As a business owner, you know very well that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. This is especially true when it comes to merchant credit card fees.
Every time a customer pays you with a credit card, you’ll need to pay a credit card processing fee. These fees are made up of several different components and can vary between different cards and different service providers.
You’ll want to have a good understanding of these fees, to make sure you’re not overpaying. I’m here to explain everything you need to know.
What Are Credit Card Merchant Fees?
Each credit card company and merchant service provider (MSP) sets its own rates for processing card transactions. The fee is usually made up of a percentage of the sale amount and a standard per-transaction amount that’s charged by your payment service provider.
Types of Credit Card Processing Fees
Your business will have to pay fees on every card transaction. The fee structure will depend on the card network, the payment service provider you work with, and the agreement you have with those providers.
Card issuers charge interchange fees to cover expenses like handling costs and those related to fraud and bad debt. The amount your business will have to pay varies based on a variety of factors, including the amount swiped, your business’s merchant category, the type of card used, and the processing method.
The rate of the interchange fee is dependent on the perceived risk of the transaction. The higher the chances of chargebacks due to fraud or other reasons, the higher the interchange fee is likely to be.
Interchange fees are charged whenever a client uses their credit card. These funds are then paid over to the issuing bank. For example, if a consumer pays with a Visa card issued by Chase Bank, the interchange fee will be paid to Chase.
Also known as credit card brand fees, assessment fees are paid to the card network that facilitates transactions (that would be Visa in the example above).
This fee is based on the total amount of monthly card sales a business makes in a given month. It’s essentially a levy that the card network charges merchants for being able to accept its cards and is usually much lower than the interchange fee.
If you combine interchange and assessment fees, you’ll get what’s known as the swipe fee: the total amount that it costs to accept credit cards.
Payment Processing Fees
As the name suggests, payment processing fees cover the cost of processing a credit card payment. The charge is levied for the behind-the-scenes work that the processor does to ensure funds are transferred between your customer’s bank account and your business bank account.
There are several factors that affect the payment processing fee. Depending on your payment service provider, these may include:
- Payment gateway fees
- PCI compliance fees
- Chargeback fees
- SaaS fees
- Hardware fees
- AVS (address verification system) fees
- Monthly service fees
Considering the broad range of services that a payment service provider can charge for, you’ll want to find one that can give you a straightforward breakdown of what you’ll pay each month.
Pay.com offers a completely transparent, per-transaction fee structure, so you always know how much you’re going to pay at the end of the month. The system is easy to set up and you can accept credit cards, debit cards, and a wide variety of alternative payment methods.
How Much Are Credit Card Merchant Fees?
Different companies set their own credit card processing fees, so the average cost can vary significantly.
What you’ll be charged will depend on the card network, the type of card used and the business’ merchant category code (this is a four-digit code used by credit card companies to categorize businesses by industry.
It’s difficult to give an estimate of what you can expect to pay in credit card merchant fees, but the average credit card merchant fees range between 1.4% and 3.5%.
Pricing Models for Credit Card Merchant Fees
While each credit card company chooses its own fee structure, you also have to account for your payment service provider’s fees. This amount is added to your total merchant credit card fees.
Payment service providers offer different pricing models, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Here are some common pricing models:
- Tiered pricing: Transactions are separated into different categories (or tiers) and each tier is priced at a different level. Tiered pricing can be difficult to understand and usually works out to be extremely expensive.
- Flat-rate pricing: In this model, the merchant is charged a fixed percentage of each transaction plus a small fee. Pay.com uses this transparent pricing model as it allows business owners to easily estimate credit card processing costs over a given period of time based on sales. Click here to find out how you can get started with Pay.com.
- Interchange-plus: Similar to flat-rate pricing, interchange rates are a percentage of a transaction plus a small dollar amount. The difference is that the percentage you’re charged varies based on a few factors. The ‘plus’ in interchange plus pricing comes in when the processor you work with charges a markup on the interchange fee for using their services.
- Subscription: You may sign up for a membership with a payment processor. Rather than paying a percentage of each transaction, you pay a monthly fee plus a small transaction fee. This can be a good choice if you have a high volume of sales that can justify the monthly fee.
Credit Card Merchant Fees Comparison
Different credit card companies charge different rates. The table below lays out the average rates for the two main fees charged by the major credit card companies.
You can use this table to get a general idea of what your credit card merchant fees would look like on a monthly basis. Keep in mind that this is only meant to serve as an estimate. The actual cost will vary and will also include payment service provider fees.
Minimize Your Credit Card Merchant Fees with Pay.com
Pay.com charges flat-rate fees on card transactions. You can monitor all your transactions and fees in the easy-to-navigate Pay Dashboard.With our transparent pricing model and zero-hidden-fees policy, you’ll always know exactly what you’ll pay for our services at the end of each month.
Pay.com comes with lots of great benefits for your business:
- Easy setup: You can choose to work with our no-code solutions that require no technical expertise, or use our developer-friendly APIs to integrate the system into your website. You’ll be receiving payments in no time!
- Wide variety of payment methods: You can accept credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and many more.
- Customization options: You can customize your checkout page to match your brand.
- Global payment processing: You can accept payments from anywhere in the world.
- Card authentication: Pay.com supports 3D Secure 2.0 to protect your business from fraudulent transactions.
The Bottom Line: Credit Card Merchant Fees Can Be Simple
The area where you can really simplify your credit card merchant fees is payment processing. Working with a payment processor that charges a flat rate rather than tiered, interchange plus, or subscription fees is a great way to do this.
Pay.com’s transparent fee structure allows you to see exactly what you’re charged for each month. Our flat-rate pricing model ensures that you’re able to predict what you’ll need to pay even if you’re new to balancing your business’s books.