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Unlock Affordable Transactions: Your Guide to Cheapest Credit Card Processing Canada


When searching for the most cost-effective, credit card processing company in Canada, you will want to analyze fee breakdowns, negotiate for lower costs, and look into efficient payment processors. Understanding and comparing fees, negotiating for discounts, and choosing top processors can lead to maximum cost-effectiveness. By evaluating various providers and their pricing structures, you can make informed decisions for your business. Additionally, considering strategies to lower processing expenses and maximizing savings will help you find the most efficient solution in the Canadian market. Start by understanding key considerations and comparing options to guarantee you get the best deal for your credit card processing needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Credit card processing fees consist of interchange fees, assessment fees, and payment processing fees, which vary based on several factors like transaction type and merchant industry.

  • Surcharging allows businesses to add a small fee to credit card transactions, enabling them to cover processing costs and potentially improving profit margins and cash flow.

  • In addition to standard fees, businesses must account for various additional and compliance fees, which surcharging can help offset, leading to fairer pricing and more transparency for customers.


Understanding Credit Card Processing Fees and Pricing

Interchange fees are set by credit card networks and are paid to the customer’s bank to cover handling costs and credit risk. These fees vary depending on several factors, including the type of card used, the type of transaction, and the merchant’s industry. Basically, the more risk a transaction carries, the higher the interchange fee.

Assessment fees, on the other hand, are charged by the credit card networks to the merchant’s acquiring bank and then passed through to merchants. These fees cover the operational costs of the networks and are usually a small percentage in comparison to Interchange fees.

Payment processing fees are where things get even more complex. These are charged by the payment processor, which facilitates transactions between the merchant and the customer’s bank through payment gateways and payment devices. Besides a percentage of each transaction, payment processors often charge:

  • a flat fee per transaction

  • junk fees (system Access Fees, network Fees, non-compliance fees, etc.)
  • monthly fees

  • setup fees

  • cancellation fees

Given the multitude of fees, it’s not surprising that businesses often struggle to find the cheapest credit card processing option. But fear not, there’s a tool that can help you navigate this maze and significantly reduce your costs: surcharging.

Surcharging is a practice where businesses add a small fee to credit card transactions to cover some or all of the costs of processing those payments. In the coming sections, we will explore surcharging in detail and reveal how it can be your secret tool to combat high credit card processing fees.

Additional Fees

As if the basic credit card processing fees weren’t complex enough, there are also several additional fees that businesses need to be aware of. These include:

  • Transaction fees

  • Chargeback fees

  • Monthly fees

  • Statement fees

  • Gateway fees

  • Junk & Add-on fees

Transaction fees are charged for each transaction processed by the payment processor. These can be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction amount, or a combination of both. Keep in mind, these are separate from the interchange fees and assessment fees mentioned earlier.

Prioritize evaluating the payment options offered by different providers to make an informed decision on selecting the most suitable credit or debit card payments processing service for your business in Canada.

When comparing merchant solutions, consider the processing rates and payment flexibility provided by each provider. Processa stands out with rates starting from 0.92% and 1.25% for in-person transactions and 1.45% for online transactions, coupled with a low monthly fee of $10. Other options like Stripe, Shopify, Square, and Moneris offer varying rates and fees, so conducting a thorough merchant account provider comparison is crucial.

Chargeback fees are incurred when a customer disputes a charge, and the bank/card brands get involved in the dispute process. These fees cover the administrative costs of handling the dispute.

Other Miscellaneous Fees:

Statement fees: charged for providing a monthly summary of transactions

Gateway fees: apply for using an online payment gateway, which is essential for processing online payments

Add-on fees: cover additional services like fraud protection or advanced reporting tools.

Junk Fees: Added by processors to create additional sources of revenue.

All these fees can accumulate quickly, making credit card processing costly. Nonetheless, choosing the right processor can eliminate the unnecessary fees and surcharging can assist businesses in offsetting these expenses and maintaining a healthy bottom line.

Setup and Compliance Fees

Apart from the standard processing fees and the add-on fees, businesses also need to be aware of setup and compliance fees. Setup fees are one-time charges for setting up the merchant account with the payment processor. While some processors waive these fees as part of their promotional offers, others might charge them upfront or include them in the monthly fees. Compliance fees are charged for ensuring that the merchant’s payment processing system adheres to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These standards protect cardholder data and help prevent credit card fraud. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and penalties, not to mention the potential damage to the business’s reputation.

The multitude of fees linked with credit card processing may appear daunting. Nevertheless, comprehending these costs is the initial step towards managing them effectively. This is where surcharging becomes useful.

What is Surcharging?

Illustration of surcharging in credit card processing

Surcharging is a practice where businesses add a small fee to credit card transactions to cover the costs of processing those payments. This fee is a percentage of the transaction amount and can varies depending merchant’s industry type.

