What is the cheapest way to accept credit card payments for your business? It can either be online, by cheque, or more. However, every business accepts credit card payments because more and more customers prefer shopping online with different payment options than in-store with cash.
It not only expands your customer base but also streamlines the payment process, making it convenient for both you and your customers.
However, processing credit card payments can come with fees that can eat into your profits.
Top Payment Processors
This is a mobile payment and point-of-sale (POS) system for retailers. It charges a fee of 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person payments and 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for remote transactions. There is no monthly fee associated with Square.
This allows customers to make purchases online or in-store using QR codes or a mobile app. U.S. merchant fees range from 1.90% to 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction, with no monthly fee.
However, this enables customers to pay online through integrations with websites or invoicing services, with a merchant fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and no monthly fee.
It offers online sales through its store platform, with merchant fees ranging from 2.4% to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, depending on the subscription tier. Monthly fees for Shopify plans range from $29 to $299.
Stax by Fattmerchant
This provides payment processing in person, online, or over the phone. Merchant fees are based on an interchange plus model, with a flat fee of $0.08 for swiped payments and $0.15 for remote transactions. Interchange rates vary from about 1.5% to 3.5%.
This offers online, in-person, phone, and invoice payments. Monthly subscription pricing ranges from $79 to $199, and interchange plus pricing includes a flat fee between $0.07 and $0.15, depending on membership tier and processing volume.
Invoice allows for online payments via invoicing, with a reduced transaction fee of $0.50 when accepting PayPal Business payments instead of PayPal’s typical fee.
7 Cheapest Ways to Accept Credit Card Payments
To maximize your revenue, it’s crucial to find the cheapest way to accept credit card payments. Below are cheeped ways to make payment:
Consider “Zero-Cost” Credit Card Processing for Your Small Business
One of the easiest ways to reduce the fees you pay for credit card processing is by encouraging customers to pay with cash. This is also called “zero-cost” or “zero-fee” credit card processing, and there are two main approaches:
- Cash Discounts: With this approach, you increase the prices of your products to cover the costs of credit card processing. However, customers who choose to pay with cash will get a discount on their purchases.
- Surcharging: In this method, you simply add a small fee to the total price if a customer opts to pay with a credit card at the checkout.
Both of these methods allow you to shift the credit card processing costs onto your customers. But remember to check the relevant laws in your state or area.
Cash discounts are legal in all 50 states (as long as you implement them correctly), while surcharging is legal everywhere except in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico. Consider using CardX by Stax to easily implement surcharging and ensure compliance with the regulations.
Lower Your Fraud Risks and Chargebacks
Chargebacks and fraud can be very costly and stressful for your business. When a dispute occurs, you could end up losing twice the value of the sale due to chargeback fees, in addition to the sale itself.
Furthermore, if you have too many chargebacks, your payment processor might label you as a “high-risk” merchant, leading to higher processing rates. To reduce the risk of fraud, consider these steps:
- Prioritize card-present transactions over card-not-present ones.
- Verify the customer’s identity by requesting a photo ID.
- Whenever possible, ask customers to provide the CVV code from their card.
- Use an address verification service to ensure that the customer’s billing address matches the one on record with the card issuer.
Mobile Payment Apps
Mobile payment apps like Square, PayPal Here, and Sum-up have revolutionized the way small businesses accept credit card payments. These apps provide affordable card readers that can be easily connected to smartphones or tablets. Here’s why they are a cost-effective choice:
- Low Setup Costs: Most mobile payment providers offer free card readers or have minimal upfront costs.
- Competitive Transaction Fees: Transaction fees are typically lower than traditional merchant account providers, making it an attractive option for small businesses.
- No Monthly Fees: Many of these apps have no monthly service fees, making them an excellent choice for businesses with irregular sales.
- No Long-Term Contracts: You’re not locked into long-term contracts, giving you flexibility.
Be Selective with the Credit Cards You Accept
It’s not a random occurrence that most retail and online stores prefer to accept payments via Mastercard and Visa, while fewer businesses opt for Amex or Discover cards. The reason behind this is that Amex and Discover charge higher fees to merchants because they provide more generous rewards to their customers.
