Card fees, charges and contracts: What to look into (and out for)

Monday, January 29, 2024 4 minute read

4 minute read

As a business owner, you deserve peace of mind when it comes to card payment fees. There should be no unexpected charges or fees from your payment services provider when you get your monthly bill.

That’s why we stick to a no hidden fees approach, offering fair and transparent pricing to our customers.

It’s important to review the charges included in your monthly statement and payment acceptance contract to understand the true cost of your overall bill.

Here are the main card payment-related charges you need to know about, including some charges you may have overlooked.

Standard card payment fees and charges

Merchant Service Charge(MSC)

Merchants generally pay a Merchant Service Charge (MSC) for each transaction. The MSC includes:

Interchange fees:

A percentage of the fee is charged by the card issuer (generally the bank that issued the card) to cover handling costs.

Card scheme fees:

These are fees paid to card payment networks like Visa and Mastercard. These may vary depending on the type of card used (i.e. debit, credit, business) and type of transaction (i.e. card-present or card-not-present (CNP) transactions).

Acquirer markup:

These are fees charged by the acquirer to cover their costs and profit margin.

Set rates

Instead of MSC rates, set percentage rates offer one set price per transaction regardless of card type and card issuer. With no ability to adjust your rates, as your business takes more card transactions or when completing transactions, your fees can become more expensive. 

Ready-made plans

Ready-made plans or bundles are similar to set fees but offer more flexibility for merchants looking to grow their business. You can choose the payment package that best suits your needs and the rates can be adjusted (up or down) where necessary.

Blended tailor-made rates

If your business has a high monthly card turnover or if you or if you have specific needs that aren’t matched by ready-made packages, consider blended rates.

Tailor-made blended rates deliver simple and predictable pricing with:

  • Agreed-upon individual prices for all the relevant card and transaction types
  • Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, modern terminals specifically suited to your business needs
  • Automatic processing of settled funds into your bank account the next working day

Refunds and chargebacks

A refund fee is applied each time you attempt to process a refund back from the card terminal.

A chargeback is the return of money from a card transaction back to the cardholder. Some of the reasons a cardholder might initiate a chargeback include:

  • They believe a transaction is fraudulent
  • The cardholder does not recognise the transaction on their account
  • A customer feels that they have been misled by the merchant.

Chargeback fees can be quite high with some providers, so it’s important to check for chargeback fees in your contract. 

Terminal rental

The cost for renting your card terminal from the merchant services provider. 

BOIPA’s no hidden fees approach 

Our transparent pricing model means our customers know exactly what they are being charged and understand the true cost of their payment acceptance agreement with us. With other providers you may have to stump up for additional charges.

Additional charges you could be charged by other providers

Authentication (Auth) / secure transaction fees

An authorization or secure transaction fee is charged each time a business authorises an attempted card transaction. This could be anything from 3 to 5 cents per attempted transaction and can stack up over a month.

Installation and onboarding

Other providers may charge for initial terminal configuration, onboarding and ongoing maintenance. We don’t. Our team of field engineers is available across the country to get you set up and provide support if you need it. And our Irish-based customer support desk is readily available to answer any of your questions.

Minimal monthly use charge

Some providers charge even if you don’t use your terminal often or at all within a monthly period.

Next-day settlement charge

Having your settled funds land in your bank the next working day is a major benefit for merchants accepting card payments. Check to see if there is a charge associated with this service.

Change of legal entity charge

It’s common for many Irish businesses just starting out to register as sole traders or as a partnership. As a business grows, it may be advised that a limited company structure is more appropriate. This would mean amending your payment acceptance contract, which could incur an unexpected fee depending on who your payment provider is.

PCI fees

The PCI compliance fee is a monthly or yearly cost that some payment providers charge to assist with maintaining compliance.

Maintenance fees

Some providers charge a fee to maintain your account with them.

And there could be penalty payments too….

PCI non-compliance fees

If you haven’t certified your compliance for PCI, you may be on the hook for a monthly fine.

Payment arrears

If your monthly bill fails to be processed on time, there could be a fine for the failed direct debit and a charge for the administration costs associated with arrears.

Terminal replacement charge

Accidents can happen in busy workplace environments. Speak with the payments provider regarding what happens if your terminal is accidentally damaged as some can charge upwards of €400 to replace your terminal.

Rolling contracts can bounce up your fees

Rolling contracts, or short term contracts that transition into rolling contracts, can seem attractive to merchants as it allows businesses to move from a payments provider with minimal notice and without penalty. 

However, these agreements come with financial risks as a payment services provider may increase your fees without notice or clear communication. Read the fine print in the contract and query this before signing up for a payment solution.

Talk with us about card payment fees

If you are new to payments or thinking about switching payment providers, we’re only a phone call away.

Along with a responsive Irish-based support centre, our pricing and contract terms are transparent, clearly defined and free of nasty surprises.

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