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How to Choose Dentist Merchant Services That Won’t Rip You Off

Dentist merchant services are essential when customers want to pay using credit or debit cards. These merchant services allow you to accept a variety of payment options to provide your patients with the best experience possible.

However, some merchant service providers (MSPs) try and take advantage of dental practices.

If you’re not comparing MSPs and don’t know about the industry, you may be paying extra fees that add hundreds of dollars to your expenses every month. Some larger practices can spend thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees a month.

What is a Merchant Services Provider?

Credit card companies have complex backends that verify accounts, send acceptance or denial error codes and process payments. You can’t simply call VISA and use their services on top of Discover, MasterCard and the like.

Instead, you work with an MSP, which can be:

  • Banks
  • Third-party providers
  • Etc.

An MSP supplies the hardware and software necessary for your dental practice to accept debit and credit cards, among any other form of electronic payment that you wish.

Since the MSP has to supply the infrastructure to accept payments, they’ll demand a fee on each transaction.

Credit card issuers also set their own fees, which are updated twice a year, and are not lowered for any MSP. While the MSP cannot go beyond the card issuer’s price, this doesn’t mean that they should continue increasing their rates.

You can expect an MSP to raise their rates, at most, twice per year if the issuer decides to raise their rates.

However, if you notice that fees are rising higher and higher, you might be working with an MSP that is trying to squeeze every penny possible out of your dental practice. So, what can you do to save money on your processing fees?

Let’s take a look.

How to Choose Dentist Merchant Services 101

Are you paying too much in fees? Maybe. However, sales reps aren’t going to willfully tell you that their fees are too high. The industry has a lot of excellent sales reps and some that are dishonest – like every industry. 

Multiple fees can be charged, and it’s important to understand these fees:

  • Interchange: Fees charged by the issuer’s bank.
  • Assessment: Fees for the credit brand.
  • MSP: A markup fee charged by the MSP.

An MSP cannot set or adjust the interchange or assessment fee, but they can adjust their own fees, which is why working with a well-known and transparent MSP is best. You want to work with an MSP that prides itself on being transparent and doesn’t have tiered pricing that can make understanding how much you pay very difficult.

That’s why we recommend that you shop around for dentist merchant services.

Shop Around for Quotes

Dental practices should shop around for merchant service providers to try and find an honest and reliable company to work with. You’ll either want to dedicate one person for the job or get numerous people on board to call different companies.

Calling and comparing quotes is a long, tedious process.


Understanding fees and how they’re assessed can be very complex. There are different pricing models, which can include:

  • Pass-through Pricing: With pass-through pricing, you’ll be charged both the interchange and assessment fees without any additional costs. This provides transparency because you’ll understand what you’re paying for with all three fees.
  • Non-pass-through Pricing: In this scenario, your MSP will charge fees and pay the interchange and assessment fees on your behalf. Since you do not see these fees, the MSP may inflate them so that you pay more.

The company supplying the quote may also request a few of your past statements so that they can see how much you’re currently paying in fees. When you provide a statement, this is a way for the MSP to try and come right under in fees so that they can charge you more.

The MSP shouldn’t have an issue with giving you their prices without asking what you’re already paying in fees.

If reps don’t offer their pricing to you without supplying them with payments, go to another MSP. 

Jot down all of the quotes and compare them at the end to see who offers the best pricing. However, you also need to consider the level of support you’ll receive in return. It may be worth paying slightly more if the support is better and the company offers a mobile point-of-sale system, too.

Take Charge of the Conversation

Your time is valuable, and it’s time that you begin taking charge of the conversation with your MSP. When you’re looking for a quote, put an end to the salesmanship and just be honest with the other person at the end of the phone.

Take charge and:

  • Ask for the best price upfront.
  • Demand that you have the rates in writing.
  • Ask if they offer free equipment reprogramming if you already have equipment available
  • Discuss cancellation fees because you should never have to pay for them
  • Demand that the processor lock in their rate (they can’t lock in interchange fees)

You’re making a lot of demands, and while some may not go in your favor, it never hurts to demand something and simply be told it’s not possible. However, you’re entering into an agreement, and as a party to this agreement, you must also be happy with it.

If you’re not content with your MSP or can’t find one that meets your needs, don’t settle for less.

Every MSP needs their clients to remain in business, and someone is willing to go above and beyond to make you a happy customer within reason. It’s a lot of hard work to find a merchant service provider that you can trust and won’t continually raise fees on you.

However, if you take your time and are diligent, you’ll find a way to save money on fees while working with an MSP that wants your business to grow and succeed.

Are you looking for dentist merchant services to help grow your dental practice?

Call us today to see how we can help you save money on merchant services.

Christian Woodward

Christian Woodward

Job Title, Author

Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.

Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.