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After putting off rate changes for over two years, Visa and Mastercard both increased their credit card fees in April 2022. While these rate changes only apply to certain types of transactions, they’ve put credit card processing fees for small businesses in the spotlight. When you’re charged a fee for every transaction as a merchant, the costs can add up over time. So, what is the standard credit card processing fee today, and is there any way to reduce it? Here’s what you need to know.
What are credit card processing fees?
Credit card processing fees are fees that a business, or merchant, pays to cover the costs of processing each credit or debit card transaction. You’ll pay this to your payment processor rather than directly to the card network or card issuer. Card issuers are the banks that issue cards to buyers, while card networks refer to companies like Visa and Mastercard.
To accept card payments, businesses typically use a third-party payments processor that facilitates secure transfers of funds. They’ll charge you a percentage of the retail transaction, along with an added flat fee.
What are the types of fees for credit card processing?
There are three main types of credit card processing fees to be aware of.
Interchange fees are paid to the issuing bank
Assessment fees are paid to the payment network
Payment processing fees are paid to the payment processor
While interchange and assessment fees are standard, payment processing fees vary widely. These include per-transaction fees as well as potential monthly servicing fees and added cost for the use of POS hardware.
One thing to note is that Discover and American Express operate a bit differently. These companies work as both issuing banks and payment networks, meaning they keep both interchange and assessment fees.
What is the standard credit card processing fee?
In general, credit card processing fees can range from 1.3% to 3.5% depending on the network you use. Here are the standard credit card processing fees for the four main US card networks as of April 2022, according to data provided by Fool.com,Visa, and Mastercard:
Average Credit Card Processing Fee
1.29% + $0.05 to 3.29% + $0.10
1.39% + $0.05 to 3.29% + $0.10
1.58% + $0.05 to 3.28% + $0.10
1.5% + $0.10 to 3.15% + $0.10
What’s important to note is that this table only includes the charges imposed by the payment networks themselves: the interchange and assessment fees. Payment processing fees aren’t included in this table because they are determined by the payment gateway or processor you use to accept card payments.
Processing fees can vary widely depending on your business size as well as the type and volume of transactions. Some account providers charge a flat rate, while others have tiered pricing schemes and added monthly maintenance.
How to reduce credit card processing fees for small businesses
As you can see, there are numerous factors that go into the standard credit card processing fees for small businesses. Yet no matter the processor and card network, these fees can impact your bottom line. So, how can you reduce credit card processing fees?
To begin with, you can look for payment processors that charge a flat rate, without any added monthly fees. You can also avoid card-not-present transactions, which tend to involve higher fees, and use authorization forms to reduce the risk of costly chargebacks. Many businesses also require a minimum threshold for credit card transactions to offset fees.
It’s difficult to find no-fee credit card processing, which is why you should also look to alternative payment methods. For example, taking direct debit payments costs less than accepting card payments from your customers. Recurring direct debit payments also have lower failure rates because cards can expire or be cancelled. GoCardless lets you take payments directly from a customer’s bank account via direct debit. Our Instant Bank Pay feature is ideal for one-off payments as well, powered by open banking for secure transactions at lower fees.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.