4 Ways To Use Credit Card Rewards To Help Pay For A Wedding

Your wedding can be one of your biggest life expenses, depending on what you include in your ceremony and reception. The average expense for a wedding has consistently risen over time, to a point that now the average wedding costs in the range of $30,000. If you’re looking to get married soon, Mint can actually help you create a separate wedding budget to help you manage those costs. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how you can use credit card rewards to help pay for a wedding. And while you’re unlikely to be able to pay for your entire wedding with credit card rewards, every little bit saved helps.

Planning a wedding

If you have a wedding coming up, the first thing that you’ll want to do is create a budget. Just like with your regular expenses, having a budget is an important step in keeping your costs down. Without a written budget, your costs have a tendency to go up and up without end. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that a budget can be as strict or as loose as you want it. Some people prefer to handle cost overruns by reducing the budget in other categories to compensate. Others choose to just increase the budget if costs are higher than expected. No matter how you decide to handle it, having a written budget means that you’ll make a conscious decision about it rather than just having expenses rise without you realizing it.

Paying for your wedding with credit cards

One way that you can help offset some of the costs of a wedding is via credit cards and credit card rewards. If you average a 2% return in credit card rewards on a $30,000 wedding, that’s $600 back. Of course, the easiest way to save money paying for your wedding is to have a smaller wedding, but that may not be an option for you, depending on your specific situation.

There are a few things that you’ll want to consider if you are talking about paying for your wedding with credit cards. The first is that paying for everything with credit cards does make it much easier to lose control of your spending. Just like with anything else, you should only spend money on credit cards that you have in the bank. That way you can always make your credit card payment in full, each and every month.

The other thing to consider when paying for a wedding with credit cards is that not every vendor might accept credit cards as a form of payment. This is especially true for individuals or smaller businesses. And those that do take credit cards may charge a processing fee. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to pay a 2.9% credit card processing fee to get 2% back in rewards. In those cases, it’s better to pay with cash, a check, or a payment service. You might also ask if there would be a discount for paying in cash — again, that could be more lucrative than any rewards you get from paying with a credit card.

Getting signup bonuses with all that spending

One option for making the most out of your credit card rewards that you might want to take advantage of is signing up for new credit cards that offer attractive welcome offers. Many credit cards offer signup bonuses for new applicants with a value of hundreds of dollars or more. These offers usually have a spending requirement associated with them, which isn’t a problem if you’ve got all those wedding expenses. Just remember to watch out for the many overpriced wedding items that you might want to avoid.

Using credit card rewards to pay for your honeymoon

Another way that you can use credit card rewards is to help pay for your honeymoon. Many credit cards offer rewards such as airline miles, hotel points or other types of travel rewards and benefits. Signing up for a few key credit cards can be a great way to splurge on a honeymoon to remember at a fraction of the cost. Flying in first class or staying in luxury resorts is something that may be much more in reach by using miles and points than if you were to try to pay for it with cash.

The Bottom Line

Smart usage of credit card rewards can be a great way to help pay for a wedding or, at the very least, get a rebate on all of the spending you’re doing. Make sure to set a budget to help stay out of wedding debt and use credit cards as part of your spending strategy. Following these simple steps can help you maximize your credit card rewards without hurting your overall credit score. Watch out for vendors that charge credit card processing fees and don’t use your credit card as an excuse to spend money that you don’t have.

The post 4 Ways To Use Credit Card Rewards To Help Pay For A Wedding appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

[Update] Amex Benefits Workshop – Which Merchants Code For Streaming, Wireless, Shipping Credits? (Sortable Table)

Update 2/3/21: There are two AmEx deals on the Wireless category, and the data points within this table should work for those offers as well:

  • American Express Adds Wireless Credit To Delta, Hilton & Marriott Business Cards ($10-$15 Monthly Credit)
  • Amex Offers (Business Platinum/Gold): Get 4x Bonus Membership Rewards On Wireless, Shipping, Advertising, Gas and Office Supply

(Table last updated on 10/1/20 at 12:40pm ET. If the table isn’t displaying properly, try incognito or CTRL+Shift+R.)

