Small business owners seek the cheapest credit card processor available to handle their transactions.
The pricing structure of credit card processors is not one-size-fits-all, so finding the best credit card processing service for your small business requires knowing exactly which tools you will need.
There’s no question some credit card processing companies are far pricier than others. Here’s what to know in your search for the best payment processor for your enterprise.
Credit Card Processing and High Risk Industries
Keep in mind that many credit card processing companies do not deal with high risk businesses.
A high risk small business must work with a payment service provider specializing in high risk industries. Such businesses can expect to pay more for credit card processing.
Most credit card transaction fees are non-negotiable. The exception is that of the payment processor.
Easy Pay Direct specializes in serving high risk clients.
What is the Cheapest Way to Accept Credit Card Payments?
The cheapest card processing service will depend on the particular industry, as well as your
business’ typical transaction amount and sales volume.
Where does the bulk of your transactions take place? An online store with online transactions only will have different needs than a small business that has a brick-and-mortar location as well.
Do you accept mobile and online payments? These considerations come into play in determining the least expensive way to process credit card payments.
What is a Merchant Account?
A merchant account allows a business to accept credit card payments. A merchant account is necessary to accept online payments.
The merchant sets up the merchant account with a merchant account provider.
Merchant account providers offer small businesses more than credit card processing. They also provide the hardware and software necessary to accept payments, such as virtual terminals.
A merchant account provider uses security measures that reduce the fraud risk for businesses and their customers.
Look for a merchant account provider with the fee structure and services best suited for your small business.
Merchant account providers are not the same as payment service providers. They do not require a dedicated merchant account for each client, but pool all of their customers into one account. Each individual merchant receives a sub-account.
Small businesses can save money with a payment service provider rather than a merchant account, but there is a caveat. A payment service provider is less likely to accept high risk businesses as customers. A payment service provider that works with high risk industries will not offer the cheapest credit card processing available.
How Does the Credit Card Type Factor Into Processing Fees?
Card type plays a role in credit card processing fees.
Credit card rewards cards and business cards have higher processing fees than standard cards. American Express fees are higher than those of other credit card networks.
While Visa and MasterCard are credit card networks, American Express and Discover are credit card companies and networks. That means they issue cards like banks and credit unions.
Debit cards have lower processing fees than credit card transactions.
Typical Credit Card Processing Fees
Typical payment processing fees include:
- Setup fees – These fees cover the initial setup of the credit card processor. Setup fees range between $50 and $100 and are one-time expenses.
- Interchange fees – Credit card networks set these fees, so there is no wiggle room. The issuing bank for the credit card receives these fees. Credit card companies update interchange fees twice a year; once in April and again in October.
- Assessment fee – Businesses pay this fee to credit card companies.
- Equipment leasing fees – Many businesses decide to lease their payment processing equipment, which is an additional monthly fee.
The payment processor receives either per-transaction fees or a monthly fee. Depending upon the payment service provider, that may also include equipment costs for payment processing.
Some merchant account providers charge cancellation fees. Early termination fees may also include hefty fees for each item of leased equipment.
Do All Payment Processors Charge Monthly Fees?
Some payment processors charge monthly fees, while others do not. Many of the credit card processing companies that do not charge monthly fees, such as Block (formerly Square), also do not work with high risk businesses.
Some processors charge a monthly fee for not meeting a minimum number of transactions each month. Small businesses with a steady transaction volume may not have an issue with paying this fee, but it could highly affect seasonal businesses with low transaction volumes.
Look for credit card processors with transparent pricing to avoid hidden fees.
Expect to pay more for online transactions than swiped, in-person transactions. Any time the card is not present, there is a greater risk of fraud. Card-not-present transactions include those made over the phone and mail orders.
Mobile payment processing fees will vary depending on whether the business processes payments with a card reader or terminal.
Before you decide, determine exactly what a credit card processing company will bill you for.
What About Hardware?
Brick-and-mortar small businesses should work with credit card processing companies that provide access to Point of Sale (POS) systems so they can accept credit cards.
Some payment processing companies offer free credit card terminals or virtual terminals. Hardware also includes card readers, cash registers, and other equipment.
What is a Transaction Fee?
Expect to pay a variety of fees to accept credit cards. While the costs of such fees vary, the transaction fee is the most expensive and non-negotiable.
