Common Visa Interchange Downgrade Rates: EIRF and Standard and How To Avoid Them

EIRF (Electronic Interchange Reimbursement Fee) and Standard are two of the most common Visa Interchange Downgrades. They can be applied to both card present and card not present credit, debit, and prepaid card transactions. The EIRF rate is applied to card transactions that are either missing compliance data elements or are settled within 2 days of authorization. Standard is applied to card transactions that are settled within 3 or more days of authorization, or paper processed (paper processing is very uncommon, so most merchants will not downgrade for this reason). 

  • EIRF Debit: 1.75% + $0.20
  • Standard Debit: 1.90% + $0.25
  • EIRF Prepaid: 1.80% + $0.20
  • Standard Prepaid: 1.90% + $0.25
  • EIRF Credit: 2.30% + $0.10
  • Standard Credit: 2.70% + $0.10

What causes EIRF and Standard Downgrades?

  • Not settling within 2 days of the authorization (EIRF) or 3 days of the authorization (Standard)
  • Submitting transactions with missing data elements
  • The Authorization amount must match the Settlement amount except for merchant types that are allowed a variance for tips.

How can I avoid these downgrades and paying higher interchange fees than necessary?

  • Always batch out or settle your payment terminal, gateway, or POS system at the end of a days business. This will ensure that your transactions meet the timeliness requirement. Perfom manual settlement, or ensure that your service providers's host-settlement function is working correctly.
  • On swiped sales, make sure your terminal, POS System, or USB card reader is getting full magnetic strip data on all sales. Clean or upgrade processing equipment if necessary. On key entered or e-commerce transactions, be sure to perfom AVS (Address Verification) on all sales. AVS is a required data element. On e-commerce sales ensure that the E-Commerce Indicator flag (ECI) is being attached to your transactions by your service provider.
  • Never force settlements without an authorization. Never authorize and settle for different amounts. Always void and re-charge sales where the finally purchase price is altered before delivery. If you are not a merchant type that has a variance for tips, request the tip amount and include it in the original authorization rather than tip adjusting the settlement amount.