Unique Transactions

Unique transactions are payment card sales transactions in which merchants adhere to card acceptance procedures that may be different from ones required of regular payment card sales transactions. They are transactions that cannot be categorized as a retail sale or even a cash advance. For all unique transactions, there are special merchant classification codes. An acquiring bank or financial institution with such merchant activity must have written approval from MasterCard or Visa for a bankcard relationship with the specific merchant.

Online casinos and truck stops are a few examples of businesses that process these unique transactions. It would behoove merchants to start and maintain the following good practices for processing these transactions.

The floor limit of spending by credit cardholding consumers for every singular transaction is zero dollars. This is, of course, true for all credit card sales transactions, despite efforts to create credit card spending minimums at some establishments. However, it is a good idea for all active merchants to secure authorization through a credit card issuer for each distinct transaction, regardless of the amount. Merchants will lose re-presentment rights in the event of a chargeback if they fail to get this crucial authorization.

When a singular transaction is processed in a here-and-now scenario, the cardholder has to show personal ID. There are exceptions that include truck stop transactions and other card-present transactions where a customer verification method is used for a cardholder who does not sign a receipt. The identification document that a cardholding consumer displays must be an official government document that has not expired, and must bear the personal signature of the customer. Usually, a state driver’s license or military ID can be presented, although a passport or similar identification document may also be used in these cases. All merchants are required to record the details of the identification document, including all identifying numbers, date of expiration, jurisdiction of the ID, and the address of the customer directly on the sales receipt that is issued. Merchants must also retain a copy of the sales receipt for their own records.

Except for here-and-now transactions, in which a verification method that does not require a customer signature is used, the merchant must ensure that the signature of the cardholder on the ID matches the one on the sales receipt. If the ID features a picture of the cardholder, the business owner has to check that the person presenting the card appears to be the same person.

There are several types of what may be termed “unique transactions.” In every case, “clearing messages” and authorization requests must identify the transactions as singular. According to MasterCard, these include but are not limited to Money Transfers, Truck Stop Transactions, Quasi Cash and Remote Stored Value Load. This same holds true for Gambling Transactions, for which there are several additional strict rules that both MasterCard and Visa now enforce. A credit card processor must not credit winnings, unspent chips or other valuables used for gambling to a MasterCard cardholder account.

Internet casino card processors must request that cardholders identify the state or country where they are physically located at the time of the transaction. They must record the response and retain it, along with the cardholder’s account number, the transaction amount and the date. Those who accept Internet casino card payments must retain this information for a minimum of one year from the transaction date and provide it to the acquirer upon request.

As a condition of having a card acceptor’s account with a MasterCard acquirer, those who accept Internet casino card payments must post a notice on their websites stating that Internet gambling may not be lawful in some jurisdictions and suggesting that the cardholder look into whether such gambling is prohibited under applicable law where they are located.

Acquirers must properly identify all unique transactions in all authorization and clearing messages. In addition to this, acquirers must insure that e-commerce sales transactions are properly identified in authorization and clearing messages, as well.