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New MasterCard/Discover Processing Requirements

Hey all,


You may or may not have heard anything about the upcoming MasterCard and Discover mandates, but regardless there are some important changes coming up that you need to be aware of. This'll be a long post, but please read the whole thing as it includes important information about the new requirements and the timelines regarding Authorize.Net’s support of the requirements.


MasterCard and Discover are modifying their rules concerning the processing of debit, prepaid and gift cards. MasterCard’s rule changes go into effect May 1, 2010, and Discover’s rule changes go into effect April 16, 2010. However, don't panic! Authorize.Net, MasterCard and Discover have worked together to extend these dates for all merchants using Authorize.Net solutions. Our merchants will now have until June 30, 2011, to implement support for the requirements within their systems. Yes, that's June 30th of NEXT year. That wasn't a typo. :smileyhappy:

What are the requirements?
MasterCard and Discover are requiring that all merchants support the following:

  • Balance response transactions – For prepaid and gift cards, once the card has been used, the remaining account balance will be transmitted along with the authorization response. The remaining balance must be printed on the customer receipt, displayed on the Web page or point-of-sale terminal, or both.
  • Partial authorization transactions – When a customer’s transaction amount exceeds the balance available on their debit, prepaid or gift card, instead of declining the transaction, a partial authorization for the amount available to the customer will be returned. This will allow the customer to pay for the remaining amount with another form of payment. This is called a split-tender transaction.
  • Authorization reversals – An authorization reversal is a real-time transaction initiated when the customer decides that they do not want to proceed with the transaction, or if the merchant cannot complete the transaction for any reason. Authorization reversals free up the customer’s available balance on their debit, prepaid or gift card.

What steps is Authorize.Net taking to support these requirements?
Authorize.Net will be updating our systems over the coming months to support the requirements, but will be dependent on each processor’s readiness. For a table of when we anticipate we will support the requirements with each processor, please visit

What do I need to do to support the requirements?

The steps that you will need to take to support the requirements depend on how your solution or integration connects to the payment gateway. For example, if your solution uses the Advanced Integration Method (AIM), there are new API fields you will need support. Please visit for more information on the changes you will need to make.


If you connect via another integration method, more information can be found at

Do my merchants and I have to support the requirements?
MasterCard and Discover are requiring all merchants to support the requirements with the exception of merchants that exclusively process transactions via batch uploads, mail order/telephone order (MOTO), or recurring payment transactions. Your merchants should contact their Merchant Service Provider (MSP) to determine if their company is exempt, as their MSP is ultimately responsible for determining if the requirements apply to their business.

Additionally, supporting the requirements outlined above will soon be one of the criteria required to qualify as an Authorize.Net certified partner. More info on this year’s certification requirements will be coming in the next few months. If you're a certified partner--don't worry, you'll get more info on this later.

Once again, these requirements will not be enforced for Authorize.Net merchants until June 30, 2011. However, we wanted to bring them to your attention now so that you have plenty of time to plan for their implementation. We will be communicating to our merchants beginning next week, letting them know of the extended deadline as well as what changes they will need to make on their end, depending on how they connect to the payment gateway and what services they use.

For more information on the requirements, including how they affect our value-adding services, please visit our FAQ page at


As always, thanks for being a part of the community.



Developer Community Manager

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