How to Negotiate with Merchant Service Providers

merchant service

According to one study, 173 million people use credit cards. Personal debt is increasing from credit cards, but people still rely on them. Whether your company is online or offline, selling products or providing services, accepting credit cards and applying for a merchant account is a must. Before you decide on a merchant services provider, here are some tips to help negotiate a better deal.

  • If your business is considered “high risk” meaning you operate a company that could have multiple returns and complaints (e.g. gaming, online adult stores), you might be at the provider’s mercy for rates and terms. If your sales volume and credit rating is good, you have room to negotiate.
  • If you currently already use a merchant account service and are just looking to switch companies for better rates and repayment terms, you can usually negotiate with your current company before switching.
  • If you need equipment for your retail store such as a credit card machine or terminal, you can negotiate these along with processing software to be included in the cost of the services.
  • If you do get denied from a provider because your business doesn’t meet their qualifications and risk guidelines, don’t bargain – look elsewhere. There are literally thousands of companies that provide these services.
  • Merchant accounts link between your customer’s credit card processing account and a business bank account so if you operate online, you’ll need a “gateway” software that collects and encrypts credit card information. If you operate an ecommerce site, make sure you find a company offering the software compatible with your existing website. This can save you hundreds of IT consulting fees.
  • If you process credit cards at trade shows, music shows, festival concerts, or any other type of remote location, negotiate a free portable terminal or one to rent for a few months.
  • If you sign an agreement, review the agreement thoroughly. Pay-transaction fees, chargebacks, “reserve” funds, and monthly minimums can all be in the agreement, but are hidden. Sometimes you can negotiate the length of the service contract agreement, but if you can’t, ask about credit card processing cancellation fees.

Image by LotusHead.

Betsy Brottlund

Betsy Brottlund is the Director of Marketing at Resource Nation, an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for entrepreneurs and business owners ranging from payroll services to phone systems. Brottlund frequently contributes to several sites that offer tools and advice for business owners, including Dell and BizEquity. Previously a communications consultant, Brottlund has worked with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies managing their marketing and communication programs.