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.

Finding the Best Credit Card Processing Fees: A User-Friendly Guide

When it comes to running a successful business, finding a credit card processing service with the best fees is crucial. In this user-focused guide, we will explore key points to consider when searching for the ideal credit card processing fees that can help streamline your operations and save you money. Whether you’re looking for interchange fees, assessments and acquirer fees, payment processor fees, or additional charges, this guide will provide valuable insights to make an informed decision.

Understanding Credit Card Processing Fees

To understand credit card processing fees better, it’s essential to be familiar with the following aspects: 


Interchange Fees: Interchange fees, set by card networks like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, are a percentage of each transaction and a fixed amount. They are an important consideration when evaluating credit card processing fees. 


Assessments and Acquirer Fees: Assessments and acquirer fees are additional charges imposed by credit card networks and acquiring banks. These fees are typically a percentage of the transaction amount and should be factored into your cost analysis. 


Payment Processor Fees: Payment processors charge fees for their services, which include transaction processing, customer support, and payment gateway access. It’s important to compare and choose a processor that offers competitive rates. 


Additional Fees: Some processors may have additional fees, such as monthly statement fees, chargeback fees, or PCI compliance fees. Understanding these fees upfront will help you avoid surprises later on.    


How to Find the Best Credit Card Processing Fees

Finding the best credit card processing fees requires a systematic approach. Follow these steps to make an informed decision: 

Assess Your Business Needs: Evaluate your business requirements, including transaction volume, average transaction value, and the types of cards you plan to accept. This information will help you find a processor that aligns with your specific needs. 


Compare Multiple Providers: Research and compare different payment processors, paying close attention to their pricing structures, including interchange fees, assessments, and additional charges. Consider the overall value they provide, rather than solely focusing on the lowest rates. 


Analyse the Contract Terms: Carefully review the contract terms of potential processors, considering factors such as hidden fees, cancellation policies, and long-term commitments. Ensure the terms align with your business goals and preferences. 


Seek Transparent Pricing: Choose processors that offer transparent pricing models, where fees are clearly explained and easily accessible. Transparency will help you avoid unexpected costs in the future.  

What is interchange?

Interchange pricing refers to the cost structure associated with credit and debit card transactions, involving the fees charged by credit card networks like Visa, MasterCard, and others.

Essentially, it’s the baseline cost that merchants incur for processing a card payment, and it comprises two main components: the interchange fee and the assessment fee. The interchange fee is paid to the bank that issued the card, compensating for the risk and cost associated with the transaction. On the other hand, the assessment fee is paid to the card network for the use of their infrastructure.

Interchange pricing can vary based on factors such as card type, transaction method (online, in-store), and the nature of the business. Understanding interchange pricing is crucial for businesses seeking to optimise their payment processing costs, as it forms a fundamental aspect of the overall pricing structure in the payment ecosystem.

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.


How often should I review my credit card processing fees?

Regularly reviewing your credit card processing fees is a prudent business practice that can help you optimize costs and ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. The frequency of reviews can depend on several factors, including your business type, transaction volume, and the terms of your current processing agreement. As a general guideline:

  1. Annual Review: At a minimum, conduct a thorough review of your credit card processing fees annually. This allows you to assess changes in your business, industry standards, and the competitive landscape.
  2. Business Changes: If your business experiences significant changes, such as an increase in transaction volume, expansion into new markets, or changes in the types of cards you accept, consider more frequent reviews to ensure your processing solution remains cost-effective.
  3. Contract Renewal: If you’re approaching the end of your contract or if your processor notifies you of upcoming changes, take that opportunity to review your fees and negotiate for better terms.
  4. Industry Changes: Stay informed about changes in the credit card processing industry, including new technologies, security standards, and regulatory updates. These changes may impact the fees you’re paying.
  5. Competitive Analysis: Keep an eye on the offerings of other payment processors. If you find better rates or more favorable terms elsewhere, it may be worth negotiating with your current provider or considering a switch.

Regularly reviewing your credit card processing fees ensures that you’re not overpaying for services and helps you stay competitive in the marketplace. If you’re unsure about your current rates or have questions about potential savings, don’t hesitate to reach out to your payment processor or a financial advisor for guidance.

Can I switch payment processors if I’m unhappy with the fees?

