Payment processing

5 Car Dealer Payment Processing Tips

In 2015, nearly 70% of non-cash transactions were credit card or debit card payments. You know that accepting card payments is vital to the success of your business. Car dealers, however, are considered high-risk merchants, which can make payment processing more complicated and more stressful than it is for other businesses. These car dealer payment processing tips will help you minimize that stress and grow your business.

Download "The new wave of payment technology: The rise of smart terminals" to  learn more about the credit card machines of the future!

1. Put a Limit on Card Purchases

Consumers who have recently purchased cars will likely mention that the dealerships didn’t allow them to charge the entire amount of their purchases to their credit cards. While many consumers might see charging the full amount to a card as a great option, especially if they’re earning points or don’t have the cash available at the time of purchase, it’s a terrible idea for car dealerships. High processing fees can effectively kill the already-slim profit margins dealerships have on their new vehicles.

It’s been estimated that dealerships must turn $1 million in sales to earn enough profit to purchase a single new vehicle! That means merchant processing services that take two percent of your sales eat into your margins, which can make it more difficult to break even.

To combat this, put a limit on how much customers may charge to their cards. That effectively limits how much of a bite processing fees can take out of your profit margin.

2. Look for Lower Processing Fees

While a limit on the amount that can be purchased on a card might be an effective solution to high processing fees, it may not sit right with your customers. Another tip in car dealer payment processing, then, is simply to look for a payment solution that offers lower processing fees.

Many merchant services will charge around two percent of sales; see if you can find a provider that will offer you a better deal. Flexible and reliable providers do exist, and in an industry where the average amount of a transaction is fairly high, even a small reduction in the processing fee percentage can make a huge difference in terms of what you actually pay.

3. Beware of Hidden Fees

Another danger facing car dealer payment processing is hidden fees. Is your provider being perfectly honest about the fees you pay? If things look good on paper, but you find you are constantly being charged over and above estimates or being dinged for all sorts of “additional” fees that were not discussed, it’s time to look for a new provider!

Fees to be wary of include administrative fees, paper fees, and other business costs. Some providers will tack on just about any fee they think they can sneak by you; as a result, your bill may be so cluttered that your eyes cross when you look at it. That’s the trick—the more daunting or confusing your bill seems, the more likely you are to miss additional charges and simply sign off on the bill.

4. Protect Yourself from Chargebacks

While chargebacks are bad news for almost any merchant, they’re particularly dangerous for car dealerships. When a client disputes a charge, the credit card company immediately withdraws that amount from your merchant account. For car dealers working with slim margins and high-priced merchandise, that is a risky situation. A rash of chargebacks can actually cause a car dealer to default on its account.

When you apply for car dealer payment processing with a provider, make sure your solution includes chargeback protection to prevent default on your account.

5. Get an All-Inclusive Solution

Perhaps the best solution for car dealer payment processing is an all-inclusive option. Much like all-inclusive vacations cover you for every fee and charge, so too does an all-inclusive payment solution provide a crystal-clear picture of the fees you’re charged. Some solutions will also help protect you against chargebacks and many providers will be able to customize a solution for your business.


Text Size

Matt Moore

As the President and Co-Founder of BNA Smart Payment Systems, Matt is responsible for the company’s strategic direction, daily operations, and growth. Entrepreneurial by nature, he brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience earned from over 36 years in business. He has developed, implemented, and directed international sales and marketing strategies, established strategic alliances with international companies, and demonstrated leadership in the electronic payments market. Prior to BNA, Matthew served at the senior levels of major EFT/POS companies, helping them increase sales and optimize customer service. Matt is also a father of three, a fitness enthusiast who does power lifting and CrossFit, and he enjoys weekends at the cottage.

Find Matt Moore on:

Subscribe to our blog