Rates & Fees Tips

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Are fees and rates similar between merchant account providers?

Is it OK to accept foreign credit cards online?

What are batch fees and how do I minimize their effect?

Do I pay more in processing fees for accepting corporate purchasing cards?

What role does a gateway play in Internet payment processing?

What is the structure of merchant account rates and fees?

Are credit card processing discount rates always the same?

Iíve heard about qualified transactions, what are they?

Does my business profile impact my fees and rates?

Will I be charged a fee if I donít meet a certain sales threshold?

What is the difference between a monthly statement fee and a customer service fee?

Does it cost more to accept rewards cards online?

How can I lower my processing rates for my business?



Are fees and rates similar between merchant account providers?

A review of the many programs offered by merchant account providers will confuse many, disturb others, and motivate the intrepid. Thus is the highly competitive world of the electronic and online payment processing industry. However, what the intrepid ones sense is that in any market like this, there is opportunity for increased margins and profits if the right merchant services provider can be found for your business.

Alternatively, some other reviewers possibly sense that there are financial pitfalls throughout the industry because of variable terminologies, rate/fee structures, and account acceptance terms. These pitfalls include overpayment of rates, being committed to an account program that your business isn't ready for, or being subject to unnecessary expense through confusion as to how an account varies with sales volume. Customers of Ignite Payments have long experienced a service-based relationship with this account provider that instills confidence in quality, competency, and value. Call a representative today and learn how this company can team with you to provide the highest quality service at the most appropriate price for your business.

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Is it OK to accept foreign credit cards online?

Additional fees are part of accepting any high-risk online payment method and foreign credit cards are no exception. It is not because foreign cards are inherently less secure, because all of the U.S. card companies are major players internationally, including VISA, MasterCard (now merged with Euro Card), and AMEX. Plus, the Japanese Bank Card – JCB is well-respected and accepted worldwide. The difficulty and added cost relates to the procedural difficulties in verification and security within the credit card merchant processing system. The fees you can expect when processing foreign cards are increased discount rates (these transactions are non-qualified) and foreign currency fees. Speak to your Ignite Payments representative to ensure that you fully understand the risks and charges you may encounter if you accept foreign credit cards online.

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What are batch fees and how do I minimize their effect?

Batch fees are applied to transactions when they are submitted to the service provider for processing. This is frequently a daily occurrence and are in excess of discount rates or transaction fees. The diligent merchant should be conscious of these fees, as they can mount up over the course of months or years. If your merchant service provider charges such a fee, and you can’t avoid it, do not add to the cost by requiring close outs at shift changes and other similar administrative procedures.

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Do I pay more in processing fees for accepting corporate purchasing cards?

A purchasing card is a type of business credit card that can be issued to employees for use in routine purchasing functions, for travel and entertainment, for fleet-related expenses, or combinations of purposes. Efficiency in operations is achieved through the willingness of card issuing financial companies to tailor their merchant account invoicing and reporting offerings to easily integrate with your accounting system, IT capability, or other data operations. This can lead to more control and better performance from a broad spectrum of core business functions.

That is fine for the cardholding business, but what impact does this innovative approach have on the merchant account community, especially the e-commerce merchant? Increased transaction and discount rates is the simple answer. The reason for the higher fees is simply increased risk to the entire community. As with many other technological or financial innovations, the businesses that initiated the corporate card experienced a much higher rate of employee-generated abuse of charge card privileges. Talk to your Ignite Payments representative to review how your merchant business can benefit from this helpful financial service with the most security and at the lowest cost.

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What role does a gateway play in Internet payment processing?
An Internet payment gateway can be thought of as your business ticket to the Internet. It is not simply an Internet access account (ISP), but a pathway to the network of accepting credit cards online and secure payment processing technologies. Given the importance of this type of service capability, it is no wonder that fees exist for the right to access this valuable component of merchant services. However, if you are a brick and mortar business and need a merchant account, this fee does not apply for there are other ways for your transactions to reach the merchant service provider. Call Ignite Payments and ask what type of account and fee structure is right for your business – they are the experts.

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What is the structure of merchant account rates and fees?

The general structure of rates and fees used in credit card merchant processing can generally be broken down into three categories:

∑ Account Fees – those levied to open and maintain an account, or for equipment. Examples are gateway fee, setup fee, cancellation fee, monthly fee, annual fee, customer/statement fees, chargeback fee, programming fee, shopping cart fee, terminal rental fee, application fee, and wireless access fee.

∑ Sales Volume Rates – those levied on the merchant or business for card processing sales over a given time period or lack thereof. Examples are qualified/mid-qualified/non-qualified discount rates, monthly minimum fee, and overlimit fee.

∑ Transaction Volume Fees – Fees charged based on the number of transactions processed in a given period. Examples are transaction fees, batch fees, phone-in fees, mail-in fees, and foreign currency fees.

Be an informed business consumer and know what you’re getting into with your merchant processing provider.

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Are credit card processing discount rates always the same?

One of the principal rates charged when a merchant accepts credit cards online or offline is the discount rate. This charge is applied to the sum of transactions for a period of time, frequently monthly and is levied on the total sales volume per the applicable time frame. This rate is typically different for various credit card merchant processing providers. Another variable is the status of the underlying transactions. These relate to how the credit card information is entered into the processing network (e.g. swiped or keyed) and other factors such as if it is a corporate, reward, or foreign card.

