Card Scheme Rules
Below we have summarised the primary rules and regulations of the major Card Schemes as amended from time to time (the “Rules”) so that Merchants are able to operate within those Rules.
The Card Schemes have the right to enforce any of the Rules pertaining to the relevant Card Scheme and to prohibit conduct that creates a risk for that Card Scheme or which may adversely affect the reputation or integrity of that Card Scheme’s systems, information, or both.
Display of card scheme symbols
Merchants should display to the general public at each point of sale which cards are accepted for payment.
Merchants must obtain authority to debit the cardholder’s account for each sale. It is the Merchants responsibility to procure the authority of the cardholder and Merchants are responsible for producing evidence that authority was obtained for debiting the cardholder’s account.
Merchants should retain evidence of fulfilment of any order.
Stored credentials & recurring/instalment payments
A stored credential is information that is stored by the merchant to be used for the following type of transactions:
Recurring – a series of transactions processed for the purchase of goods or services provided at regular or fixed intervals.
Instalment – A transaction in a series of transactions processed over a set period and number of payments for a single purchase of goods or services.
Unscheduled credential on File (UCOF) – A transaction using a stored credential for an amount which is not part of a scheduled or regular agreement but where the cardholder permits the merchant to initiate one or more future transactions.
Cardholder initiated credential on file (CIT COF) – A transaction using a stored credential for an amount which is not part of a scheduled or regular agreement but where the cardholder themselves initiates the payment.
When capturing Stored Credentials for the first time, a Merchant must establish an agreement with the Cardholder that contains all the following:
- How the Cardholder will be notified of any changes to the agreement
- How any Stored details will be used
- The expiration date, if any, of the agreement
Merchants taking a recurring, instalment or Unscheduled credential on File payments must obtain express consent and inform the cardholder the exact details of the agreement including:
- The Transaction amount and currency or a description of how the Transaction amount will be determined
- Whether the amount is fixed or variable
- The date(s) of the Payments
- Whether the date(s) are fixed or variable
- Cancellation and refund policies
- Where appropriate, the total purchase price and the terms of future payments, including the dates, amounts, and currency
Any changes to a cardholder’s Agreement must be communicated at least seven working days prior to the next payment being taken.
Terms and conditions of sale
Merchants should at all times clearly display the terms and conditions of sale.
Merchant points of sale should contain clear details and information about customer service, relevant contact details, currencies accepted, its delivery policy and the country of its registration and the refund and returns policy. Merchants must comply with all requirements and guidelines in respect of Internet payments issued by the Processor or any Card Scheme together with any legal and regulatory requirements that apply.
Merchants should inform the cardholder that they are committing to payment before they select to continue with any action that should result in a payment to the Merchant. The Processor may investigate any complaint, which it receives from a cardholder about the Merchant and may be entitled to require that the Merchant amends the terms and conditions of sale.
No discriminatory surcharges
Merchants require any cardholder to pay a surcharge, to offset or part offset fees, whether through any increase in price or otherwise, or to pay any separate charge in connection with the transaction in which a card is used
Merchants may not encourage or discourage the use of a specific card brand in favour of any other card brand or payment method that is also accepted.
Excessive levels of chargebacks and disputes can lead to revised fees.
Refunds are not usually permitted for gaming transactions.
Refunds to a card, when there has been no corresponding sale on that same card are not permitted.
The Merchant should only process Refunds where there is a corresponding sale and then only up to the value of that sale and no more.
Refunds should only be made to the card upon which the original sale was debited and not to any other card.
Transaction invalidity, chargebacks, disputed sales and time limitations
The card Issuer reserves the right not to honour transactions from the Merchant when a submission provided by the Merchant to the Processor does not comply with the specifications required by the Card Schemes.
A sale may be invalid if:
It is split into two or more connected sales;
- Incurred where the cardholder disputes in writing to their card Issuer the authenticity of the sale;
- The Receipt or copy thereof was requested in writing by the Processor but not supplied by the Merchant within a reasonable timescale;
- Product(s) were not dispatched to the address held on file by the card Issuer and the cardholder disputes the receipt of the product(s);
- The copy of the sale receipt presented to the Processor is does not match the copy of the sale receipt provided to the cardholder;
- The transaction has been previously submitted to the Processor (duplicates);
- The card has expired or not yet valid at the time of the sale;
- It does not contain a valid card account number assigned by the Issuer;
- The transaction is submitted in an illegible or improperly formatted manner;
- The transaction is in violation of local law or currency regulations in the country in which and at the time that the transaction was incurred;
- The amount of the sale does not agree with the sum of the individual product(s) purchased;
- The Receipt issued is illegal, unenforceable, or of no legal effect;
- The Transaction is presented to the Bank/Processor in a currency other than that of the original sale;
- The Merchant is unable to prove that the debit was authorised by the cardholder;
- The Merchant has not provided the product(s) purchased by the cardholder;
- The Merchant has not supplied the product(s) as advertised;
- The product(s) supplied was not of Merchantable quality or fit for their intended purpose.
A chargeback is possible from the date of the initial sale until 180 days after the date the consumer should have received the products or services they paid for.
In the event that the value of invalid transactions from a specific Merchant exceeds a level that the Processor considers excessive or unreasonable, the Processor may reserve the right to chargeback the total value of the non-conforming transactions and may terminate the Merchant Agreement.
The decision as to whether a chargeback is valid is that of the card Issuer.
If the Merchant fails to notify the Processor that it disputes a chargeback within the specified period, the Processor may pass the debit to the Merchant and the Merchant loses their right to dispute.
Merchant monitoring programs
The major card schemes all impose additional fee assessments for merchants with excessive chargebacks/disputes. They do this because “trust” in their brand by cardholders is vital to the continued success of their brands. Cashflows strongly recommend all Merchants read the following guides which are available online: