Five tips to minimize card processing expenses

As businesses are racking up debt and supply chain issues are increasing material expenses, cutting costs is more important than ever. With many businesses offering online shopping as an alternative to in-store, you might find your payment processing environment has changed or become more expensive.  

If this sounds like your business, here are five tips for reducing your credit card processing fees, and making the most of your revenue.  

1. Keep an eye on your rates.

Complete monthly audits of your merchant services statements to check for billing errors and avoid rate creep. Processors usually offer seemingly standard contracts, but many contain provisions that allow them to increase your rates. This often comes with the caveat they must notify you first — but those notifications could appear in small print on one of your statements. Be sure to read your statements for notification of rate increases and periodically check your rate to see if it has mysteriously increased. Often, all it takes for them to waive the rate increase is a phone call to object. 

2. Swipe cards and answer questions.

Credit card fees are primarily based on risk. This means you’re better off swiping or inserting a card than entering the number manually. Whenever a number is entered by hand, your processor considers it a higher risk transaction and may charge a higher fee. However, not all organizations have the resources to physically swipe or insert a card. If you’re inputting the card number manually, answer as many of the processor’s questions as possible. Providing information such as the customer’s zip code, debit vs. credit, and the three-digit or four-digit code on the back of the card are all designed to lower the risk of fraud. By entering as much information as possible and lowering the risk, you’ll see reduced transaction fees! 

3. Use an address verification service.

An address verification service (AVS), is a solution that verifies the cardholder’s billing address with the card issuer. It takes your payment services a step further in preventing fraud and has been a big benefit in the world of e-commerce, including limiting chargebacks. 

It works when during the checkout process, the customer enters their address, which is compared to the address on file with the issuing bank. Once the comparison is made, the issuing bank sends an AVS code to the merchant, who can then use the code to authorize or reject the transaction. 

Many major card issuers, including VISA and MasterCard, support AVS. 

4. Make sure PCI Compliance is up-to-date. 

A vendor will incur monthly fees from the Payment Card Industry (PCI) if its compliance questionnaire is not completed annually. These fees will continue to build up indefinitely until compliance forms are completed. The online questionnaire usually takes less than 30 minutes and saves hundreds of dollars every year. By completing the questionnaire, you assure your credit card processor that you are taking the proper steps to keep customer information safe and minimize the risk of fraud. 

5. Hire a professional.

An independent merchant services consultant will find you the lowest rates possible in your area, and can also track your rates going forward to make sure you’re never paying more than you should. For example, Schooley Mitchell looks out for your best interests by providing objective advice to reduce your electronic payment processing spend and improve service. 

Systematic analysis and auditing will: 

  • Uncover and eliminate hidden fees 
  • Identify and recover overcharges and billing errors 
  • Select and apply appropriate rate categories 
  • Ensure government legislation is properly applied 

In conclusion… 

Now is not the time for your business to be spending more than it needs to on credit card processing fees. In reducing costs and growing your bottom line, we hope these tips will be of aid to you.  

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