October 24, 2016 cw2016

Selecting a Credit Card Vendor

You must accept credit cards. Period.

Just like you MUST have cable connectivity.

I hate Comcast, but the others are worse. If I want cable TV and fast internet, I must bite a bullet and play by their rules.

I hate credit card vendors. But once again, I chew on that dam bullet.

The vendors

  • They come in various hues: rotten to lousy. Pick one.
  • Credit card vendors can be crooked or straight. The crooked ones hook you into an ironclad contract, take their sweet time giving you your own monies, and dip into your account whenever to collect whatever. Hey, waitaminit, that is all of them!
  • Banks SEEM like the best choice, but they generally have the highest fees and they outsource to a vendor anyway

The fees

Here is the thing about credit card processing; they all have fees, and the those fees are competitive and changeable.

When you speak with a credit card vendor rep, they will quote you fees for:

  1. Processing
  2. Transactions
  3. Gateway
  4. Breathing

 Then once you sign an iron-clad agreement, the fees will change arbitrarily whenever the hell they feel like it. Supposedly you are notified. Yeah, right.

The contract

The contract is several years long, generally auto-renewable, and you have about a 15-minute window to un-renew. Outside that window, you are obligated to stay with them for the remainder of time or pay an outrageous cancellation fee ($500+ not unusual). If you say take me off auto-renew they tell you they simply can’t, so sorry. But call us at 2:15 on the 24th of December 2017 and we can cancel then. Seriously, this happens.

The billing system

So how do they get paid? Anyway they want. Let’s say on $500, the fees add up to $25 (picked this number out of my hat, but is pretty close to the real one).

  • Sometimes they process a credit card payment into your account, minus their fees
    • I prefer this way. My $500 charge is deposited as $475. That’s ok.
  • Sometimes they process a credit card payment, then take their fees the same day
    • Can work with this. They deposit $500. In a separate, almost immediate transaction, they withdraw the $25 fees
  • Sometimes they process a credit card payment, then take their fees out once a month
    • HATE this! During the month they may have deposited several payments totaling $2000. Then one sunny day of their choosing they reach in and snag $500 in fees, causing me to be overdrawn and have a heart attack simultaneously.

The competition for your precious business

Whomever you are speaking with has the absolute lowest fees d’jour. Because they will match the lowest quote you have received. Negotiation is similar to buying a straw hat portside in the Bahamas. Lots of haggling and hatred on both sides. But worry not. It will change (see Contract above)

How you get your money

So simple. Your customer pays you via credit card and your dandy credit card processing company grabs the money from their card and…holds it safely in their hot little bank-hands for 36-48 (or longer) hours.

  • You are notified the transaction has occurred and been approved, but not so fast, Big Spender.
  • Those monies are actually deposited into your account…later. You must be notified the monies are “Settled”. Now spend.


How it works

  • So, if someone pays by credit card on Tuesday at noon, chances are good you will have access to the monies by Thursday morning.
  • If someone pays by credit card on Tuesday at 7PM, however, chances are good you will have access to the monies by Friday morning. This is called “batching.” They have a cut-off time when Tuesday is now considered Wednesday.
  • if someone pays by credit card on Friday at noon, chances are good you will have access to the monies by Tuesday morning. Hey, fellas, even automation needs a weekend off.
  • if someone pays by credit card on a weekend, chances are good you will have access to the monies by Tuesday or Wednesday morning.



  1. Not all vendors will approve you. You will be vetted to see if you are worthy to be robbed, maimed and blindsided.
  2. Some vendors will jerk you around for weeks before telling you to drop dead.

Our Personal Touch Matters!

When you have a real live person to work with, a real live person who cares about your business...well, it makes all the difference in the world.