Transaction processing is a service that is needed by most businesses today, but providers of merchant accounts still have to compete for business, even though some of them seem to forget that fact. All transaction processing companies still have to deal with the same key players: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. They deal with those four companies on a pretty level playing field where the difference comes in is how they deal with you, the merchant. Do not believe the claims of so-called wholesale credit card processors, they have to do business with the big four the same way as all the others.
Leasing equipment is a favorite way for credit card processing companies to extract more money from their customers. The offer of terminal equipment for no money up-front might sound like a great way to reduce start-up cost, but terminal equipment can be obtained reasonably without having to pay $25 or more each month, which can add up to a really expensive terminal over time. Low-ball rates should be red flags; if the rates offered seem too good to be true, look out for hidden fees which can more than eliminate any savings you think you might be getting. Do not get locked into a long term deal with high cancellation fees. These are designed to make it more expensive for you to leave if you do not like the service you are getting; there are plenty of credit card processing providers that do not charge a cancellation fee.
Before selecting a provider to do your credit card processing, be sure to check their references. Any business worth its salt will be able to provide you with a list of satisfied customers that will be more than happy to share their experience with you. And, once you sign up with a merchant account provider, take a close look at your bill to make sure that you are actually being charged for the credit card processing you expected when you agreed to the arrangement.