IIAS Certification

  • When can merchants begin completing a 90% registration or certification with the new PIN Standard?

    The new certification and registration process will be available to merchants and Third Party Servicers in the fall of 2012.  A notification will go out to all members once it is available.

  • When will the SIGIS PIN standard be available?

    The SIGIS Board of Directors ratified the PIN Standard on April 4, 2012 and the standard can be accessed once you have logged into the Members area.

  • Will merchants be required to re-certify to meet the Durbin requirement?

    As standards change, SIGIS may create optional or mandatory Addendums to certifications to cover changes/additions to the standard. SIGIS may also determine that re-certification is required.  Please review the scenarios below.

    IIAS

    SIGIS will allow those merchants that are opting to implement the PIN standard that have completed the IIAS Merchant Self Assessment form and are already certified to complete an Addendum to their existing certification. The purpose of the Addendum is to simplify the process so that a certified merchant does not have to complete a full certification form for the sole purpose of being certified for the changes/additions to the standard. Only merchants already certified may use the addendum. The addendum is acquirer / certification specific and will need to be completed for each existing certification that needs to be amended. To clarify, if a merchant is seeking a new certification / acquirer combination, they must use the full form.  To obtain the IIAS Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Addendum, please email certification@sig-is.org.

    Third Party Servicer

    If a Third Party Servicer (TPS) decides to add the ability to process PIN based FSA / HRA transactions to their software, the TPS will be required to complete a new certification, as they would if they were implementing new software.  Once certified, the TPS should then work with their existing certified merchants that have opted to utilize the PIN enabled software to submit a new TPS Merchant Certification with the new software.

    TPS Merchant

    Once the TPS has submitted their new certification and become certified with the PIN enabled software, the merchants that have opted to utilize the PIN enabled software will be required to submit a new certification.

    90% Registration

    A 90% merchant that decided to accept PIN debit transactions will need to update their registration with correct Acquirer Identifier (i.e., MasterCard ICA, Maestro ICA, Visa BIN, Interlink ID, STAR ABA, NYCE ID, ACCEL ID, PULSE ID) and the Merchant Store Identifier (i.e., MasterCard/Maestro, Visa/Interlink, STAR, NYCE, ACCEL, PULSE Card Acceptor ID).


  • What does a merchant need to do to be able to accept FSA and HRA cards?

    The IRS requires many merchants selling health care eligible products to support an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). The IIAS system is a combination of inventory management and point of sale systems that 1) confirm the health care eligibility of items purchased with an FSA or HRA card, 2) generate a payment transaction that contains the required IIAS information, and 3) includes an information archive system that allows the merchant to respond to a IRS audits as required.

    The components of an IIAS system will typically include:

    • • An Inventory Management system that identifies health care eligible items based on the UPC code and compares them to the item purchased for nationally branded, private label and special promotional packaged branded items. SIGIS provides a list of nationally-branded eligible products to its Members.
    • • A health benefit card identification system capability to identify FSA and HRA cards via BIN ranges of all FSA and HRA cards. The list of required BINS is provided by the merchant's acquirer.
    • • A payment authorization system / POS system that generates an IIAS transaction containing all required IIAS data elements, including an IIAS flag indicating an IIAS system was used, the Health Care Eligible Amount, and if supported, the Rx/Prescription Amount. The Rx/Prescription Amount is a subset of the Health Care Eligible Amount. This system should support partial authorizations to improve the handling and acceptance of FSA and HRA card transactions.
    • • Settlement System that supports the settlement of approved IIAS transactions containing the required IIAS information to a merchant acquirer.
    • • A Transaction Retention capability that supports the storage and retrieval of IIAS transactions to respond to IRS audit requests to confirm the eligibility of items purchased on a FSA or HRA card.

    In addition to supporting a system capable of handling IIAS transactions, a merchant must also join SIGIS by completing a Membership Agreement, complete a Merchant Self-Assessment / Checklist and complete certification with their Acquirer. These materials can be completed online at the SIGIS website at www.sig-is.org.   Alternately, merchants that qualify for 90% rule may enroll in that program.


  • What is Certification?

