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Are Payment Processing Fees Breaking Your Bank Account?

Here’s the thing, it’s going to cost you something to accept credit cards for your business. 

There is a cost for payment processors to manage the infrastructure, security requirements, and technology needed so that customers can use their credit cards at businesses across the country. 

And that’s probably okay with you because accepting credit cards makes it easier for you to get paid, and it means you receive regular deposits into your bank account without having to deal with the hassle of handling cash. What you don’t need is a payment processor that takes advantage of its relationship with you and tacks on fee, after fee, after fee. We’re not saying all fees are bad, but if your payment processor is charging a fee, there should be clear reasons for it, you should be able to justify the value you’re getting, and they need to be transparent about it. 

Here are some of the fees we have seen charged by payment processors and how we feel about each of them. 

Customer Service Fees

There are only a few big bank payment processors that we have noticed charged this fee, but that’s no excuse. Having to pay extra for access to customer service is ridiculous in our minds. Having a knowledgeable and helpful support team ready to assist if an issue does arise is a requirement for working in the payments industry. While these fees are usually low, between $4-5 a month, it’s an annoying added expense that you shouldn’t have to pay. 

Helcim’s Take: We’re proud to offer great customer service to all of our merchants, and we’re not going to charge a fee to access it. Our belief is that customer support should be helpful, knowledgeable, and accessible at all times and not for a fee. 

Installation Fees

Paying an installation fee is another unnecessary charge that we wish payment processors would stop charging. It’s not like they are actually going to send someone to your business to set up your new equipment. Not at all, you’re the one who is doing all the work. So if they’re not paying someone to do the install for you, then what are you paying for? Even if you do call for assistance or to have a customer service representative walk you through the process, it’s still not worth the $100 to $150 fee that we have seen some payment processors charge. 

Helcim’s Take: You shouldn’t have to pay for a service you’re not getting. If you need help setting up the Helcim Payments app, accessing any part of your account, or setting up your card reader, we are more than happy to help, and we won't be charging an installation fee. 

Monthly Minimum

Some payment processors might charge a monthly minimum as a way to guarantee their income. If you don’t process anything that month, the payment processor might charge a monthly minimum to make up for the loss of payment processing fees. In the event you process only a small amount, they may charge the difference between the processing fees that you have paid and the monthly minimum fee to hit that minimum amount. Ultimately it’s the minimum amount of fees you will be paying each month no matter what you do or do not process. 

Helcim’s Take: We know that there might be months where you don’t need to process any transactions. If that’s the case, we have auto-pause billing so you won’t pay any processing fees, we’ll waive your monthly fee, and you can leave your account open without worry about paying for a service you don’t need right that minute. 

Early Deactivation Fees

It’s no secret that we’re not fans of long-term contracts or leases. We have even shared articles with all the reasons why we don’t think you should ever lease a terminal. One of the main reasons for this is because of the added cost from things like early deactivation fees that some payment processors will charge if you want to end your lease early. These fees aren’t cheap either, the fee can easily be a few hundred dollars. Since these leases are often a few years in length and include clauses that let them auto-renew, it’s not uncommon for a business to find themselves stuck in a lease that they no longer want or need.   

Helcim’s Take: We don’t believe in long-term leases or contacts, that’s why we don’t have either. We want our merchants to partner with us because they truly believe we’re the best fit for their business, not because it’ll cost them hundreds of dollars to break their contract.

A Fee to Deposit Money in Another Account

Some of the traditional bank processors want more than just your payment processing business, they also want your banking business. To encourage this, they might charge an additional fee if you want your money deposited at another bank. While this is not a large fee, it’s an annoying fee to have to pay since you’re essentially paying for not having a service instead of paying for a service you’re receiving. 

Helcim’s Take: You should be free to choose who you bank with, the same way you choose who your payment processor is. We offer fast deposits within two business days to whatever bank account you want to use. It makes no difference to us, and it definitely won’t cost you extra. 

PCI Compliance and PCI Non-Compliance Fees

We know that businesses don’t like to deal with PCI Compliance, but it’s an important part of accepting credit cards. Being PCI compliant helps protect your business by knowing what your exposure is, so you can take proactive steps to reduce it, and you’re helping to protect your business’s reputation. However, it can be annoying to have to pay a fee to be compliant with your payment processor and even more annoying to pay a higher fee for being non-compliant. These fees can vary wildly depending on your processor. We usually see fees around the $50 range but have seen them charged as a percentage of your processing volume for non-compliance. In that case, the fees were over $1,000 a month. 

Helcim’s Take: PCI compliance is important, and your payment processor should make it easy for you to be compliant, without charging you exorbitant fees. Not only do we not charge any PCI or non-compliance fees, but we also make it easy for you to complete your compliance. Most Helcim merchants can complete their questionnaire within their Helcim account in under five minutes. If you happen to have a more complicated payment setup, we’re happy to help walk you through it. 

Admin and Account Service Fees 

These two fees are unfortunately much more common than we would like. These are also the sort of fees that you just get used to seeing. As fee fatigue sets it, not just from payment processors, but every type of service provider who tacks on an admin or account service fee, you just accept it. 

Helcim’s Take: We urge you to demand better from your payment processor, let them know you’re not going to put up with paying for additional fees, and you’re willing to take your business elsewhere. Once again, these are two fees you won’t see on your Helcim statement. 

Paper Statement Fees

We could find a way to justify paper statement fees because they are pushing you to go digital, which is more convenient, environmentally friendly, and costs less. You should make sure your payment processor offers an easy way for you to go digital and avoid the fees. We are willing to let this fee slide as long as there is an easy way to avoid it, and you’re told upfront about the fee, so you can make your decision on how you get your statement.

Helcim’s Take: All of Helcim's statements are digital, so you do not need a paper statement fee. All you have to do is log in to your Helcim account to view and download a PDF copy of your statement each month. 

Avoid Paying Extra Fees

These are just some examples of the most popular additional fees that we see other payment processors charge. If you haven’t reviewed your statement for a while, take a look through it and make sure none of these pesky fees are showing up. 

At Helcim, we focus on transparency and honesty, which is why we openly list any fees you will pay on our website, and we even have a whole list of all the fees you won’t pay. You can get all the details on our pricing page

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