Five Tips to Minimize Credit Card Processing Fees

No one knows the importance of cutting costs more than those in charge of non-profit finances. Reducing overhead expenses such as processing fees can help give your organization some much-needed wiggle room. Here are five tips to reduce processing fees and make the most of your donation dollars.

  1. You can’t get what you don’t ask for.  If your processor is unwilling to offer a lower rate, don’t be afraid to apply pressure and look for other options. Your goal for seeking the most competitive processor is finding the one with the lowest markup and greatest value. Some things aren’t negotiable when it comes to processing fees – the markup is not one of them.
  2. Keep an eye on your rates.  Complete monthly audits of your merchant services statements to check for billing errors and avoid rate creep. Many processors’ contracts contain provisions that allow them to increase your rates. Be sure to read your statements for notification of rate increases and periodically check your rate to see if it has mysteriously increased.
  3. Make sure PCI Compliance is up-to-date.  A vendor will incur monthly fees from the Payment Card Industry (PCI) if its compliance questionnaire is not completed annually. By completing the questionnaire, you assure your credit card processor that you are taking the proper steps to keep customer information safe and minimize the risk of fraud.
  4. Answer processors’ questions.  If you’re entering a donor’s card number manually, answer as many of the processor’s questions as possible. Providing information such as the customer’s zip code, debit vs. credit, and the CVV are all designed to lower the risk of fraud, and the result should be reduced transaction fees.
  5. Hire a professional.  Every nonprofit should seek out independent, objective advice to reduce your electronic payment processing spend and improve service.Systematic analysis and auditing will:
    • Uncover and eliminate hidden fees
    • Identify and recover overcharges and billing errors
    • Identify and apply appropriate rate categories 

About the author: Jeff Mahalik is a strategic partner working with Schooley Mitchell, a well-known credit card processing service that wil work with you to reduce your processing expenses by an average of 28%. To learn more, visit, or contact Jeff Mahalik at (646) 459-4265 or