Introducing Benefits Workshop for the new American Express statement credit offers in the Streaming, Wireless, and Shipping categories. There are many merchants mentioned directly by Amex (which we’ve also included in the table below), yet most will have to be dealt with by trial-and-error to ensure that a given merchants is categorized properly to be eligible for the credit.

All the data points below are from DoC comments and from the Reddit thread that deals with this. We figured it’s easier for people to find things in a consolidated place in table form with easy search.

  • American Express personal Platinum card (all versions) get a $20 monthly Streaming credit and a $20 monthly Wireless credit from May through December 2020.
  • American Express business Platinum card gets a $20 monthly Wireless credit and a $20 monthly Shipping credit from May through December 2020. (There’s also the $200 Dell credit, but that one is basically straight-forward and don’t really discuss that in the table below.)
  • American Express personal Green card gets a $10 monthly Wireless credit from May through December 2020. 
  • Also bear in mind that these credit can be used in multiple smaller transaction, e.g. a $8 charge and a $12 charge will both be credited.

I hope to expand this table over time as more data points come in – please contribute successes and failures in the comments below! I’ll also add these data points to our Payments Workshop as well.

 

Merchant Tag Workshop Last Updated Source
Acorn TV (RLJ Entertainment) Streaming Does not credit automatically 2020-07-02 Source
Amazon balance reload Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Amazon gift card Streaming Does not work (but you can buy Kindle gifting to get credit) 2020-05-31 Source
Amazon HP Instant Ink eCode Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
Amazon movie rental Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Amazon Music Unlimited Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Amazon Prime subscription (student) Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Amazon Prime Video (movie purchase) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Amazon Prime Video (tv show purchase) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Apple app subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple book purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-12 Source
Apple iCloud storage Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Apple ID account load (via app store) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Apple ID load Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple Music Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple Music 3-month subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple TV+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T business wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T home phone service Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T in-store purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
AT&T internet UVERSE payment Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
AT&T Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T payment on app Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T Prepaid Wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T TV Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T U-verse Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T U-Verse Wireless Works 2020-10-01 Source
AT&T wireless & internet bundle Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
AT&T wireless bundle with Directv/etc online payment without login Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
AT&T wireless/internet bundle Wireless Does not work 2020-05-11
Audible Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Audible audiobook purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Audible monthly subscription fee Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Boost Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
CBS All Access Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Consumer Cellular manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Cricket wireless bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Cricket wireless bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Criterion Channel subscription (annual) Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
Crunchyroll premium Streaming Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
Dell.com (xbox gc) Dell Works 2020-05-11 Source
Disney plus bundle (Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Disney+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
eBay shipping Shipping Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
ESPN+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
FandangoNow Video Rental Streaming Does not work 2020-07-02 Source
FedEx Office store purchase Shipping Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
FedEx shipping at FedEx Office Shipping Works 2020-05-17 Source
FedEx store purchase Shipping Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Frontier Internet/Ziply Fiber bill Wireless Does not work 2020-05-24 Source
Fubo TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Good2Go mobile Wireless Does not credit automatically 2020-07-02 Source
Google domain renewal Streaming Works 2020-06-12 Source
google domains Streaming Works 2020-10-01 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Works as Streaming, does not work as Wireless 2020-05-08 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Sometimes works as Streaming, sometimes works as Wireless 2020-05-24 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Does not work for either category 2020-05-24 Source
Google Fi Wireless Works (as wireless) 2020-05-27 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Works as Wireless (YMMV) 2020-06-12 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Depends on how they code it 2020-07-02 Source
Google Fiber bill Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
Google Fiber monthly bill Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
Google Fiber reload Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Google music-album purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
Google nest subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Google Play in-app purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Google Play Music Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Google play reload Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Google Play Store – app purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Google Storage Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Google storage Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
Google Voice load Streaming Works 2020-07-02 Source
Google Voice number unblock fee Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
Google Voice recharge Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
H2O Wireless reload (pay as you go) Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
HBO Max Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
HBO Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Hulu Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
iCloud storage fee (99c) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
iHeartRadio Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Kindle Book purchases (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Kindle eBook gifting purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
Kindle subscription auto-renewal (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
Kindle Unlimited (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Kindle Unlimited gift membership Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
Luminary Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Metro by T-Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-12 Source
Mint Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Mint Mobile Wireless Stopped working 2020-08-14 Source
Mint Mobile Wireless Working again 2020-10-01 Source
