1. Shop Around – Just as when you are looking to employ a builder you are advised to get at least three quotes, you should never sign with a Card Processor until you have obtained a range of quotes. Prices can vary by around 40%. Tell suppliers that you speak to that you are shopping around.
2. Understand the market – The processing of the sales transactions and the handling of the payment to the retailer (settlement) is handled by large merchant banks also known as acquirers. ISO’s act for the acquirers, negotiating the processing rates and leasing/renting the terminals. You will find that ISO’s will usually offer better rates than the high street banks.
3. Calculate the total “all in” costs – Much like the Budget Airlines, where they advertise one price but then charge all sorts of extra’s, Merchant Service providers will normally quote a “Headline price” i.e. debit card / credit card transaction costs and terminal/gateway costs. Depending on your business there can be a variety of “hidden charges”. These cab include premium credit card costs, charge backs, authorisation charges and PCI compliance charges.
4. Switching Suppliers is quick and easy – Your existing supplier might try and get you stay by giving you scare stories, but there are thousands of merchants (that’s you) who have switched, when they have realised how easy it is and how much money they can save. Your new supplier will guide you through the process will simple step by step instructions. We recommend that you do not cancel your current supplier until your new supplier is up and running.
5. Retender your business at the end of your minimum contract period – Much like car insurance where you get a better rate as a new customer, than just staying with your existing provider, Merchant Service suppliers are much the same with “switchers” often being offered better rates than customers who do not move.
6. Don’t wait until the end of your existing contract period to start looking around for a better deal – You can often find that lower prices on offer from a different supplier will more than out weigh any early termination penalties.
7. Make sure you understand what the early termination costs are before you sign a contract – Usually when you sign up for Merchant Services you will have two contracts. One will be for the merchant account and gateway which is for the processing costs. These contracts usually have a termination period of 1-3 months. The second contact will be with the ISO for the lease/rent/hire of the terminal. Contracts for terminal hire are usually for 3-4 years and it is the norm in the industry for the termination costs to be the balance of the contract term. Some supplier may also charge a re-stocking fee on top of the termination charge.
8. If your business is increasing – Retender. The industry prices on volume, therefore, if you are seeing significantly increasing volumes of card transactions then you may well qualify for a lower price tier. But don’t expect your existing supplier to flag this up.
9. Read Reviews of the Providers – Not everyone is purely driven by the lowest price, they also look at the level of service. Read independent reviews of a potential new supplier before you sign a contract.
In association with Cardswitcher we offer a comparison service that only takes 2 minutes. Or we can arrange a come and have a chat.