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Strategies to Offset Credit Card Processing Costs for Canadian Small Businesses

Smart Ways to Save on Those Ever Increasing Card Processing Fees

The rising costs of credit and debit card processing pose a challenge for Canadian small businesses. With average processing fees ranging between 1.5% and 3.5%, it is becoming crucial for small business owners to explore new strategies to minimize these expenses.

In this blog post, we will discuss various tactics that can help offset credit card processing costs, allowing small businesses to optimize their financial performance while still allowing clients and customers to make use of the payment methods they prefer.

Why Your Small Business Needs to Accept Credit and Debit Cards

Perhaps the obvious answer to saving on the cost of credit and debit card processing would seem to be don’t accept them at all. However, the fact is that it’s really not an option.

In recent years, Canadians have witnessed a notable shift in their payment preferences, with credit and debit cards increasingly gaining popularity over traditional cash transactions. This transition reflects the convenience and security offered by electronic payment methods.

According to industry reports, the usage of credit and debit cards has been steadily on the rise, with Canadians embracing the ease of tapping or swiping their cards for everyday purchases. In fact, a study by the Bank of Canada revealed that debit and credit card transactions accounted for over 70% of all consumer payments in the country.

This shift towards card-based payments is driven by factors such as the growing acceptance of electronic payments by businesses, the convenience of contactless transactions, and the desire for enhanced record-keeping.

With the ongoing advancements in payment technology and the widespread adoption of digital wallets, it is expected that the trend of Canadians favoring credit and debit cards over cash will continue to accelerate in the coming years.

Smart Ways to Save on Card Processing Fees:

Negotiate with your credit card processor

Engaging in negotiations with your credit card processor can yield favorable outcomes. By leveraging factors such as transaction volume, business longevity, and positive payment history, you can potentially secure lower rates or reduced fees. Take the initiative to open dialogue and explore possibilities for better terms that align with your business’s financial goals.

Find a cost-effective payment processor

Research and compare different payment processors to find one that offers competitive rates and fees while ensuring reliability and advanced security measures. Look for processors that align with your business’s specific needs and budgetary constraints. Choosing the right payment processor can significantly impact your overall credit card processing costs.

Encourage ACH payments

Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers provide an alternative payment method that can help lower processing fees. Promote the use of ACH payments among your customers, highlighting the benefits of lower transaction costs compared to credit card transactions. By diversifying payment options, you can reduce reliance on credit cards and subsequently decrease processing expenses.

Implement minimum credit card transaction amounts

Setting a minimum purchase amount for credit card transactions can help offset processing fees for smaller transactions. By establishing a threshold, such as $10 or $15, you can ensure that the associated costs do not outweigh the revenue generated by low-value sales. Strive to strike a balance that encourages credit card usage without incurring excessive processing fees.

Minimize manual entry of credit card information

Reduce the risk of errors and potential chargebacks by minimizing manual entry of credit card information. Investing in secure payment terminals or online payment gateways can streamline the payment process while mitigating the possibility of data entry mistakes. This not only saves time but also reduces additional fees and administrative burdens.

Embrace card-present transactions

Card-present transactions, where the physical card is present during the transaction, generally carry lower processing fees compared to card-not-present transactions. Upgrade your point-of-sale systems or consider implementing contactless payment options to encourage card-present transactions whenever feasible. This can lead to cost savings over time.

Consider charging customers a credit card usage fee

Although this strategy requires careful consideration, charging customers a nominal fee for credit card usage can help offset processing costs. Before implementing this approach, ensure compliance with local regulations and assess the potential impact on customer satisfaction. Transparent communication regarding the fee is crucial to avoid any misunderstandings.

Diversify payment methods

Offering alternative payment methods, such as digital wallets, mobile payment apps, or electronic funds transfer, can provide flexibility for customers and potentially reduce credit card processing costs. Educate your customers about the availability and benefits of these options, encouraging them to utilize them when appropriate.

Understand merchant statements

Develop a thorough understanding of your merchant statements to identify any discrepancies or hidden charges. Regularly review and analyze these statements to ensure accuracy and transparency in your financial records. Seek clarification from your payment processor or financial advisor if any items are unclear or require further explanation.

Opt for the right pricing structure

Selecting the appropriate pricing structure for your merchant account can have a significant impact on managing credit card processing costs. Consider the pros and cons of flat-rate pricing, interchange-plus pricing, or tiered pricing models. Evaluate the pricing structures in relation to your transaction volume and specific business needs to make an informed decision.

Mitigate fraud and chargebacks

Implement robust fraud prevention measures to reduce the occurrence of chargebacks and associated fees. Adhere to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance, employ tokenization techniques, and utilize fraud detection tools to safeguard against fraudulent transactions. Proactive fraud prevention can save your business from financial losses.

Avoid equipment leases

Leasing credit card processing equipment can lead to long-term costs. Instead, consider purchasing or leasing-to-own equipment to avoid ongoing leasing fees. By owning your equipment, you can save money over time and have more control over your payment processing operations.

Regularly monitor and audit statements

Conduct monthly audits of your merchant statements to detect any billing errors, overcharges, or unexpected fees. Promptly address discrepancies with your payment processor or financial advisor to rectify issues and prevent prolonged financial losses. Regular monitoring ensures that you stay on top of your credit card processing costs.

Get professional help

In navigating the evolving landscape of payment preferences, working with a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) can be instrumental for Canadian businesses seeking to optimize their credit and debit card processing costs.

CPAs possess the expertise to analyze financial data, identify cost-saving opportunities, and provide tailored strategies to mitigate expenses. Whether it’s negotiating with processors, implementing efficient payment processing systems, or analyzing merchant statements, a CPA can offer valuable insights and guidance.

For Ontario small businesses looking for trusted accounting services, KKCPA is an excellent choice. With our extensive experience and dedication to client success, KKCPA is committed to helping businesses thrive by maximizing their profitability and minimizing unnecessary expenses. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and take the first step towards a more efficient and cost-effective payment processing strategy.