Credit Card Processors and Teaser Rates

Credit card processors have used “teaser rates” for years to help entice new customers to sign a contract using their credit card processing service. Teaser rates are advertised by processors as the cost to merchants for accepting card payments – but they generally don’t reflect the full picture of fees a merchant can expect to pay – or may only apply to a specific type of transaction.

Durbin’s Amendment and Credit Card Processing Rates

With the recent passing of the Durbin Amendment, debit card transactions are regulated under certain conditions (such as a bank having more than $10 billion in assets will be required to charge regulated fees). Under Durbin’s Amendment, the regulated fees are.05% +.22 cents per transaction for debit card payments. When a customer swipes a debit card that is regulated by Durbin’s Amendment – that is the maximum amount of fees the merchant will pay to process the payment. Processors will then list this rate as their “teaser rate” when marketing their services – but many merchants are surprised to learn later that all cards that are not regulated under Durbin’s Amendment are charged higher transaction and processing fees – making their total processing expenses much higher than the originally expected.

“Rates as Low as”… Teaser Rates

If processing companies use the phrase “with rates as low as” when describing the fees merchants pay to accept credit cards, beware! The rate given in this type of advertisement is almost always based on the regulated debit rate or basic credit, whereas all other cards processed will incur other fees. Rewards cards and corporate credit cards will make up the bulk of most merchant’s credit card orders, and these are the same that receive higher processing fees. Just be aware that any processor marketing their fees with the phrase “with rates as low as” are generally referring to one type of card or the regulated debit card processing fees.

Understand What to Ask For

When comparing processors, get a list of processing rates and transaction fees for the type of transactions you will have. For example, if you’re an online merchant, you’ll want to get a list of fees for regulated debit card transactions, credit cards at the ecommerce interchange rates, and rewards cards at the ecommerce interchange rates. If you do not sell products or services online or by phone, you can get rates for all in-person, card-present type transactions, to see what you will actually pay for credit card processing.

Find out what the processor charges for non-regulated debit card transactions – you may discover they increase the rate as much as 2% over the interchange rate. If the teaser rate describes regulated debit rates and the provider is going to charge 2% higher on all others – you’re going to pay much more than the advertised rates on the majority of your customer’s purchases.