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Ever wonder why there are so many different merchant services and payment solutions out there willing to help you accept credit cards online? The reason is because it s such a lucrative business. Every time a credit card is swiped and processed there are a handful of companies (issuing bank, credit card company, merchant, ISO, merchant account provider, security providers, etc) that take their respective cut.

While these service fees and charges may only add up to a few cents and small percentage per transaction, they do add up. Unfortunately, the fees are almost always passed on to the merchant, and ultimately an unavoidable expense. While accepting credit cards is a paramount priority for most merchants, it still is a privilege that comes with a price.

However, there are a number of ways to get lower credit card processing fees and lower your expenses for doing business and your total cost of investment for credit card processing services. Consider the following ways to lower your credit card processing rates:

Grow Your Business
Easy for me to say, right? Unfortunately, one of the best ways to get lower credit card processing rates is simply to be a bigger company. Credit card processing services understandably give priority to larger, more established accounts. If your company has grown and you re taking more payments than you did years ago when you established your account, it might be time to discuss lower options with your merchant service provider.

Swipe
Credit card transactions are usually split into three tiers for discount rates. The non-qualified rate is for when cards are manually entered and no AVS (address verification service) is used. Mid-qualified is for manually entered card numbers with AVS. But to qualify for the (cheapest) qualified rate, you have to have the card present and physically swiped through a credit card reader. Luckily USB credit card readers are pretty inexpensive and easy to integrate. Read about the top ten reasons to use a credit card swiper.

Ditch the Wireless Credit Card Terminal
You want to swipe credit cards, but you don t need a full terminal to do it. You certainly don t need a wireless credit card terminal. The intended benefits of wireless terminals are that they are compact, portable and convenient. Unfortunately, you have to pay for the hardware and usually sign a contract. Then you have to pay an additional wireless fee and deal with reprogramming the hardware when updates are made.

 

Don t get me wrong, there are hundreds of good reasons to accept credit cards while on the go. But before you lay down money for a wireless credit card terminal, consider using an internet-connected laptop, or better yet, a mobile credit card processing app.

Watch Your Monthly Statements
Chances are that when you see your first monthly statement you won t understand it, and might find a few extra charges you weren t aware of. Don t worry if you don t understand all of the acronyms at first. Call your merchant account provider and don t be afraid to ask questions.

Once you understand the monthly statement structure (or even if you don t), be sure to check it every month and see what changes. Unfortunately, credit card processors are known for sudden, unannounced fee hikes. There are some non-reputable ISOs that will raise their fees after they have you signed up for a couple of months. If you find new fees and the company isn t willing to work with you to address them, it may be time to 

Change Providers
Whether you re fed up with your current credit card processing company or are just shopping around for another option, changing plans may be your best option to get lower fees. Sadly, there are merchants who simply put up with higher fees and sub-par service simply because finding the right alternative is time consuming, and they re at least complacently accustomed to the current program and interface.

For anyone interested in starting up with a new online merchant account, there are reasonable options available. You can find the prices you deserve without sacrificing security or customer service. Changing from one service to another may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but ultimately worth it. The best credit card processing companies have an easy application and are simple to integrate so you won t miss a beat during the transition.

Top Ten Reviews has compiled a side-by-side comparison and reviews of the best services to accept credit cards online. Our preferred providers will help online merchants discover simple transactions, unparalleled customer service, and lower processing fees.

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