Mint mobile load Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Mint Mobile Uproam reload Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
MLB.TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
NBA League Pass Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Netflix Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Netflix DVD Plan Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Netflix paid in foreign currency Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
netflix physical dvd plan Streaming ? 2020-05-08 Source
NHL.TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
NordVPN subscription Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
OnStar Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Optimum Online Wireless Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
PackageBoss Shipping Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Pandora Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Pandora Plus Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Philo subscription Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
PhotoStamps.com Shipping Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
pirateship Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
Pitney Bowes postage meter Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
Postal Annex Shipping Did not post automatically 2020-10-01 Source
Pottery Barn Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
Prime Video Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Pure Talk USA Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Red Pocket Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Republic Wireless bill payment Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
sappclub.com Shipping Works 2020-10-01 Source
Shipping label purchased via PayPal Shipping Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Showtime Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Shudder Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
Siriusxm Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
SiriusXM gift card purchase Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sling TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sling TV Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Soundcloud Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Spectrum internet Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Spectrum Mobile bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Spotify Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Spotify (edu subscription) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Spotify Family Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
Spotify Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Sprint Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sprint auto-pay Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Sprint bill auto-pay Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sprint bill manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
Stitcher Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Straight Talk Cell Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Subscription via Apple Pay Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
T-mobile (direct, postpaid) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile Apple Pay (T-Mobile Payments) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile autopay Wireless Works 2020-05-12 Source
T-Mobile bill payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile equipment payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-mobile magenta Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
T-Mobile manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile paid via Apple Pay Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile Prepaid Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile store purchase (accessories) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Tello.com Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
Teltik Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Tidal Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
Ting Wireless Conflicting data points if it works 2020-06-02 Source
Ting autopay Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
Total wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Tracfone Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Tracfone airtime purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Twigby Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
Twitch Streaming Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Ua mobile family plan Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
UaMobile load Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
UPS MyChoice Shipping Works 2020-05-08 Source
UPS Store Shipping Works 2020-06-12 Source
UPS Store notary service Shipping Works 2020-08-14 Source
UPS Store shipping cost in-store Shipping Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
ups.com shipping purchase Shipping Works 2020-07-02 Source
US Mobile Wireless Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
USPS Change of Address fee Shipping Works 2020-07-02 Source
USPS Gift shop Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
USPS in-store stamps purchase Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
USPS Passport acceptance fee Shipping Works 2020-08-14 Source
USPS PO Box renewal Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
USPS self-service kiosk Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
USPS shipping label purchase Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
USPS stamps purchased online Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Verizon accessory purchase online Wireless Works 2020-10-01 Source
Verizon airpods pro purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon cell phone purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
Verizon Fios Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Verizon Fios Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Verizon Fios Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon fios (manual payment) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon in-Store physical gift card purchased Wireless Works 2020-05-31 Source
Verizon monthly bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon online (accessory purchase) Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Verizon online accessories Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
Verizon Online Accessory Purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Verizon Online Accessory Purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works (YMMV) 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Does not work (YMMV) 2020-05-13 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Does not work (YMMV) 2020-05-17 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works when checking out as guest (maybe?) 2020-05-19 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works 2020-05-30 Source
Verizon shop purchase Wireless split purchase between cards via chat 2020-05-24 Source
Verizon Wireless partial bill payment Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Viki.com via Apple Pay Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Vimeo Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Visible Apple Pay payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Visible Wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
VRV subscription (direct payment) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
VRV subscription (direct payment) Streaming Does not work 2020-07-02 Source
Vudu purchase Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
Xfinity Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Xfinity Mobile fractional payment by calling in Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
YouTube Music Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
YouTube Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
YouTube TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Youtube TV show purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source