    In accordance to IRS requirements, merchants that accept FSA/HRA cards must demonstrate that their point-of-sale terminal(s) can identify eligible products that may be purchased with these health benefits related card accounts. IIAS Certification is the process by which testing is done to ensure that a merchant’s point-of-sale terminals can distinguish eligible versus non-eligible products and correctly transmit the information for payment authorization at time of a sale in accordance with SIGIS IIAS Standards.

    There are two ways for a merchant to complete IIAS Certification:

    1. Merchant Certification Self-Assessment
    2. TPS Client Merchant Certification Self-Assessment

    To assist in determining which SIGIS IIAS Certification is right for a merchant, please take the following steps:

    1. Contact the merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) service provider to determine if the POS service provider is certified with SIGIS as a Certified Third-Party Servicer (TPS).
    2. If a merchant’s POS service provider is a Certified Third-Party Servicer (TPS), the TPS will instruct its merchant clients to complete the online TPS Client Merchant Certification Self-Assessment form.
    3. If a merchant’s POS service provider is not a Certified TPS, please complete a Merchant Self-Assessment form which can be accessed via the Members Area portal. Please go to:
      • Go to the SIGIS website. 
      • Click the “Members Area” box, enter User Name and Password, then click Log In.
      • Select the “Certification & 90% Registration Forms” box on the right hand side of the page.  
      • A new window will open, select the “IIAS Certification Tab”.

    To complete IIAS Certification, a merchant must work with its processor/acquirer (the company that the merchant contracted with to accept credit card payments) to complete the Self-Assessment form. Merchants should verify with their processor/acquirer and their POS service provider that these companies are Members of SIGIS.

    An email will be sent to you upon completion of IIAS Certification. Your store will be listed on the SIGIS website as a SIGIS IIAS Certified Merchant.


  • What is an “inventory information approval system” as specified by the IRS?

    An IIAS requires a merchant’s point-of-sale system to have the ability to verify that the merchandise being purchased with a FSA/HRA card is an eligible medical expense, as defined by the IRS. The merchant’s system compares the inventory control information (e.g., UPC or SKU number) of items being purchased against a pre-established list of eligible medical products. The list is limited to eligible medical expenses as described in Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, including eligible non-prescription items. The merchant’s system totals the eligible medical expenses and transmits this information to the payment card issuer for approval, subject to coverage under the health plan (i.e., type of coverage provided, covered participant, etc.). Thus when a merchant supports an IIAS, consumers are not able to use FSA/HRA card funds to purchase merchandise unless the items qualify as eligible medical expenses.

  • What certification is required to support the IIAS standard published by SIGIS?

    Merchants who elect to implement an IIAS using the standard published by SIGIS must first be certified by SIGIS. Certification requires completion of an online IIAS Self Assessment Questionnaire, a technical processing certification, use of the SIGIS Eligible Products List, and arrangements to support transaction data retention/retrieval. A merchant's acquirer will review the questionnaire and submit it to SIGIS for approval. A merchant will not be permitted to claim that it supports IIAS transactions using the published standard until it has been certified to the IIAS Standards developed and approved by SIGIS. If a merchant uses a SIGIS certified merchant service provider (POS Vendor), the merchant may be able to apply for a simpler TPS Merchant Certification.

  • If a merchant implements IIAS, is it at all their registers?

    It is possible that the IIAS system has been installed in specific locations within a store, the pharmacy for example, and not all registers within the store. If there is any question, please ask the store for more information.

  • If a merchant’s stores meet the 90% Rule, is it OK to support an IIAS?

    Yes. Many drug stores/pharmacies already support IIAS capabilities. If merchants support an IIAS, they don't have to worry about annually qualifying the gross sales of each store for the 90% Rule. Additionally consumers will benefit from the auto-substantiation of IIAS transactions.

  • IIAS Certified Merchants experiencing declines of FSA-HRA transactions

    While being SIGIS IIAS Certified enables a merchant to be in compliance with IRS guidelines in accepting FSA and HRA cards, SIGIS IIAS Certification does not guarantee 100% acceptance of cards.

    SIGIS Member issuer/processors and the majority of their clients who provide employee FSA and HRA cards have enabled SIGIS IIAS processing to authorize and auto-substantiate transactions.

