Payment processing

5 Questions to Ask Credit Card Processing Companies

Did you know that Canadians are nearing a cash-free payments society? As of 2014 onward, only 10 percent of all Canadian transactions are paid for with cash. The other 90 percent are relying on debit or credit cards and online payments. If you’re a high-risk merchant who’s still not accepting cards or online payments, that means you’re missing out on a huge percentage of consumers who only complete transactions with plastic or through digital payment services.

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But we know how it is—as a high-risk merchant, there’s those pesky reputational hazards that many credit card processing companies will use as an excuse to raise costs of their monthly fees. When your shopping around for the ideal credit card processing company to work with, you need to be thorough about evaluating their services. That’s why we’ve gathered five critical questions to ask credit card processing companies. Check them out below.

1. Do You Have Customizable Solutions?

Every high-risk business has a unique set of needs and requirements for their card processing solutions. Yet there are many credit card processing companies out there that only offer general package deals that result in one-size-fits-all payment solutions.

Let’s say you’re operating a marijuana dispensary in the nearly legal gray market of Canada. Even though marijuana’s legalization is set for 2018, banks are keeping dispensaries locked out from working with them. That means if you want to set up online payments solutions, you’ll need a credit card processing company that offers alternative payments and processing options.

2. What Are Your Interchange and Assessment Fees?

Interchange and assessment fees together are (in theory) the largest expense merchants should deal with per sale and month. These fees collectively represent the cost of your merchant account.

Interchange rates are set by the card issuer and dependent on what type of card used (i.e. student Visa versus a Visa Dividend) used per transaction. Assessment fees are a set percentage of a merchant’s processing volume. Both interchange and assessment fees can be pricey or downright confusing in how they charge, so it’s important to determine how transparent credit card processing companies are willing to be about markup.

3. Do You Have All-in-One Pricing?

The best credit card processing companies to work with are those that keep their pricing simple and streamlined. When you have the option of an all-in-one pricing model, your business will easily be able to account for its overhead costs month-to-month. You’ll want the charges of operating credit card terminals, ideally, to be as predictable as possible.

Another benefit of all-in-one pricing models is that all there are no hidden fees, everything that needs to be included is upfront and there for you to see on your monthly statements. Before you sign any contracts, in fact, you should be asking for a breakdown of all fees including: cross border, monthly maintenance, terminal, and all other probable fees.

4. Are There Any Cancellation or Early Termination Fees?

This is another question you should ask before signing a contract. Especially if you’re already running the risk of signing on to expensive card processing services as a high-risk merchant, confirm if there are cancellation or early termination fees. If there are in fact termination fees, make certain they are priced fairly.

5. Do You Offer Personalized Customer Support?

Remember that you’re engaging with a credit card processing company because you want reliable payment processing to grow your business. Identify those companies that provide round-the-clock support and are willing to help you set up your card present terminals and e-commerce site. The card processing companies that want to work with your individual situation, in addition to fair pricing, are the ones you should stick with.


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James Newman

James brings over 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and merchant services industry to his role as Client Relations Specialist for BNA Smart Payment Systems. With a focus on sales, marketing and client services, the last 10 years have been spent with BNA. He has completed over 2,000 hours of professional business training, including professional sales, solution selling, conflict resolution, appraisal workshop, strategic marketing, and financial analysis. Outside of work, James is almost constantly reading fiction. In direct contradiction to this rather silent interest, he took up the guitar six years ago and regularly, happily, and shamelessly destroys the peace and quiet of his family home.

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