 

You can sort this in various ways:

  • Search a given merchant, e.g. usps or t-mobile.
  • Get a list of all Streaming or Wireless or Shipping data points by searching for that key word, e.g. streaming.
  • Toggle the date to find newly added data points.
  • Default setting sorts in alphabetical order.
  • You can update how many items you want to show at the top-left of the table. By default it shows 10.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Prepare for Holiday Shopping with These Timely Credit Tips

According to a YouGov Parent Survey in 2019, a quarter of parents entered the 2019 holiday shopping seasonstill paying down debt related to 2018 holiday spending. Deloitte numbers put holidayretail salesgrowth in 2019 at 4.1% year-over-year. In 2020, Deloitte predicts growth of between 1% and 1.5% year-over-year for the holiday season.

It might be that some people no longer want to pay for holiday gifts, decorations and food a year down the road. But it’s also true that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit consumerwallets and some people might be cutting back this year.

That doesn’t mean that people aren’t shopping. Google and other thought leaders note that changes to shopping habits and the need for social distancing and other measures will likely spread the holiday shopping season out longer. Shoppers are also likely to turn to online shopping.

With a ton of shopping opportunities, a longer holiday shopping season and pent-up pandemic energy, it might be easy to overspend and create debt you’ll deal with into the future. Follow these tips to prepare for holiday shopping so you can protect your financial standing, save money and make the most of the resources you have this season.

1. Check your credit scores

Begin by checking your credit scores and reports. They tell you where you stand if you want to apply for credit. They also give you a baseline of where you are so you know if your score goes up or down later with no explanation.

An unexplained drop in your credit score can be a sign your financial information is compromised. Unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for many scammers. Using a service, such as ExtraCredit’s Track It feature to keep tabs on 28 of your FICO scores, helps you know when you need to act to protect your credit.

2. Ask for a credit limit increase

If you have existing credit cards and you’re a cardholder in good standing, the months prior to the holidays can be a good time to ask for a credit limit increase. You’re not asking so you can spend more-it’s typically advisable to keep spending in line with your budget no matter how much credit you have.

You’re asking for a higher limit so you can spend what you already planned to without hurting your credit utilization. Credit utilization is the second-most important factor in determining your credit score-second only to payment history. It’s the ratio between your credit limit and how much of that credit you have used.

If you have a card with a limit of $1,000 and you spend $300, that’s a utilization rate of 30%. But if you get approved for a credit limit of $2,000 and you spend $300, that’s a utilization rate of only 15%, which is better for your score.

3. Apply for a credit cardwith a 0% APR introductory offer

Those with good or excellent credit might want to consider applying for a card with a 0% APR introductory offer. If you qualify for such a card, you typically have one or two years to pay off purchases made during the introductory period without accruing any interest.

This can be a way to finance your entire holiday without paying anything more for the privilege of doing so. However, it’s still important to maintain your budget and not overspend just because you won’t be paying the balance off until later. Otherwise, you make this season’s holiday festivities next season’s problem.

4. Pay down debt before-and after-the holidays

Speaking of last season’s debt: If you can pay it down before you start spending this season, that’s a great accomplishment. It also frees up your credit and your budget so you can better enjoy the current holiday season. If you’re paying $100 a month on your debt, that’s $100 a month that might go toward gifts or celebrations that you don’t have to put on a card this year.

If you do use credit to pay for the 2020 holidays, have a plan for paying it down as soon as possible. That’s especially true with 0% interest cards. The longer you wait, the greater the chance you’ll miss the introductory period and potentially be on the hook for a lot of interest expense.

5. Create a holiday spending budget

Whether you’re using cash or credit-or a mix of both-enter the 2020 holiday shopping season with a plan. Take an honest look at your personal budget. If you don’t have a budget, create one before you move forward. Then decide how much you can realistically spend during the holidays.

