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34 August 2015 | beautystorebusiness.com How to Get a BETTER MERCHANT ACCOUNT Think youÕve already snagged a good merchant account? Here are tips on what to look when comparing contracts. by Phillip M. Perry YOUR CUSTOMERS LOVE TO PAY WITH CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS. Unfortunately, merchant account fees can take a hefty slice out of each sales transaction—sometimes to the tune of 3% or more. And that, in turn, can place a costly dent in profits. But the news isn't all bad in the credit card world: For starters, merchant accounts are becoming more economical. "Price compression in the credit card industry has been going on for years," says Paul A. Rianda (riandalaw.com), an Irvine, California-based attorney specializing in the bankcard industry. Rianda likens the payment card marketplace to that of the cell phone industry where competitive pressures are bringing better deals to businesses and consumers. Given the number of merchant account providers clamoring for business, it's not uncommon for a retailer to reduce costs by shopping for a better deal. And landing a more favorable contract can bolster the bottom line: Trimming two percentage points off the cost of a merchant account can mean $2,000 in additional profit for every $100,000 of annual revenue. That level of savings is not unheard of, due to the industry's wide pricing disparity. Smaller merchants, especially, have long been burdened by contracts with onerous terms: Perhaps 3% plus a quarter for each transaction, instead of a more reasonable and commonly available, 1.8% to 2.4% plus a dime. In such cases there's plenty of latitude to find a better deal. gettyimages.com