States. You likely won’t know if a card was issued outside of the US at the time that you accept it, but your monthly processing statement will reflect the international assessments on any such transactions.

Identifying International Processing Fees

Whether or not the International Processing Fee and International Service fee are visible to you depends on the pricing model you’re on and the statement your processor provides. Businesses that are on an interchange plus or tiered pricing model will typically see assessment fees listed. Businesses on flat rate pricing will not.

Interchange plus and tiered pricing statements should include a section for assessment charges by card brand. Your processor should list the fees in the Discover section. Keep in mind that the processor may abbreviate the fee name, so be sure to check for variations.

On a flat rate pricing model, your statement will not typically display assessment charges line by line. Instead, you’ll see the total amount you paid for credit card processing without much further detail. Flat rate pricing looks simpler, but is among the least transparent methods. There’s no way to tell what your processor is charging for assessments, as it bundles all fees into one “rate.”

Lowering Your Costs

As mentioned earlier, it’s not possible to negotiate assessment charges lower than the rates that Discover sets. However, it’s important to make sure your processor charges at cost. If you’re a CardFellow client, we check your assessment charges as part of our ongoing statement monitoring service.

One way that you can lower overall processing costs is by securing a more competitive processor markup. You can use CardFellow’s quote comparison tool to see fully disclosed pricing specific to your business, and we can help you compare options to your current processing solution. It’s free, private, and there’s no obligation. Give it a try!

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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