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What is Interchange – How Does it Work

Interchange fees serve as non-negotiable transfer fees from card brands such as visa and MasterCard between issuers (banks) and acquirers (providers). Interchange fees vary depending mainly on how the card is charged (present/not present) and the type of card (Premium vs. Standard for example)

All providers are bound by the same Cost of Interchange, and then passed on from the provider to the merchant in a variety of ways.

Card Categories

Some cards offer more perks than others such as rewards, loyalty rewards, cashback, infinite limits, etc. The interchange pricing of these cards is usually higher compared to Standard cards for example, which tend to have smaller limits and less payable benefits which drive the cost up.

How the card is charged

Card brands such as Visa and MasterCard also adjust Interchange costs depending on how the transaction is made whether it be swiped, tapped, chipped, signed, keyed, etc. Standard card-present transactions always have a lower Interchange rate.

Non-domestic cards

A non-domestic card is any card charged outside of its country of origin. For example, a card issued to an American customer by an American bank may be accepted by a Canadian merchant. When this happens, interchange fees vary. With an understanding of the different factors that contribute to the value of interchange and assessment fees from card brands such as Visa, MasterCard, etc., merchants are able to make informed decisions regarding their pricing and to produce more realistic estimates of their monthly costs. With that in mind, please take a moment to review the standard Interchange Rates for Canadian merchants.

Mastercard Interchange Program

Interchange Program

Core

World

World Elite

Muse

Card Present EMV

0.92%

1.22%

1.56%

1.65%

Unsecure Card Present (Mag Stripe)

1.22%

1.52%

1.86%

1.95%

Digital Commerce

1.76%

2.00%

2.24%

2.39%

Contactless

0.87%

1.16%

1.48%

1.57%

SecureCode / 3DS

1.50%

1.70%

1.90%

2.03%

Utilities

$0.10

$0.10

$0.10

$0.10

Charity

0.92%

1.22%

1.56%

1.65%

Standard

2.06%

2.30%

2.54%

2.69%

Mastercard Canada Consumer Debit Interchange Rates

Supermarket

0.15% + $0.05 (CAD)

Petroleum

0.15% + $0.05 (CAD)

Electronic

0.25% + $0.05 (CAD)

Recurring Payments

0.60%

Charity

0.30%

Emerging Sectors

0.30%

Masterpass

1.00%

SecureCode / 3DS

1.00%

Public Sector

0.30%

Standard

1.15%

Mastercard Canada Consumer Prepaid Interchange Rates

Electronic

1.44%

Standard

1.55%

Mastercard Canada Commercial Interchange Rates

Interchange Program

SME

Large Market

World Elite Business

Commercial Standard Rate

2.00%

2.00%

2.25%

Commercial Charity

1.80%

1.80%

1.80%

Mastercard Canada
Consumer Cards

International
Core

Interchange Rates
Premium


Super Premium

Standard

1.60%

1.85%

1.98%

Electronic

1.10%

1.85%

1.98%

SecureCode Merchant

1.44%

1.85%

1.98%

SecureCode Merchant and Cardholder

1.54%

1.85%

1.98%

VISA Interchange Program

Domestic (Canada)

English Statement Descriptors

Interchange Rate

Electronic

Classic, Gold, Platinum

VI CONSUMER ELEC

1.25%

Infinite

VI INFINITE ELEC

1.57%

Infinite Privilege

VI CA ELEC INFINITE PRIV C

2.08%

Standard

Classic, Gold, Platinum

VI CONSUMER STANDARD VI

1.45%

Infinite

INFINITE STANDARD

1.70%

Infinite Privilege

VI CA STD INFINITE PRIV CA

2.45%

Card Not Present

Classic, Gold, Platinum

VI CNP CON CRCAD

1.40%

Infinite

VI CNP INF CAD

1.65%

Infinite Privilege

VI CNP INF PRV CAD

2.40%

Grocery

Classic, Gold, Platinum

VI CONSUMER ELEC GROC

1.00%

Infinite

VI INFINITE ELEC GROC

1.20%

Infinite Privilege

VI CA IND RT1 INFNTE PRVLG CAD

1.95%

Everyday Needs

Classic, Gold, Platinum - Consumer Credit

VI EVRDAY NEED CON CR CAD

1.20%

Classic, Gold, Platinum - Restaurant Consumer Credit

VI EVRDAY NEED REST CONCR CAD

1.00%

Infinite

VI EVRDAY NEED INF CAD

1.30%

Infinite - Restaurant

VI EVRDAY NEED REST INF CAD

1.20%

Infinite Privilege

VI EVRDAY NEED INF Prvlg CAD

1.95%

Infinite Privilege - Restaurant

VI EVRDAY NEED REST INFPrvlg CAD

1.95%

International/Interregional

English Statement Descriptors

Interchange Rate

Electronic

Classic, Gold, Platinum, Electron

VI INTL ELECTRONIC

1.10%

Signature, Premium

VI INTL PREMIUM CARD

1.80%

Signature Preferred, Infinite

VI INTL SPR PREM

1.97%

All Commercial Products

VI INTL BUS & VI SIGNATURE BUS CARD; VI INTL CORP CARD; VI INTL PURCH & DISTRIBUTION CARD

2.00%

Standard

Classic, Gold, Platinum, Electron

VI INTL STD

1.60%

Signature, Premium

VI INTL PREMIUM CARD

1.80%

Signature Preferred, Infinite

VI INTL SPR PREM

1.97%

All Commercial Products

VI INTL BUS & VI SIGNATURE BUS CARD; VI INTL CORP CARD; VI INTL PURCH & DISTRIBUTION CARD

2.00%

American Express Wholesale Rates

Tier 1

Wholesale Discount Rate

Internet

Card Not Present

1.90%

Card Not Present + Foreign

2.30%

Restaurant

Electronic

1.60%

Card Not Present

1.90%

Foreign

2.00%

Card Not Present + Foreign

2.30%

Retail

Electronic

1.60%

Card Not Present

1.90%

Foreign

2.00%

Card Not Present + Foreign

2.30%

Discover Canada Consumer Credit Interchange Rates

Discover Canada Consumer Credit Interchange Rates

Core Reward

Premium

Premium Plus

CPSL - Recurring Payments

1.37%

1.56%

1.96%

CPSL - Supermarket/Warehouse Clubs

1.32%

1.45%

1.96%

CPSL - Petroleum

1.18%

1.35%

1.96%

CPSL - Retail

1.45%

1.60%

2.05%

Base Submission Level

1.58%

1.85%

2.49%

Discover Canada Consumer Debit and Prepaid Interchange Rates

Discover Canada Consumer Debit and Prepaid Interchange Rates

Debit

Prepaid

CPSL - Recurring Payments

1.15%

1.37%

CPSL - Supermarket/Warehouse Clubs

1.15%

1.32%

CPSL - Petroleum

1.15%

1.18%

CPSL - Retail

1.15%

1.45%

Base Submission Level

1.15%

1.58%

Discover Canada Business, Executive Business, and Corporate Card Interchange Rates

Discover Canada Business, Executive Business, and Corporate Card Interchange Rates

Rate

Commercial Recurring Payments

2.00%

Commercial Supermarket/Warehouse Clubs

2.00%

Commercial Petroleum

2.00%

Commercial Retail

2.00%

Commercial Base

2.00%

Discover International Interchange Rates

Discover International Interchange Rates

Rate

International

1.20%

International Base

1.72%

Union Pay Interchange Rates

UnionPay (UPI) - Card Present

Credit Card

1.10%

Debit Card

1.10%