Credit Card Processing

Visa Base II Fee or Settlement Network Access Fee

by Ben Dwyer

Visa charges a fee for settlement requests. It’s called a settlement network access fee or a Base II fee.

Visa charges a number of different fees, called assessment fees. Every time you accept a Visa card, assessments apply. The Base II fee, or settlement network access fee, is one of those assessment fees.

As of 2018, Visa sets the Base II fee at $0.0025.

What is Visa Base I and Base II?

Visa’s processing network is called the VisaNET Integrated Payment System (VIP). The VIP is comprised of a number of different components including an authorization system, called Base I, and a settlement system, called Base II.

Visa charges financial institutions a small transaction fee each time they access the VIP to authorize or settle a transaction. It charges an acquirer processing fee for each authorization request submitted to the VIP Base I system. It charges a settlement network access fee for each settlement request submitted to the VIP Base II system.

Visa does not charge your business directly to access the VIP, but rather charges your processor. In turn, the processor passes Visa’s charges to you along with processing fees.

The Network Settlement Access Fee

Visa’s Network Settlement Access Fee (or Base II fee) applies to all U.S.-based settlement transactions. If your business is based in the U.S., be aware that the settlement network access fee will apply to all Visa settlement transactions.

Additionally, other assessments may apply. In almost all cases, both the Acquirer Processing Fee and Base II fee will apply to Visa transactions for US businesses.

As noted above, Visa sets the Network Settlement Access Fee at $0.0025.

Paying the Fee

Processors pass the Base II fee (and other assessments) to you as part of the cost to accept credit cards. Many processors will pass the fee at cost, but some may “pad” the fee. It’s a good idea to work with a processor that does not pad the fee, as that results in paying more than necessary. CardFellow clients need not worry – Our legal agreement with processors requires that they pass assessments to you at true cost.

If you’re not a CardFellow client, you can become one for free by creating an account. Alternately, you can spend time to learn about assessments and the components of cost and comb through processing statements on your own. However, you should be aware that the Base II fees are particularly difficult to sort out. If you choose to do so, you’ll need to look for the fee by name and variations of the name, the rate your processor charged, and compare it to the current rates that Visa sets. However, in some cases, processors may lump the fee in with other assessments.

Locating the Base II Fee on Statements

Keep in mind that you will not be able to see the fee if you use a “flat rate” style processor, such as Square or Stripe. You’ll only see line-item detail if you’re on interchange plus or tiered pricing.

To make matters even more complicated, processors may lump the fee in with other fees, therefore not listing it separately. They may also use Base II names interchangeably, even though there are different fees associated with the different names.

For example, in the statement snippets below, the processor calls the fee a “Base II Tran Fee.” This isn’t the exact name of the fee as Visa labels it, but processors utilize their own abbreviations. However, because there are two Base II fees, we can’t be sure by the name which one it refers to. Checking the rate (0.0035) doesn’t help much here, either, as it is not the current rate for either of the Base II fees. (Which are $0.0018 and $0.0025.) So either this processor is charging more, or they’ve lumped more than one fee together.

Visa Base II fee

Unfortunately, that means there’s no easy way to tell if you’re overpaying.

Options for Help

If you run into this situation a lot with your statement, it’s a good idea to consider an expert third party like CardFellow. When you choose a processor through us, not only are you protected by our legal agreement with the processor but you’ll also benefit from our bi-annual statement audits. We’ll go through your statements for you, ensuring that you’re paying according to the quote you received.

It’s the easiest and least frustrating way to pay as little as possible for credit card processing. Give it a try with our free accounts and no obligation instant quotes. Try it now!


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