A crucial part of achieving maximum profit in a small business is minimizing expenses, and one cost component to keep a particularly sharp eye on is credit card transaction fees. The amount you pay to each company involved in a credit card transaction and how you take payments directly affect how much you spend.
This article reviews the average credit card processing fees for businesses in 2022 and what factors determine your rates.
A credit card transaction fee is a percentage per transaction and a flat fee per transaction. The current average is 2.65% plus $0.10. Prices will vary depending on the entities involved, the pricing model you choose, and other surrounding factors (covered below). As a general overview, the following is the price range per credit card company listed from lowest to highest:
Each company has a per-transaction flat fee ranging from $0.05 to $0.10 except for American Express, which charges $0.10.
The fees you pay encompass include each entities cost involved in each transaction:
Interchange fees are the charges from the card-issuing bank—the bank shown on MasterCard and Visa credit cards. Not all credit cards have secondary banks. American Express and Discover work as their own banks.
The interchange fee is by far the highest amount you pay because it covers credit card risk, encompassing nearly the entirety of the costs.
Assessment fees are small percentage fees for using the credit card company’s network that sends and receives payment requests. Fees range from 0.12% to 0.15%.
Markup fees are costs for using a payment processor to send and receive payment authorizations to and from your business, the card-issuing bank, and the merchant account.
Merchant acquiring bank fees are for the merchant bank account where the credit card payments go before landing in your business account. This fee most often appears as monthly or annual charges and varies by the bank and services you choose.
The following are ways to save money or keep costs to a minimum:
American Express and Discover charge high fees, so some businesses choose not to honor them. Remember, this decision will restrict your chances of a sale, so carefully weigh this option.
You can choose from three pricing options:
This model breaks out each cost in a credit card transaction in detail in the form of a percentage and per-fee transaction by each type of card. You gain a clear understanding of costs for each transaction. Generally speaking, you could experience the most cost savings with this option if your business experiences a high frequency of sales.
This option is a flat fee for each transaction. This option provides a predictable cost per transaction that is particularly helpful for budgeting. This option most benefits businesses that have a low or medium frequency of sales.
This option categorizes purchases into different pricing tiers. If you and your customer complete a sale in a low-cost tier, you pay lower than average pricing. Keep in mind that a high tier will work against you. For example, airline mileage cards often come at a higher rate.
Accepting credit card payments requires a merchant account to receive payments and transfer the funds into your general business bank account, and this type of account can require fees.
You will save most by opening a merchant account at a bank, and your life will be easier if the merchant account bank and business bank are the same. Still, it is a good idea to shop for different banks to find the lowest rate or suitable combination of pricing and service benefits you need. You can use the information to negotiate a lower rate with your current bank.
Bank merchant accounts can be difficult and time-consuming to set up because of the amount of information required, so many small businesses enlist the help of a third-party payment processor that offers a merchant account with a faster and easier setup. On average, you will pay more for this service than through a bank.
Payment processors do more than offer a merchant account, and their roles are critical. These companies send and receive payment requests and approvals between the customer’s card issuing bank, your terminal, and your merchant account. Any approvals or denials during a purchase are thanks to your payment processor.
Though some banks may offer processing services, most use a third-party processor, and in either case, this service requires a fee. Like merchant banks, each processor varies in its services and fees, which is why shopping around can uncover savings.
Business history: If you have a history of unreliable payments, you will pay higher rates.
Merchant category code (MCC): This code categorizes the goods and services your business sells according to their risks. Note, not all business types have an MCC.
Card-Present vs. Card-Not-Present Transactions: The way you place a customer’s order can determine your rates. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, you will save most by running card-present transactions with the customer in front of you and manually swiping the card because this is considered low risk of credit card theft and disputes.
If you are an online business, you can keep pricing down by using a payment gateway to create a more secure connection during internet transactions.
Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards: Debit cards carry less risk because the funds are confirmed as available in a customer’s bank account.
Transaction Size: The larger the transaction, the greater the risk and the higher the rate.
BNG Payments is both a processor and merchant services provider. With deep experience in the payments industry and working with small businesses, we can help you determine the services and rates that work best for your business to maximize profits. Contact BNG Payments to get started.