Finding the best credit card processing fees

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Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

Merchant services rate comparison

Finding the best way to compare credit card processing fees can be an absolute minefield for business owners. One of the reasons for this is that no two transaction statements look the same, and all providers quote differently. The second, and less commonly known, is that credit card processing fees are often negotiable meaning that banks and providers fight for your business making merchant account fee comparison an almost impossible task!

Do not compare merchant account rates alone

Most transaction statements and quotes are complex, forcing business owners to feel overwhelmed and therefore commonly compare credit card processing rates alone. This means that hidden fee’s such as minimum monthly fees and PCI compliance costs can be over looked.  We talk about it a lot at Merchant Advice Service, the biggest and most costly mistake business owners make is when they compare merchant services rates alone. We suggest comparing on a pound for pound basis, as the rates are a small proportion of the overall processing costs. Consider using a broker to do so, they are used to reading transaction statements and driving prices down on your behalf.


Merchant services contract price comparison

The rule of thumb when conducting credit card processing fee comparison is the longer the contract the cheaper the rates quoted. The problem with this is that you can find yourself in the situation where you are tied into a contract which isn’t suitable for your business long term. For example, most companies choose to rent their card machines which will be paid for monthly. If you are signing a four year contract this can cost up to £1350 for the machines alone!! Although the fee’s quoted for a longer contract may be cheaper, you have to consider the overall costs.

Compare card processing fees on an individual basis

Merchant account fee comparison should be done on an individual basis, just because an account provider is suitable for one business doesn’t mean that it will be for yours too. Elements to consider are as follows;


  • What type of business are you? Are you a start-up? Or operating in high-risk industries? Do you need online payment facilities to fit with a certain type of platform such as Shopify etc? The answers to these questions will determine the number of providers you have to choose from.
  • Where are you selling your goods or services? Do you need more than one currency?
  • How long have you been trading? With good transaction history and established turnover you will have a larger choice of providers.


There is not a one size fits all solution, it’s important to explore your options with at least three quotes. We also suggest comparing accounts regularly, as getting stuck with the same provider for the duration of your business may mean that you pay over the odds for card processing.


Our top tips on comparing merchant accounts

When comparing accounts and trying to find the most suitable one for your business remember our top three tips;


  • Don’t just look at credit card processing rates alone compare on a pound for pound basis.
  • There is not a one size fits all solutions, search for account suitable for your specific business.
  • Shop around regularly. What might be suitable for your business now may not be in the future. Switching providers every few years can mean that you are paying the best rates and fees available to you.
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Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

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