    However some employer benefit plans may require a level of transaction detail that is not supported by the SIGIS IIAS Standard, thereby, preventing acceptance even at merchants with a fully SIGIS certified IIAS solution.

    Merchants that have implemented IIAS systems may continue to see declines on health care benefit cards that are standard payment card declines (insufficient funds, closed account, etc.). Thus, if the card transaction declines, it is most likely that the decline is valid.

    Listed below are the main reasons why properly formatted IIAS transactions at an IIAS merchant may be validly declined. Note: The list below is not intended to be all-inclusive, but, represents the most common reasons that together account for most declines.

    MOST FREQUENT VALID DECLINE REASONS

    1. The card has not been activated or has been suspended.
    2. The card has no funds remaining, or the card has insufficient funds and the merchant does not support partial authorization.
    3. The cardholder is attempting to purchase only non-health care eligible items with a card that has only an FSA and/or HRA purse.
    4. The participant's plan only reimburses the prescription drug amount and (a) The merchant does not send the Rx amount in the auth message, or (b) The plan requires a match to claim(s) from a pharmacy benefit manager (the cardholder's prescription drug plan) and the transaction failed to match, or (c) The merchant sends the Rx Amount but does not support partial authorizations and there are non-Rx items being purchased.
    5. The participant's card has not been loaded with funds for the new plan year because of delays by the employer or TPA in getting the enrollment file to the issuer processor.
    6. The merchant sent an expiration date that does not match the date in the issuer processor's system - this can happen when there is an error key entering the expiration date.
    7. The merchant manually keys in a card number that does not match a valid card on file with the issuer.
    8. The cardholder was issued a new card, either because his/her employer changed TPAs or she/he changed employers, but is continuing to use the old card that has been closed.
    9. The participant tried to use their card as a PIN debit and they entered an incorrect PIN number.
    10. The participant tried to use their card as a PIN debit and the merchant does not support PIN debit FSA transactions.

  • Is a Merchant required to make IIAS changes to accept FSA/HRA cards?

    No. A merchant is not required to implement an IIAS; however, FSA/HRA card issuers will not be able to approve FSA/HRA card transactions when a merchant does not support an IIAS. If you are a merchant and choose not to implement an IIAS, you do not need take additional steps.  Merchants that are pharmacies/drug stores and primarily sell prescriptions and medical items may qualify under the IRS rules as a “90% Rule” merchant.  See the 90% Rule Merchant FAQs for more information.

    For merchants that would like to accept the FSA/HRA cards from their customers, the IRS requires Merchants selling health care eligible products to support an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). The IIAS system is a combination of inventory management and point-of-sale systems that can verify the health care eligibility of items purchased with an FSA or HRA debit card, generate a payment transaction that contains the required IIAS information, and includes an information archive system that allows the merchant to respond to an IRS audit(s) as required. As noted above, for Drug Stores / Pharmacies where 90% of the sales on a store-by-store basis qualify as FSA-eligible, a 90% Rule registration program is an alternative option.

    Merchants have the option to not become a Member of SIGIS by establishing their own IIAS standards or 90% Rule Exemption and working with third-party plan administrators individually.

    With the IIAS Certification developed by SIGIS, a non-profit standards organization, a broad range of participating merchants have been able to implement a solution that is recognized industry-wide, which enables acceptance of most FSA/HRA payment cards. Likewise, third-party plan administrators have implemented a common set of procedures that are applied to IIAS transactions at participating merchants.


  • How to complete a TPS Client Merchant Form

    If a merchant is a Member of SIGIS in good standing (Membership is current and fees are paid) and is a Merchant with a point-of-sale system that utilizes software from a SIGIS Certified Third-Party Servicer (TPS), the merchant can obtain IIAS Certification without technical testing, if your TPS has been certified by SIGIS with the processor / acquirer you use. To initiate IIAS Certification, the Member must complete an online TPS Client Merchant Form.

    Three prerequisites are required for a merchant to certify utilizing the TPS Client Merchant Form.

    1. The Member must be using a POS software solution that has been provided by a certified TPS.
    2. The Member's version of software provided by the TPS must be certified with the processor / acquirer used by the merchant.
    3. A Member should contact their POS provider to determine if the TPS software has been certified with the Member’s processor / acquirer.

