Credit Card Processing, ecommerce

Mastercard’s AVS Fee

by Ben Dwyer

There are actually two ‘versions’ of the Mastercard AVS Fee: Card-present and card-not-present. The fee is charged when your business utilizes the Address Verification Service to check that the address provided by a cardholder matches the address on file with the credit card company.

Currently, Mastercard set the AVS card-present fee at $0.005 and the AVS card-not-present fee at $0.01.

Mastercard Assessment Fees

There are a few different types of fees for credit card processing. Assessment fees are fees that go directly to the credit card companies themselves. Mastercard assessment fees apply in many different scenarios, and multiple assessment fees can be charged on the same transaction.

The AVS Fee is one assessment that your business may see on your monthly processing statement.

AVS Fee Scenarios

As mentioned above, a company can charge for both “card-present” and “card-not-present” situations, though AVS is somewhat more common for card-not-present transactions as a common anti-fraud tool.

The fee applies whenever you access the address verification system (AVS) when processing a transaction at your business.

Like most assessment fees, the AVS fee is relatively small. The current fee is $0.01 for card-not-present AVS and $0.005 for card-present. Remember that “card-not-present” refers to situations where a card is not swiped (magstripe), dipped (chip cards), or (tapped) contactless. If a physically present customer hands you their credit card but your staff keys in the numbers, that will still be considered a “card-not-present” transaction even though the card was technically present.

Locating the AVS Fee on Processing Statements

Businesses that receive detailed processing statements – such as those on interchange plus or tiered pricing – will typically see the AVS fee listed as its own line item under Mastercard charges. Businesses that receive simplified processing statements – such as those on flat rate pricing with one fixed percentage – will usually NOT see the AVS fees (or any other assessment charges) listed individually.

Assessment fees are non-negotiable, so if you process a transaction that triggers an assessment charge, there’s no way around that fee. However, some processors have been known to “pad” assessment fees, charging more than the costs Mastercard set. To check if your processor charges at cost, locate the fee on your processing statement and do the math.

In the statement snippets below, both processors list the fee with an abbreviation of MC (for Mastercard) under the name AVS and note that it’s a card-not-present charge.

Mastercard AVS Fee

In these two examples, the processor is passing along the AVS fee at cost, since we see it listed at the correct rate of $0.01. The statements both list the number of transactions to which the fee was applied – 96 and 19 transactions.

From there, doing the math shows that the amount charged adds up correctly. 96 x 0.01 = $0.96 and 19 x 0.01 = $0.19.

Note: CardFellow clients do not need to manually check assessments. As part of our legal agreement with your processor, we require processors to pass assessments at cost. Additionally, we check that your costs are correct as part of your free statement audits. If you’re a CardFellow client with questions about your assessments, feel free to contact us for assistance.

Lowering Your Processing Costs

If you think you’re paying too much for credit card processing, you may be right. Businesses that use CardFellow save an average of 40% on their processing costs. The easiest way to see if you’re overpaying is to use a price comparison tool. CardFellow’s price comparison service lets you easily see your costs with different processors, in one format. We’ll help you compare the costs you could be paying to your current pricing to see if it makes sense to switch. Try it for free!

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