Credit Card Processing

CPS Rewards 2 and Signature Preferred CNP – Visa Interchange

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May 17, 2019

CPS Rewards 2 and Signature Preferred are Visa interchange categories that determine what a business pays when accepting a “rewards” credit card online or by keying it in.

The categories only apply to consumer rewards cards. (That is, cards issued to an individual consumer, not a business, that produce “rewards” for the cardholder. Rewards can include cash back, points, airline miles, gift cards, and more.) There are actually four categories in this group, but two of them are simply classification differences. The categories will be labeled differently if you’re classed as a Travel & Entertainment (T&E) business, but you’ll pay the same rate.

When you qualify for CPS Rewards 2 or Signature Preferred interchange rates, you can expect to pay:

  • CPS Rewards 2: 1.95% + 10 cents
  • CPS Rewards 2 T&E: 1.95% + 10 cents
  • Signature Preferred Card Not Present: 1.40% + 10 cents
  • Signature Preferred Electronic: 1.40% + 10 cents

We do our best to keep the most up-to-date rate list. However, rates are subject to change at Visa’s discretion. These rates do not apply to debit cards, basic consumer credit cards, or business credit cards of any kind.

Not familiar with interchange fees? Start with our explanation of interchange.


Custom Payment Service (CPS)

Visa’s “custom payment service” (CPS) is the backbone of many of its interchange categories. CPS is a set of interchange categories that each have their own criteria. If you meet the criteria for that category, you receive the interchange rate associated with that category. CPS rates are often more favorable. If you don’t meet criteria to receive CPS interchange, you’ll end up paying more.

Fortunately, many businesses are easily able to meet CPS requirements.

CPS Rewards 2

Aliases: REWARDS2

The CPS Rewards 2 category is a little different because it’s not strictly an interchange category by itself. In that sense, it doesn’t have its own individual criteria. Instead, if you meet the criteria for one of several other categories, you’ll qualify for CPS Rewards 2 for any consumer rewards credit cards you accept online or by keying in the card details.

Businesses that fall under Travel and Entertainment (including some restaurants, airlines, hotels, etc.) can qualify for the same rates, you’ll just see a different interchange category name on your statement. Eligible businesses will receive the same 1.95% + $0.10 fee as non-T&E businesses that qualify for CPS Rewards 2.

To qualify, you’ll need to meet requirements for one of the following CPS programs:

  • Restaurant
  • Card Not Present
  • E-Commerce Basic
  • Hotel
  • Car Rental
  • Retail Keyed

Those qualifications typically include settling the transaction within one day of authorization, authorizing and settling for the same transaction amount, using Address Verification Service, and including contact information for your business with the transaction. Read more about CPS qualification.

Signature Preferred

Aliases: VSP CNP

Like CPS Rewards 2, Signature Preferred requires that you meet the criteria for a relevant interchange category. Once again there’s a separate classification (but not a different rate) for T&E businesses. In this case, it’s called Signature Preferred Electronic.

To receive Signature Preferred rates when accepting certain Visa rewards cards, you’ll need to meet requirements for one of the following CPS programs:

  • Card Not Present
  • E-Commerce Basic
  • E-Commerce Preferred

Businesses that will receive Signature Preferred T&E interchange include T&E restaurants, hotels, car / truck rentals, travel agents, and passenger transportation businesses, including cruises, railways, and airlines.

Some specific merchant category codes include:

  • 3351
  • 3441
  • 3501
  • 3833
  • 4722
  • 5812
  • 5814
  • 7011
  • 7512
  • 7513

CPS Rewards 2 Interchange Rates

Assuming you meet the criteria for the CPS interchange programs, when you accept a consumer rewards credit card, you’ll pay:

Volume RatePer-Transaction Fee
CPS Rewards 21.95%$0.10
CPS Rewards 2 T&E1.95%$0.10
Signature Preferred2.40%$0.10
Signature Preferred Electronic2.40%$0.10

If you don’t meet requirements, your transactions will “downgrade” to more expensive interchange categories, such as Visa Standard or EIRF. It’s normal to have some downgrades, but if a majority of your transactions downgrade, it’s worth digging deeper to find out why. You can usually fix the issue that’s causing excessive downgrades, which in turn saves you money.

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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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