Yes, you can switch payment processors if you’re unhappy with the fees or service provided by your current processor. However, there are a few important considerations and steps to keep in mind:

  1. Review Your Contract: Check your existing contract with your current payment processor for any early termination fees or cancellation penalties. Some contracts may have specific terms and conditions related to switching, and breaking the contract prematurely could result in additional costs.
  2. Negotiate: Before making a decision to switch, consider negotiating with your current processor. They may be willing to adjust fees or offer better terms to retain your business, especially if you’ve been a longstanding and reliable client.
  3. Research New Processors: Explore other payment processors in the market. Look for providers that offer competitive rates, transparent fee structures, and services that meet your business needs. Consider factors such as customer support, security features, and compatibility with your existing systems.
  4. Understand New Fees: Before finalizing a switch, carefully review the fee structures of potential new processors. Ensure that you understand all the costs associated with the new service, including transaction fees, monthly fees, and any additional charges.
  5. Notify Customers: If you decide to switch, inform your customers and update your payment information on your website, invoices, and any other relevant platforms. Ensure a smooth transition to avoid disruptions in payment processing.
  6. Test the New System: Before fully committing to the new payment processor, consider running a test phase to ensure that the system integrates well with your business operations and that there are no unexpected issues.
  7. Monitor the Transition: Keep a close eye on the transition process. Check that transactions are being processed accurately, and address any issues promptly.

Switching payment processors is a strategic decision that should be made after careful consideration of both the costs and benefits. If you have concerns or questions about the process, it may be helpful to consult with a financial advisor or industry expert to ensure a smooth transition.


Commonly Asked Questions
What are interchange fees?
nterchange fees are charges imposed by card networks for processing transactions. They typically consist of a percentage of the transaction amount and a fixed fee and vary depending on factors such as card type and transaction method.
Can I negotiate credit card processing fees?
In some cases, negotiation is possible, especially for businesses with significant transaction volumes. It’s worth discussing potential fee reductions with payment processors and exploring opportunities for customised pricing.
Are there any alternatives to traditional payment processors?
Yes, there are alternative payment processors and fintech companies that offer innovative solutions, such as mobile payment apps or online payment gateways. These alternatives may have different fee structures and could be worth considering.
How can I reduce the risk of chargebacks?
To minimise chargebacks, ensure clear communication with customers, provide detailed product descriptions, offer reliable customer support, and implement fraud prevention measures like address verification and 3D Secure.
How long does it take to set up a credit card processing account?
The time required for setting up a credit card processing account varies depending on the processor and your business’s specific circumstances. It can range from a few days to a couple of weeks.
Are there any monthly minimums for credit card processing fees?
Some processors have monthly minimum requirements, meaning you need to generate a minimum amount in transaction volume each month. It’s essential to inquire about this when comparing different providers.
Can I switch payment processors if I’m unhappy with the fees?
Yes, you can switch payment processors if you’re dissatisfied with the fees or service. However, make sure to review the terms of your current contract, including any early termination fees, before making the switch.
How often should I review my credit card processing fees?
It’s a good practice to review your credit card processing fees annually or whenever there are significant changes in your business operations. Regularly assessing your fees ensures you are getting the best deal for your needs.

How Merchant Advice Service can help

At Merchant Advice Service (MAS), we understand the importance of finding the best credit card processing fees for your business. Our team of experts specialises in assisting businesses like yours in navigating the complex world of payment processing. With our knowledge and industry connections, we can help you find the most suitable payment processing solution tailored to your unique requirements. To learn more about how Merchant Advice Service can assist you in finding the best credit card processing fees, visit our relevant page on our website. For more advice like this, visit our blog page!



Navigating the maze of credit card processing fees can be a daunting task for business owners. However, with the right guidance and a bit of research, you can find a payment processing company that aligns with your needs. Whether you’re a small business owner or operate on a larger scale, understanding the ins and outs of merchant accounts, interchange rates, and monthly fees is crucial.


Merchant Advice Service (MAS) is here to help you make sense of it all. From helping you understand how customers pay using different card readers to breaking down the complexities of credit card companies and their various fees, MAS offers invaluable advice. We can guide you in accepting credit card payments in a way that’s most beneficial for your business, whether that’s through a flat rate or a more complex pricing structure.


So, before you make any decisions, take the time to review your credit card transaction options and consult experts like those at Merchant Advice Service. This will ensure you’re not only meeting the needs of your customers but also keeping your business financially healthy.


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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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