Consider which gifts you want to buy and which events you want to host or attend. You might not be able to do everything, and that’s OK. Be honest with yourself, your family and your friends about what you can afford to do with your time and money this year.

Then make a list and assign each item a monetary budget. That can include:

  • Gifts as a total
  • Gift extras, such as wrapping and tags
  • Shipping, both for receiving items you buy and for shipping gifts to others
  • Food and drinks
  • Travel
  • Decor
  • General festivities, such as tickets to holiday events

Once you assign a dollar amount to a category, stick to it. That’s a good idea even if you’re spending with credit.

6. Align budgeted spendingwith credit cardrewards

Once you know how much you want to spend, decide how best to spend it. If you’re using credit cards for the holidays, check your accounts to see if any offer cash back or rewards points. If they do, double-check which categories or stores you can shop in to earn the most points with each card.

For example, some travel rewards cards offer 6x points when you shop at supermarkets. You could use such a card to cover the food-and-drink portion of your holiday budget and reap the biggest rewards possible from that spending. You might also be able to maximize rewards when purchasing gift cards.

7. Guard your financial information and identity

As you enjoy holiday shopping, be on guard. Don’t use debit card PIN numbers unless you have to, and shield the keypad when you enter your information. Keep a close eye on your wallet or purse, and check your credit card statements regularly to ensure all charges are yours. You can also use ExtraCredit’s Guard It feature to help keep your identity and account information safe during and beyond the season.

Sign up for ExtraCredit today!

The post Prepare for Holiday Shopping with These Timely Credit Tips appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

All About Credit Card Processing Fees

All About Credit Card Processing Fees

When you make a payment with a credit card not all of that money goes to the merchant. Your payment has to be authorized by multiple companies or banks along the way and some of them will deduct fees for their services. A portion of your payment goes to your card issuer’s bank, the merchant’s bank, the big payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard as well as payment processing companies. Here’s what you need to know about credit card processing fees.

What Happens When You Make a Credit Card Transaction

Before we break down the individual credit card processing fees, it’s helpful to give a quick rundown of what happens when you make a payment with your credit card.

When you try to make a purchase with your card, whichever credit card processor the merchant uses will need to receive authorization to complete the transaction. To do that, the first step is to send your information and the transaction details to the appropriate payment network, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover.

The payment network then contacts the bank that issues your credit card. Your card issuer has to confirm that you have enough available credit to cover the purchase you are trying to make. If you have enough available credit, it will approve the transaction. If you don’t have enough, it will deny the transaction. That approval or denial goes back to the payment network, who sends its approval (or denial) of the transaction back to the merchant’s bank.

This entire process only takes a few seconds but it happens every time you make a purchase with your card. It doesn’t matter whether you swipe, insert a card with an EVM chip or manually enter your credit card number.

Average Credit Card Processing Fees Average Credit Card Processing Fees Visa 1.40% – 2.50% Mastercard 1.60% – 2.90% Discover 1.56% – 2.30% American Express 1.60% – 3.00%

The table above lists an an average range for credit card processing fees from each major credit card provider. These ranges are meant only to give you an idea of how it works. There are a number of things that go into the final processing fees for any individual merchant (more on that later). Credit card issuers also are not always transparent with their fees and how they change over time. This is particularly true of Discover and American Express. However, credit card processing fees generally average around 2%. Another key trend is that American Express regularly charges higher fees.

Credit Card Processing Fees: Interchange Fees

All About Credit Card Processing Fees

An interchange fee is money that merchants pay every time they make a credit or debit card transaction. It’s typically a percentage of the transaction plus a flat rate for each transaction. For example, an interchange fee might be 1% of the transaction plus a flat fee of $0.25 per transaction.

This fee goes to the credit (or debit) card’s issuing bank so that it can cover its own fees. In general, a credit card issuer will charge higher fees for cards that offer more perks of benefits. However, the biggest fee that your card issuer has to pay is an assessment fee. This goes to the credit card network (e.g. Visa or Mastercard) and all networks charge the same assessment fee.

