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What Is ISA Fee?

What Is ISA Fee? Visa International Service Assessment Guide

As a company manager, you must familiarize yourself with Visa’s international assessment cost (ISA fee) since this is a typical tax that often surprises you in your credit card processing statement.

The names given to these fees and the associated interest rates vary from one card issuer to the next. You might come across various fees in your monthly statements, such as the acquirer program support fee and the international processing fees.

These costs can mount up quickly, ranging from less than half of one percent to more than one percent. This is particularly true when combined with other processing and interchange fees. Keep reading to learn all the details.

What Is the Visa ISA Fee?

Credit CardsWhen a customer pays with a Visa debit or credit card from a foreign financial institution, Visa assesses the merchant services provider for international and other foreign transactions fee. Global transaction costs charged by MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are the same.

Foreign service costs are imposed in addition to interchange rates. These are applied uniformly to all international transactions and typically vary from 1% to 2%.

All consumers are subject to the same rates established by Visa or other card-member organizations and issuing banks. There is no per-country, per-transaction, or per-company rate used here. Any time a transaction crosses international borders, ISA costs are applied.

Suppose your processor doesn’t break out the cost of overseas transactions from your regular interchange costs. In that case, you should expect to pay an additional 2-3% on top of your usual processing price for each international transaction.

When Do They Charge These Fees?

The two parties of the international service fee are the acquiring bank, the main bank provider for the firm or business account, and the financial institution or the bank that provided the card to the customer.

Any time a consumer purchases in the United States using a credit or debit card provided by a foreign bank — regardless of whether or not that bank maintains a branch or other presence in the country — the merchant account will pay an international service fee.

Tourists from other countries are the most prevalent customers that incur an ISA charge when they shop at your establishment. They whip out a credit card from their home country and start swiping and inserting it into machines, but the service comes at a price.

This is not only for physical purchases, though. It applies to any online purchase made using a foreign credit card and delivered to a U.S. address. The bank’s connection, not the transaction amount, matters here. There is no way to avoid this cost, so making preparations for it now is your best chance.

The ISA Fee Costs

Each financial institution has its own percentage-based ISA fee and a different name for the service.

We have discussed the current pricing below. The associations may have increased them for 2023 if you find they differ from or are greater than usual.

How Much Is the ISA Fee?

Visa International transaction fees incur two fees with Visa:

A charge of 0.80% to 1.20 % for an international cross-border fee. You’ll have to pay the International Service Assessment fee if you use a foreign credit card to purchase in the United States. This fee depends on the currency you use to make the purchase.

E.g., There is no change in the cost due to currency conversion if the client settles in U.S. dollars. When a consumer purchases a foreign currency, Visa charges them an extra 0.40%, similar to the International Processing Fee, the 0.45% International Acquirer Fee can add up under certain conditions.

The IAF Fee vs the ISA Fee

The difference between the two seems negligible. Visa charges two different costs, the international acquirer fee, and the international service assessment fee. However, there is some semantic wiggle room amongst card member associations.

Unfortunately, the ISA always comes with the IAF since they are both assessed simultaneously and cumulatively. If you include the possibility of a currency conversion rate, you may be looking at an extra 1.65 percent in costs.

Who Pays the ISA Fee? 

Credit CardsAs the card-accepting merchant, you are on the hook for this cost. It’s a shame that these and other credit card fees are an inevitable part of conducting business nowadays.

Monitoring your effective rate (the average cost per transaction) is important to guarantee that your revenue is sufficient to cover your operational expenditures. Even though some jurisdictions prohibit adding surcharges to credit card payments, it is permissible to include the fee of credit card processing in your costs.

Your effective rate % may be calculated by dividing your monthly fee expense by your monthly sales volume and multiplying that result by 100.

Reducing the Foreign Transaction Fees Costs

The ISA charge, alas, is ubiquitous in this market. Consequently, the amount of this charge is fixed and cannot be negotiated. It will remain the same if you refuse to take international payments, regardless of the payment method.

This is not the place to try to bargain for lower prices. However, you’ll need to bargain your prices down within the scope of processing costs.

This is something to consider each month based on your mix of transactions. It might be smart for those whose business comes mostly from a single foreign nation.


All purchases inside the United States using a foreign Visa credit or debit card are subject to the ISA charge international fees. A universally applicable flat-rate processing charge will apply regardless of your chosen payment gateway. Despite the annoyance of having to shell out money only to take credit or debit cards, it is still preferable to accept credit card payments at your company since credit card purchases are so popular in the United States today.