Of course, one way to reduce your credit card processing expenses is to decide not to accept payments from these networks. But keep in mind that this choice might lead to losing some customers who prefer using these payment options.
Online Payment Processors
If your business operates primarily online or you want to accept card payments on your website, online payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, and Square Online Store can be very cost-effective:
- Easy Integration: These services provide simple plugins and APIs that allow you to integrate credit card payments seamlessly into your website.
- Competitive Rates: They offer competitive transaction rates, with no setup fees or monthly charges.
- Security: They often include built-in security features to protect customer data, saving you the cost of additional security measures.
- International Payments: Many online payment processors support international transactions, expanding your customer base globally.
In-Person Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems
If your business operates from a physical location, investing in an affordable POS system can help you accept credit card payments cost-effectively:
- All-in-One Solutions: Systems like Clover Mini and Poynt offer affordable hardware that includes a card reader, touchscreen display, and software, reducing the need for separate components.
- Competitive Rates: Some providers offer competitive transaction rates and may even waive monthly fees for low-volume businesses.
- Integration: POS systems often integrate with inventory management, reporting, and customer relationship management tools, helping you streamline operations.
Pay-as-You-Go Merchant Accounts
If your business has a higher sales volume, consider pay-as-you-go merchant accounts like Stripe or Authorize.Net:
- Competitive Pricing: These services often offer lower transaction fees than traditional merchant accounts.
- No Monthly Fees: You only pay when you process transactions, which can save you money during slower months.
- Customization: You can tailor your payment processing solution to fit your specific needs.
Ways To Cut Down Credit Card Processing Costs
Reducing credit card processing costs is essential for businesses. Here are some ways to achieve cost savings:
- Shop for Competitive Rates
- Negotiate Fees
- Avoid High-Risk Transactions
- Optimize Card Types
- Review Statements Regularly
- Use Interchange-Plus Pricing
- Implement Cost-Efficient Equipment
- Consider a Cash Discount Program
- Limit Manual Entry
- Monitor Processing Volume
- Stay PCI Compliant
- Explore Payment Gateway Options
These strategies help businesses reduce credit card processing costs and improve profitability.
What’s the most affordable way for my business to accept credit card payments?
The most cost-effective method often depends on your specific business needs. Common options include using a payment processor like Square, Stripe, or PayPal, which offer competitive pricing and flexibility for small to medium-sized businesses.
Are there any hidden fees associated with credit card processing?
Yes, credit card processors may charge various fees, including transaction fees, monthly fees, and chargeback fees. It’s essential to review the terms and conditions carefully to understand all potential costs.
How can I negotiate lower credit card processing rates for my business?
You can negotiate processing rates with your chosen payment processor. Consider factors like your transaction volume and average ticket size when discussing rates. Additionally, maintaining a good credit history can help you secure better terms.
What is a flat-rate pricing model, and is it cost-effective for my business?
A flat-rate pricing model charges a fixed percentage and a per-transaction fee for all card types. It can be straightforward and cost-effective for businesses with lower transaction volumes or those that prefer predictable pricing.
Are there any free or open-source solutions for accepting credit card payments?
While some open-source solutions exist, they often require technical expertise to set up and may still incur transaction fees. Using a reputable payment processor is generally more convenient and reliable for most businesses.
Should I consider alternative payment methods, like digital wallets or ACH transfers, to save on processing costs?
Yes, accepting alternative payment methods can be cost-effective. Digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Wallet often have lower processing fees, and ACH transfers can be an economical choice for recurring payments. It’s wise to offer a variety of payment options to accommodate customer preferences while managing costs.
Accepting credit card payments doesn’t have to be expensive. With the right approach, you can find a cost-effective solution that suits your business size and needs. Carefully estimate your business requirements and choose the method that aligns with your budget while providing a seamless payment experience for your customers. By doing so, you can boost your sales and keep more of your hard-earned money.
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