Credit Card Processing

Mastercard Acquirer Program Support Fee


July 11, 2018

Mastercard’s Acquirer Program Support Fee is an assessment fee for accepting Mastercards that were issued outside of the United States.

Essentially, it applies under the same circumstances as the Cross Border Fee (domestic). One or both fees can apply to the same transaction. Mastercard currently sets the APSF at 0.85%.

Assessment Fees

A non-negotiable component of credit card processing costs, “assessment fees” go directly to the credit card companies. You’ll pay these fees (through your credit card proessor) for every credit card payment you accept at your business.

Mastercard’s Acquirer Program Support Fee is one (of many) Mastercard assessment fees.

Acquirer Program Support Fee

As of 2018, Mastercard sets its Acquirer Program Support Fee at 0.85% of the transaction amount. It will be charged to transactions acquired in the United States and settled in US dollars but paid for with a Mastercard that was issued in a country other than the United States.

Since you typically won’t know in advance if a customer’s card was issued in another country, you may not realize you’ll be charged the fee until you see it on your processing statement.

Some processors will charge you the Mastercard-set rate for assessment fees, while others will “pad” them with a markup. If you want to see if you’re paying the true cost set by Mastercard, you’ll need to locate the fee on your monthly credit card processing statement and do the math.

CardFellow clients will not need to check assessments, as we’ll do that for you. If you have questions about your assessment charges or anything else on your processing statements, feel free to give us a call to discuss it.

Locating the Fee on Processing Statements

If you’ve been charged the Acquirer Program Support Fee and have a processor that provides detailed statements, you’ll be able to locate the fee in the Mastercard fees section. However, not all processors will provide assessment-level details. In particular, businesses that use flat rate companies (such as Square, Stripe, or PayPal) will not be able to see the rates charged for assessments.

For everyone else, you’ll need to look for the fee name or abbreviations. Different processors may refer to the fee by different names. For example, in the statement snippets below, one processor calls it the “ACQ Support Fee” while another refers to it as “MC ACQ POS Program Support.”

Acquirer Program Support Fee examples

In both cases, however, we can see that the processor charges the fee at Mastercard’s rate with no additional markup. The processor lists the charge of 0.0085 in both statements and multiplying the rate times the transaction volume equals the total charge listed.

As shown in the first snippet, the processor charged the fee on $1,075.50 for a $9.15 total charge to the business. 1075.5 x 0.0085 = 9.14175, which rounds to $9.15.

In the second snippet, the processor charged the on $10,116 for a $85.99 total charge to the business. 10116 x 0.0085 = 85.986, which rounds to $85.99.

In both of these cases, the business pays Mastercard’s rate for the Acquirer Program Support Fee with no “padding.”

Finding the Lowest Cost Credit Card Processor

Since assessments are non-negotiable, that’s not where you’ll want to focus your energy when choosing a credit card processor. If lowering your costs for credit card acceptance is a priority, price comparison tools can help.

CardFellow offers a free, no-obligation price comparison tool that lets you see your actual costs with offers from multiple processing companies. Give it a try!


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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