Update on Visa’s new card-on-file transaction type

Visa has introduced a new set of rules for subscription and card-on-file transactions.

(Latest update: 23 November 2017)

The requirements below apply to all regions. If you don't comply by April 2018, you may be fined by Visa.

Earlier this year, Visa introduced 'card-on-file' as a new transaction type. This will make it easier to tell the difference between subscription and card-on-file payments.

Background of card-on-file transaction type

You can classify recurring businesses as follows:

  • Subscription: Payments follow a fixed schedule. This is a common business model for music and TV streaming services.
  • Card-on-file: Card details are stored to support one-click payments. You can also use it to streamline the checkout process and support omnichannel journeys. Any subscription not following a fixed schedule is considered a card-on-file transaction.

Some businesses use both types, like a TV subscription with pay-per-view charges.

What changes?

You now need to identify transactions as either 'subscription' or 'card-on-file'. And you must follow Visa's guidelines for transactions with stored credentials.

If you don't use the new transaction type from April 2018, Visa will flag you as non-compliant and you may be charged.

New Visa guidelines for stored credentials transactions

Visa has updated the regulations for recurring transactions. See Visa's documentation for more information.

Transaction flagging

By default Adyen will flag recurring transactions as 'subscription'. 

If you're offering card-on-file payments, we can flag your traffic as 'card-on-file'. Please contact your Account Manager or Adyen Support to set this up.

Subscription and card-on-file businesses

Are you processing both subscription and card-on-file transactions on the same merchant account? If so we offer a new API field for flagging recurring transactions.

You'll need to provide the attribute “recurringProcessingModel” in your API call. Learn more in our documentation.

Next steps

Please make sure that you are compliant with the new regulations by April 2018.

We'll track issuer behavior during the rollout. In this way we can rule out any negative impact when sending the new indicators to issuers.


Contact your account manager or Adyen support for more information.