By Daniel Hunter

Business should be booming during the festive season but complex charges for credit and debit card transactions are crippling some companies.

While sales soar with the jingle of cash tills in the run-up to Christmas for the majority of businesses, many firms may fear the New Year and the arrival of their bills for processing card purchases.

Eighty per cent of organisations do not realise they are paying higher rates than necessary, nor what they can do about it, reports the Card Processing Advisory Service (CPRAS) who offer an independent merchant service cost reduction consultancy tailored to individual business needs and can help firms find huge savings on their card transaction costs, and in some cases without charge.

"CPRAS has found significant overcharging for a high percentage of traders and eight out of 10 businesses are paying significantly too much for their merchant accounts," said CPRAS founder, Graham Hallewell.

"The way merchant providers publicise their rates is not always clear and the charges firms pay for processing card payments can be complex and vary enormously from business to business.

"The process can be difficult to understand and there are many contributing factors so it is not easy to make informed choices between merchant providers and it has nothing to do with the industry they are in or the value or quantity of transactions they process.

"We were really pleased to find that we could save over £12,000 per year having used CPRAS’s investigation and recommendation,’ said Mark Seager, Credit Manager for Norbain SD Ltd. ‘They did all the detective work for us and managed to negotiate a reduction in our rate with our current suppliers. They were also quick and efficient."

According to CPRAS, rates for businesses in the same industry with similar turnovers can differ by more than 100%.

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