Swiped vs. Keyed Transactions – Credit Card Processing Service

Swiped vs. Keyed Transactions

What is Interchange?

In simple terms, interchange is the cost of completing a given card transaction. Interchange fees cover the cost of maintaining card networks, servers, and security infrastructure. Additionally, they cover any potential risk that comes with completing the transaction. This is calculated by taking the expected cost of fraud associated with a given transaction type and distributing that cost across all transactions of that type

No matter how your provider has priced your payment processing contract, interchange fees are part of what you pay each month. These fees are non-negotiable for merchants, though certain merchants (such as nonprofits) may qualify for reduced interchange rates.

In this article, all interchange rates will be listed as a percentage of the total transaction amount plus a static amount. For example, if a customer makes a purchase of $100 and the interchange rate associated with the transaction is listed as 2.1% + $0.10, the customer would pay $2.20 in interchange fees.

How are interchange rates determined?
Interchange fees are determined by three primary factors:

  • Business type: All businesses are categorized using merchant category codes (otherwise referred to as the MCC). These category codes reflect the type of product or service offered by the merchant and determine which rate buckets (called the IRD, or interchange rate designator) your business will fall into. Because these plays such a large role in your interchange rates, it’s imperative that you ensure your business is assigned the proper MCC by your processor.
  • Card type: Certain card types incur higher interchange rates to cover the cost of associated incentive programs. A debit card, for example, will have fairly low interchange rates, whereas a gold-coated rewards card will cost a pretty penny.
  • Transaction environment: Most cards have security features like EMV chips built in. The extent to which those features are used play a role in how much you’ll pay in interchange. You’ll pay much lower interchange fees using a physical card swipe than you would if a customer shared payment information over the phone.

As we cover Mastercard’s interchange rates in the coming sections, you’ll see how each of these factors play into the rates you see. There are other factors that can determine interchange rates (such as volume thresholds and so on), but we’ll cover those as they arise in the rate charts below.

Common Visa and MasterCard Interchange Rates

Card TypeInterchange Rate
Visa Debit CPS0.800 % + 15¢
Visa Debit CPS Regulated0.050 % + 22¢
MasterCard Debit

1.050 % + 22¢

MasterCard Debit Regulated0.050 % + 15¢
Visa Credit CPS Retail1.510 % + 10¢
MasterCard Credit Consumer1.580 % + 10¢

All Visa and MasterCard Interchange Rates

Swiped vs Keyed


Visa Debit

Debit Retail Swipe
Visa Debit CPS0.800 % + 15¢
Visa Debit CPS Regulated0.050 % + 22¢
Visa Debit Prepaid1.150 % + 15¢
Visa Debit Business1.650 % + 15¢
Visa Debit Business Regulated0.050 % + 22¢


Debit Keyed
Visa Debit CPS1.650 % + 15¢
Visa Debit CPS Regulated0.050 % + 22¢
Visa Debit Prepaid1.750 % + 20¢
Visa Debit Business2.450 % + 10¢
Visa Debit Business Regulated0.050 % + 22¢

MasterCard Debit

Debit Retail Swipe
MC Debit1.050 % + 15¢
MC Debit Regulated0.050 % + 22¢
MC Debit Prepaid1.050 % + 15¢


Debit Keyed
MC Debit Keyed1.600 % + 15¢
MC Debit Keyed Regulated0.050 % + 22¢
MC Debit Keyed Prepaid1.760 % + 20¢

Visa Credit

Retail Swipe
Visa CPS Retail1.510 % + 10¢
Visa Rewards Traditional1.650 % + 10¢
Visa Rewards Signature2.300 % + 10¢
Visa Rewards Signature Preferred2.100 % + 10¢
Visa Corporate2.100 % + 10¢
Visa Business2.200 % + 10¢
Visa Purchasing2.400 % + 10¢


Credit Keyed
Visa Keyed CPS Retail1.800 % + 10¢
Visa Keyed Rewards Traditional1.950 % + 10¢
Visa Keyed Rewards Signature2.700 % + 10¢
Visa Keyed Rewards Signature Preferred2.300 % + 10¢
Visa Keyed Corporate2.950 % + 10¢
Visa Keyed Business2.950 % + 20¢
Visa Keyed Purchasing2.950 % + 10¢


