Reducing Small Business Credit Card Processing Fees
They say you have to spend money to make money. However, some processing companies have taken that too far with the exorbitant small business credit card processing fees that they charge. These fees can really grow as your transaction volume increases. Even as a small business, any reduction in the transaction amount related to a fee can quickly devour your profit margin.
Rather than assuming you have to accept all those credit card fees, consider these strategies that can reduce them for greater profitability:
Learn About Small Business Credit Card Processing Fees
The first step is to know how small business credit card processing fees work and the different fee models. Online content sites offer insights from industry experts about the credit card processing industry, types of fees, and the parties involved in the transaction process. Card brands like Visa and MasterCard regularly issue white papers and posts that explain these fees.
Other payment companies and even processors have their own blogs to deliver further insights about new types of fees, changing regulations about credit card processing, and other news that impacts what you need to pay for and how you can save money. Take the time to read this information and educate yourself to fight for fewer credit card processing fees.
Regularly Review Statements
If you already have a merchant account and process credit cards, you receive a monthly statement. This statement describes the transaction volume for the period. It also shows what fees were charged to your account. Pay attention to these statements because a credit card processor may add new fees or increase those you already pay.
This due diligence can help you catch unnecessary charges. If you don’t have a contract, a credit card processing company can often make these types of changes. Even with an agreement in place, they may still find a way to raise small business credit card processing fees.
Add Value Through Increased Volume and Lower Risk
You are the customer and the credit card processor needs you. There more transaction volume you bring them, the more they want you. As a small business, you can get the word out that you offer this type of payment method for in-person payments, mobile payments, and online payments. Broadcast it on your website, social media channels, email signature lines, and in your store if you have one. As more of your customers decide to use their credit cards at your business, you’ll be able to leverage this increased volume in your negotiations.
The other area to consider that adds value is to find ways to lower the amount of risk they see in working with you. For example, if you can swipe more credit cards, then you will be able to get a better transaction rate with the processor. If you are an online business, it’s unlikely you can swipe the cards. Instead, you use a virtual terminal for online transactions.
However, you can focus on measures that reduce chargebacks or modify your business model to reflect a less risky operation. For example, focus on local customers rather than an international audience until you have established trust with your processor. Working on improvements to your credit score also adds value in the eyes of your processing partner. In return, you will enjoy lower costs associated with small business credit card processing fees.
Focus on Security and Compliance
Look for ways that add more security layers and ensure compliance with the current regulatory environment. This reduces the risk of working with you in terms of chargebacks and potential data breaches. While the processor should also offer security tools, the responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders when it comes to protecting your customers. This means adding multiple authentication measures, encryption, and even biometrics.
Negotiate with Processors
Don’t be afraid to ask that your processing partner reduce the fees you pay. Negotiation can make a difference in these charges. Remember, don’t ask, don’t get.
There are many other processing companies out there. You can mention the aforementioned value you bring them and use this as leverage. Start with the unnecessary credit card processing fees first and see if they will remove them.
If they won’t remove these fees, perhaps they will lower them. However, if they are not willing to negotiate, then it’s time to shop for a new processing partner.
Shop for Competitive Small Business Credit Card Processing Fees
As you review your merchant account each year, it may be time to start looking at other credit card processors that have more competitive rates and fewer fees. There are numerous online directories, review sites, forums and groups that share insights into the various processors. Also, get estimates by calling each processor directly and sharing your volume and needs with them. Be sure to mention if you already have an account elsewhere and that you are looking for fewer fees.
Don’t be afraid to mention your desire to build a long-term relationship with a processor. Every company faces a cost when adding a new customer so the majority want to keep the ones they have and just add others over time. By sharing your interest in a long relationship, the processors that are vying for your business may be willing to offer better terms for your small business credit card procession fees.
About the Author
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best-known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and a Blogging Expert by Time. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.