    If one or more of the prerequisites are not in place, the Member must complete IIAS Certification using the Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Form.

    To access the online TPS Client Merchant Form, the Member must have a SIGIS Members Area login. If a merchant is a paid Member, but has not yet obtained a login, please follow these steps:

    • Go to the SIGIS website.
    • Click CONTACT US.
    • Click Password Request.
    • Enter your email address and your Members Area username and password will be emailed.

    Once you have a SIGIS Members Area login, follow these steps to access the TPS Client Merchant Form:

    • Click on the Member Login link on the SIGIS website.  
    • Enter your login information, which will enable you to access the "Certification & 90% Registration Forms" box on the right hand side of the page.
    • Click the link, select the TPS Certification Tab to open the online form, and complete the form. A merchant may need assistance from its POS service provider in answering some of the questions.
    • Once the TPS Client Merchant Form is completed, click Submit.

    The Form will be submitted for review and approval by a merchant’s TPS and Acquirer/processor. The merchant will receive an email confirmation of the submission. If in reviewing the form, the merchant’s TPS finds any errors or omissions, an email will be sent to the Member requesting that the Member correct the TPS Client Merchant Form online, and resubmit the form for review/approval.

    If the TPS Client Merchant from is declined for any reason by the TPS or acquirer / processor, an email will be sent to the Member to correct the errors and omissions. The Member will need to make corrections and resubmit the TPS Client Merchant Form. Please allow up to two business days for review by each of these parties.

    Once the TPS Client Merchant form is approved by the TPS and acquirer/processor, the Member will receive an email IIAS Certification notification, and on the next business day, the Member's DBAs will be posted on the IIAS Merchant List as Certified.


  • How to complete the Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Form

    If a Member is in good standing (Membership is current and fees are paid) and is a merchant with a point-of-sale system utilizing software operated by the merchant or a software provider that is not yet SIGIS-certified, the merchant must complete the Merchant Certification Self-Assessment form to be IIAS certified.

    The Merchant Certification Self Assessment must be completed in conjunction with the merchant's processor/acquirer (the company that you are contracted with to accept credit card payments).

    Below are the steps to obtain, complete and submit a Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Form.

    • Click the “Members Login” box and enter login information.
    • Click the “Certification & 90% Registration Forms” box on the right had side of the page.
    • A new window will open, select the “IIAS Certification Tab”.
    • Complete the form and submit.

    When SIGIS receives the completed Merchant Self Assessment Form, it will be reviewed by SIGIS. Here is a summary of the steps taken by SIGIS:

    1. The Merchant Self-Assessment Form will be reviewed for errors or omissions, and if any are found, the form will be sent back to the Member (merchant) and its processor/acquirer for correction, with an email detailing the error or omission. A revised Merchant Self-Assessment Form must be submitted to SIGIS to reinitiate the IIAS Certification process. Once the revised Self-Assessment Form is received, it will be reviewed again to ensure that all errors or omissions have been addressed.
    2. Once the Merchant Self-Assessment Form has been approved by the SIGIS review committee, the Member's processor/acquirer must perform technical testing of the Member's POS system, and notify SIGIS when technical testing has been completed.
    3. Once SIGIS has received notification from the processor/acquirer that technical testing is complete, SIGIS will notify the Member (merchant), processor/acquirer and the major credit card companies that the merchant is now IIAS Certified.
    4. The Member's status on the IIAS Merchant List will be posted on the SIGIS website as "Certified".
    5. Upon receipt of the IIAS Certification email the Member MUST notify SIGIS of their planned implementation date.
    6. The IIAS Certification process is now complete with SIGIS.

    **Please note that a merchant’s acquirer must complete the steps of obtaining the merchant identification number (the Visa MVV and MasterCard MCID) from the card networks. Transactions will not process until this step is completed. **


  • How often is the IIAS merchant list updated?

    The IIAS Merchant List is updated daily at 5am pst as updates are available. The 90% Merchant List is updated each Monday morning at 5am pst.

  • Does SIGIS sell the software or equipment necessary to run an IIAS?

