Miscellaneous Charges and How Your Business Can Handle Them

Do you have to put up with miscellaneous charges, like a miscellaneous debit charge, from your payment processing provider? No! Learn more here.

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Summary: This blog discusses strategies for handling miscellaneous charges in payment processing, emphasizing the potential for negotiation and optimization. Swipesum offers guidance and support to minimize these costs and improve payment processing functionality.

Main Points:

  • Payment processing involves some unavoidable fees, but others can be negotiated or eliminated.
  • Miscellaneous charges vary widely and are not always clearly defined, covering anything from service fees to debit miscellaneous charges.
  • Businesses should regularly review their monthly statements to identify and challenge unclear or unnecessary fees.
  • Negotiating with providers can lead to reduced fees, benefiting your business's bottom line.
  • Swipesum provides expert support for businesses to navigate payment processing fees, offering free consultations to optimize payment strategies.

Fees and charges can’t be escaped in payment processing. Payment processing providers want to pass along many costs of doing business to their customers. Those providers want to earn a profit, too.  

If your business accepts credit and debit card payments, it will need to pay certain merchant account and merchant services fees — emphasis on “certain.”

Many, although not all, merchant charges and fees can be negotiated down or even eliminated in the right situation. However, you also want to strike a balance between lower costs and key payment processing features and functionality.

In some cases, certain fees and charges are worth it in exchange for getting the right kind of payment processing tools in place. In others, those negotiable fees aren’t tied to any specific benefit and can and should be negotiated.

Swipesum is here to offer informed guidance and support for your payment processing needs. That includes finding the best combination of tech and tools and taking the lead in negotiations with service providers.  

Our team draws on deep industry experience and knowledge to optimize your payment processing strategy. That means both reducing payment processing costs and improving functionality.

Book your free consultation to learn more!

Now, let’s take a closer look at how your business can handle miscellaneous charges, including miscellaneous debit charges and many others.

What are Miscellaneous Charges in Payment Processing?

Miscellaneous charges and fees in payment processing are fees that don’t easily fall into a specific category.  

Certain fees, like authorization and transaction fees, are essentially universal across payment processing providers. Miscellaneous fees aren’t as common. That can be due to less consistent naming or not being a standard charge for most providers, among other reasons.

Payment processing providers don’t have a comprehensive set of regulations or rules related to the charges and fees they place on their customers. Instead, each processor can take a different approach to naming and setting many of these fees. They do, however, have to notify you ahead of time if they plan to add a new fee to your contract.

Of course, certain fees are very common or universal, both in name and function. Examples of these more standard fees include:

  • Authorization fees. Authorization fees are charged each time a card or its digital equivalent is swiped, tapped, or dipped. These fees represent the cost of transferring information between banks and confirming the availability of funds.
  • Assessment fees. Assessment fees are charged to payment processing providers by cardmember associations to cover costs such as fraud prevention. They are frequently passed along to clients by those providers.
  • Transaction fees. Transaction fees are paid each time your business processes a card payment. They are foundational to payment processing services.

It’s a little more difficult to truly define miscellaneous charges. Why? Because this category covers items that are less common or less standardized from one payment processing provider to the next.

You might see something as generic as a “service fee” on your monthly statement. This may be a charge for a useful or worthwhile service that your processor provides but doesn’t clearly define in the charge name. However, it could also be nothing more than a provider trying to earn some extra money on each transaction, so it’s usually worth looking into.  

A somewhat more specific example is a debit miscellaneous charge or misc debit charge. This charge might be a manual adjustment made due to an error on your payment processor’s end. Technically, it could be a credit to your account or an additional charge, as Barclaycard explains.

There are miscellaneous charges that can provide a useful service or relevant support to your business. However, this broad and less-defined category can also be a place for providers to hide unnecessary costs and markups.

A calculator, pen, and payment processing statement sit on a desk.

Pushing Back on Miscellaneous Charges

So, what can your business do to sort out the many types of charges in the miscellaneous category? More importantly, how can you get a better deal related to any unnecessary and extraneous fees tacked onto your statement? Here are a few suggestions.

Review Your Monthly Statement

It can take a little time each month, but a regular review of your statement can help you keep payment processing costs more manageable. Look for charges with generic names that aren’t clearly defined in the statement itself or your contract or agreement with your provider. You might see a “miscellaneous charge on debit card” line item, or an “enhanced service fee."

We offer an in-depth guide to reading your statement with an eye on keeping payment processing costs low. Check it out to learn more about key areas in your statement and how to spot new fees.

Negotiate High and Unnecessary Fees

Payment processing providers may be more willing to negotiate than you think. While providers don’t encourage their clients to ask about reducing or eliminating fees, they’re often open to the idea.  

After all, those providers want to keep your business. They can take the relatively small hit to their profit margin that comes from reducing or eliminating a charge (or even a handful of charges) as long as it still makes financial sense in the big picture.

When you find a notice in your statement about a new fee or uncover a charge that’s unclear even after researching it, reach out. Tell your provider politely, but clearly and firmly, that you want them to reduce or eliminate it. The worst they can do is say no.

Put a Payments Expert on Your Side

Running a business doesn’t always leave time for a careful review of your monthly payment processing statement. Even if you can find the time, you may not be an expert in payment processing.

Swipesum can add that expertise to your business. That’s true for reviewing and negotiating statements, finding the best providers and tools for your unique needs, and maintaining an optimal approach to payments going forward.  

Our expert analysts are here to help, with no allegiance to any specific provider, tech, or tool. When they consult for your business, their only allegiance is to your business. Want to learn more about our free payments optimization services? Book your consultation!

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Michael Seaman

Michael Seaman

Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Swipesum. A veteran of the payments industry, Michael and his brother Stephen have led Swipesum since its inception in 2016. In his free time, Michael enjoyes time with his three children.

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