How to Get Cheaper Credit Card Processing Rates
Written by Jodie Pride
30th June 2015 • 6 min read
Once your business starts taking credit cards, you will also start paying credit card processing fees. It’s important to find the right vendor which fits your business needs – some may advertise seemingly low fees only to hit you with greater service charges, and others may seem like they have higher processing rates, but charge significantly less for setup and administration, so it’s important to do your research to ensure that you’re making the right decision.
Unfortunately, credit card processing fees are an unavoidable business cost for most merchants as customers usually prefer to pay for their goods with a credit card. These fees get levied on each sale paid by credit card, and although it might seem like a few pennies here or there, these processing fees can really add up, and before you know it, these credit card purchases can amount to 65% and more of a company’s sale (which could mean thousands of pounds in fees every year!).
Although credit card processing fees are unavoidable, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to save money. Here are some ways you can get cheaper credit card processing rates.
Negotiating payment processors can be easy or difficult depending on the merchant. You want to be seen as a business that is valuable to your service provider, making your business desirable.
The more you sell, the more transactions you will perform and the more valuable you are to the payment processor. Increase your transaction volume and you can have more leverage to negotiate, so stock more products and make more sales if you want the upper hand when it comes to negotiating credit card processing rates.
Of course, this is going to be much easier for large businesses who already make around £15,000 or more in sales a month, but smaller businesses may have to settle for a pricing plan to help spread the cost. Talk to a few different service providers and negotiate the best rates before you decide.
Your credit card processing rates will be much higher if you pose a security risk to your service provider, so you want to minimize the risk of credit card fraud as much as possible. There are some ways that you can reduce the risk of credit card fraud and reduce your processing fees:
- Swiping your credit cards and entering security information. Rates set by credit card brands are higher when cards are keyed in rather than swiped. Most merhcant service providers offer mobile phone swipers and microswimmers (Square for example) so there’s no reason not to swipe your cards.
- Provide security information to protect the cardholder and validate the purchase. Entering a pin number is a great way of protecting your credit cards and can lower the costs by around 1% per sale.
Use a 3rd party
Most credit card processors don’t process credit card transactions themselves, they use a separate provider. You can save money on credit card processing fees by choosing a bank that does all their processing in-house.
The bigger banks are usually the most likely to do that, so try not to sign up with a small local bank who probably outsources their processing and by paying other overheads which are passed down to merchants (things like building costs, salaries, insurance) which larger banks worry less about.
You can still support your local banks keeping your deposits there, but skipping out on the local banks for credit card processing will likely save you money.
Read the small print
Ensure that all forms, applications and contracts are meticulously read – that means all the small print! If you’re not thorough in reading through the terms and conditions, some information can easily slip past.
It’s a good idea to find out whether you have to pay penalties if you want to stop accepting credit cards or change processors – some service providers include penalties for leaving in less than 3 years, for example – and make sure that the figures you were quoted match up with the printed document as it’s the physical contract which will hold up in a dispute, not what you were told in person.
It can be difficult to get cheaper credit card processing rates, but it’s not impossible. Try these methods and also make sure you read your monthly statements so that you can closely monitor and better understand your fees.
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