The Visa Provisioning Service charge visible on your credit card or bank statement is usually safe assuming you’ve registered your credit or debit card to an online merchant or payment service.
We’ll go through some of the details regarding the Visa Provision Service charge below.
What is the Visa Provisioning Service on my credit card or bank statement?
A Visa Provisioning Service charge should not be an actual monetary charge to your account.
It should show up as a pending $0.00 charge on your statement, under transaction history, and will normally fall off your account within 5 business days.
Online retailers commonly use the Visa Provisioning Service charge. It is part of a tokenization process used to protect account information and sensitive data.
What does Visa Provisioning Service Charge mean?
It’s natural to have concern as to why a new charge is on your bank statement or credit card statement.
The fee works as a type of preauthorization from an online merchant, which can be a retailer, e-wallet provider, or any company you did business with.
It acts as one way to determine in advance whether the payment account is valid before working to approve your transaction.
The Visa Provisioning Charge might come up when you’re doing online e-commerce shopping or making in-app purchases.
However, it can still appear after using brick-and-mortar services, such as when you purchase in-store and pay with your smartphone.
Moreover, some companies that use direct deposit will use the Visa Provisioning Service charge. This helps them to determine whether an account is valid before the check can be deposited.
Digital wallets (e-wallets) and the Visa Provisioning Charge
If you add a credit or debit card to your digital wallet or e-wallet, you might see the Visa Provisioning Charge.
This essentially checks whether your bank account is valid.
For example, if you add a card to an e-wallet (Apple Pay could be one example) this may result in the payment provider performing the $0 charge. This is their way of checking whether the account is active.
The tokenization process is now more common for online retailers to make transactions rather than having to process your account information.
This is common for retailers that use recurring subscription payments to charge customers.
The main idea is that the Visa Provisioning Service is used by retailers to ensure that your payment method (debit or credit card) is valid or your bank account is active and working.
Tokenization is becoming more common
Payments made with smartphones and other internet-connected devices are becoming more common, so tokenization is likewise picking up in popularity.
Payments made without cards require an intermediate process (e.g., tokenization) to provide for a secure, frictionless transaction.
In eCommerce, tokenization is a way of securely handling payments.
For in-app purchases, Visa cards are often provided to the mobile app to be able to make purchases from wherever you are.
For in-store purchases, tokenization can be used when customers have credit or debit cards stored on their phone and can place their smartphone over a payment terminal to complete the transaction.
The Visa Provisioning Service and the tokenization system
The Visa Token Service helps protect your credit card from unauthorized purchases. This is the system that results in the $0 charges that may appear on a transaction statement.
This helps to ensure that your account number is protected when making purchases. Your 16-digit card number is replaced with a token identifier.
This process enables merchants to charge your card without having sensitive account information shown.
The tokenization process
Your Visa card is enrolled with a digital payment service.
This entails providing your:
- account number
- expiration date
- CVC/security code
- address, and
- other personal details
If you authorize them, online retailers can store your account info to help more easily facilitate repeat purchases.
2) Service will reach out to Visa
The service you provided the info to will request Visa to get a payment token to associate with the account you’ve registered with them.
3) Visa will share account token
Visa will share your token with the account issuer, which is commonly your bank.
4) Visa uses token as a unique identifier
After the issuer or bank approves the request, Visa will use the token to replace your primary account number.
This is an identifier specific to your account.
5) Tokens assigned to purchases
Tokens will be assigned to the purchases you make.
Visa shares this token with the token requestor, which is the merchant (i.e., online retailer, e-wallet provider, or another service).
This token is unique and assigned to only your account. It, however, may be a temporary token.
It might only be good for a particular online retailer, it may be specific to a certain device (such as your mobile), or it may expire after a certain number of transactions.
How are tokens relevant to the Visa Provisioning Charge?
Tokens help protect your account info in transactions online.
When you’re making a purchase online, in-store (with your smartphone), or making an in-app purchase, you may see the Visa Provisioning Charge show up as $0 in your transaction history when you receive your statement.
The tokenization system works through the following process:
1) You make a payment, whether online, in-store, or in-app.
2) The payment service provider – e.g., online retailer or e-wallet – passes the token to the acquirer or merchant as part of the authorization request.
3) The acquirer or merchant will receive a token and send it back to the Visa network. This is the step that allows the purchase transaction to go through.
4) Visa routes the token and card payment details to the issuer. (The issuer is typically your bank). This is necessary to authorize the transaction. The bank will accept or decline the transaction, then send this decision back to Visa.
5) The merchant receives the payment and token.
This process enables you to make a payment without having to show your account number to the merchant you’re doing business with.
For the merchant, the tokenization process means they don’t have to take cybersecurity measures to ensure your sensitive information and data won’t be breached.
When should I be concerned about a Visa Provisioning Service charge?
You may see a Visa Provisioning Service charge if you’ve provided your payment details with any online merchants, digital wallet providers, or any service that involves making payments online.
The line item may appear, but the $0 charge means you won’t be charged money. In other words, funds are not being charged.
You won’t need to call your bank if you recognize the merchant. The charge usually rolls off your account in about one week.
If it lingers on your account for longer than that, you might consider contacting your bank or card service provider to inquire.
However, if you have never knowingly done business with a company you may want to look into it further.
It’s very uncommon for someone who’s never registered their payment with an online merchant, digital wallet provider, or other services to see the Visa Provisioning Charge present.
Under rare cases will your card info have been compromised and registered to a service without your knowledge, only to learn of it through a Visa Provisioning Charge.
If you do believe this could be the case, it’s always prudent to reach out to your bank or customer service hotline to inquire.
At that point, you can determine, if your card information has been compromised, whether to put a hold (aka a freeze or stop) to the account to ensure no further transactions can take place.
This may also hold true if you’ve lost your card to ensure it can’t be used in case it falls into the wrong hands.
For some banks or card providers, you can do this online. Others you can reach by telephone.
If you do place a stop on your account and you’ve found that your details are safe, you can remove the stop from your bank.
Conclusion: Visa Provisioning Service Charge
The Visa Provisioning Service charge is a purchase authorization that allows merchants, digital wallet providers, and other payment services to find out whether your account is valid before taking payment.
It may also apply to accounts where a transaction is being authorized on your behalf, such as a deposit or purchase.
The Visa Provisioning Charge is $0. This should show on your credit card or bank statement. It should disappear from your transaction history within about 5 business days.
The tokenization system that the Visa Provisioning Charge comes from helps to protect your sensitive info so it can be safely used by online retailers, e-wallets, in-app purchase systems, in-store purchases with smartphone devices, and so on.
This Visa Provisioning Service charge is a way to make sure that your account is valid and active.
While you can generally trust that it’s safe, it’s nonetheless recommended that you inquire with your payment provider if you don’t recollect making any recent purchases or doing business with the merchant listed on your transactions history.
For anyone interested in additional information, Visa has some video tutorials below explaining more about its purchase authorization process: