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4 terms to avoid when choosing a payment processor

Updated: Jan 29

When choosing a payment processor, knowing what to look for isn’t so obvious. You may know the basic payment methods you want to accept (credit card, ACH, mobile payments, etc.), but what else should you research?

Not every payment processor is the same. It’s a competitive industry, and unfortunately, some processors take the low road and charge unnecessary or confusing fees just to get by. Below are a few terms to avoid when signing on with a credit card processor:

1. Fees and ongoing costs that aren’t explained.

We know, we know: nobody enjoys reading through the terms and conditions. In a survey of 2,000 consumers, 73% of people reported that they do not read terms and conditions for online sign-ups and only 17% of people who do read them report that they actually understand them.

No SMB should be expected to understand all the fees, terms or conditions right off the bat. Be sure to talk through potential charges before you sign on to an agreement.

Common charges associated with merchant accounts:

  • Start-up fee

  • Monthly statement fee

  • Equipment lease charges

  • Payment gateway fees

  • Interchange fees

  • Chargeback fees

  • Address verification fee

2. Volume requirements.

Small- or mid-sized businesses can’t always accurately predict monthly sales. Some credit card processors require a certain monthly sales requirement, and will charge an extra fee if your business doesn’t meet it.

3. Not offering 24/7 support.

In an ideal world, your payment processor should support and complement your business. What would you do if a problem occurs when your payment processor is off the clock? Tandem Payment has a highly trained, multi-lingual (English and Spanish, with full access to translation services) Customer Service Team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also offer equipment swaps for any equipment that is found to be defective.

Some — not all — payment processors offer non-traditional funding for small businesses. If this is a selling point for your company, do your research and ask plenty of questions about how it works, what fees might be associated with it, and whether your company would be eligible.

4. No reviews or references.

A truly good payment processing partner should be able to prove it with letters of recommendation and customer reviews. Shop around, check out customer testimonials, and speak with potential processors personally.

Become a Merchant with Tandem Payment

“Together, A Better Way Forward” is more than a tagline: it’s the driving value behind our business. With Tandem Payment, you won’t have to worry about confusing contracts, hidden fees or volume requirements. To learn more, call 864-672-1570. Visit for additional information.