Visa Debit (regulated)0.050 % + 22¢
Visa Charity Credit1.350 % + 5¢
Paypal Donation2.200% + 30¢

MasterCard Credit

Credit Swipe
MC Consumer1.580 % + 10¢
MC Enhanced1.730 % + 10¢
MC World1.770 % + 10¢
MC World Elite2.300 % + 10¢
MC Corporate1.900 % + 10¢


Credit Keyed
MC Keyed Consumer1.890 % + 10¢
MC Keyed Enhanced2.040 % + 10¢
MC Keyed World2.050 % + 10¢
MC Keyed World Elite2.950 % + 10¢
MC Keyed Corporate2.650 % + 10¢


Real Estate & Property Management
MC Real Estate Keyed Consumer1.100 %
MC Real Estate Keyed Enhanced1.100 %
MC Real Estate Keyed World1.100 %
MC Real Estate Keyed World Elite2.200 %
MC Real Estate Keyed Corporate2.650 % + 10¢


MC Debit (regulated)0.050 % + 22¢
MC Charity Debit (non-regulated)1.450 % + 15¢
MC Charity Credit2.000 % + 10¢
Paypal Donation2.200% + 30¢

Setting up a merchant account can be confusing. Of all the varying rates and fees associated with accepting credit cards, it’s important for merchants to take particular notice of swiped vs. keyed rates.

Even the method used to communicate the credit card information to the financial institution makes a difference. Whether your customer swipes their card, or you key in the numbers manually can lead to very different results related to the fees you pay.


A Swipe Transaction is when your customer inserts their card into a card reader or credit card machine when making a payment for a product or service. The process can also occur with a mobile payment, also called a digital wallet. This is when the customer places their smartphone near the merchant’s field communication-enabled reader.

In both cases, either the card or the electronic data from the customer’s digital wallet is present at the time of purchase.


Sometimes a customer’s credit card information is manually keyed in by the merchant. For example, when a customer gives their credit card information over the phone. Or when a customer fills out a manual order form including credit card information that will be manually keyed and processed later.

Another example of manually entered credit card information occurs when customers buy products online. This type of purchase and making a payment poses numerous security risks.


Swipe transactions that occur when the customer is present make this process more secure than if the information is manually entered. Also, keying in data also adds the additional risk of human error.

Credit card terminals are unlikely to misread the numbers and expiration dates found on the customer’s card. Because swipe transactions carry less risk, they reduce the higher fees you would find with manually entered payments.

When a transaction is riskier, the merchant will compensate the processor for that added level of risk.

What are the differences between the two?

Well, a swiped terminal means that you physically have a credit card in hand and swipe it in a little terminal. Non-swiped means you key in the card number, expiration date, and other information.

Why the cost difference?

Well, there’s always more potential for fraud when you accept credit cards online. You aren’t actually looking at the person’s card, signature, etc. You’re accepting on faith that this is the person’s correct credit card. Therefore, there is a little more risk involved with a non-swiped terminal than other types.

Some merchants have come up with the idea of getting a swiped terminal, due to the lower rates, and then keying in their credit card information, thinking that they’re beating the system. The only problem is, it doesn’t really work that way.

Most merchant services have separate rates for swiped terminals. Let’s say that your rate on a swiped terminal is 2% when you actually swipe the card. A non-swiped terminal’s rate would be, say, 3.5%. However, when you have a swiped terminal and you key in a card instead of swiping it, most merchant account providers will add an extra fee. For the sake of argument, we’ll say that’s a 2% fee. Making a long story short, that great idea that you had to get around higher fees actually leads to you paying .5% more for your credit card processing. This, of course, is less than ideal.


When your business involves keying in many of your credit card payments manually, there are options available to help you keep added fees down.
You can compare Credit Card Processors, looking for the lowest credit card processing fees.

If you are a business owner in today’s world, you more than likely accept credit card payments from your customers. To keep your costs down and limit security risks to your customer, it is best to limit manually entered transactions.
Find easy-to-use software and a portable reader that attaches to, or works with, your smartphone, you can safely and securely accept your customers “swiped” payments in person while on site with them.

Need help figuring out your rates?

If you’re having trouble identifying the information we’ve outlined above, feel free to send us your merchant statement and our payment consultants will analyze it for you.

Get in touch with the Swipe Card 247 team — we’re happy to assist you.
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