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Watch Out for Hidden Fees Charged by Credit Card Processors

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Nic Beique | May 1, 2021

“There a few common fees charged by credit card processors that can eat away at your profit margin. Educating businesses regarding hidden fees.”
2 min read

    Learn What to Lookout For

    Below are common additional fees charged by most credit card processors. At Helcim, we're proud not to charge any of the fees listed below.

    Non-Qualified Discount Fees

    Most processors will advertise a low "qualified" rate, but charge a number of additional "non-qualified" fees on top of their standard pricing.

    Initial Setup Fees & Application Fees

    Most processors will have a setup fee for your merchant account. Some will even charge a separate "application fee', which is non-refundable even if your merchant account application is declined. That means you pay even if you aren't able to start accepting payments. Often, processors may charge an extra "annual fee', which is essentially like paying a setup fee each December or January. Annual fees may be upwards of $100 and can be included in the fine print of the legal text on your contract.

    Interchange Differential Fees

    Differential fees are part of the Interchange Differential pricing method used by most processors. On top of the "non-qualified rate," these processors will also make you pay the difference in cost between a consumer card and your non-qualified card. This means that you will also have to pay an interchange differential fee, even though you already paid a penalty through the "non-qualified rate". This makes interchange differential pricing expensive as the payment processor double-dips you on the same transaction.

    Monthly Minimums

    Many processors will charge a "˜monthly minimum' on top of their standard monthly fees. This "˜monthly minimum' is dependent on the total fees generated from your Visa and Mastercard transactions; meaning that if you don't process enough payments, these processors will charge you processing fees regardless. Some processors will blame Visa or Mastercard for these minimums, but these fees have nothing to do with Visa or Mastercard and are instead pocketed by the processor charging them. This can be risky for a new business when you're not sure how fast your business will pick up, or cause additional headaches for established businesses in low season or if there is a slow patch for a period of time.

    Statement Fee & Admin Fees

    Many processors will charge additional "˜statement fees' or "˜admin fees' on top of their standard monthly fee, so you pay to see how much you are processing every month. While some processors let you know about these fees upfront, others don't and you'll only find out about them once you are signed up and receive your statement.

    Quarterly Fees & PCI Fees

    Many processors have recently started charging quarterly fees or monthly PCI fees on top of your monthly account fee. PCI compliance isn't something payment processors need to charge merchants for, they just need to make sure you're completing your PCI compliance. Learn more about PCI here.

    Early-Termination, Contract Closure & Leasing Fees

    Almost all processors have a three to five-year payment processing contract, with cancelation fees ranging from $250 to $5,000 or more. Merchants who sign equipment lease agreements can also face large equipment buyout rates. Find out why you should never lease equipment.

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