Interchange fees make up the majority of credit card processing costs for a merchant. There is a base part of the interchange fee that is non-negotiable because it is the same no matter what credit card companies a merchant works with. There is also a markup fee, which is an additional cost on top of the base fee. The markup goes to credit card processing companies (learn more about them in the next section) and they vary between processors. These fees are negotiable so a merchant should always compare these fees before choosing a company to process their transactions.

Credit Card Processing Fees: 
Merchant Service Providers

Even though merchants have to contact card-issuing banks to approve every transaction, they do not directly contact those banks. Instead, the transaction goes through a middle man that allows merchants and banks to communicate. This middle man is a merchant service provider (MSP). Common MSPs are Square and Payline.

MSPs charge merchants a certain fee for every transaction, whether it’s a sale, declined transaction or return. They may also charge the merchant a setup fee, a monthly usage fee and a cancellation fee.

Some merchants may have a bank that provides these services, but the majority of merchants have to use a third party MSP.

Online Versus In-Store Transactions

Credit card processing fees are cheaper if you pay in-person versus online. That’s because there is a greater risk of fraud with online payments. If you buy something in a store, the merchant has the ability to confirm that someone if using a real card and that they are the cardholder. This is harder to do with an online payment. The result is higher fees as companies try to protect themselves from fraudulent payments.

MSPs also charge additional fees for providing the software that makes an online payment transaction possible for a merchant.

The Bottom Line

All About Credit Card Processing Fees

It only takes a few seconds for a credit card transaction to go through, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Multiple banks and companies help facilitate transactions and they all want their cut of the profit. This is where credit card processing fees come in. A merchant has to pay an interchange fee every time a transaction is made, some of which is non-negotiable and some of which varies depending on the merchant service provider that a merchant uses.

A merchant bears the brunt of credit card processing fees and some merchants cannot afford to pay all the fees. This is a common reason why smaller merchants do not accept credit cards. These fees are also the reason that some merchants will require a minimum transaction amount in order to use a credit card.

Common Credit Card Fees to Avoid

  • Some credit cards charge an annual fee. This is a fee the cardholder pays each year simply for the privilege of having the card. Annual fees are particularly common for credit cards that offer valuable rewards. Shop around though because you can avoid an annual fee with some of this year’s best rewards credit card.
  • If you plan to travel, using your card outside of the U.S. could leave you paying a foreign transaction fee. Luckily, we have some cards with no foreign transaction fee in our list of the best travel credit cards.
  • One fee that you can avoid with responsible credit card usage is a late payment fee. This is a fee that your card issuer will charge if you do not pay your bill by the due date. You should always pay on time because paying late will not only result in a fee but your credit score could also be negatively impacted.

Photo credits: ©iStock.com/Juanmonino, Â©iStock.com/NoDerog, Â©iStock.com/andresr

The post All About Credit Card Processing Fees appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

2021 Personal Finance Calendar: Keeping Your Finances On Track In The New Year

With key financial responsibilities like insurance, taxes, and retirement savings bouncing around your head, what should you focus on and when in 2021?With key financial responsibilities like insurance, taxes, and retirement savings bouncing around your head, what should you focus on and when in 2021?

The post 2021 Personal Finance Calendar: Keeping Your Finances On Track In The New Year appeared first on Money Under 30.

Source: moneyunder30.com

[Rumor] American Express To Open Washington National Airport Centurion Lounge, Expansions For SFO & SEA

According to jona970318 American Express is set to announce a new Centurion lounge will be opened at Washington National Airport (DCA). In addition new expansions for SFO & SEA will be announced. It’s not clear where the new DCA lounge would be located at this stage but Jona speculates it could be landside in the B/C area.

VFTW notes that the SFO expansion would bring the size to nearly 16,000 square feet and the SEA ‘expansion’ is a relocation that would go from 4,500 square feet to 13,700 square feet in space.

Source: doctorofcredit.com