Visa Inc. is asserting that the acquiring industry has had sufficient notice of the card brand’s new Fixed Acquirer Network Fee, which takes effect April 1.

The Electronic Transactions Association sent a letter March 7 to Visa’s chairman, Joseph Saunders, asking for more information on the new fee and requesting a postponement of its start date.

In the Washington-based association’s letter, 17 industry representatives contend that Visa gave the acquirers just 36 working days to prepare for the technical changes and public relations ramifications the new fee would trigger (see story). 

In a letter PaymentsSource obtained March 12, Saunders responded to the association, with the assurance that the timing of notification of the new fee was appropriate.

The card brand in a Visa Business News update published on July 28, 2011 informed acquirers of plans to introduce the new variable fees, Saunders noted in the letter.

On Sept. 1, 2011, Visa used the same channel to publish an operation and instruction guide detailing the fee structure and new reporting requirements for acquirers, Saunders wrote.

“We have provided acquirers a nine-month window to test the Operating Certificate reporting process to ensure a seamless implementation well ahead of the April deadline,” the letter said. “In fact, the overwhelming majority of Visa acquirers provided data in January demonstrating readiness to implement the new structure.”

Visa issued the rates for the new fee on Feb. 12, Saunders added.

“We have engaged clients individually–many of them representing the ETA’s board member institutions–to discuss these important changes and provide assistance with process and implementation,” Saunders wrote.

The association apparently took the Feb. 12 announcement as the time to begin adjusting to the new fee.

The association declined to comment on Saunders’ response.


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