The transaction fee for credit card processing averages between 1.7% to 3.5% per transaction, but it can be higher for high risk businesses.
Transaction fees get split among several entities. They are:
- The issuing bank for the customer’s card
- The credit card network
- The merchant account provider
- The payment processor
Overall, a small business may expect to pay between 2.87% and 4.35% in credit card processing per transaction.
What is Flat-Rate Pricing?
For many small businesses, flat rate pricing is the easiest type to understand. You pay a fixed fee per transaction.
This type of pricing means you can anticipate your monthly processing rates. Most payment processing companies do not charge a monthly fee under this pricing model.
Your rate may vary depending on whether customers are buying products online or in person.
Merchant accounts are unnecessary with flat-rate pricing. However, this does not make it the cheapest pricing option.
The term is also rather misleading, and this model can cost businesses a lot of money in the long term.
What is Tiered Pricing?
Tiered pricing involves breaking down transactions into three tiers:
Fees depend on the transaction type, with qualified transactions receiving the lowest fees, non-qualified the highest, and mid-qualified falling between the two.
Tiered pricing is not the cheapest credit card processing price model.
What is Interchange Plus Pricing?
Interchange plus pricing is the most transparent pricing model and businesses typically save more with processors that offer this option.
Interchange fees refer to credit card processing rates set by the card networks. With interchange plus pricing, that plus is the markup charged by the payment processing companies for every credit card payment, which they keep.
This model makes sense for small businesses with a high number of transactions each month.
Because interchange plus is so straightforward, small businesses are unlikely to encounter hidden fees. It is one of the cheapest credit card processing options available for most businesses.
What are Subscription Fees?
Paying a subscription fee – or membership pricing – has much in common with interchange plus pricing.
Businesses pay the cost of interchange for each transaction along with a small fee. Credit card processors that offer membership pricing may charge an additional monthly fee.
What are PCI Compliance Fees?
PCI refers to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. PCI DSS is a vital part of protecting merchants and consumers from data breaches. These complex standards apply to all credit card transactions regardless of their processing method.
Even those merchants with low transaction volumes must be compliant if any customer pays for goods or services with a credit or debit card.
If a merchant or payment processor does not follow the PCI DSS regulations, they may receive substantial fines or have their credit card processing privileges revoked.
The level of PCI compliance required by a merchant depends upon their transaction volume and whether they have ever had a data breach.
Most small businesses fall into the Level 4 category, based on processing less than 20,000 online transactions or up to 1 million transactions per year via all payment channels.
PCI compliance fees vary by the merchant account provider.
Always make sure payment processors charging PCI compliance fees provide confirmation that you are compliant.
The credit card processing companies take the actions required for compliance.
How Else Can I Save Money With Payment Processing?
There are other ways to lower the cost of payment processing, too. For instance, purchasing a credit card terminal is cheaper than paying a monthly fee for leasing or renting one. Many payment processors offer free terminals as a part of their services.
You could also ask your provider to waive cancellation fees in the event you find the service is not what you expected.
If you process a large number of credit card payments each month, ask about high-volume discounts.
You may also save on your markup fees if the provider will negotiate with you.
Sort through all the fees involved for accepting credit cards and figure out which ones are extraneous.
Gather as many quotes as possible when searching for a merchant services provider. As with any contract, always read the fine print.
How Easy Pay Direct Can Help
Easy Pay Direct is the leading merchant account provider for high risk businesses. We offer transparent pricing and no early termination fees.
For high risk customers, we provide the best credit card processing available.
Receive excellent customer support 24/7. Our quarterly scans exceed PCI compliance regulations.
With our fast approvals, we can have you ready to accept credit card payments in a matter of days.
Our name says it all. We make it easy for small business owners to accept credit card payments safely and securely.
Join the 60,000 merchants served by our platform!
For more information, please contact us at 800.805.4949 or get started here.
Cheap Credit Card Processing
A merchant account is a specific type of bank account that allows merchants to accept payments. Typically, a merchant account is used for credit card processing and eCheck processing but can be used for a variety of payment processing needs. To get a merchant account, one must submit an application with a merchant account provider. These merchant account providers work with acquiring banks, such as Chase and Wells Fargo, to provide merchant accounts to businesses looking to process credit card payments. There are multiple types of merchant accounts depending on how the bank categorizes the industry of the merchant. If the merchant account is used for card not present (CNP) or ecommerce transactions then it must be integrated with an online payment gateway. Otherwise, a physical terminal is required to capture payment information.
