OK, thanks for heading on over to my blog here and checking out the rest of the story on how to negotiate the “discount fees” for your merchant processing account.

Remember, that’s the account and fees you pay to process credit cards.

The reality is this: if you are accepting credit or debit cards, which you should be, you are paying a fee to do so. It’s called a “discount fee.”

Yes, there are other fees that go along with that discount fees, like gateway fees, etc., but here, I want to focus on the big 3 categories of fees you are paying right now and how to get those lowered. To re-cap, they are:

“Qualifying” cards.

“Mid-qualifying” cards.

And, the killers: “Non-qualifying” cards.

First of all, grab your merchant account statement. Right now, you get one in the mail every month. And, if you’ve ever looked at it, your eyes will glaze over just trying to interpret it all. That’s on purpose of course. Like reading a hospital bill. The more confusing they make it, the less likely you’ll challenge it, right?

Now, on that statement, you’ll find your merchant account number. That, along with your business name and address, and perhaps, your tax ID#, you’ll call the customer service number on your statement.

Once you call, remember to be VERY polite.

Now, here are the magic words, “Hi, this is Dr. John Smith. I’m a current customer of yours since…well, it looks like, XX years. And, I’d like to ask for a courtesy rate review on my account. Is that something you’d be able to help me with?”

Now, the last few years I’ve done this very short, 5-10 or so minute call, I’ve been able to take care of it right then and there. When I called this year, they switched things up on me.

Instead of saying, “Sure thing Mr. Jones. I’d be happy to help you with that,” the person answering said, “Sure thing Mr. Jones. We are no longer able to do those on the line and we actually have a separate department that handles the rate reviews. If I can get a number where they can reach you in the next 24 to 48 hours, I will be happy to have them get back to you.”

My take is they do this for a number of reasons: One is to keep the lines cleared up and able to accept calls that are about processing, not about billing. The other is they hope you’ll not answer or be busy when they call back. And, the cycle can potentially continue. It’s a stall tactic of sorts.

Anyway, no huge deal.

The next day or two, a person will call you back. They will verify your info and then review your big 3 charges.

As an example, here are mine from my publishing and marketing company, which, by definition is ALWAYS higher than a “card present” situation like our dental offices (None of the cards at Jerry Jones Direct are processed manually. All electronic and all done virtually without a real card in-hand, unlike your dental office):

Qualifying: 1.95%

Mid-Qualifying: 2.7%

Non-Qualifying: 3.45%

Before I negotiated last year when I called they were:

Qualifying: 2.05%

Mid-Qualifying: 2.8%

Non-Qualifying: 3.65%

When I got the call back, the gal on the other end of the line said, without even me asking, “Here’s what we can do:

Qualifying: 1.85%

Mid-Qualifying: 2.6%

Non-Qualifying: 3.35%”

I asked her where most of our volume was, knowing in advance it was in that non-qualifying rate of 3.35%.

She concurred; almost all of our volume was coming in at that non-qualifying rate.

So then I asked, “Is there room on your side, while we continue to grow this year, to reduce that non-qualifying more?”

“Let’s see…” I could hear her pecking away and then…

“I think so. I can get that rate down to … 3.35%.”

To which I graciously accepted and immediately went from 3.45% to 3.25% just because I had the stones to ask.

That means THOUSANDS of dollars in savings over the next year for me. It could mean the same for you.

All you have to do is follow my instructions above, be BOLD and ask!

Good luck.

* To learn more about Dr. John Busby’s Insurance Fee Negotiation Consulting Services, visit his website: BusbyConsultingGroup.com