Why Surcharging is the Best Credit Card Payment Solution for Small Businesses

Surcharging offers many benefits that can considerably influence a business’s bottom line. Let’s examine these advantages in greater depth.

Cost Savings

One of the most tangible benefits of surcharging is the cost savings it offers. By shifting the credit card processing fees to the customers, businesses can significantly increase their profit margins, especially those with narrow margins. The costs associated with processing credit card payments can eat into a business’s profits.

Surcharging allows businesses to recover these costs, resulting in increased savings, or better margins.

Moreover, surcharging can act as a strategic option to:

  • Motivate customers to utilize payment methods with lower processing fees, such as cash, EFT, Direct Debit or in-person debit cards

  • Reduce the processing costs

  • Increase the business’s overall profitability.


As the old adage goes, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” The convenience of credit card payments and debit card payments comes at a cost, and it’s only fair that those who benefit from this convenience bear its cost. To keep up with the times, businesses should accept credit card payments to provide a seamless experience for their customers.

By implementing surcharges, businesses can offer payment convenience to customers without incurring the associated costs. This effectively passes the cost of convenience to customers who choose to pay with credit cards, ensuring a fair balance between the business’s profitability and customer convenience.

By choosing to adopt a surcharge program, you give your customers the option of lower prices. Without a surcharge program, a business might need to raise all prices across the board. With surcharge, only credit card transaction slightly increase the cost to the customer, debit and alternative payments do not. You are placing the cost decision in the hands of your customer. This creates fairness and a “win-win” for all parties.

Improved Cash Flow

Illustration of improved cash flow through surcharging

Maintaining a robust cash flow is vital for any business. Surcharging can contribute significantly to this aspect by preserving more revenue for the business.

Surcharges might prompt some customers to pay in cash, leading to the immediate receipt of sales revenue instead of waiting for credit card processor transfers. This can improve the business’s cash flow and provide more financial flexibility.

Additionally, surcharging can liberate more funds for the business by lowering the overhead linked with credit card transactions, thereby enhancing its cash flow.

Simplicity and Transparency

Illustration of simplicity and transparency in surcharging

Surcharging not only offers financial benefits to businesses but also streamlines their fee structures and promotes transparency with customers. Clear disclosure of surcharges on receipts and at the point of sale can help customers understand the costs associated with credit card payments. This can lead to fewer disputes and increased customer satisfaction. Furthermore, maintaining transparent communication about surcharge policies can simplify the understanding of fee structures and uphold customer satisfaction.


As demonstrated, surcharging can assume a crucial role in managing credit card processing expenses for businesses. From cost savings and improved cash flow to simplicity and transparency, the benefits of surcharging are manifold. And while the world of credit card processing might be complex, with the right tools and strategies, businesses can navigate it effectively and keep their costs in check.


In conclusion, managing credit card processing costs is a critical aspect of running a successful business. Understanding the various fees involved and implementing strategies like surcharging can significantly reduce these costs and increase your profitability. And with solutions like Rescue, implementing surcharging in your business can be a breeze.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main components of credit card processing fees?

The main components of credit card processing fees are interchange fees, assessment fees, and payment processing fees. These factors determine the final cost of processing credit card transactions.

What is surcharging in credit card processing?

Surcharging in credit card processing is the practice of adding a small fee to credit card transactions to cover processing costs.

Payment Flexibility: Businesses can now accept payments from various payment methods, including major credit cards, EFT, Interac E-Transfer and Wire.

How can surcharging benefit businesses?

Customer Trust: Being transparent and offering options to keep customer costs lower creates a “win-win” for all parties.

Final Thoughts

When using a traditional payments platform, prioritize accepting credit and debit cards with chip-and-pin transactions to save on Interchange and processing fees. Utilizing surcharge programs and merchant solutions that offer fee management tools (like level 2 and level 3 data) can help optimize transactions for cost reduction.

Fee breakdown: Most merchants end up paying over 2 or 3% to accept credit cards from card processing companies.

Selecting the appropriate payment method for your business involves careful consideration of various factors such as e-commerce capabilities accept credit card payments, mobile payment options, and the functionality of your point-of-sale system.

Consider the integration of mobile payments for enhanced flexibility and customer convenience. Assess the e-commerce capabilities of different payment processors to align payment technology with your online business needs.

What is the role of Rescue in surcharging?

Rescue plays a crucial role in helping Canadian businesses implement surcharging, by providing a turn-key surcharge solution to reduce processing costs and improve their clients bottom line.

Want advice on setting up a surcharge program?

We host weekly live trainings teaching you how to get the most out of your surcharge program, and if you want to get learning right now, you can download our Surcharge Canada Guide.

Download the Surcharge Canada Guide
Surcharge Canada Guide