    SIGIS does not make or produce hardware or software. SIGIS is a non-profit, standards organization that works with merchants, their acquirers, issuer/processors and plan administrators to develop consistent standards for the initiating and authorization of FSA/HRA debit card transactions. SIGIS does provide for Third-Party Servicer/POS certification for IIAS systems, please check our website for a list of Third-Party Servicer solutions that have been certified. In addition, SIGIS provides Members with the Eligible Product List that is used to identify eligible health care products in a merchant's inventory when supporting IIAS systems. Lastly, it is suggested that merchants contact their payment card processor for information about how to support an IIAS and which Third-Party Servicer’s have been certified with their acquirer.

  • Amend a Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Form

    When a correction is needed on a Merchant Certification Self-Assessment, the Member must work with its processor/acquirer to make the make the necessary corrections to the original Merchant Self-Assessment Form.

    The Member must resubmit the corrected or amended Merchant Certification Self Assessment to SIGIS to include the following:

    1. Click the “Members Area” box and enter login information.
    2. Click the “Certification & 90% Registration Forms” box on the right hand side of the page.
    3. A new window will open, select the “IIAS Certification Tab”.
    4. Select the appropriate certification to update, complete the information and hit save.
    5. The certification will go through to the SIGIS review committee for review and approval.

  • Amend a submitted TPS Client Merchant Form

    If the Member has submitted a TPS Client Merchant Form that contains incorrect data, the Member will be notified in an email that the form has been declined by the Member's POS service provider (TPS) or the Member's acquirer/processor. The email will state the reason for decline, and the Member should address these issues with the TPS or acquirer/processor prior to resubmitting the form to ensure that all data fields contain the correct information.

    Once the Member has the correct information, the Member must login to the Members Area of the SIGIS website, then click on the “Certification & 90% Registration Forms” box on the right hand side of the page , to select “Update” and resubmit the TPS Client Merchant Form. The IIAS Certification review and approval process implemented by the TPS and acquirer/processor will be reinitiated.


  • As a merchant that has implemented an IIAS system, why are card transactions being declined?

    Merchants who have implemented IIAS systems may continue to see declines on health care benefit cards. Declines for standard business reasons will occur. These reasons include insufficient funds, closed accounts, expired cards, status of accounts, etc. Therefore, if the card transaction declines, it is most likely that the decline is valid. A reference document called MOST FREQUENT VALID REASONS FOR CARD DECLINES can be found on the SIGIS website at www.sig-is.org. This list includes the main reasons why properly formatted IIAS transactions at an IIAS merchant can validly decline against cards that are IIAS-enabled. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, but represents the most common reasons that together account for most declines.

  • At times, we see that FSA or HRA cards may work at some stores of a certified merchant, but not at other store locations. What could cause that?

    It is possible that the merchant has a phased implementation of IIAS capabilities. If the merchant's implementation date is listed as "Live" and a plan administrator continues to experience problems with card usage, please speak with your transaction processor.

  • Changing Acquirer/Processor after Certification

    A Member who is currently certified may change its acquirer/processor at any time. However, to avoid a lapse in IIAS Certification, the Member is encouraged to submit all documentation and complete IIAS Certification under the new acquirer/processor before discontinuing the relationship with their existing certified acquirer/processor.

    If Member is a Certified TPS Client Merchant who completed the Online TPS Client Merchant Form:

    1. If the Member is using the same TPS solution, and the new acquirer is certified under this TPS, the Member may update their existing online TPS Client Merchant application by selecting the new acquirer from the application drop down menu, and resubmitting the application for Certification.
    2. If the new acquirer/processor is not listed as certified with the POS provider, the TPS Client form cannot be used to change your acquirer/processor. The Member must complete the Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Form. (See instructions for completing the Merchant Self-Assessment.)

    If a Member is not a Certified TPS Client Merchant, the Member must recertify using a Merchant Certification Self-Assessment Form (See instructions for completing the Merchant Self-Assessment process.)


  • Confirm your SIGIS IIAS Certification status

    As a paid Member of SIGIS in good standing, a merchant is able to confirm the status of its SIGIS IIAS Certification by going to www.sig-is.org and clicking on IIAS Merchant List.

    A Member’s DBA Names (doing business as name) will be posted on the IIAS Merchant List under the following parameters.

