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Credit Card Processing: What You Don’t Know Can Cost You

The credit card processing industry is complicated and contracts can be difficult to read and decipher. Here is a list of pitfalls we often see in the industry and what you should pay attention to: 

• Setup fees

► Some processors charge you a fee to setup your business under their programs. 

► Best Card has no setup fee. 

• Early termination fees 

► It is very common to have an early termination fee (often ranging from $250-750) if you leave a processor before the end of your contract. Some companies supplement these fees with lost profitability clauses (you pay their profit margin for the life of contract) and mandatory minimums (e.g. $25 per month for all remaining months). Most processors have a three year contract so it can cost thousands to leave. Always make sure to get this information in writing. 

► Best Card only has a $25 early termination fee. After three years, the close fee drops to $0. We have no lost profitability clauses or mandatory minimums. 

• Auto-renewal of contracts 

► Most processors now automatically renew contracts when they expire, locking merchants into a new contract, and often also renewing the above early termination fee. 

► Best Card does not auto-renew our contracts. After the initial three-year contract is up, the merchant is on a month-to-month agreement. 

• Bait and Switch 

► Some processors will prepare a cost analysis with slightly better rates than you presently pay and then subsequently increase rates. Any processor can increase rates via a thirty-day notice and if you agree to the aforementioned termination fees, it can be very costly to either stay with or leave them. 

► Best Card has only had two rate increases on our tiered program in 10+ years. Total fees ÷ total $ amount processed averages 2.1% for our merchants (it costs $2.10 to process $100 with Best Card). 

• Leases 

► Beware of leases on equipment – they are expensive, non-cancellable, and merchants often end up paying much more than the equipment actually costs. Ex: 48 months x $30 = $1,440 and a buyout of $100 at the end of the lease. 

► Best Card does not lease equipment. We sell terminals and swipers at cost and often offer great deals like $100 off the price of new EMV “chip reading” equipment so you can own for as little as $169. 

• PCI compliance 

► Payment Card Industry (PCI) is an annual online test regarding credit card information protection. Processors almost always outsource PCI testing to third parties, and the annual cost is normally between $70-120. Non-compliance fees often range from $18-40 per month. 

► Best Card charges $36 annually for PCI compliance. Merchants have 90 days to become PCI compliant with a new processor, and Best Card will repeatedly contact offices via phone, email, and fax to help them pass the test and avoid an $18.95 monthly non-compliance fee. 


• Best Card offers personalized customer service from 8am-7pm CST – no prompts or call-centers! Our merchants also receive 24/7 support from the First Data Support Center outside of normal business hours. 

• Best Card offers both tiered and interchange plus rate structures; on average we save practices $1,860, or 27%, per year over their prior processor. If you are considering a processor, let us show you actual statements from offices which were processing with any company you are considering, so you can see what they are really paying. 

• According to First Data, the largest credit card processor in the world, Best Card has one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry and one of the highest rates of returning customers in the country! 

Best Card is endorsed by over twenty-five dental, medical, and chiropractic associations across the US including VDA Services, and we have received these endorsements through our low rates, outstanding customer service, and high integrity! 


Jennifer Nieto is president of RJ Card Processing Inc. (d/b/a Best Card). Formerly, Jennifer was the director of finance for the Colorado Dental Association and an FDIC Bank Examiner/CPA. Best Card is currently endorsed by more than 20 state dental associations or their affiliates. 


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