6 Tips On How To Save Your Restaurant On Credit Card Fees

You probably already discovered how expensive credit card fees are for your restaurant with an average processing fee of 3.5%.


With an average processing fee of 1.5% to 3.5% for every transaction, that amount quickly adds up to thousands of dollars per month. Ouch. But did you also know credit card fees are the third highest cost for businesses, behind food and labor? It’s true, but thankfully, you can learn how to save your restaurant on credit card fees and lessen their impact on your financial goals. Let’s dive in.

1. Understanding the Different Fee Structures and What You’re Paying

Your payment processor will offer your restaurant three different pricing models;

Flat Fees

  • No matter what kind of card your customer uses, you’ll have to pay a set fee for each transaction.
  • This fee setup is great for small and new businesses because it’s affordable, fair, and easy to understand.

Interchange-Plus or Cost-Plus Pricing

  • Involves two parts: a fee set by the credit card processor and another set by the card network.
  • You can choose to pay a fixed fee or a percentage, making it easier for big businesses to plan their budget.

Subscription or Membership Pricing

  • Similar to interchange-plus, but you pay a flat monthly fee that covers certain other fees.
  • You’ll also pay a small fee for each transaction.
  • This is a good choice for small and growing businesses.

Knowing the difference between the pricing models will help you make the best decision for your restaurant.

2. Negotiate With Your Processors

It’s time to brush up on your negotiation skills because you can negotiate with processors, especially if you have a significant transaction volume. Yet before you try to seek lower fees, do your homework and determine your annual growth and sales to present yourself as a valuable restaurant owner. Doing so will help you receive better contract terms and leverage the best deal. Additionally, keep in mind that some fees, like interchange fees, are set by card networks and have less room for negotiation.

3. Reduce the Possibility of Credit Fraud

If you’re a high-risk merchant, your payment processor will charge you a higher rate to cover any risks. So, while drawing up a solid negotiation proposal, include how you comply with PCI standards, maintain an organized transaction history, promptly address chargebacks, and use the latest anti-fraud prevention tools. For example, investing in a processor that accepts EMV chip cards will enhance security and minimize liability. At DBS, we offer our clients FREE EMV terminals that use tokenization to protect sensitive data and save you the most money.

4. Take Advantage of Cost-Effective Technologies

Thanks to the rapidly changing landscape, you can now integrate your credit card processing and point-of-sale system (POS) under the same roof. While this method won’t necessarily reduce your payment processing fees, it does save you money in the long run. Integrated payments simplify your payment processing, eliminating the hassle of typing information in manually, reducing the possibility of making mistakes, and minimizing additional costs like fraud prevention fees. It’s highly worth considering.

5. Keep An Eye Out For Hidden Fees

One of the best ways to discover how to save your restaurant on credit fees is to keep an eye out for hidden fees. Unfortunately, some payment processors might not disclose all the fees they charge, including unnecessary flat fees and hidden charges. Therefore, thoroughly review your contract, and if you encounter any unclear or suspicious numbers, don’t hesitate to contact your processor for clarification. You can also shop around to ensure you find a trustworthy and loyal company upfront about their terms.

6. Incentivize With Paying Cash (or Cash Discount)

In a perfect world, your customers would pay using only cash. However, 41% of consumers prefer the cashless route, and this number is only going up. But, you can change their mind or at least give them another option to consider: promote cash discounts. For example, offer a 2% discount to any customer who pays with cash or learn how to set up a loyalty program for your restaurant and build it around cash-only purchases. It’s an incentive that may save you money.

How to Stay Ahead and Save Money

Do you feel ready to put into practice how to save your restaurant on credit card fees? While dealing with these fees certainly isn’t a small expense, the good news is you can negotiate and seek transparent pricing, fast and secure payment deposits, system integration (an effective point-of-sale system), and fraud prevention solutions. If you need more support, we’re here for you. Our family-run business offers payment processing solutions designed to help you grow your business while reducing costs. Here are a few benefits to consider;

  • Single 24/7 Contact for POS & Payment Solutions
  • POS Integrated & Stand-Alone Terminal Solutions
  • EMV Chip Card & NFC Payment Security
  • Accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard & VISA
  • 4G Automatic Backup Solutions Available
  • And more!
Book a demonstration or call our customer support team to receive a FREE quote. We can’t wait to help you.