7
When Can I Negotiate?

A great deal of our customers are small businesses who have come to the end of a processing or EPOS contract and are looking to assess the market.

That’s fantastic; but you don’t have to get to the end of your contract to negotiate a better deal.

This chapter has a short answer: always. You can always renegotiate your payment processing. We’ll set out some scenarios in which it makes sense to renegotiate; and how to go about it. If you’re not sure, or you think you need help, get in touch for free with hello@storekit.com

I. YOUR RATES

What rate should I be on?

It depends on your circumstances; but the table below details the absolute maximum you should be paying in each circumstance. If you’re not on these rates, email hello@storekit.com and ask to be put on a better rate.

Or, use this quick calculator to see the kind of rate you could be on with a payfac.

WHEN SHOULD I NEGOTIATE?

PAYFAC IN GROWTH

1. I’m using a PayFac and I’m in growth!

Congratulations. This is the easiest one. Remember, payfacs include iZettle, Square, SumUp, and PayPal Here. (If you’ve come straight to this chapter, chapter 4 sets out what a payfac is). The more you process, the more valuable your processing is to your payfac, and the cheaper rate they’ll give you.

Here’s our advice: they might negotiate. PayPal Here won’t – but PayPal Here have a tiered rate structure published on their website, which means you can use them as a benchmark, and establish to one of the others that you’d be better off elsewhere unless they lower your rates.

Or, use our quick calculator to find out how much you should be paying with iZettle or Square and we can sign up you up on the cheaper rates. (When you’re on the better rate, payfacs charge you at the headline and reimburse you the difference at the end of the month.)

Alternatively, you might have also grown to such a size that a direct relationship with an acquirer now makes more sense for you. When an acquirer turns out to be the cheapest option, you should go through the tendering process described in chapter 4.

END OF CONTRACT

2. I use an acquirer, and I’m coming to the end of my contract!

Great! If you’ve come to the end of your EPOS contract as well, you may want to consider reassessing the whole EPOS system – in which case we strongly recommend starting with the software. (But even if you want to keep the same software, and the same payment provider, it’s always worth renegotiating – you’re very likely to end up with a better rate.

Before we start, some good practice. This will help us avoid being caught out: check whether there’s an automatic rollover on your old contract, meaning it automatically starts again if you take no action. If there is one, look for the cancellation window stipulated by the contract. That could say something like “if you don’t want to do the same thing again you need to let us know X months before the end of the contract”.

Worldpay is among those who will automatically enroll you for another 18 months if you don’t notify them that you wish to end the contract before its termination date.

Now, depending on how aggressive those clauses are, there might be legislation protecting you against them (you’d have to call us to ask about this – but we might refer you to a lawyer!) But it’s best to be prepared to leave in the way required by the contract – so you ought to call your payment provider to check what that is. (This is the party you signed the contract with – whether it’s your ISO, or your acquirer. Check our list).

Then, to get the best deal, do one of the following things:

A. The bidding war

The main way to get the cheapest deal with your acquirer is to get a rival acquirer involved. This sounds like a hassle – but doesn’t take very long to do.

Browse acquirers using our list in chapter 10 (or we can put you in touch with one) and request a quote. Repeat this two or three times if you want this process to work as well as possible. Also, make sure you include your current rate in your request. This means that your new quote is guaranteed to be lower.

Then, call your current provider. Tell them what you’ve been quoted elsewhere and that you intend to leave. They should try to keep you, by making a counter-offer – or you can prompt them to. Tell them the details of the new quote to give them a chance to outbid their competitor.

Remember, payments are a commodity – the only factor here is price. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll be stuck on the highest rate.

B. The bluffing method

Perhaps option (A) sounds like a lot of effort. It may be easier to simply create a fake bidding war – that is, to call your acquirer and imply that you’re prepared to go elsewhere, and to ask them to make you an offer which will persuade you to stay.

This can be effective if you’re looking to continue with the same acquirer at a cheaper rate. But you need to prepare for the call – what kind of rate could you get elsewhere? If you’re not sure, drop us an email and we can let you know what you should be paying.

