Visa’s April release deferral

Visa 07/04/2020

What’s changing?

Given the extreme circumstances of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), Visa recognizes the importance of minimizing operational impact and complexity. As such, Visa will suspend the changes of the April release in its totality until July 17, 2020.

What does the change mean?

All changes initially planned to take effect April 18, 2020 will be instead implemented on July 17, 2020.

How will this affect you?

See below some of the critical changes that Visa has postponed.

Mandate to support purchase return authorizations

The mandate to support authorizations for refund transactions has been postponed. Effective July 17, 2020 Payvision will send an authorization request for every Visa refund transaction. This means that merchants will receive a response code from the issuer, which in some cases could be a decline. Note that there are no technical changes to the integration. Merchants can use the same refund API call as they currently do.

Updated policy for subscription merchants offering free trials or introductory promotions

The updated rules related to transactions with merchants that offer free trials or introductory offers as part of an ongoing subscription service were also part of the postponed April release. The changes apply to merchants selling both physical and digital goods or services, if they offer free trials or introductory offers that roll into an ongoing subscription/recurring agreement. The changes apply to enhanced notifications, transaction receipts and billing statement descriptors.

The effective date of the requirements related to enhanced notifications and transaction receipts will remain April 18, 2020.

The effective date of the requirement to support an enhanced descriptor for the first transaction at the end of a trial period will be postponed to April 17, 2021.

For more info, check the earlier communication posted on our website:

Dispute management

Visa hasn’t changed its dispute rules in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Visa did announce some measures to assist the payments ecosystem with dispute processing.

COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program

Visa will implement a COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program beginning April 1, 2020. The program will monitor daily dispute volumes with a focus on consumer-related disputes and will flag any practices that may be inconsistent with current Visa dispute rules. If necessary, Visa will require issuers to reverse invalid disputes. The program will monitor dispute volumes for the Airline, Entertainment, Lodging, Transportation, and Travel Services sectors.

Excessive Disputes Programs During COVID-19

Visa is modifying the programs to minimize the burden on merchants and acquirers impacted by the pandemic. To that end, the Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) and Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP) will both be suspended for merchants in the Travel & Entertainment (T&E) sector until July 31, 2020.

Cross-border fees

The Card-Not-Present International Acquirer fee (CNP IAF) increase from 15 bps to 55 bps will go into effect July 1, 2020. This fee will apply to transactions where the merchant is based in the Visa Europe region and the card is issued in any other Visa region. Although Israel and Turkey are part of the Visa Europe region, this fee will also apply to transactions where the card is issued in these countries and the merchant is based in the Visa Europe region, and vice versa.

Effective date

  • April 1, 2020 – Visa COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program
  • April 18, 2020 – Enhanced notification requirements subscription merchants
  • July 1, 2020 – Visa cross border fees (CNP IAF) will increase by 15 bps
  • July 17, 2020 – Changes initially announced in the Visa April release
  • April 17, 2021 – Enhanced statement descriptor subscription merchants