Credit card processing has been changing in the last couple of years. If you’re a high volume business or take mostly swiped credit cards, a lot of times you can justify the monthly merchant account fees, on top of the per transaction fee which is usually a percentage plus usually like 15 – 35 cents per transaction, plus having to pay for a terminal, plus having a 2 year contract. For low dollar amount transactions, even in volume that can hurt your bottom line.
I always cringed when I got my merchant statements and it was $100’s of dollars in fees alone, $70 was the monthly minimum fee and I was locked into a contract. Then when you cancel with them you continuously get billed. I just had this problem. I cancelled an account in April and they kept billing me until July. I called them and went through the endless maze of find out who I signed up with, calling several different companies, even though I know who I signed up with. I ended up having to dispute it with my bank to get the funds back because the company wouldn’t stop charging me and no one would accept responsibility. This was the most recent example. This has happened to me on a couple of other occasions and it’s a pain every time.
For a business like mine where our transactions come from a variety of places; e-commerce sales, phone sales, in person sales, email sales, etc… It’s even more of a hassle because we have to also pay gateway fees, virtual terminal fees, terminal fees, PCI compliance fees, and probably other hidden fees that I never noticed.
Now there are newer options for your business. Banks are starting to smarten up. Almost every day I get calls or emails with new offers for merchant services. Low monthly fee, no contract, we will beat any price, etc…
If you go to a lot of newer businesses they don’t have regular cash registers, now they have an IPad or some other tablet with a little swipe device. They no longer use those big clunky swipe devices, big cash registers or those devices where you swipe the card and it makes a copy of the card.
The newer technologies like Stripe, Amazon Register, PayPal Here, Square and other’s are changing the way companies are charging their clients.
PayPal Here: Gives you a free card reader that you can attach to your cell phone or tablet and run cards through. It also has an option to punch the credit card in manually, which you can use for phone orders or orders when the card isn’t present. No monthly fees, you can accept international credit cards. Transaction fees as of this writing are 2.7% per swiped transaction, 3.5% + 15 cents per manually inputted transaction. The money goes instantly into your PayPal account.
Amazon Register: You have to pay $10 for their device, every once in a while you can get them for free. It’s almost the same as PayPal Here. The money goes into your bank account the next day. They currently have a promotion where they are giving a $25 transaction processing credit which means you can process up to $1000 for free. Their current transaction fees are 2.5% per swiped transaction, 2.99% for manually keyed transactions.
Stripe: Is more for e-commerce or online companies in that it integrates well into a lot of scripts, plugins and website solutions. The money goes into your bank account in 2 days. Their current transaction fees are 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
Square: Is probably one of the first one’s out there. They have different solutions for merchants as far as how you’re going to accept credit cards. I haven’t personally used them (I do use the other 3), but they have some decent options for brick and mortar businesses. They have a stand for your IPad that looks very nice for a modern look point of sale system, they have a chip reader for the more modern credit cards, and they have the dongle that connects to your cell phone/tablet. Their current transaction fees are 2.75% per swipe and 3.5% + 15 cents per manually entered transaction.
Some merchant accounts tell you about their low transaction fee but if your volume isn’t high enough their other fees will hurt your bottom line. Hopefully these solutions or similar solutions will give you something to think about.