When you are reviewing merchant account options for your credit card processing needs, one of the best steps you can take is to compare the different rates and fees associated with the services. The ability to accept credit cards for payments from your customers is a true benefit, and many consumers prefer to pay with their credit card rather than to use other forms of payment. However, the rates and fees charged by merchant account services can vary significantly. One key fee that some charge is the annual PCI fee.
What is the Annual PCI Fee?
The annual PCI fee is generally charged by some merchant service providers for PCI compliance services. Compliance with the PCI DSS, otherwise known as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is mandatory. When the merchant account service provider does not screen for compliance in this area on your behalf, your company is left to do it on its own. There is a cost associated with having the manpower and resources on-hand to ensure compliance, so it is sometimes more convenient and affordable to work with a merchant service provider that provides this service. However, this will depend on the amount of the fee and the level of service provided.
What to Watch Out For
The annual PCI fee is sometimes labeled as an erroneous or junk fee, and there is good reason for this. Some unscrupulous providers charge this fee without providing a compliance service to their clients. Others, however, do indeed offer a value-added service in exchange for this fee. When you are comparing the different merchant service providers you can work with, take note of the fee. Then, make sure that a legitimate service is being provided in exchange for the fee that will be charged to you.
The bottom line is that some companies charge the annual PCI fee in their rates and fees and others do not. When the fee is not charged, you will be required to ensure your own compliance with industry standards, and you should ensure that you have the infrastructure and resources in place for this. If the fee is charged, you should ensure that a value-added service is actually being provided in exchange for that additional fee. By reviewing these factors before you make a decision about which merchant service provider to work with, you will be making a more informed decision that is best for your company.