Whenever a merchant or a business owner is choosing a merchant account provider, looking at and trying to understand the numerous fees is always confusing. Let us try to look and try differentiate these dizzying fees.
Discount rate makes up the majority of the costs when getting and paying for merchant account service. This is a fixed percentage amount that is deducted from the purchase cost or charged on every transaction. It usually range from 1.49 to 4 percent for every transaction.
Transaction fees are charged by the processor to process each transaction. It is charged on every transaction, regardless of whether or not the transaction is approved or declined. It’s amount range from 20 to 30 cents.
PIN Debit transaction fees are only applicable if cards will be swiped and only applies to debit cards. This is a fixed transaction fee and is usually around 70 cents.
Address Verification Service Transaction Fee (AVS) applies only to merchants who are not swiping cards. AVS provides address and zip code lookup on the cardholder and reduces the possibility of fraud.
Daily Batch Fee is charged by some processors when merchants settle daily batch and transfer the settled fund into the merchant’s account. No transactions, no charged.
Monthly statement fee is charged at the end of each month. It is a fixed fee, regardless of the number of transactions made in a particular month.
The Internet Gateway Fee only applies if you are using an Internet Payment Gateway. The gateway fee is a monthly fee assessed by the gateway provider and is usually billed directly by the provider.
Voice authorization fee is only charged when you call in your transaction an 800 number. It is used if the terminal or software the merchant using is not working and the merchant need to perform an authorization.
Monthly Minimum Fee is based on the merchant transaction and discount rate fees from the card sales every month. This is not an extra fee but a minimum amount that the processor or merchant account provider needs to have in fees.
Surcharge fee can be under a different name like partially-qualified fees or non-qualified fees. These fees are additional discount rates that some cards are charged and may apply only on certain card types.
Application or set up fee is only charged one-time. This is only charged when the account is setup. There are some merchant service providers who do not charge this fee anymore.
Programming/Reprogramming fees apply to retail merchants who have changed from one provider to another. For reprogramming, it is applied whenever there is a need to reprogram a piece of existing equipment software.
Annual fee are sometimes charged by the providers.
Chargebacks and retrieval fees are related to customer or issuing bank disputing a transaction that was processed. A large number of chargebacks can cause your merchant account to be dropped totally and leave you in a bind when trying to get another merchant account for your business. As a merchant, it is important that a merchant take the necessary steps to reduce and potentially eliminate the instances of chargebacks.
Cancellation fee is significant cost in setting up and maintaining a merchant account for a business and this fee helps recoup some of those losses should a merchant cancel, especially in the beginning.
There are hidden or junk fees that merchants are not aware of. Some of the hidden fee is for a merchant account provider to offer a teaser rate that is extremely low, but the teaser rate is just temporary and goes up after a few moths while the application is still in process.
Knowing and understanding the merchant account rates and fees will enable the merchant to identify the best service or account provider. It is also important to know the different fees, so that you know where you’re hard earned money go to.