Merchant services

Watch out for These Unnecessary Credit Card Processing Fees

When it comes to merchant services, understanding every fee on your bill can be somewhat challenging. Unfortunately, this can lead to merchants failing to notice, or even understand, where these hidden processing fees are coming from. While most costs have a valid explanation and are easy to follow, some fees are unnecessary and buried within puzzling merchant statements.

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In order to protect your business and better understand what you’re paying for, here are some of the most commonly hidden credit card processing fees and costs business owners should watch out for:


Most credit cards charge between 0.11 percent and 0.13 percent on all processed volume. This is most commonly seen on your bill as “Assessments” or “Dues and Assessments.”

This is a cost you need to keep a close eye on as some merchant service companies will begin to discreetly and unnecessarily increase the costs without you noticing. In order to determine if the rate you’re paying is appropriate, take the total charged for Visa’s Dues and Assessments and divide that by the total volume that was processed.

If the number is anything greater than 0.13 percent, you know you’re paying too much and it’s time to ask some questions.

Daily Discounts

It’s most common for merchant service providers to take out their fees once a month on a set day—perhaps it’s the first or last day of the month. This makes it easy for business owners to monitor their credit card processing fees.

However, some service providers set up merchants on what’s called “daily discounting,” meaning their fees are taken out daily. Not only does this confuse an already complicated merchant statement, but it also hurts the merchant’s cash flow.

In some extreme cases, providers will even charge to opt for monthly discounting instead of daily. If this is the case, it’s time to reconsider your service provider or argue to have such fees removed. Always insist on monthly discounting and don’t let yourself pay any extra for it.


Many merchant service providers claim to be offering the lowest rate when there are actually many hidden fees within the terms and conditions. Some providers will exploit an attractive rate without properly explaining the terms and conditions. This leads you to find out down the road that only certain types of transactions were covered, and now a handful of costly surcharges apply that are much higher than the original rate.

Credit card processing fees shouldn’t include hidden surcharges. To determine if you’re paying more than you should, take the total amount of fees paid in any given month and divide it by the total volume you processed. If this isn’t the rate you were offered, you know you’re paying more than you should.

Application Fees

While this cost won’t likely appear on your merchant statement, it is an item that will pop up on your services application or contract. Fees can range from $0 to $500. In most cases, you can ask to have this fee waived. Because it’s a credit card processing fee that isn’t needed and is purely for the service provider’s profit, they often waive it when asked. If not, it’s likely time to look for another company to work with.

When you have a greater understanding of the fees you’re being charged, it’s much easier to grow your business and begin making the right decisions. Don’t hesitate to contact your merchant services provider to ask questions about credit card processing fees and the services they’re providing. If the company is honest and upfront, you know you’re in good hands.


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Justin Proctor

As director of sales, I run the day-to-day sales department at BNA Smart Payment. I’m responsible for recruiting, training, coaching, and retaining top sales reps and leading a customer-first sales team. I lead an awesome team of revenue-generating machines (aka salespeople) on the front lines of the sales process, move the pipeline forward, build inbound sales playbooks, and implement processes to drive revenue.

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