Every day, millions of business owners pay credit card processing fees without knowing where the fees go.

To make matters worse, there are millions of credit card processing agents calling on these business owners every day, promising them reduced credit card processing fees.

In today’s article, I will explain where your credit card processing fees go, so you have more knowledge about choosing your next credit card processor.

Here are a few definitions for the terms used in this brief article:

Card Issuing Bank: Bank that issued the credit/debit card being used to make a purchase. The fees paid to Card Issuing Banks are referred to as Interchange.

Card Brands: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express. The fees paid to Card Brands are referred to as Dues & Assessments.

Payment Processor: The service provider that authorizes and routes funds from the paying customer to the business, while paying the associated fees to Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American
Express, and the Card Issuing Banks. The fees paid to the Payment Processor is referred to as Mark-Up.


When you sign up for a merchant account to accept credit cards, you are agreeing to pay several financial institutions when the fees are drafted from your bank account. You are paying the Card Issuing Bank, the Card Brands, and the Payment Processor.

The credit card processing fees paid to the Card Issuing Bank are called Interchange and equate to over 80% of your credit card processing fees. These fees are non-negotiable, so no credit card processor can reduce these fees.

The credit card processing fees paid to the Card Brands are called Dues & Assessments and are less than 10% of your fees and are also non-negotiable.

So 90% of the credit card processing fees you pay every month are non-negotiable and are paid to the financial institutions that issue credit & debit cards and the Card Brands like Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. The only fees that are negotiable are the credit card processing fees paid to the Payment Processor who provided you with the merchant account. Their fees are referred to as Processor Markup.


There are only a few payment processing platforms that transfer money in North America for credit card processing. These are companies like FIS, Fiserv, Chase Paymentech, EVO, Elavon, Global Payments, and Clearent. Over 90% of all credit & debit card transactions are processed on these platforms. These organizations profit by charging you a Markup on top of the credit card processing fees you pay to the Card Issuing Banks, and the Card Brands. Sometimes they transparently bill you, other times the fees are hidden among fees paid to Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

Here are 38 of the most commonly billed fees:

1. Monthly Support Fee
2. Statement Fee
3. PCI Compliance Fee
4. Transaction Fee
5. Per Item Fee
6. Authorization Fee
7. Next Day Funding Fee
8. Percentage Per Item Fee
9. Customer Support Fee
10. Monthly Maintenance Fee
11. Regulatory Fee
12. Annual Fee
13. Interchange Fee – There are over 400 specific interchange fees.
14. Network Fee
15. Surcharge Fee
16. Back-bill Fee
17. Qualified Fee
18. Mid-Qualified Fee
19. Non-Qualified Fee
20. Keyed Transaction Fee
21. AVS Fee
22. Batch Header Fee
23. Risk Monitoring Fee
24. Early Termination Fee
25. Non-EMV Fee
26. Data Encryption Fee
27. Interchange Clearing Fee
28. Monthly Minimum Fee
29. Voice Authorization Fee
30. Chargeback Fee
31. Application Fee
32. Gateway Fee
33. Retrieval Fee
34. Data Breach Fee
35. Savings Program Fee
36. Equipment Leasing Fee
37. Reporting Fee
38. Compliance Fee


When we work with businesses, we focus on taking the time to understand their industry, business, and how they are currently accepting payments. We then analyze their systems to make sure they are processing on the most efficient payment processing platform for their industry and ensure they are being billed properly by their payment processor. Finally, we help them eliminate any unnecessary Mark-Up fees they pay while providing secure, flexible payment processing solutions.

If you’re thinking about your credit card processing fees and would like some help, let’s talk!