The legislation which was “intended” to provide relief from high debit card fees for retailers accepting Visa and MasterCard debit cards has turned out to effect small ticket retailers like frozen yogurt shops the other way. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and more specifically the Durban Act portion changed fees charged on debit cards from $0.04 + 0.90% to $0.22 + 0.05%. Naturally, this is beneficial if the transactions are over $10; however, small ticket items like frozen yogurt stores and low ticket restaurants which sometimes process over 50% of their transactions via debit cards saw rate increases to over four to five percent.
Here is a very simplified example. Let’s do the math:
Average ticket: $7.00
Total credit card transactions: 800
Total sales: $5,600
Debit Card Transaction: 50% or 400
Debit Card Fees: $0.22 x 400 + 0.05% x $2,800 = $102
Credit Card Fees: Assume 2.5% x $5,600 = $140
Total Fees = $102 + $140 = $242
Effective Rate = $242/$5,600 = 4.3%
Now this has become an opportune time for false promises by merchant account resellers to promise lower rates to these retailer. In reality no merchant account provider can guarantee a rate. Even if they lacked mal intentions, how could they predict what type of cards your customers would present.
Read more on this here:
The Truth about Merchant Account Fees! There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Can your Point of Sale company change this fee? NO
Can your bank change this fee? NO
Can you merchant account provider change this fee? NO
How is it that others are quoting you lower rates? Recent experience with bankers has revealed that in most cases they simply do not know this. The fee is part of the “pass through.” They don’t truly study your statement to see where the fees are coming from. They simply divide the fees by the total transactions and they see large figure. If they truly studied your statement, they would understand. When you talk to them, press them on this issue until they get an answer for you. Ask them “how can you guarantee me a rate when under the Durban Act, Visa/Debit transactions are charge a set fee?” Even in their contract they give you, they do not spell this out because they say it’s part of interchange and they have no control over it. Make sure you distinguish between “Debit Card” and “Visa/MC Debit Cards.”
What can you do to lower your fees?
1. Aggressively offer gift cards. Why? If your average ticket is $7.00 with debit cards and if a person buys a $20 gift card, it cuts down on the number of transactions. This also established loyalty.
2. Thinking of charging an extra fee? You can’t. The ability to surcharge only applies to credit card purchases, and only under certain conditions. U.S. merchants cannot surcharge debit card or prepaid card purchases. Ten (10) states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas have surcharging restrictions. You should consult with legal professionals to determine your specif state law.
3. In case of frozen yogurt, raise your per ounce price by $0.01
4. Do not accept debit cards.
Don’t be fooled by promise of lower merchant account fees. Would you trust someone who promised to lower your property tax rate?
Sintel Systems has been at the fore front of the restaurant and eatery point of sale around the nation and globally. As the leading POS provider, Sintel Systems is dedicated to providing its customers with the tools they need to be concentrate on growing. Our knowledgeable staff is just one phone call away with online demos available.
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