Ignite Payments is an established and respected merchant services provider that takes great pride in offering competitive rates and superior service to small and medium-sized businesses and merchants. Call a sales representative today or apply online and join the thousands of happy customers of a great organization.

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Iíve heard about qualified transactions, what are they?

It is a well-established fact that electronic payment methods and systems are subject to substantial risk of fraud and graft. This threat affects every business in the credit card merchant processing chain from the issuing bank to the cardholder. As is always the case, where there is risk there is cost and merchant services is no exception. Therefore, fees and rates are built into the system that provide some compensation to the payment processing components.

These fees are assessed as part of the discount rate charged on transaction sales volume. There are three categories of transactions and the discount rate varies depending on the category:

  • Qualified Transactions – these are transactions that are swiped (electronically entered into the system) and usually carry the smallest discount rate.
  • Mid-Qualified Transactions – these are keyed manually by the merchant and represent a slightly higher risk and subsequent higher discount rate.
  • Non-Qualified Transactions – these involve card transactions that are considered more risky, like foreign cards and corporate purchasing cards and carry the highest discount rate of the three.

There are other account terms and conditions plus card association rules and policies that may further impact the qualification of a transaction. For example, keyed payments may require the merchant to enter more information (address verification - AVS) and depending on the results of the verification may trigger a higher, non-qualified discount rate. Ignite Payments is an expert in advising their clients as to the technicalities of these and other policies that impact merchant fees. Talk to them today to ensure you are getting the service you need from your merchant account.

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Does my business profile impact my fees and rates?

Transaction fees are credit card transaction processing charges based on the number of payments submitted into the systems by a merchant account holder. If measured by the magnitude of the percentage of the fee, these credit card transaction processing charges are frequently lower than the discount rates charged on volume. However, since they apply to numbers of card transactions processed, some account holders may actually pay more in transaction fees than in discount rates. For example, a high volume, lower cost online merchant selling hand tools may find his number of transactions greater and his total volume of sales is less than, say an appliance dealer. This distinction may be critical in selection of a merchant service provider. Ignite Payments has numerous programs geared to the type and size of your business and can discuss these rate variables before you finalize your contract.

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Will I be charged a fee if I donít meet a certain sales threshold?

Credit card merchant processing companies are complex businesses in their own right, just as the merchants and commercial enterprises they serve. As such, the anticipated cash volumes and transactions of the merchants in the network they serve drive much of their business and the fees they pay to the banks, acquirers, card associations, and other vendors/service firms they work with. When a merchant is below that anticipated metric over the course of a month or two, it can have significant impact on the operations of the service provider. Therefore, a system of minimum processing fees is commonly assessed to merchants whose volume falls below the anticipated rate. The exact nature of this minimum monthly fee varies from provider to provider, but commonly is based on comparing the minimum to the sum of discount and transaction fees and charging the difference (if any) to the merchant. Ignite Payments will work diligently with each customer to properly size the account to realistic expectations and, therefore, offer minimums that can be achieved month after month.

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What is the difference between a monthly statement fee and a customer service fee?

A most valuable component of the merchant account offered to businesses that accept credit cards online is the monthly statement. This is the tool that savvy business owners use to gain important insights into their customers, products, and business structure. Whether analysis is performed with a spreadsheet, business intelligence system, or on the back of an envelope, the information contained is critical to strategic and operational control.

Due to the nature of these documents, most credit card processing transaction providers charge a monthly fee for this service. Sometimes called a customer service fee, it represents the commitment to the merchant’s success and prosperity that merchant account providers have and Ignite Payments is no exception. However, they strive to add fine service at a reasonable cost to the mix and offer a monthly service fee that is well below the norm in the industry. Call today, and learn how your business can benefit.

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Does it cost more to accept rewards cards online?

Rewards cards are extremely popular with consumers because of the apparent benefits for using the card and accruing benefit points. However, despite the fact that these cards are frequently tied to long-term promotions with companies, vendors, and service organizations that are themselves significant users of credit card merchant processing services, the cost is passed on to the merchants and cardholders (through higher prices for the goods and services purchased.) The common wisdom in the business community is that the added cost to the merchant that accepts the reward cards for online payments is adequately offset through increased sales from consumers (e.g. MasterCard holders) who will buy more goods in order to reap the benefits offered.

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How can I lower my processing rates for my business?
An emerging trend in the highly competitive credit card merchant processing marketplace is towards split rate pricing structures. This concept involves intelligent processing through use of smart cards, and other technological methods to sense the type of card being presented for payment. Upon recognition, the participating merchant is automatically assessed a lower rate than offered to merchants who are not involved in the program. Contact a professional at Ignite Payments to learn more about this program and how your business can benefit from lower transaction processing rates.

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Services by Ignite Payments.

The Ignite Payments name, trademark and logo are owned by Ignite Payments Corporation. All other trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners. The Ignite Payments Agent Program is operated by Ignite Payments International, Inc. Ignite Payments International, doing business as Ignite Payments, is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA. American Express requires separate approval. Ignite Payments Ventura County is an independent agent for Ignite Payments International.
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