Rates for Credit Card Processing - Small Business

For most business services, there is one monthly fee and when you get your bill, you pay it. When it comes to credit card processing, you may get one bill every month, but that bill is based on many different fees. Credit card processing small business rates may be confusing, but once you understand how they work, you’ll know how to get the best deal for your business. 

Where to Get the Best Small Business Rates
Small businesses usually have a low overhead and want to keep that overhead low. That means finding the best possible rates for your credit card payment processing needs. While a bank may seem like the easiest place to turn to for a merchant account, banks often have high fees and can be much harder for small businesses to apply to. In addition, you have to think about the services you are getting for your money, and large banks are used to dealing with a lot of customers and a lot of the large business customers. For the best customer service and the best rates, shop around. A smaller, third party merchant account provider may be more attentive to your needs while also offering lower rates.

Typical Credit Card Processing Rates
There are so many rates involved with opening and maintaining a merchant account that it can be hard to decipher what you will truly be charged to process a credit card payment. Here is a rundown of the fees you will typically be charged when you get a merchant account for your business.

Initial Fees
Some credit card processing companies will charge you fees just to get started. This is sometimes presented as a one-time set up fee, but it usually includes an application fee. It’s important to keep in mind that not all merchant account providers will charge you these initial fees, but that should not be your only criteria for choosing a provider.

Per Transaction Fees
There are two kinds of charges that happen every time a credit card transaction occurs with your business. One is known as the discount rate and the discount rate is actually a small percentage of every transaction. This rate varies so you want to compare the rates of various providers before choosing one. It’s also important to know that there is a difference between the discount rate for terminal (or card present) transactions and for card not present transactions. Make sure you are looking at the right rate before making your decision (the card present rate is usually lower). The other per transaction fee is called the per transaction fee. This is normally charged in cents per every credit card transaction your business has. Depending on the number of transactions your business has, these charges can add up, so it is important that you pay close attention to what these rates are.

Monthly Rates
There are two monthly charges that you need to be aware of for credit card processing. The first is simply the monthly maintenance charge, which is what the merchant account provider will charge you every month for maintaining your account. The other monthly charge is the monthly minimum charge. This usually applies to your per transaction fees (including the discount rate). If you end up having only a few credit card payments to process in a month and the charges do not reach the minimum set by your provider, you will have to pay that minimum amount.

Other Rates to Consider
Believe it or not, there are even more fees that may be involved with a merchant account for processing credit cards. If you need to swipe credit cards to process them, you are going to need one or more terminals. You can lease these terminals, buy them, or sometimes get them included in your merchant account. Another fee you may not have thought about is the cancellation fee. You may need to cancel your account for any number of reasons and you don’t want to get stuck with a fee for doing so. Make sure you read the fine print on your agreement or ask the merchant account provider if they have a cancellation fee.

Credit card processing does come with many fees, but if you understand what those fees are and how they apply to your business, you’ll be able to find the most affordable options.