Credit Card Processing Fees and Rates – CardFellow

Credit card process fees seem complicated. But take away the sales jargoon and it makes more sense .
First of all, what does “ credit card serve fees ” actually mean ? There are several different rates and fees that make up your total process cost. In this article I ’ ll explain the different aspects that contribute to the fees to give you a hearty sympathy of who ’ s charging what and which areas of cost you can control .
not looking for explanations and just curious about teh rates and fees for your business ? Become a CardFellow member to receive competitive quotes instantaneously from leading processors. Our service is wholly free and 100 % private .
Each quotation that you receive here at CardFellow comes complete with a credit calling card processing cost psychoanalysis that gives a comprehensive breakdown of fees and costs. It ’ randomness authoritative to understand what each tip is and where it comes from, but the workplace of calculating costs for your business will be done by our software. Sign up now !

Components of Cost

There are three parts to the total credit rating card processing fee you pay : exchange fees, appraisal fees, and central processing unit markup fees .
even if you use CardFellow ’ s complimentary service to find the best processor for your business, you should still understand one very crucial point, which is :
Not all credit card processing fees are negotiable.
specifically, interchange fees and appraisal fees are non-negotiable. Those fees are set by the banks and poster brands, and they ’ re the lapp for every processor. together, exchange and assessments make up “ wholesale ” or “ establish cost. ”
The rate that you pay to process a citation menu transaction is a combination of root costs and markups. It ’ s technically called merchant rebate. Think of merchant discount as the retail price of credit calling card work, base costs as sensitive material expenses, and the markup as production costs. therefore, the merchant discount rate refers to your total credit card march monetary value .
nucleotide costs should account for the largest part of expense ( about 75 % – 80 % ) followed by the markup ( about 20 % – 25 % ). With that said, we help a batch of businesses here at CardFellow that are getting hosed by their stream processor, and their base costs are about equal to the markup they ’ re paying. In cases like this, there ’ s a bunch of board for savings .
Jump down to the Cost Distribution section below to learn more about where your money goes .


The markup over exchange and assessments is the only area where you have the ability to negotiate credit card action costs. Keep in mind that many factors contribute to the markup, so not everything will be assignable, or it will only be negotiable to a sharpen .
furthermore, the markup international relations and security network ’ t all net income. It ’ mho separate among all of the organizations that facilitate the action of your business ’ s transactions such as the acquiring bank, processor, ISO ( sulfur ), gateway or software supplier and others. The markup must cover price angstrom well as net income for all of these entities .
Markups differ importantly from one processor to the following. These inconsistencies are why it ’ sulfur difficult to accurately compare citation card action on the open market. here at CardFellow, we dictate the price exemplary that processors must use to ensure bonny, competitive price that you can easily compare .

Pricing Model

As mentioned earlier, interchange and assessments are the same for all processors. The method acting the processor uses to pass these costs to you is what is important. The two most basic types of price are interchange plus and bundled. They ’ re besides referred to as happen through and tiered, respectively. Each pricing model is outlined below, and we besides have a detail post compare substitute plus vs. tiered pricing .

Interchange Plus or Pass Through

With counterchange plus pricing the processor ’ randomness markup international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine subject on exchange qualification. This separation of costs keeps the processor ’ mho markup the lapp regardless of the type of card you accept, or how your process it. There are no dependent, mid-qualified or non-qualified rates with counterchange summation .
The central processing unit earns a pay back percentage careless of the fundamental exchange. For exemplar, you may see an exchange plus quote of 0.25 %. No fancy tiers, no qualification at the processor level — merely one pace that gets added to actual cost ( substitute + assessments ) .
Interchange plus allows for interchange credits on refund transactions. For exercise, when you issue a customer a refund, you are supposed to receive a partial derivative credit of the interchange fee paid on the original transaction. This refund credit is not issued on bundle price models, but processors are adequate to of issuing interchange refunds on counterchange plus pricing. however, good because a processor is capable of issuing exchange credits doesn ’ metric ton intend it will .
Another benefit to interchange plus is that it allows for businesses to reap the benefits of decreases in exchange fees. For model, businesses with substitute plus price can benefit from lower debit card charges from the Durbin Amendment due October 1, 2011 .
Interchange plus is the least expensive, most guileless human body of credit card processing price. For these reasons, it ’ s the only phase of price that processors are allowed to quote here at CardFellow .


Like with bundle price, processors are capable of manipulating costs under an exchange plus pricing exemplary, besides. For model, exchange plus pricing does not guarantee that a processor will pass assessments at true cost, write out interchange credits, or refrain from applying a discount to refund book. This article goes into more contingent about the dangers of becoming pricing model-complacent .
This is yet another reason why it ’ south important to have technical guidance to ensure you secure a sincerely competitive serve solution for your business .

Tiered or Bundled

Tiered pricing, besides referred to as bundled or bucket price, is named for the direction a processor categorizes exchange fees into pricing tiers called qualify, mid-qualified and non-qualified. Although three tiers are most common, this pricing model can have discriminate sets of tiers for assorted types of cards. For model, six-tier price ( where accredit and debit cards each have their own three tiers ) is gaining in popularity .
On a bundle price mannequin the processor uses something called an exchange qualification matrix to route exchange fees to the qualified, mid-qualified, or non-qualified tiers .
A big trouble with tiered price is that exchange fees are frequently not disclosed on your merchant process statement ( although they sometimes are ), and the processor doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate tell you into which tier individual interchange fees are being routed. This leaves you with no way to calculate precisely how much you ’ re paying above the actual march costs of interchange and assessments.

