Turn Your Merchant Processing Fees into Charitable Dollars

The first quarter of the year is a perfect time for businesses to reconsider their gifting strategies for the year and as a result of the Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement, one business has figured out a way to turn their merchant service fees into charitable dollars.

Most business owners don’t know that in most states, they can now recoup their merchant processing fees by charging back their patrons for that particular expense. As I’ve presented this concept to my local business merchants, it has been warmly received but they are concerned that their existing customers might object. Well, I would say that’s fair….so it begs the question of how to do it and turn it into something positive.

One of my clients has a great answer! As we sat in her office chatting about our kids and catching up with each other’s lives, a lightbulb suddenly went off in her head. “If we started charging our patrons, I could take all of those dollars that we save in merchant service fees and put them towards charitable causes! How could our patrons complain if 100% of those fees are going back to those in need?”

No sooner than half an hour after I walked out her door, she had written a memo to her company CFO, encouraging consideration for a change of systems to all of their locations nationwide, to encourage every one of their affiliated day spas to give back to the community with their new-found dollars. With this effort, she and her family, friends and co-workers could expand their efforts and current givings to the many beneficiaries for whom they already provide, allocating more hours and dollars to projects such as serving those in poor countries, and increasing awareness of sustainability.

To sum it up, what a great brainstorm of an opportunity to turn business costs into something that benefits mankind and the environment. So I say to that: “Onward we roll into better economic times with more business owners choosing to mirror these concepts to benefit those in need in a more collective way.”