Who Easy Pay Direct Works With
Easy Pay Direct works with all kinds of merchants, including, what the banks call, “high risk” merchants. These merchants happen to be in an industry that the banks label as high risk which means that they have a higher likelihood of chargebacks, disputes and fraud. The most common reason for this is card not present transactions which presents a higher risk of fraud. These merchants can have a particularly hard time finding a high risk merchant account because a lot of payment processors refuse to participate in high risk processing. Even if these merchants find a “high risk payment processor” they can still frequently deal with holds or freezes on their money and shut down merchant accounts. This is where Easy Pay Direct saves the day by finding them a high risk merchant account provider that wants to work with their business and providing them with all the resources to meet their high risk credit card processing needs.
What Easy Pay Direct Provides: Merchant Accounts
Easy Pay Direct provides merchant accounts specifically tailored to a merchant’s industry. We do this by leveraging our banking relationships to apply for merchant accounts on your behalf. However, we do not just apply for any merchant account, we use providers who want to work with your business model and underwrite their merchants. This is important because it lays out all the cards on the table and ensures that a provider gets to know who you are and your business model before working with you. That way they know what to expect moving forward. This strategy guarantees that we find a merchant account provider that wants to work with you, making the likelihood of holds, freezes and shut downs, much less and providing a stable credit card processing.
Another benefit to this is you get to avoid the nightmare that applying for merchant accounts can be. Not only do most merchant account providers do very little underwriting, but it can take many applications before you find a merchant account that is good for you. Each application that you send out hurts your chances of getting approved for the next because multiple applications make you look desperate to a provider which they perceive as high risk.
After your merchant account is set up
After we get you set up with your first merchant account, we recommend getting you an additional merchant account if you have over $250,000 in sales volume a year. This is to ensure stable payment processing. Even though Easy Pay Direct takes all the precautions to prevent you from experiencing a hold, freeze or shutdown, we can never know how banks might act in the future. If they hire someone new or implement a new algorithm, your account could have action taken against it. In the event of this, if you have a second merchant account that is already up, running and processing payments, you can pivot your revenue stream to this account and avoid holds, freezes, and shut downs all together.
Now all of this may seem complicated and a lot of work, and it would be if you were doing this on your own. However, if you are working with Easy Pay Direct, we manage all of this for you making your role in all of this very easy. We even assign you your very own Certified Payment Specialist (CPS), who will monitor your merchant accounts for you, giving you one point of contact for all of your merchant processing needs.
How to Get a Merchant Account
The first step on your path to a new merchant account is starting the Easy Pay Direct application or if you would rather chat with someone to find out more, call us at (800) 805-4949*. We can get you set up in as little as 2 DAYS!
*Hint: This is easier cause we can fill out your application for you!
Choose the right Merchant Account for your business:
The Easy Pay Direct Client experience
At Easy Pay Direct your journey will begin with your application which we use to collect information about you and your business to match you with the right merchant account provider. From there you will be connected with your very own New Client Specialist (NCS) who will help you complete this application and will be your contact to answer all of your questions.
Once we have the necessary information and have assessed your business model, you will be classified as a Gold, Platinum or Diamond merchant based on your unique payment processing needs. After this you will be introduced to your Certified Payment Specialist (CPS) who will be your one point of contact for all of your payment processing needs. This ensures that when you call, you are talking to someone that you know and who knows you and your business. They will apply for merchant accounts on your behalf and help you set up your new merchant accounts and your online payment gateway.
After that, you will be ready to start accepting payments. Your CPS will monitor your accounts and keep in contact whenever you want to chat or if they need to alert you of something that requires your attention on top of annual merchant account reviews.
Why Easy Pay Direct?
We pride ourselves on making your life easier and facilitating the growth of business across the globe. We have been doing this successfully for years and have helped countless businesses achieve their full potential, just check out some of our testimonials. More importantly, Easy Pay Direct would love to play it’s part in helping you achieve your goals and service your consumers smoothly. if you’re interested in working with us, you can start your EMAP application below or call us at: (800) 805-4949 | Get Set-up with a Merchant Account »