Case Study: Finding and Changing Processors
In this case study, we’ll walk through the experience of an actual merchant who used MerchantNegotiators.com to find a new credit card processor. You’ll see how the process of finding a new credit card provider that gives the business owner substantial savings and the features they want, is relatively easy. We also explain the steps this business owner had to take to actually change from one company to another.
Background: What Blake Wants in a Processor
Blake is an orthodontist in Houston Texas. She had been using a credit card processor at her orthodontic practice that was recommended to her by another orthodontist. She didn’t have any major complaints about the company, but she wasn’t wowed with their customer service, and wanted to know if there was someone better and cheaper out there.
As for how she currently processes payments, Blake primarily accepts debit and credit card payments in-person via a traditional terminal, but she also takes recurring monthly payments. In a new merchant services company, her priorities are:
- Significant savings
- No hassle in transferring services
- No downtime at her business
- No billing surprises
- HIPAA and PCI compliance
Step 1: Calculate her Old Costs
The first step to finding out if a better deal exists, was for Blake to know how much she was paying. Unfortunately, credit card processors never just tell you that, so you have to calculate it yourself.
Blake’s old credit card processor touts rates as low as 1.3% per transaction. In fact, they have that number written all over their website. But this is all marketing mumbo jumbo. The only number that actually matters is how much she is paying, in total, for credit card processing per year, and dividing that number by her total amount of credit card volume for the year. We call this number her Overall Total Processing Cost. By calculating her costs in this way, Blake can see through the marketing tricks that processors use to make their services seem cheap, such as shifting costs into monthly fees, or annual fees, or using downgraded transactions, or higher per transaction costs, or one of the fifty other ways they use so that they can make one number look artificially low, and then market that number.
To find that out what her Overall Total Processing Cost was, Blake looked at her year end statement for 2014 (Note: if you don’t have a year end statement, you can use any average month, and multiply it times 12). Using that statement, she found the following two numbers:
- Total Dollars Processed:
Blake processed $384,000 in total credit card sales for the year. Meaning, she accepted $384,000 in payments from customers.
- Total Cost to Process:
Adding up all of the various fees, startup costs, equipment costs, and any other cost she could find on her statement gave Blake her Total Cost to Process. In total, Blake paid $12,672 in merchant services related costs for the year.
$12,672 / $384,000 = 3.2%. Thus, Blake had 3.2% Total Overall Processing Cost. That’s the number she’ll use to compare her old offer, to any new offers in order to tell if they’re actually going to save her money (as opposed to just promising to do so via marketing tricks).
Step 2: Compare Processors
Different businesses need different things in a credit card processor, and not every processor offers everything. As a healthcare provider, HIPAA and PCI compliance were must-haves in a processor for Blake. In addition, she also wanted the following features:
- Quickbooks integration
- HIPAA and PCI compliance
- Ability to Take Recurring Payments
Blake indicated these preferences as she answered the questions about her business on MerchantNegotiators.com. This, along with her answers to questions about the size and industry type, allowed MerchantNegotiators.com to search 40+ processors to find the 3 that were the best combination of price, customer service, and offered the features she wanted.
Step 3: Compare Quotes and Pick a Processor
Blake instantly got 3 price quotes via MerchantNegotiators.com. The were all:
- Significant savings: The 3 quotes ranged from a 20% to a 33% savings over her current price.
- No billing surprises: Because she signed up through MerchantNegotiators.com all pre-agreed to pricing transparency.
- HIPAA and PCI compliance: All 3 bids were from companies that focused on healthcare providers, and offered HIPAA and PCI compliant services.
Step 4: Sign Up and Start Saving
So, she picked the cheapest quote, and along with the MerchantNegotiators.com pre-negotiated discount, was a 33% savings.
Immediately after signing up, her new account rep called her over the phone, confirmed the discounted pricing, offered to answer any questions, and sent her an e-contract. Within 2 days she was approved, and they were mailing out her new equipment.
Step 5: Switching Over
Once Blake was approved with the new company and had received her new equipment in the mail Blake cancelled with her old company, and started the transition. Here’s how it went:
- No hassle in transferring services (check): The processor provided all the equipment via mail to her office. They walked her through setup over the phone which took under 1 hour.
- No downtime at her business (check): 24/7 Customer Service allowed her to make the switch after hours.
In conclusion, in less than 10 minutes of shopping on MerchantNegotiators.com and approximately 1 hour of total time spent in transitioning her account, Blake got:
- Cheaper Service: She saved an estimated $4,224 per year.
- Better Features: The new processor offers Quickbooks integration, which will save her staff time and hassle each month.
- Better Customer Service: The new company is more responsive, friendlier, more helpful.