Credit Card Processing

Mastercard Account Status Inquiry Fee

by Ben Dwyer

As the name implies, Mastercard’s Account Status Inquiry Fee is charged when a business requests information about the status of a cardholder’s account, such as whether the card is valid, but doesn’t actually charge the customer’s card.

Currently, Mastercard sets the Account Status Inquiry Fee at $0.025.

Mastercard Processing Fees

The fees that Mastercard charges for credit card processing are called assessment fees. They’re one part of the total cost to process a credit card, along with interchange and the processor’s fees. Assessments are non-negotiable, and ideally, will be passed to you at true cost without markup.

In practice, some processors do “pad” the assessment fees, pocketing the difference between the rates Mastercard sets and the rates they charge your business.

Account Status Inquiry Fee

When conducting an account status inquiry, the business doesn’t actually charge the card. Instead, the inquiry confirms that a card is valid. The fee can be charged for Address Verification and Card Verification Code requests. Businesses that rent out items (such as car rentals) typically use this type of inquiry. It’s less common for everyday retail transactions.

Mastercard lists the Account Status Inquiry Fee at $0.025. It’s subject to change at Mastercard’s discretion.

Note that the Account Status Inquiry Fee is different than Address Verification and Card Verification Code Fees, which apply when you use AVS or CVC during a transaction that includes charging the card. The Account Status Inquiry Fee is somewhat less common than fees for using AVS or CVC, as those fees apply when you use the tools during a transaction.

Fees on Your Processing Statement

Your processor should only charge the Account Status Inquiry Fee when you perform an action to trigger it, such as using AVS without charging the customer’s card/submitting the transaction for authorization. As such, you may not always see it on your processing statements.

However, if the processor charged the Account Status Inquiry Fee, you’ll typically see it with your other Mastercard fees. (This only applies to businesses utilizing a tiered pricing or interchange plus pricing model. Businesses that use flat rate credit card processing companies, such as Square or Stripe, will not see assessment fees or interchange broken out on monthly statements.)

How to Lower Your Processing Costs

Since Mastercard sets assessments, your processor cannot lower them. However, there are still ways to lower your processing costs. The two primary ways to lower your costs are optimizing interchange, which is a more advanced method, and lowering the processor markup, which is where most businesses should start.

To lower your overall processing costs, you’ll first need a baseline understanding of what you could be paying. To get baseline pricing to start from, use a pricing tool that shows the costs you can expect to pay. From there, you can determine if you should switch processors, or if you’re already with a competitive process and can instead focus on reducing interchange.

If you need assistance, create your free pricing profile at CardFellow and then give us a call.

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