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What merchants need to know about Level 3 data processing

What is a commercial credit card?

Both Visa and MasterCard offer special credit cards for companies designed to help them manage their spending and streamline the purchasing process.
Commercial credit cards offer companies advanced functionality, such as the ability to set employee-spending limits and restrict card usage to specific types of purchases. For example, a cardholder might be authorized to use the card only for purchasing office supplies.
Here are some examples of commercial credit cards in use today:

  • Visa Purchasing card (for procurement expenses)
  • Visa Corporate card (for travel and entertainment expenses)
  •  Visa Commercial card (an integrated, multi-purpose card)


  • MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card (for procurement expenses)
  • MasterCard Corporate Card (for travel and entertainment expenses)

Why should I accept commercial cards?

Handling commercial cards correctly is a smart business practice for several reasons:

  • If you sell to corporate customers, this can enhance your customer relationships because corporate clients will appreciate you processing their cards correctly.
  • When you get paid with commercial cards, payments are often made more quickly than with consumer cards.
  • It is often easier to get approval for commercial card payments (because commercial cards often have pre-approved spending authorization)

Acceptance of commercial cards usually means lower risk for you because commercial card users are pre-screened for credit approval.

Level 3 card data is additional information that can be attached to a card transaction string to provide more information for benefit of corporate/government/industrial buyers. This information can be shared for commercial card payments only.

What is Level 3 data?

Level 3 or ‘line-item detail’ is detailed transaction data (such as item purchased, quantity purchased, and other order information) that is passed when a qualifying commercial card is used for the purchase. Level 3 processing refers to passing that detailed information from the invoice when submitting the sale transaction for settlement. The Level 3 details are sent to Visa or MasterCard. The card association and the card issuing bank can then report the information to the cardholder's company, along with the other transaction details.

Business-to-business and business-to-government purchases are increasingly being made via purchasing, corporate and business cards and Level 3 information can only be made available for these types of commercial cards.

How can processing Level 3 data be useful for my business?

Use of commercial cards is a fast growing payment method and Level 3 data processing may be useful to you if your customers include users of qualifying commercial cards, typically businesses or government agencies.

How might Level 3 benefit and build my relationship with my buyer?

By passing the Level 3 data you give card holders the chance to better monitor and record purchases made on the company card. Your buyer can get in-depth reporting of the transactions which they can further use to make good business decisions. In return, this may help you create a more personalized experience and build strong, long-lasting relationships with your government and corporate clients.

By having Level 3 data processing on ahead of time, you will have an environment that is optimized for any new customers who require Level 3 data, specifically creating an advantage for gaining new, large clients who may rely on this type of service.

Additional benefits: How can Level 3 data sharing help to release my (merchant) funds faster?

Certain transactions may come under scrutiny if there is a suspicion of fraud or risky activity happening related to the transaction. In that case, the payment amount that would have been deposited to the merchant (you) can be withheld while the transaction is reviewed and determined to be genuine or not.

During the review, various sources of data and information are used to verify the transaction. This sometimes includes asking the merchant for an invoice/sales receipt related to the payment.

However, with Level 3 data processing, QuickBooks may use Level 3 data to inspect the transaction and potentially release the funds to the merchant faster.

Below is the list of Level 3 details that QuickBooks may collect and pass:

Data Field

Freight Amount Total freight or shipping and handling charges for transaction
Duty Amount Total charges for import/export duties in this transaction
Discount Amount Discount amount applied to total order and individual line items
Product Code Product code of item purchased
Product Description Text description of item purchased
Quantity Number of units of item purchased
Unit of measure Metric used for understanding quantity
Unit Cost Cost of measurable unit as per the unit of measure
Item Commodity Code Commodity codes can be used by organizations to segment and manage spending
Sales Tax Tax amount/rate and type for the transaction and/or line items
Line Item Total The amount of the item calculated as price times quantity
Customer Reference No. PO or other number used to track order

*Commercial cards supported by QuickBooks for Level 3 processing include U.S. issued Visa and Mastercard commercial cards.