This is a guest post by Stella Fayman of TransFS.com.
Accepting credit cards is critical for most businesses. For many, it is the most important financial service.
Unfortunately, most business owners pay much more than they should for the service. According The Merchant-Acquiring Side of the Payment Card Industry: Structure, Operations and Challenges (a Federal Reserve publication), businesses with less than $1M in credit card receipts per year pay between 0.69% and 1.82% more than the wholesale (interchange) price that Visa and Mastercard pay for transactions. Here are some tips to make sure your business gets the best deal:
1) Know what you’re talking about
Do some research early on to get a handle on industry language. Know exactly what your business needs are. This will help screen out salespeople incapable of dealing your situation–who would end up costing you more anyway. For example, if you plan to use a certain POS system or need a certain internet gateway, be sure to mention that in the beginning of the process.
2) No cancellation fees allowed
Make sure to read the fine print from your credit card processing contract. You may be surprised to find a cancellation fee from at least $250 to several thousand dollars. This fee is a way of guaranteeing your loyalty to the processor, regardless of your satisfaction with their service. The good news is that getting rid of this fee should not be a problem–most salespeople have the authority to waive it. To avoid this problem, talk to your salesperson. Make sure the fee is waived in writing either in the contract or as an amendment.
3) Only use interchange-plus pricing
The bulk of a credit card’s processing fee goes to Visa and Mastercard. This fee is called “interchange” and is set in stone. Interchange-plus pricing is the fairest form of pricing structure for your business, meaning that you pay the interchange fee plus a constant markup which goes to the processor as a service charge. Having this structure ensures there are no tricky fees or hidden costs, unlike tiered pricing structures.
4) Comparison shop
Research shows that the best deal can be found by comparison shopping between at least five processors. However, make sure to compare on an apples-to-apples basis, and be sure each processor knows that you are actively shopping. You can easily make your bids more competitive by leveraging the power of comparison.
Stella Fayman blogs for TransFS.com- the comparison shopping site for credit card processors. Much like plane ticket prices are compared on Expedia, TransFS lets business owners compare processors on an apples-to-apples basis. TransFS only includes processors without cancellation or hidden fees, and only interchange-plus pricing. Learn more about credit card processing on the TransFS blog: Financially Speaking.