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The how’s and why’s of credit card fee processing
The possession of a credit card might give you a sense of power in terms of being able to buy what you wish when you wish for it. However, it would be good to be informed that as with all things that are transactional in nature, no service comes free. The fees that you incur on your credit card spends will essentially be a combination of base costs and merchant’s discounts, also known as markups.
The largest portion of your total spend, between 70 and 80 % of the total amount would be the base cost of the goods/services purchased by you, using your credit card. To this, is added the markup which may be between 20 and 25%.
Do remember that no credit card service provider can offer you negotiable base costs in terms of lower rates or better deals. The base credit card processing fees are the same for all credit card processors.
Interchange is a significant part of the expenses involved in credit card processing but interestingly, neither your card processor nor the card association (Visa or Mastercard) earn from this. Interchange is levied by the issuing bank when you accept its credit card and the rate is determined by the issuing bank and the card association. Most interchange fees include a certain portion as transaction fee and a second part as commission.
Assessment fees are levied by the credit card association and though are fixed across all processors, may vary depending on the specific line of credit extended to you by your issuing bank.
Markups are charged over and above the interchange and assessment fees and may be negotiable depending on pricing model adopted by each credit card processor and the types of fees charged. Ideally, in choosing a credit card processing option that will benefit you, try to go in for an agreement with those credit card processors who offer you a lower markup over the interchange and assessment fees, as the latter two are pretty much standard across all credit card processing agencies.
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