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Dynamic billing descriptor

When a customer receives a card statement he/ she tries to figure out where the money went. The customer checks the transaction history and expects to see against each listed activity the name of the retailer and ideally a description of the purchased goods and services. But as most acquirers and data formats are not set up to provide this information, detailed statements are few and far between.

Using the dynamic descriptor, merchants can now itemize sales more clearly to the benefit of their customers, back office and customer care management.

The dynamic descriptor is intended to add additional information the static descriptor that appears in the cardholder statements. The static descriptor is the default one and is agreed when boarding a merchant account.

For the transactions that require the use of a dynamic descriptor the parameter dynamic_billing_descriptor must be sent according to the next specifications:

  • the merchant static descriptor plus the dynamic descriptor part can have a maximum length of 21 or 25 chars (check with your account manager what length you need to use). Longer values will be truncated.
  • no special characters other than -(dash), .(dot) and +(plus) are allowed, for example, Merchant-Goods


Your acquiring bank must approve if your merchant account is eligible to use the dynamic descriptor feature. Contact your account manager to enable it.
Example of the billing descriptor
If a merchant static descriptor was agreed to be `ACME LTD` and the value of `dynamic_billing_descriptor` is ` order 1923`, then a card statement against the merchant transaction will have `ACME LTD order 1923`

Dynamic descriptor suffix

Sometimes a merchant wants to verify that a customer who paid for goods or service is a real cardholder.

If 3-D Secure is in use, then reviewing pa_status of a transaction response the merchant can check if 3-D Secure verification is fully authenticated.

But by some reasons, 3-D Secure can be disabled or not available. What can the merchant do in this case to verify customers?

The answer is the dynamic descriptor suffix.

What is the dynamic descriptor suffix?

The dynamic descriptor suffix is an additional part in dynamic_billing_descriptor separated from the main part of dynamic_billing_descriptor by ^.

The suffix is added to the final billing descriptor string without ^. All validation requirements that are applied on a dynamic descriptor, are applied also on the final descriptor string.

Example of the billing descriptor
If a merchant static descriptor was agreed to be `ACME` and the value of `dynamic_billing_descriptor` is `order 100^*9012`, then a card statement against the merchant transaction will have `ACME*order 100*9012`

Because Overpay never stores the suffix value and never shares it with merchant's customers, a merchant can ask the suffix value from a customer to make sure the customer is a real cardholder of the card.

For above example, if a customer tells you that a card statement has digits 9012 against your transaction, then the customer is real card owner of the card.