A descriptor is a value used to identify a merchant on merchant/customer statements and receipts. It is assigned to all payment card and direct debit transactions associated with the merchant. The descriptor has a fixed length. However, the length differs for payment card and direct debit transactions:
- For payment cards, the value of a descriptor consists of 25 characters;
- For direct debit, the value of a descriptor consists of 26 characters.
Regulations in the United States impose specific requirements on descriptors for direct debit transactions, which differ from the requirements of other countries. In the U.S., a direct debit transaction descriptor consists of two parts: the name of a merchant's company and a descriptor value assigned by the merchant. For example, SuperMerch:DescrValue
, where SuperMerch
is a name of the merchant’s company and DescrValue
is any value assigned by the merchant.
Merchants can assign different descriptors to payment card and direct debit transactions. However, we suggest using the same value for both by combining the name of the merchant's company (9-11 characters) and the customer service phone (10 characters):
merchant’s descriptor (19-21) = merchant’s company name (9-11) + customer service phone number (10)
. For example, merchant’s descriptor for the merchant SuperMerch
with customer service phone number 1234567890
, will be combined as follows: SuperMerch1234567890
Note that using a colon (:) sign within the business.paymentCardDescriptor
field is prohibited and only such special characters as a dash (-) and underscore (_) are allowed. Colon can only be used as the field separator in the business.directDebitDescriptor
field to separate merchant’s company name and customer service phone values.
When transaction processing is done through a payment facilitator, the name of a payment facilitator gets specified in a descriptor automatically. It is present as a prefix consisting of 3-5 characters separated from the merchant's descriptor by an asterisk (*). The length of the prefix differs for each payment facilitator, so the number of characters that can be present within a merchant’s descriptor is limited. For a merchant’s company name in a descriptor to be calculated properly, please contact the gateway support team to get the payment facilitator’s prefix that is going to be used in the descriptors of the merchants associated with the payment facilitator.
When there is a payment facilitator, the descriptor is created by combining the payment facilitator prefix (3-5 chars), an asterisk, the merchant's company name (11-9 chars, depending on the prefix length) and the customer service phone number (10 chars):
paymentCardDescriptor/directDebitDescriptor (25) = facilitator descriptor (3-5) + * + merchant’s company name (9-11) + customer service phone number (10)
For example, the descriptor for the merchant SuperMerch
with customer service phone number 123-456-7890
, who processes transactions through payment facilitator with the prefix TEST, is combined as follows: business.paymentCardDescriptor=TEST*SuperMerch1234567890