ADDING MORE TILLS

3. I use an acquirer, I’m mid-contract, but I’m looking at expanding my business

Perhaps you’re looking at setting up a new location in your restaurant chain. Or perhaps you’re just expecting an influx of new business – you’ve opened a terrace, or a cafe has been added to your book shop. Either way, you’re ready to take the following argument to the acquirer – I’m going to process more, so I need a better rate.

This is a little like negotiating a phone contract – if you complain enough, they are likely to eventually give you a better rate. They may be a little slower than if the contract was drawing to a close – but you can remind them that you’ll look elsewhere when the contract does end.

To get the best footing in the argument, figure out what rate you’d expect if you were negotiating a fresh contract for both locations – based on your higher card turnover. Ask them for that rate specifically, knowing that it’s a decent rate.

If you need to hire new terminals as part of the expansion, remember to ask them for a lower rate on those as well.

What happens if they don’t move the rate?

If they don’t give you a better rate, or more likely, they don’t do so enough that you’re satisfied, it’s time to shop elsewhere. Being seen to look elsewhere is a good thing in and of itself because it can show an unwilling acquirer that you’re prepared to take your custom elsewhere if they don’t offer a good rate.

Nothing legally or technically keeps you from using more than one acquirer for your business. The only reason we recommend it is that with larger processing figures, rates generally drop, so it’s best to have all your payments routed through one acquirer for the best rate. But if you’re stuck on bad rates, then there’s nothing stopping you from setting up a restaurant on a second acquirer. If you let that acquirer know you’re waiting for the contract with the first acquirer to time out and then they will be processing more money with you, you may be able to get a better rate out the stable.

Scroll up – and go to process 2 (A) “the bidding war” to play off two or three different acquirers for the new location. Inform your old acquirer, and you might just find they drop their rates after all.

WANT OUT

4. I use an acquirer, I’m locked in a contract, but I’m not sure they’re the cheapest option

OK. This is a toughie.

Now to take you through how to buy out of a contract.

To understand whether this is worth it, we have to find the rate we think is the best, and then add the additional costs – EITHER leaving the contract OR keeping the contract on and not processing any money through it.

If you choose to leave the contract, you’ll be subject to something called an early termination fee.

This is likely to be comprised of:

The remaining months’ fee – this is to make sure you will pay the full term for the card reader rental. If you have 18 months left and you’re paying £15 per month, then you’re looking at a fee of £270.

The restocking fee and placement agreement. The restocking fee is for their “restocking” the card reader and the “placement agreement” which is to help compensate them for the lost revenue. These are flat one-off fees (of between £100 and £200) which you’d only pay if you specifically opt to end the contract early.



If you decide to stay in the contract, but not process any money through the card reader, you’d be subject to:

The remaining months’ fee – but rather than a lump sum, you would continue to pay this monthly.

The minimum monthly processing fee, multiplied by the number of months left in the contract. This is likely to be around £20 per month.

Those are the costs. All in, depending most of all on how many card readers you use, a contract buyout is likely to cost us somewhere in the region of £60 per month remaining in the contract.

That’s a significant amount. But £60 worth of savings isn’t unheard of if you’re in a bad contract.

NEED REMINDER

5. I do want to stay in the contract. But I need a notification to remind me to go through this process when the time comes.

Sounds like you need to set a notification.

Seriously, though, we can book a free consultation months from now.

See that button below? It will ask you to put in a date. There’s no limit here, so you can book one in 2030 if you really want to. Book the appointment now, so that when your contract is up for renewal, you’ll remember to do the work to check if you can get a cheaper contract.

Press the button right now. Right now. There’s no point in reading the next chapter if you don’t press the button. You’ve read this whole guide. You know yourself. If you leave this until later, will you ever do it?

III. WHAT’S NEXT?

1
Understand Card Fees In 5 Minutes
Learn what you’re looking at when you read your payments bills.
3
Other ways of taking payments
Accept cards over the phone and by invoice.
5
Acquirers (+ISOs) WorldPay First Data Bluebird
When would an acquirer be better?
6
Card Networks, The Interchange and all that
The academic view: how do payment actually work?
7
When Can I Negotiate?
How to get on better rates than your mates
8
E-Commerce 101
Ready for the next frontier?
Find out about StoreKit