    • If the Membership is listed as "Certified", the merchant has completed the IIAS Certification process

    Please note that the list is published at 5am pst each business day.


  • The cardholder swiped their card, but the TPA does not see a transaction, why?

    When TPAs experience transaction issues, they should speak with their card processor for specific details. It is possible that the cardholder was attempting to purchase items that the merchant did not have identified as SIGIS qualified items and, therefore, did not submit the transaction for authorization against the card identified as being for health care purchases.

  • Obtaining Card Network Merchant Identification Number

    Upon notification of completion of the SIGIS IIAS Certification Process, a merchant should follow up with its acquirer/processor to obtain the card network's transaction control id numbers. The acquirer/processor is the only entity able to retrieve these numbers. A merchant must obtain these identification numbers before FSA/HRA Card transactions will process correctly.

  • How to change from the 90% rule to IIAS Certification

    If the Primary Organization has registered for the 90% Rule Exemption from IIAS standards and would like to convert to SIGIS IIAS Certification, the Member must first determine appropriate IIAS Certification option:

    • Contact your POS service provider to determine if the POS service provider is a SIGIS certified as a Third-Party Servicer (TPS). If so, apply for SIGIS IIAS Certification by completing an online TPS Client Merchant Form that can be accessed in the SIGIS Members Area of www.sig-is.org.
    • If the merchant’s POS software is not certified by a TPS, apply for SIGIS IIAS Certification by completing the Merchant Certification Self-Assessment online form which can be accessed in the Members Area of the SIGIS website at www.sig-is.org.

    As the Primary Organization is waiting completion of the SIGIS IIAS Certification process, all registered DBA(s) currently listed on the 90% Rule Merchant List will remain.

    Upon completion of the SIGIS IIAS Certification process, the Member should withdraw their 90% Self-Registered form, which will then be removed from the 90% Rule Merchant List.


  • What about a merchant’s data retention requirements?

    The IRS requires that merchants be able to retrieve the product detail associated with an IIAS transaction for a period of five (5) years. The data retention requirements are published in the SIGIS Technical Specification.

  • What's happening to meet the data retention requirement?

    SIGIS has developed data retention requirements. It is the responsibility of participating IIAS merchants to ensure that data retrieval requests and responses are supported to enable plan administrators to meet IRS audit requests.

  • As a TPS, How do I update the TPS Merchant Certification contact email address?

    A TPS may update the contact email address for a certification in any status without changing other information on the form.  To do so, please follow these steps.

    1. Log in to the Members Area
    2. Select the “Certification & 90% Registration Forms box” on the right hand side of the page  a new window will open.
    3. Click on the “TPS Self Assessment” Tab
    4. Click on the “Online Form” link next to the certification you wish to update
    5. Scroll down to the “TPS Contact Email”, make the appropriate change and click the “Save Email” button.

    All new TPS Merchant approval requests will be routed to the new email address.


  • How can a TPS update an approved Certification that has approved merchants?

    TPS’s that wish to update a certification that has approved merchants should contact SIGIS at certification@sig-is.org.  The TPS will be asked to complete the “TPS Change Questionnaire” document.  Upon review, the TPS will instructed on required steps.  In some cases a simplified process may be available so as to not impact the approved merchants. Each situation will be evaluated based on the info provided in the TPS Change Questionnaire document.


  • How can a merchant combine Certifications under one membership?

    Some members may have multiple memberships which qualify for combination to a single membership.  After contacting the Help Desk to confirm eligibility, please follow these steps to move the IIS certification.

    1. Let Help Desk know which certifications need to be move.
    2. Help Desk will contact SIGIS IT to move the certifications with the old and new company information.
    3. SIGIS IT will move the certifications and confirm back to SIGIS Help Desk.

    Note:  Once the IIAS certification has been moved, Help Desk will work to inactivate the old membership.


  • What happens to a merchant’s certification status if its Membership is terminated?

    Membership termination will result in removal of the merchant’s name from the IIAS Merchant List or the 90% Registration list, depending upon what SIGIS process the merchant may have implemented. In addition, the Member will no longer have access to the SIGIS Members Area or the Eligible Products List. SIGIS will notify Visa, MasterCard and card issuers of the merchant’s suspension and the card issuers will decline FSA/HRA Card transactions at that merchant’s locations because the merchant no longer supports IRS requirements for FSA/HRA card acceptance.

