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5 Bogus Merchant Services Fees Explained
Be honest – how many of you actually read your merchant services account statement every month? We’re talking line by line, looking at every charge and making sure you understand it. We didn’t think so. It’s not your fault! Merchant account services statements are complicated and confusing, and some processors take advantage of this to hide junk fees from unsuspecting customers. While you’ll never see these fees on a 360 Payments statement, it pays (quite literally) to be informed. Here are five bogus merchant services fees you should know about.
Early Termination Fees
If you’ve signed a contract with your credit card processor (which you should never, ever do) or if you’re leasing your credit card terminal from them (also a terrible idea), you may find yourself hit with a steep penalty if you want to get out of your agreement early. Make sure you check the fine print in your contract or on your statement to see what the damage would be if you decide to part ways. Depending on how badly you’re being fleeced on your rates, it may not be a bad idea to fork over the early termination fee and just leave the past in the past. However, if money is tight or you won’t be saving a whole bunch when you switch, it may make sense to see the contract through instead. The key here is understanding the terms so you can make an informed decision.
PCI Compliance Fees
This is one that we’ve been hearing about a lot recently. Heartland recently slapped its noncompliant customers with a hefty fine ($125 per month!), and their customers are pretty upset. The way this generally works is that the processor will hire a third party to monitor your PCI compliance status through quarterly system scans and self-reported questionnaires. If your business fails, you’ll be hit with this fee. This is doubly unfair since most processors don’t provide you with any proactive tools or education to help you get or stay PCI compliant so the scan feels like a pop quiz. Unless you’re well versed in PCI compliance already, it can be tough to pass. That’s why 360 Payments will never charge you PCI noncompliance merchant services fees. We prefer to focus instead on educating you on ways to keep your business and your customers safe and secure.
Seriously? A fee just to get your statement? Yep – it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Many processors will charge their customers if they want to receive a paper statement in the mail – and the fee can sometimes be $10 or more per month! Of course, these processors will argue that you can always access your statements for free online. While this may be true, this is your business and you deserve to access your statements in the way that is most convenient for you. Plus, many processors will send you paper statements by default and charge you a fee to do it. That’s both sneaky and dishonest.
“Batching” refers to the process where your credit card terminal sends all of its data to your credit card processor. From there it gets routed to the correct banks, and in turn you get paid. Most businesses choose to batch out every night after they close for the day. Imagine if you were being hit with a fee every time your terminal batched out – that could mean you’re paying a fee every single day! If you choose to batch out more frequently than that you’re paying even more in fees. That’s unfair – you’re already paying other fees on these transactions, so why would you need to pay again just to have them routed where they need to go?
Customer Service Fees
This is one of the craziest and most infuriating merchant services fees we’ve ever heard of, but it happens all the time. You might think you’re getting a great deal from your processor only to find an additional charge on your monthly statement because…you called and asked for help? You should have no qualms about picking up the phone and reaching out to your credit card processor whenever you have a problem – and you certainly should never have to worry about being charged a fee for it. Check your monthly statement carefully to see if your processor is charging you a fee for calling in for support. If they are, it’s time to start shopping around. Note: This is different than a flat monthly fee that appears on your statement regardless of what you do. 360 Payments DOES charge a monthly service fee to administer your account – but you can call us every day and never worry that there will be an additional customer service surcharge applied.
No Junk Fees. Period.
At 360 Payments, we believe that credit card processing should be simple, seamless, and straightforward. That means no junk fees – ever. We’ve even taken pains to make our merchant account statements as simple as possible to read so you don’t have to guess at what you’re being charged for and why. If you’re ready to simplify your credit card processing experience, give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We look forward to helping you breathe a sigh of relief!
PS – Want more tips on how to read your merchant services statement like a pro? We’ve got you covered.
PPS – You’ll also see interchange fees on your statement – but those are legitimate. Get the details here.