Network Access and Brand Usage Fee (NABU)

NABU Fee Explained

The major credit card networks — Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express — join together to set the fees for Interchange. As part of this process, every six months they review those fees and adjust them as needed. In 2012, a series of new fees have been added to payment processing. Some of them are even completely separate from Interchange.

The Network Access and Brand Usage (NABU) fee was created by MasterCard in 2009, and is imposed by MasterCard for all U.S. issued card transactions settled with MasterCard by a U.S. merchant.

Effective January 8, 2012 MasterCard’s NABU fee was applied to authorization transactions instead of settlement transactions. MasterCard charges $0.0185 on all settle or refunded credit and signature debit card transactions for its Network Access Brand Usage fee. Revenue generated from the NABU fee goes directly to MasterCard. Credit card processors and card issuing banks do not collect the fee.

MasterCard began charging the NABU fee in April of 2009. Prior to the $0.0185 charge, MasterCard assessed a $0.005 Acquirer Access Fee to transactions run through its network.

Since revenue from the NABU fee goes directly to MasterCard, most processors assess the fee to businesses at cost. However, in the case of tiered pricing the NABU fee is bundled with a business’s general qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified rates. Although uncommon, it is possible for processors to markup the NABU fee even for businesses that are billed via more transparent interchange plus pricing.

Host Merchant Services makes the NABU fee clearly visible on our statement and we do not mark up the NABU fee in any way.

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