All Articles Food Restaurant and Foodservice Confused by payment-card processing fees? Look no further

Confused by payment-card processing fees? Look no further

2 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

This post is by Liz Perman, SmartBrief’s Director of Association Relations.

In the Monday morning session “Credit Card Processing Fees: Understanding the Realities of Payment Card Processing Fees,” six restaurant-industry veterans offered advice to NRA Show 2010 attendees on how to save money by picking the right credit card processing company.

The panelists were executives from Bodnar Investment Group, Court Avenue Brewing Company, Bob Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, Pancake Café, Main Street Cafe and Firehouse Subs.

All of the panelists remarked on the headaches involved in choosing the right credit card processing company for a particular business. The problem stems from the fact that most restaurateurs don’t know how much they are being charged for credit card-related fees, let alone the individual fees that contribute to the overall rate.

The advice from these panelists was clear:

  • Understand the fees involved. First and foremost, panelists emphasized the importance of knowing which fees are fixed and which ones are negotiable. NRA’s free Card Processing Rate Calculator will help you get a handle on what you’re paying for each credit card transaction.
  • Pick your processor carefully. Find out if the credit card processor is compatible with your POS system (both the software and the hardware). If it’s not, you’re going to pay more. It’s also wise to review the processor’s structure and financial position. Attendees were also advised to check the processor’s references by interviewing current customers of a similar size and concept.
  • Monitor your bill monthly and watch out for “creep.” Stay on your toes once you’ve selected a credit card processor.  A number of panelists cautioned that many processors will bring you in at a low rate, only to raise it steadily over time.

All in all, attendees were encouraged to approach the task of finding the right credit card processor with caution and instructed to do their due diligence. If the deal sounds too good to be true, then it’s a lie. Once you find the right processor, make sure to maintain a close relationship with them and keep an eye on your bills each month.

Image credit: Maica, via iStockphoto