How Visa Account Updater & MasterCard Automatic Billing Updater works

By Chris Dawson February 12, 2017 - 7:58 pm

Have you ever got a new credit or debit card when your old one expired and wondered how your card’s direct debits continued? Or have you cancelled a card to stop a direct debit just to find that it continues on your new card? If so then you’ve discovered a little known facility called Visa Account Updater or MasterCard Automatic Billing Updater.

Both major card providers offer a service to large companies to give uninterrupted payment for retailers or service provides and their customers. The aim is to keep recurring payments running even when a new card is issued. We know that Amazon use the service and it’s likely that many other large retailers do too.

What happens is that card issuers (your bank or credit card company) send update files to Visa or Mastercard whenever a change (expiry date, card number, loss of card, account closure etc) who then make this information available to the retailer.

Merchants can then send their customers’ account numbers to Visa or Mastercard who respond with specific information requested. The retailer updates their files and hey presto, they can bill your new card.

This is really only a service applicable to large retailers and service providers with regular customers and who store customers payment information on their own servers – if you use a third party payment provider then you’ll never see customer’s bank details anyway.

If you are interested in enrolling for either the Visa Account Updater or the MasterCard Automatic Billing Updater service, you should contact your acquirer (The bank which processes credit or debit card payments on your behalf).

  • james
    5 years ago

    sometimes i wonder where you produce this stuff from. I think maybe you’ve been working too closely with ebay, or solvents.
    none of that has anything at all to do with direct debits.
    the reason direct debits continue to work when you change your card, is because the direct debit has nothing to do with your card, it comes straight out the bank account.

    • 5 years ago

      You’re half right… I should have correctly called a direct debit on a credit card a Continuous Payment Authority. Works the same way, the retailer or service provider can debit amounts from your card on a regular basis rather than from your bank account.

  • K
    5 years ago

    Our cards expired in January and the only company that autoupdated was Google.

    You’d think Amazon would have this feature too but I’ve had to manually update my card three times across various Amazon services. For example, my Prime expired today because Amazon didn’t automatically switch it to the new card I’ve been making purchases with for the last month.

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