Finding the best credit card processing fees

Here our experts give away their tips to help you compare merchant account fees

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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