Visa’s international card present credit interchange categories dictate the interchange fees a business will pay to accept an international credit card at a business in the U.S.
Interchange fees make up the bulk of total credit card processing costs. The specific interchange category that will apply to any given transaction depends on the card type and other factors. These international card present categories refer to credit cards issued outside the United States, but used in-person at a U.S. business.
Many U.S. businesses will not come across international interchange often, or at all. However, if you’re in a location with a lot of foreign tourists, it’s more likely that you’ll see these rates and categories.
New to international transactions? Check out our guide on accepting international credit cards.
- International Visa Credit Card Interchange Rates
- Interregional Card Present Interchange Requirements
- What happens if I don’t meet these interchange requirements?
- Do I need a special credit card processor for international transactions?
International Visa Credit Card Interchange Rates
There are several interchange categories for Visa international credit cards, sometimes referred to as “interregional” cards. The type of card is a main difference between them, with signature, infinite, and other premium cards having their own categories.
The current rates are as follows, from Visa’s website.
|International Issuer Chip||1.20%|
|International Infinite Card||1.97%|
|International Signature Card||1.80%|
|International Premium Card||1.80%|
|International Super Premium Card||1.97%|
There are no per-transaction (cents) interchange fees for international card-present credit payments.
Rates subject to change at Visa’s discretion.
Interregional Card Present Interchange Requirements
Some requirements for international / interregional card present interchange are the same across multiple categories. For example, transactions must:
- Take place at a U.S. business
- Include electronic authorization data
- Use a credit card issued outside of the United States
Additionally, individual interchange categories can have specific requirements as well. Below, I’ll list criteria for the specific categories, if applicable.
International Electronic Interchange
Also sometimes called interregional electronic, this category requires a business to run the credit card through a machine. Swiping (for magstripe cards), “dipping” (for chip cards) and tapping (for contactless payments) are all acceptable.
Additionally, the authorization merchant category code and settlement merchant category code must match, and the transaction must be settled within 2 days.
On statements: You may see this interchange category listed on statements as VINTLELCT for “Visa international electronic.”
International Issuer Chip Interchange
This category is similar to the international electronic category, with the added requirement that the card used is a chip credit card. The POS entry mode (which indicates how a card was entered) must be “90” or “91.”
According to processing giant Elavon, code 90 indicates that the card was swiped, with the CVV certified, and data was included with the authorization request. Code 91 indicates that the card was entered through contactless, chip, or magnetic stripe swipe methods.
The transaction must be settled within 2 days to qualify for this interchange category.
On statements: You might see international issuer chip listed as VINTLCHIP. The categories sometimes use “interregional” instead of “international.”
International Signature and Premium Interchange
These two categories have the same rate and are very similar. These categories apply to certain “premium” international credit cards, known as rewards cards.
For both categories, the transaction must pass a valid electronic authorization, and the authorization and settlement data must match.
On statements: Signature and Premium will often be listed as VINTLSIGN and VINTLPREM. Some processors may refer to “interregional” signature and premium.
International Infinite and Super Premium Interchange
Infinite and Super Premium have largely the same requirements as Signature and Premium. That is, the transactions must pass valid electronic authorization, and the authorization data must match the settlement data. The primary difference is the card accepted. These categories will apply to the highest level rewards cards, known as “super premium” cards. That includes cards like Visa Infinite Privilege.
On statements: While different processors label interchange differently on statements, you may see International Infinite and Super Premium labeled VINTLINFN and VINTLSUPPRM. As with other international categories, you may see it listed as “interregional.”
What happens if I don’t meet interchange requirements?
There are multiple categories that can apply to a transaction. If you don’t meet the requirements noted here for these interchange categories, your transaction will “downgrade” to a more expensive interchange category.
For international interchange downgrades, you could expect to pay between 1.60% – 1.97%.
Read more in our Visa interchange downgrades article.
Do I need a special credit card processor for international transactions?
If you’re only taking occasional international cards, you won’t need a special processor. For many businesses, international cards are not a big part of their transactions. However, if you take primarily international cards, you may need a processor that specializes in foreign transactions.