Level 3 credit card processing is a payment integration system that works with business-to-business transactions. It saves merchants in cost because in a B2B transaction, card networks have more information about both parties, which lessens the threat of fraud. The additional information that the card networks have includes what was purchased, where the purchase was made, and how much was spent, along with more than ten other data fields. Because of these extra “line item details,” card networks can offer much lower interchange rates for level 3 processing.
To qualify for level 3 processing, a merchant must accept certain payment methods issued by Visa or MasterCard. These methods include purchasing cards, corporate cards, or government spending accounts, and level 3 processing can only be used with these methods of payment. For example, even if you accept level 3 processing, that doesn’t mean that every transaction you process will have the level 3 interchange rate—just that when you process those specific payment methods, you will have the level 3 interchange rate.
Level 3 Interchange Rates
Visa has two categories for Level 3 processing fees: commercial and government spending account. They are as follows:
Mastercard has one category for Level 3 processing: Large Market Credit. The rate for this program as of 04/12/2019 is 1.90% + $0.10.
Not all cards are eligible for level 3 processing. Generally, business cards used by small businesses are not supported by level 3 processing, only corporate and purchasing cards belonging to governments or large businesses qualify. Since you can’t know just from looking at card whether it is eligible for level 3 processing or not it is more prudent to enter all of the information required for level 3 processing anyway, because while submitting irrelevant information can’t hurt you, not submitting potentially relevant information can hurt you in the form of not qualifying for the lower interchange rates.
American Express Requirements