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Running a small business is no easy task these days. The economic slump has caused consumers to hold tighter onto their hard-earned dollars. They’re less willing, then, to spend this money to buy the hardware, home-decorating supplies or books that your shop sells.
It’s important for you to keep a lid on your expenses, then. If sales are down — and if you’re like most business owners today, they probably are — your best option to improve your bottom line comes with cutting expenses.
One of your first moves? You should do everything you can to lower your merchant account fees.
The Merchant Council, an association dedicated to helping business owners, has an entire story on its Web site providing business owners with tips on how they can lower the fees associated with allow consumers to buy their products with credit cards.
The council’s first tip is an important one. It recommends that business owners never stop shopping for a better deals. The council recommends that business owners regularly shop for quotes from several different merchant accounts. The council even recommends that business owners let merchant account providers know exactly what rates and fees other providers have quoted them.
By doing this, the council argues — and it’s hard to disagree — business owners will increase the competition. And when this happens, they’ll be more likely to receive lower rates and fees.
The council also recommends that business owners make the switch to interchange plus pricing. This form of pricing is less expensive than is the standard tiered merchant account pricing.
In the past, this type of pricing wasn’t available to many small businesses. Interchange plus pricing was generally reserved for those businesses that processed a large amount of credit card transactions every month. This has gradually changed as the competition among merchant accuont providers has increased.
The council does warn that finding a provider willing to connect your business to interchange plus pricing might be a challenge. Most providers still only offer small businesses traditional tiered pricing. But those business owners who do find the right provider can save big bucks each month by switching to interchange plus pricing.
Finally, business owners should try to negotiate with their current merchant account providers. These owners should explain that they’d like their rates to fall, and that if they don’t, they’ll start shopping around for a new provider.
Providers are under just as much pressure in today’s struggling economy as are business owners. Those owners willing to place a bit more pressure on their merchant account providers might find that their rates will suddenly experience a nice price drop.