Credit card processors charge small business thousands of dollars each year. But few realize these processors aren’t regulated by any federal laws. Here are four expert tips on how small businesses can protect themselves against unscrupulous processors.
Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) April 2, 2007 — Tax season is here again, but Uncle Sam won’t be the only one taking a bite out of the pocketbooks of small businesses – April is also the month when Visa and MasterCard raise some of their rates and fees on credit card and debit transactions.
A top industry expert warns small businesses that additional increases in credit card processing rates by the processors and middlemen are often unjustified and can cost business owners thousands of dollars each year. (These increases are additional to those levied by Visa and MasterCard.)
“Credit card processors are largely unregulated by the federal government and often use Visa and MasterCard’s April rate increases as an excuse to unfairly pad their profits,” said Jeff Mandel, founder of StopTheMoneyMagic.com, a website dedicated to informing small and medium-sized businesses about the hidden costs in credit card processing. “Processors and middlemen often blame their rate increases on Visa and MasterCard, but the truth is they’re seizing the opportunity to boost their own profits at the business owner’s expense.”
In April and October, Visa and MasterCard do adjust the “interchange rates” they charge processors, but these adjustments typically affect only a handful of the almost 200 classifications they use, while processors often raise the rates they charge business owners across the board.
According to Mandel, here are four ways small businesses can protect themselves against unscrupulous credit card processors:
1) “Know the Interchange Rates” – Business owners should visit the Visa and MasterCard websites to know the actual rates that all processors pay to those two credit card associations.
2) “Avoid the Bait and Switch” – Be wary of processors who promise an incredibly low rate. Processors may offer a rate at or below interchange, but they’ll only apply it to a few “qualified” transactions – an arbitrary classification determined by the processor, not by Visa or MasterCard.
3) “Read the Fine Print” – If a processor is charging fairly, its billing statement will show a variety of rates applied to different types of transactions, based on Visa and MasterCard’s interchange rates. If the statement groups the charges into a few arbitrary rate “tiers,” it’s costing you more than you realize.
4) “Cancel the Contract” – Don’t stay with an unscrupulous processor. Cancel the contract early, even if there’s a penalty fee. The long-term savings are worth it.
For more information about the hidden costs in credit card processing, visit Mandel’s website at www.stopthemoneymagic.com.
ABOUT JEFF MANDEL
Jeff Mandel is a small business advocate and founder of StopTheMoneyMagic.com, the only website dedicated to informing businesses about the hidden costs in credit card processing. Mandel was himself the victim of a predatory credit card processor and now works with Heartland Payment Systems to protect the rights of businesses. Website: www.stopthemoneymagic.com