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Published: March 12, 2019

How Much Do I Pay for Credit Card Processing Fees? Part 1

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How much does it cost you as a business to take credit cards? Let us break it down for you!

We know the benefits of taking cards. Processing of payments using a debit or credit card is lightning fast and very secure. But if we go deeper, the full amount for what you charge a customer does not go straight from the credit card company and then to you, the merchant. Instead, the transaction is run through multiple banks and companies along the way, and they all take their cut. Not all credit card issuers are transparent when it comes to their credit card processing fees and how it changes over time. Generally, credit card processing fees average around 1.50%-3.00% per transaction for a merchant account.

Costs for taking cards, processing fees, generally have two main points: a transaction fee and a percentage for each transaction. As to the exact cost? Well, it depends on many factors. Let’s start here: Debit cards have different fees than credit cards. And the different credit cards (business, airline miles, hotel points, etc.) all have different fees that are charged to you, the merchant. Also there is card present and card not present - card not present, or when you key in a transaction, is charged more. It can get dizzying! But, let’s simplify it and first focus on the type of card you are using.

Average Processing Fees per card brand:

Visa    1.40% – 2.50%

Discover    1.56% – 2.30%

Mastercard    1.60% – 2.90%

American Express    1.60% – 3.00%


Ever wonder why some companies do not take certain cards? Well, this is why! Usually it is because they think the rates are too high.

The variability per card depends on many factors, namely, your business type. Travel companies are charged more than restaurants. Restaurants are charged more than retail shops. There are literally over 20 categories! These fees are set by the credit card company and everyone pays them. We at Agapay can show you where you fit.

Interchange Fees

This is the most complex, yet informative, side of this process. This is the fee that merchants (you as the business) pay to the credit card company and bank when you make any credit or debit card transaction. It’s commonly the percentage of a transaction, and a flat rate for each transaction made. The system where each company makes their profit over those fees is called Interchange Plus.

There are companies, like Agapay, Square, Paypal, etc. that charge flat rates for each transaction, regardless of the interchange rates. For example, Agapay charges 2.70% and 3.50%. Then there are other companies, like Agapay, and others that charge fees based on the interchange fees, Interchange Plus. We are one of the few that offers both!

Let us be the first to let you know - Flat rates are easier, but Interchange Plus rates are lower. Agapay can do the flat rate, it is easy and we are nose to nose with the “big boys”. But, if you have the time to go to Interchange Plus, do it! We here at Agapay are willing to take the time to help you on this option, as well.

If you would like to know the difference between Flat Fee Pricing vs Interchange Plus click here!

In-Store vs. Online Transactions

When taking credit cards, in-store, or face-to face purchases, fees are always lower for the merchant when compared to making payments online. This is simply due to the chance for fraud. There are two categories, card present and card not present. If the customer and card are there and they input a pin or sign or otherwise approve, it is considered card present. If you have to “key in” a transaction, over phone or online, it is treated as a card not present. Knowing this difference helps understand the variability of fees that are advertised by some credit card processing companies. Don’t get fooled by one advertised fee. Ask what the difference is between card present and card not present.

Credit card payment processing plays a vital role in nearly every business. It literally pays to be educated about the fees associated with taking credit cards!

We know that this sounds complicated and if you would like for us to explain in simple terms to see if flat pricing or interchange plus pricing is better for you! You can call Agapay at (800) 644-3909 or send us an email to info@agapay.gives.

AGAPAY - Transactions that give

Agapay was founded on the idea that payment processing should be ethical and give back to the community. In pricing, structure and service, we will always do our best to give the most value and maximize service.
Agapay is a Registered Partner/ISO of Elavon, Inc. Georgia [a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, Minneapolis, MN]
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