Last week I wrote about Visa’s credit card acceptance guidelines. This week, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at MasterCard’s merchant guidelines.
MasterCard credit card rules
What follows is a synopsis of MasterCard’s rules regarding card acceptance straight from their merchant guide. The rules regarding card acceptance aren’t quite as explicit as Visa’s in some areas, though there are many parallels. Also note that there are many more rules that what I’ve listed below — I tried to filter out the ones with the least everyday relevance.
Honor all cards. Merchants are required to honor all valid MasterCards without discrimination when properly presented for payment. Merchants may not discriminate amongst customers who seek to make purchases with a MasterCard, nor can they discriminate against or discourage the use of a MasterCard in favor of another brand.
Additional cardholder identification. A merchant must not refuse to complete a transaction solely because a cardholder who has presented a card to pay for a purchase refuses to provide additional identification.
Charges to cardholders. A merchant may not directly or indirectly require a cardholder to pay a surcharge or any part of the merchant processing fees charged in connection with a transaction. However, fees are allowable if they are charged regardless of the form of the payment, and merchants can provide a cash discount.
Minimum/maximum transaction amount prohibited. A merchant may not require, or indicate that it requires, a minimum or maximum transaction amount in order to accept a valid and properly presented MasterCard.
Sale or exchange of information. Merchants may not sell, purchase, provide, exchange, or in any manner disclose MasterCard account numbers, transaction details, or a cardholder’s personal information.
Noncompliance assessment. If MasterCard learns of a merchant’s non-compliance to their rules, they will notify the “acquirer” (i.e., the bank that processes transactions for the merchant) and the acquirer must “promptly” bring the merchant back into compliance.
Failure to safeguard account data. If a merchant is found to have violated any of the security rules (there are several listed), MasterCard can impost a noncompliance assessment of up to $100,000 per violation. They also specify the steps a merchant must take if they believe account data has been compromised, including notification of the acquirer withing 24 hours.
There are a handful of other requirements that I’ve heard about with MasterCards that weren’t listed in the their merchant guide. For example, the cards have to be signed to be valid, and so on. Once again, I’m betting that the biggest hot-button issue will be asking for ID, followed closely by minimum transaction requirements.
What’s your biggest annoyance when it comes to merchants accepting (or not) you credit card?