Credit Card Fees to Possibly Increase


Last year, merchants -- the small businesses that accept credit cards -- paid more than $90 billion in swipe fees. These fees are then often passed on to consumers. 

Visa and Mastercard recently announced a planned rate hike which could cost businesses an additional $500 million per year. 

While some federal lawmakers have introduced bills to thwart the potential hike, the outcome is still up in the air and businesses should be prepared for the worst. 

As credit card use has risen from a small portion of sales to the vast majority of sales, businesses really feel those processing expenses. It takes a lot of cocktails to cover that bill. But what if one could shed themselves of that expense or a vast majority of it?

Michigan Merchant Services (MMS), our preferred partner for credit card processing, has an option you may be interested in. 

Their “Customer Choice Program” provides the customer with a choice to pay a credit card price or a cash price. The credit card price with their program is 3.99% higher than the cash price typically, which then covers the merchant’s processing expenses on their sales. 

The first question often asked is, “Will this scare away my customers?” Well, the short answer seems to be a very honest: “NO.” MMS has tracked their merchant’s sales before and after implementing the program and have not seen any correlation to lost sales. 

So, how does one go about doing this? Well, there are several different ways of going about it, and different setups work for different places, but they are all rather simple to implement. The key is to make sure it’s done in a compliant fashion to not cause your business any liability of violating the card brand rules. This is where it is key to work with a processor dedicated to making sure you are educated as a merchant on the basics of the program and that the equipment and signage complies with the card brand’s rules. 

That is where MMS comes in. The card brand rules aren’t too stringent, but they are important, and they want to make sure their customers are abiding by them. Proper signage with correct verbiage and a proper setup of the terminals or POS systems is the key to that. These requirements can change too, and that is again where MMS comes in to make sure that everything is maintained. They work with their partners in the industry to stay on top of that, so their merchants don’t have to. 

If you're interested in learning more about the Customer Choice Program or traditional processing through MMS, please visit their website at or give them a call at 616-794-3271.