Choosing a credit card processor for accepting payments in a business is generally the last thing on any business owner’s mind. Trust us, we know. 

It usually goes something like this: It comes down to the wire, you’re frantic to get everything pulled together by you Grand Opening, or maybe just the on Friday night slam. You need this up and running and you need it yesterday! Been there.

Business owners are busy.  They don’t have time to vet a prospective processor or Merchant Service Provider (MSP). They really just want the best deal they can get so they end up deciding to go with the guy promising the lowest rates. 

Why would you put such an important aspect of running your business to chance? After all the hard work creating the perfect business, designing the aesthetics, marketing, wooing, tempting and leading your best customers to fall in love with you and your brand, why would you not put in at least as much consideration into how you will make it easy for them to purchase from you? That is the end goal, isn’t it?

Common mistakes merchants make when choosing a payment processor to service their business.

There is plenty of statistical information out there to prove to us all that buying is an emotional experience.  At the end of the day you, the retailer, are trying to create a memorable and fulfilling shopping experience for your customer and at the conclusion is the act of buying. Customers want a frictionless buying experience. It is literally the last experience they have before they walk out your door (even your virtual door eCommerce)!

The main goal of choosing the correct merchant service provider is to find a company that can provide you with a balance between an affordable option with stellar customer service for you, and the perfect amount of frictionless payment options and use of technology for your customers.

The first mistake you can make is NOT choosing Bankcard Brokers. C’mon, you know I had to go there! 

But seriously, there are a few common mistakes business owners make when undertaking the chore of finding and choosing a merchant account with a good Merchant Service Provider. Let’s dive in.

Lowest rate promise.

There are too many unscrupulous salesmen out there whose only goal is to hit their “new accounts quota”. They will make promises knowing that they will move on to the next and leave you dealing with a bank who can and will do whatever they want. Banks will often raise the rates immediately after the first year of processing.

The Fix? Fair and transparent processing rates with a provider who is willing to provide you with an actual written contract that your rates will stay the same. You will see how you can achieve this as you continue to explore the other mistakes merchants often make below. 

Thinking that awesome rate is the WHOLE rate.

There is the credit card processing rate and then there is your effective rate. There will be the rate in which you will be charged for processing each type of card (and don’t forget each card comes with a different rate attached to it set by the Visa/MasterCard network) along with the mark up the processor attaches to it. But there will also be a per-transaction fee, as well as some other fees that processors sneak in there. A monthly service fee, statement fee, start-up fees, and cancellation fees are common fees that salesmen will try to sneak in there. 

When quoting you a rate, they will often only speak to the card rate and make you think that is the final price. It is only when you add all of the additional fees and divide it out that you find your true effective rate. These fees are still part of what it costs you to accept credit cards so don’t make the mistake of thinking it only matters what your card rate is.

Tip: It is important to keep these additional fees in mind. But it is also imperative to know that not all of these fees are inevitable. A good MSP will not feel the need to make extra money through bogus charges and many fees are negotiable, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Choosing the wrong rate structure.

In our opinion, the ONLY rate plan you should be considering is what is referred to as Interchange Plus pricing.  Specifically for the exact reasons stated above. First of all, each card type commands a different rate, meaning that corporate cards, rewards cards, airline miles, and cash back cards each have higher rates than a basic credit card or an ATM card. On top of that many processors operate on a tiered rate schedule. A tiered schedule means that they charge a different rate for each tier that the cards fall into. When they quote you that “low” rate, they are referring to cards that fall into the qualified tier. The problem is that all of those corporate and rewards cards Do Not fall into a qualified tier. When you get your first statement you wonder how in the heck your bill is so high and they say it’s because the cards you take aren’t qualified. 

This is why we strongly believe that interchange-plus pricing is the ONLY fair and transparent pricing structure. 

With this structure, the merchant pays the exact rate that interchange sets for each card type, whatever that may be, (and it is posted publicly on most card brand websites..) “plus” the basis points, which are the mark up that the MSP charges for their services. This mark up stays the same no matter what type of card you end up accepting. It is also the most transparent because when you receive your statement you can actually read it, understand it, and tell exactly what you are being charged (your rate). I could go on and on.

Data Security, Fraud Protection and PCI Compliance.

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) sets a U.S. standard for Data Security (DSS) that every entity that will be transferring payment data must comply. Your Merchant Service Provider should be able to provide you with a secure processing solution that operates with only the latest security protocols as well as be able to remind you and help you with your own PCI compliance. The best MSP will also be able to offer top of the line fraud prevention tools in addition to the built-in security measures in order to meet your business’s particular needs. 

Not demanding that your MSP is an   ETA – CPP (Certified Payment Professional.


Did you know there is actually no educational requirements for salesmen to enter the payment card industry? We believe this is a complete and total disservice to merchants who have to work with these salesmen! The ETA (electronic transaction association) created a rigorous, but voluntary, training course for salesmen in the industry to become a Certified Payments Professional-ETA-CPP. This is an industry with ever evolving government security compliance laws, national and international regulations, morphing technology, and increasing payment avenues. When you demand to work with a salesman who has voluntarily taken on the responsibility to become ETA Certified you will be partnering with someone who is dedicated to continuing education and to achieve a deep knowledge of the industry’s operations, compliance, risk, and security but also to conduct themselves according to a code of ethics set forth by the ETA. Expect nothing less.

Overlooking the importance of Customer Service.

Do not underestimate the power of great customer service! You will need it! Merchants like to think that their credit card processing is set-it-forget-it. Inevitably there will be something you need. A terminal will go down, you will have a question on your bill, you need to accept a form of payment you previously thought you wouldn’t need. Whatever it is, you want your company there for you when you call. Make sure that your salesman will be someone you can actually get ahold of! And if it is after hours, having a domestic customer service representative on the other end of the line is indispensable.

Lastly, Not viewing your merchant services as a lifelong business relationship.

This business relationship you have with your Merchant Service Provider involves putting tens of thousands of dollars in your processor’s hands and trusting that money will eventually make it to your business. Accepting payments for your goods and services is the most fundamental function involved in creating a successful business. Wouldn’t you want to partner with a business based on experience, reputation, and reliability? Do you want a business partner you can rely on, that you can develop a relationship with, one who knows and understands your needs, and one who is as invested in the success of your business as you are? As soon as you start looking at your MSP as a longterm business relationship, you will automatically begin looking for the one who can live up to your expectations! Maybe this should have been the first point! 

Obviously, we believe that Bankcard Brokers fits the bill! 

Ethical, Professional and Dependable service levels are the backbone of our company beliefs. ALL of our sales professionals are ETA-Certified, demonstrating our commitment to the legitimacy and transparency of our industry. We have spent years creating trusting relationships with our global partners in order to bring our clients only the most affordable and reliable solutions for payment processing. We are dedicated to keeping up with the latest technological advances in order to bring our clients the most cutting edge products and behind it all, we pride ourselves on exceptional customer support. 

I invite you to give us a call and see what it’s like to experience “The Bankcard Brokers Difference!”