Some credit card processing statements appear to be a jumbled mess, while some are eerily simple. Either way, you need to know more about them. We want you to be able to read the most complicated of monthly statements. Sadly, payment processors often add unnecessary fees. Similarly, you should know when anything is missing from a credit card processing statement so you know if something is hidden from you. The best way to save your business money is by understanding where and what it’s spending money on. That’s why learning how to read your credit card processing statement is so important.
Although no two credit card processing statements are exactly the same, they generally have four sections. They are processing summary, deposits, markups and authorizations, and other fees. If you have the interchange-plus pricing model, the other fees section is labeled Pass-Through Fees.
Your card summary will most likely be first on your statement. In this section, you’ll see your total monthly transactions. Using rows and columns, the summary will show the card brand, dollar amount, and type of each transaction. You’ll find some useful information in this section is average ticket size this monthly, fluctuation of interchange, and total amount billed. You’ll want to keep an eye on your average ticket size to stay within merchant account limits. Interchange fluctuation is another number to keep an eye on. It is the change in the percentage of types of cards or types of transactions you accept on a monthly basis. For example, your credit card processing statement would be higher on a month that you accept all keyed-debit transactions than on a month you accepted all swiped credit cards. Know that this is a natural change and it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with your statement.
The deposits section of your statement will be organized by either day or month depending on your processor. Some payment processors take out their fees daily from your account, while some take them out monthly. Either way, your statement will show your daily deposits (before fees), the fees you owe the processor (discount), then the settled amount (after fees are taken).
Markups and Authorizations
This section is where you’ll find markup. Also known as how much extra you’re being charged above the wholesale cost of accepting transactions. Your processor decides the markup, and it varies between merchant services companies, so keep an eye on how much they’re making off of you. If you’re shopping around for a new processor, ask for an example of their statements and search for this section. It gives you insight on if they’re a better fit.
Authorizations are charged for each transaction regardless of if it is authorized or not. You’re billed for every attempt at payment, and especially for every chargeback. You’ll find that it adds up in this section.
The last portion is the extra, or pass-through fees part of your merchant services statement. They are called this because they are charges your processor takes responsibility for until they can pass them onto the merchant. You can assimilate it to paying the base charge to rent a car, but also have to fill up the tank before you return it. Alternatively, hotels charge a pass-through cleaning fee when renting a room, and the base charge just for using it.
Do You Know How to Read Your Credit Card Processing Statement?
It is our goal that our merchants, and all other merchants for that matter, fully understand how to read your credit card processing statement. If something looks strange on your bill and don’t feel comfortable talking to your processor about it, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss it. With your newfound knowledge about statements, take a look at yours and see if it’s comparable to our prices.