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love shopping local, and we have the statements to prove it. But what happens
when you swipe your card instead of paying cash? Bottom line: It isn’t necessarily
helping your corner shop as much as it could, because unbeknownst to its
customers, the business may be overpaying fees to the various parties that make
that paperless transaction possible.
& Company is seeking to change that. By helping small and medium-sized
businesses keep credit card processing costs down, they help more money stay in
the community—and out of the hands of the credit card processing companies.
to Ashley Wimsett, director of marketing, the businesses’ troubles often start
the day they sign a contract allowing them to accept plastic. “The industry has
become like the cable companies,” says Wimsett. “They’ll come in and offer a
low rate and increase that rate over time, but businesses sign contracts that
have such intricate details that they can’t get out of them.” Pitfalls include
leasing of a terminal (about $40 or more per month for three to five years vs.
$250 for a one-time purchase), increasing rates and, most frustrating, billing
errors. “We work with businesses to help negotiate the best rate, terms and
conditions, and we do audits quarterly to look for errors and make sure the
rates aren’t increased.”