A payment processing fee is any of the series of charges incurred by a merchant accepting card payments. Charged by merchant service providers, card processors, issuing banks, payment gateways, and credit card companies themselves, these fees may be determined on a per-transaction basis or at a fixed rate, depending on a number of factors.
While payment processing fees should be considered a necessary cost of doing business, some fees—such as those charged by merchant service providers—are often negotiable.
If your business accepts card payments from your customers, your provider will charge fees for handling your card transactions.
This is the amount your payment processing provider charges you for each card transaction your business makes. There are three main types of payment processing fees :
- Transactional fees
- Flat fees
- Incidental fees
Who are the key players ?
Credit card associations
These are companies that create credit cards, like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. They’re sometimes called credit card networks.
Credit card issuing banks
Credit card issuing banks are banks like Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo that issue cards to customers. Some card associations like Discover and American Express issue their own cards.
Credit card processors
Sometimes called acquiring banks or acquirers, these institutions act as the middleman between merchants and credit card associations. They pass funding information and authorization requests along so that merchants can complete transactions.
Merchant account providers
These are companies that manage credit card processing for merchants, usually with the help of an acquirer.
Used in e-commerce, these are online payment portals that send transactions from the merchant to the acquirer.