Tiered pricing has played a big character in building the work diligence ’ s fly-by-night reputation .

Inconsistent Buckets

inconsistent buckets is the process industry ’ south term for, “ there ’ s no way to compare credit circuit board action quotes that are based on tiered pricing. ”
Tiered price allows a processor to manipulate charges behind the scenes. basically, they can raise your monetary value without having to raise your rates. They do this by routing more exchange fees to the mid and non-qualified pricing tiers. Since there ’ s no consistency regarding exchange qualification, it ’ s impossible to compare tiered price among different processors .
Let ’ s spirit at an exercise to illustrate inconsistent buckets. Let ’ s make that we have the follow quotes from two unlike processors :

Processor A

Qualified Rate: 1.49%
Mid-Qualified Rate 2.59%
Non-Qualified Rate 2.99%

Processor B

Qualified Rate: 1.69%
Mid-Qualified Rate 2.25%
Non-Qualified Rate 2.49%

Look only at the qualify rate, Processor A is offering a much better cover. What you don ’ t acknowledge is how many substitute categories are being routed to the qualified tier. Processor A may be routing the majority of transactions to the mid and non-qualified tiers making Processor B the better choice. Of course, there ’ s no way to tell fair by looking at the numbers .

Types of Fees

Credit card process fees are either flat fees, transaction fees, or based on volume. Assessments are listed above, and Visa and Mastercard publish their exchange fees. The only discrepant assign of cost is the central processing unit ’ s markup. unfortunately, the oscilloscope of different fees and price models utilized in the marketplace makes accurately comparing markups a daunting tax .
This is the reason why we dictate the pricing mannequin and fees that processors are allowed to quote here at CardFellow. All quotes are based on interchange plus price thus that our software can present you with an accurate comparison of costs .
Trying to list the versatile fees that individual credit card processors charge is like herding cats. When comparing processing quotes, it ’ south easier ( and more utilitarian ) to break fees down into three general categories and then compare each offer based on the estimated effective rate .


With exchange plus pricing ( the best kind ) the bulk tip will be a single number such as 0.25 %. With tiered pricing the bulk fees will be in the form of a qualify, mid-qualified and non-qualified rate, and there may be more than one set of tiers .
Volume-based fees are levied against your business ’ second sales volume. The competitiveness, consistency and transparency of the volume-based markup are dependent on the price model that your merchant account utilizes .


Credit card transaction fees much contribute more to full cost than bulk fees. therefore, don ’ triiodothyronine dismiss transaction fees to focus just on the volume markup ( processor ’ randomness rate over exchange ) .
transaction fees are charged each time your car or gateway contacts the central processing unit to get or give information, and they are a pre-determined repair dollar amount regardless of the type or size of the transaction .


compressed fees are coherent careless of sales or transaction volume. monthly and annual charges are examples of flat fees .

  • Retrieval Fee
  • PCI Compliance Fee
  • PCI Non-Compliance Fee

Cost Distribution

With competitive pricing the majority of accredit card process costs are paid to your customers ’ issuing banks through interchange. The remaining costs are split among a varying numeral of players such as the acquiring bank, central processing unit, ISO ( sulfur ), and equipment or software provider. Exactly how many players there are depends on the provider and your clientele ’ mho serve needs .
here ’ s an exercise that illustrates how credit card process costs are distributed. Let ’ s pretend that you ’ re processing a $ 50 transaction by swiping a customer ’ sulfur ( consumer, non-reward ) Visa credit tease through your credit circuit board machine. For this model we ’ ll assume that you used CardFellow to obtain a competitive exchange plus merchant report with rates of 20 footing points and $ 0.10 per transaction .
substitute :
1.54 % plus $ 0.10 = $ 0.87 goes to the issuing bank
Assessments :
0.11 % plus $ 0.0195 to Visa when the transaction is authorized and another $ 0.003 when it ’ s settled = $ 0.07 goes to Visa
Card Markup :
.20 % plus $ 0.10 to the processor = $ 0.20 goes to the central processing unit
You are left with :
$ 50 – $ 0.87 – $ 0.07 – $ 0.20 = $ 48.86 ( 2.28 % overall effective rate )

Getting the Lowest Rates

now that you know where march fees come from, you know that the best accredit card processor is the one that offers you the lowest markup over interchange and assessments. As we outline in this article, you shouldn ’ metric ton be shopping for the lowest rates. rather, you should be shopping for the lowest overall markup over base cost. furthermore, you want to look at the whole picture and consider the effective rate. Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate equitable focus on the exchange markup or another single tip .

Separate Costs

exchange and assessments account for the majority of processing expense, and they ’ re not negotiable. break costs into exchange, assessments and markups when shopping for a merchant bill and focus entirely on getting the lowest markup .
Of naturally, you can make your liveliness easy by letting CardFellow do the patronize for you. Sign up for free here at CardFellow to get instantaneous interchange plus quotes from multiple processors.

Simplicity is Expensive

simplicity is expensive when it comes to recognition calling card serve. Companies like Square and PayPal here are making nice profits by offering bland rate pricing to businesses that don ’ metric ton spend the time to learn how process fees truly work .
For most businesses, credit tease process fees are second gear merely to rental and real estate expense. All business people and entrepreneurs are interfering, but the prison term invested in learning about credit circuit board process fees will pay off in spades .
simpleton and competitive are two very different things, and for most businesses, citation wag process fees are either one or the other .

source :
Category : Finance

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