Should You Switch Credit Card Processors?

Written by Formstack on June 22, 2011

Posted in Form Hacks

Today’s post is from Stella Fayman, Marketing Ninja at FeeFighters on when to know if it’s time to switch credit card processors.

Many busy owners sign up for a credit card processor in a rush when they’re just starting out. Later on, they start to feel like they may be getting overcharged for accepting credit cards. Here are some examples of what to look for in your credit card processing statement that may serve as a warning that it’s time to look elsewhere:

High Monthly Fees– It’s fair and common for processors to charge a monthly fee around $5-$10. However, I’ve seen processors charge anywhere from $5-$40 in monthly fees. Look out for multiple monthly fees such as “statement fees,” “customer service fees,” or any variation.

Random Fees– It may seem intuitive to question random fees on statements you receive, but credit card processing statements are rife with acronyms and abbreviations. It may be hard to separate what is a legit assessment (for example Mastercard has a standard assessment called “NABU Fee” which stands for Network Access and Branding Usage Fee). Watch or for fees that can’t be linked to anything such as “miscellaneous” or even that processor brand specific fees.

Incomplete Information– Your statement should tell a story of how much you processed by different card types, and how much exactly you were charged. Unfortunately, I’ve seen way too many statements where merchants are charged an arbitrary amount with no explanation as to how that was determined. If you are not able to clearly see and calculate what you are being charged, most likely it’s time to consider switching to a more transparent processor.

Mostly “Non-Qualified” Transactions-If you have a tiered pricing model, there are different rates for qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified transactions. Most transactions should fall under qualified or mid-qual, but I often see that merchants are charged the non-qual fee the majority of the time, which can be 3-4 times more. To avoid this kind of pricing altogether, ask for interchange plus pricing, the most transparent form of pricing where the processor’s markup does not vary by transaction type.


Using FeeFighters to compare offers on credit card processing, business owners save an average of 40% on their credit card processing in just a few minutes. Stella gets excited about helping businesses save money. If you have specific questions, feel free to email her at