How to Save Money on Credit Card Processing Fees

  • On September 25, 2013

Here at Host Merchant Services we guarantee to save our customers money every month on their credit card processing. We understand that some of you are wondering how we do this!

One of the first things to understand when switching to Host Merchant Services is we utilize the most cost effective and fair pricing available in credit card processing. It is called “interchange plus” or “cost plus pricing.” Interchange is a set of rates and fees determined by the card associations (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover). What this means is that our merchants are able to clearly see what interchange categories they qualify for. Here are a few different interchange categories that merchants pay with the same consumer visa credit card. Keep in mind each interchange category has a percentage and a dollar amount included in the category.

Supermarket Credit1.22% + $0.05
Small Ticket (Transactions under $15)1.65% + $0.04
Standard Retail / Restaurant1.51% + $0.10
Charity1.35% + $0.05
Service Station1.15% + $0.25
e-Commerce / Mail order & Telephone order1.80% + $0.10

These examples are based on interchange plus pricing. They also don’t include processor markup, and we have the lowest in the industry! There are other types of pricing that processors will use. You may encounter three-tier pricing (1.79% Qualified, 2.49% mid-qualified, and 3.29% non-qualified) for example. Some merchants are priced flat rate (2.9%, or 2.75%) or flat rate plus surcharges. There is also the dreaded enhanced bill back!

Once you understand your pricing and category you need to look at how you are accepting your credit cards. Credit cards that are taken face-to-face (card present) often cost less than cards that are taken over the phone or on the Internet (card not present). For example, retail swiped transaction of 1.51% versus an e-Commerce transaction of 1.80%. Card associations justify this increased interchange rate due to transactions not being face-to-face.

The next step in saving money is learning how much money is currently being spent on average to take in each dollar on credit cards. This is called your effective rate. This is calculated by totaling all the money you are paying in fees divided by the total amount your business processes in sales and refunds. For example a merchant who pays $300 in fees to bring in $10,000 in credit cards has an effective rate of 3.00% ($300 / $10,000 x 100 = 3.00%).

A few other pieces of information are important to solving the puzzle. The average ticket or average transaction amount is also critical to understanding your rates. The reason being is that a $.20 transaction fee is not a substantial amount of an average ticket of $100 ($.20 / $100 = 0.20%). However, take that same transaction fee on an average ticket of $10 ($.20 / $10 = 2.00%). This goes to show that merchants with larger average tickets pay lower effective rates on average.

Lastly we want to look at other fees; many processors will charge monthly fees, statement fees, administrative fees, regulatory and product fees, PCI fees, and annual fees. Host Merchant Services will help you save money on these fees as well!

The best way to start the process is to have one of our industry experts analyze a current merchant statement. We will walk you through the confusing process by explaining what you are currently paying versus what you would pay with HMS. Contact us today to get started!

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