Business owners wear many hats in their daily activities. There's managing inventory, employees, appearance of their establishment, marketing and on and on. One of the less than pleasant things that I find merchants tend to put off is reading and understanding their merchant statements. They typically aren't the easiest things to comprehend and, unfortunately, that is by design. However, let me encourage you here that if there is ever a time to take a thorough look... it's right now.
As you may know, every April and October Visa and MC make adjustments to Interchange Rates. And, since this is the baseline of all your rates, any increases can change your Discount Rate that you are paying your payment processor for the "privilege" of accepting plastic in your business. So, the purpose of this brief article is simply to encourage you to take a look at your merchant services processing statement from, oh let's say March or maybe even February. Then take a look at your April statement that you likely just recently received.
Here's what you're looking for. Every statement will have a "comments" or "important information" section where your provider will inform you of a variety of things. This is the spot where they will let you know that your rates may be increasing due to Interchange adjustments. So, see if there was any indication of this on your February and March statements in anticipation of April adjustments. If so, then you want to thoroughly check your actual rates to see how much and what adjustments were made to your plan. Sometimes processors won't make any moves with every interchange rate hike and will simply absorb small upticks. However, some will also utilize this semi-annual phenomenon to pass it on or pass it on plus some for themselves. What I'm getting at here is that you absolutely need to know what is going on, what your rates are and how you are being charged.
Now, let's say that you did see some upticks in your rates. Was it across the board on all types of transactions that you receive or was it adjustments only on certain card/transaction types? Then, once you get a grasp on exactly what adjustments are being made, decide if it's worth sticking with the current provider based on what type and quality of services you are receiving from them. Personally I have a very high retention rate with my merchants simply because I take care of them and am responsive to their needs. So, even if there is a need to pass on slight increases, they don't mind because I take care of them. Plus, I'm always proactive with them in looking for and providing other valuable services to benefit their business.
So, get on it and don't delay. And, if I can be of any assistance, you know how to reach me.
By Michael Saum