    If an active Member is terminated and wishes to become reinstated as a SIGIS Member, a Member must send a check with company name and contact information to SIGIS at:

    SIGIS - Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards
    111 Deerwood Rd. Suite 200
    San Ramon, CA 94583 USA

    Please remember to include an additional $50 for the membership reinstatement processing fee.


  • Does a merchant need to implement an IIAS system based on its merchant category code (MCC)?

    Potentially, yes. The IRS states that cardholders’ use of a FSA/HRA card is limited to merchants and service providers with specific merchant category codes (MCC) related to health care, including physicians, dentists, vision care offices, hospitals, and other medical care providers. The FSA/HRA card can also be used at merchants or service providers that do not have health care related merchant category codes, provided that those non-health care related merchants or service providers use an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). It is required that attempts to use FSA/HRA cards at merchants or service providers without a health care related MCC code and who have not implemented an IIAS be declined.

    An IRS ruling highlighted merchants in categories such as supermarkets, grocery stores, discount stores, wholesale clubs, mail order vendors and web-based vendors that sell prescription drugs as examples of merchants that would not be considered health care related and would therefore fall into the class of merchants requiring the implementation of the IIAS system. Because of the broad range of the merchandise sold by many drug stores or pharmacies, the IRS has also specified that drug store and pharmacies are not to be considered medically related, and thus, must implement an IIAS capability. Additionally, drug stores and pharmacies where 90% of their products sold qualify as medically eligible items may qualify for the 90% rule exception.


  • If a merchant implements the SIGIS IIAS standard, is there a guaranteed 100% acceptance of the health care debit cards in the marketplace?

    While an IIAS system is required for non-health care merchants to accept FSA and HRA cards under the IRS guidelines, a merchant that implements an IIAS solution is not guaranteed 100% acceptance of all FSA/HRA cards. SIGIS Member card issuers/processor and the majority of their third-party plan administrator clients supporting FSA and HRA cards have enabled SIGIS IIAS processing to authorize and auto-substantiate transactions; however some employer benefit plans may require a level of transaction detail that is not supported with an IIAS solution, thereby, preventing acceptance even at merchants with a fully certified IIAS solution. In addition, normal decline issues can occur for expired cards, insufficient funds, cards not activated and other business reasons.

  • Does SIGIS support IIAS and 90% Rule processes for US Territories?

    US Territories US Virgin Islands (USVI), Guam, Marianas Islands / Saipan (CNMI) and American Samoa operate under a variety of US tax laws.  Some mirror the US tax law while others are separate and distinct.  In summary:

    • US Virgin Islands (USVI) and Guam operate under a mirrored US tax law that supports Section 125 Cafeteria plans and an IIAS.  SIGIS supports retailers and consumers in these markets via IIAS and 90% Rule programs.
    • Puerto Rico has its own tax code that does not currently recognize Section 125 Cafeteria plans and IIAS.  SIGIS does not support this market.
    • American Samoa and Marianas Islands / Saipan (CNMI) have a combination of US and Local tax laws in effect.  Further research is required to determine if Section 125 applies in these markets and the impact of local tax laws. At this time, SIGIS does not support these markets.

    While SIGIS processes may support these locations members and consumers should consult with their counsel and plan administrators that operate in these markets to determine support for FSA, HRA and HSA debit cards.

    As of April 12th, 2011.


  • How do I add or remove locations to the Store Locator for my TPS Merchant or IIAS Certification?

    1. Click the “Members Login” box and enter log in information.

    2. Select the “Certification & 90% Registration Forms” box on the right hand side of the page.

    3. Click on the TPS or IIAS Certifications tab as appropriate.

    4. Click on the Online Form link next to your certification.

    5. Scroll down to the DBA section.

     To change:

    a.To add your location to the store locator search click the checkbox under the Opt-In column.  NOTE: This checkbox is located next to your MCC code.

    b. To remove your location from the store locator search click to uncheck the checkbox under the Opt-In column.  NOTE: This checkbox is located next to your MCC code.

    6. Click Save.