Digging for the truth in a deceptive merchant statement

by Neil Moncrief on April 7, 2009

Recently, I was reviewing a merchant statement from a large import/export broker. I had already provided them with a quote, and at the request of the merchant, I was trying to calculate their expected monthly savings. After studying the nine page statement for a half-hour, I gave up. Not because it was too hard, but because it wasn’t possible. This payment processor had designed their statements to be useless. Nowhere on the statement did it show the discount rates for the downgraded transactions.

I’ve seen hundreds of statements. It’s normal for me to have to reverse engineer mid-qualified and non-qualified rates, but this was ridiculous. Simple information, posted in any normal statement, was absent. Downgrades were charged in such a way that I had to look at three consecutive statements just to see the whole picture.

Credit card processors sometimes use tactics like these to keep merchants in the dark. They’ll spread fees among different sections of a statement or even among different months’ statements. They may succeed in hiding their charges, but their tactics usually leave merchants feeling angry and confused. No one likes being made to feel stupid! If you’re having trouble understanding your merchant statement, or if you just need help determining your current rates and fees, download this whitepaper about deceptive merchant statements. I wrote it to help business owners find and understand the tricks that can be hidden in their merchant statements.

If your current processor shows all their rates and fees on a statement that’s easy to understand, consider yourself fortunate. But if you think you may be paying hidden fees, or if you’d just like a statement that makes sense, give me a call. I’d appreciate the opportunity to work with you!

I’m happy to provide this information free of charge.  If you found it helpful, please subscribe to my RSS feed so you’ll be notified of future posts.  You can also follow me on Twitter, where I regularly post short tips.  I promise to never spam you or pressure you.  Please forward this to your friends in business, and feel free to rate my post or leave a comment so I’ll know how to improve. Thanks!

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