MasterCard announces Processing Integrity Fee

In October 2009, Visa announced a Misuse of Authorization System Fee of $0.045 per occurrence. Now MasterCard with the introduction of a Processing Integrity Fee will begin to monitor compliance to the authorization guidelines with billing scheduled to begin on August 15, 2011. And like Visa, MasterCard has set its Processing Integrity Fee at $0.045 per occurrence.

While the purpose (encourage proper compliance with transaction authorization standards) of the two programs is similar, there are some differences in how they will monitor compliance. While both Visa and MasterCard will assess fees when authorized (approved) transactions cannot be matched to a clearing settlement record or an authorization reversal, Visa allows 10 days (20 days for T&E merchants) while MasterCard provides a 120 day window (with T&E merchant segments initially exempt).

Both Visa and MasterCard will penalize the occurrence of "ghost authorizations" (authorizations that are approved but never cleared), as these can adversely impact a cardholder's open-to-buy, leading to increased declines and confusion at the point of sale. However, within Visa’s program the authorization amount and settled amount do not have to match whereas MasterCard will apply its Processing Integrity Fee if the final transaction amount was less than the authorized amount or the authorized amount varies from the subsequent clearing message amount.

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