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VISA: Enhanced Billing Descriptors Now Optional

VISA’s Enhanced Descriptor Rule is now optional. VISA merchant requirements for free trials, introductory or discounted offers that convert to regular pricing are still

VISA enacted new regulations last year pertaining to automatically renewing charges that commenced with free trials or introductory or discounted offers which convert to regular pricing. One of those requirements included the requirement for Enhanced Billing Descriptors – a requirement that was delayed due to COVID-19 interruptions until April 2021.

Our coverage of the VISA Regulations with
a refresher of the full regulation, including the enhanced Billing descriptor.

In order to comply with VISA’s enhanced billing descriptors, after the promotional term, the first full charge would have had to include a billing descriptor that indicated that the initial term/offer had ended. The suggestion provided by VISA was to add 8 characters “endtrial” to billing descriptors which theoretically was easy enough. With only 25 characters to work with VISA suggested using the merchant name field or the merchant city field to address the additional necessary characters. However, obviously “endtrial” is not applicable to all promotional offers and frankly, the requirement was potentially confusing.

VISA just announced that having taken into consideration the technological updates necessary to accomplish this requirement, particularly in light of other COVID-19 operational challenges businesses face, and comprehensive client feedback relating to the value of the solution, the requirement is now optional. However, keep in mind that all the other requirements are still in effect. 

If you have any questions about your compliance with the other VISA requirements feel free to reach out.

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