Beware the hidden costs behind your contactless card reader

A contactless card reader is a great investment. But make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for

Card Machines

If you’re thinking of using a contactless card reader, one of the things - probably the biggest thing - you’ll want to know, is how much it will cost you.

It’s only natural.

Knowing the cost of the machine itself is important, plus the individual transaction rates you’ll pay for each card type.

But there are other charges, not always obvious ones, and fees you’re not made aware of until you see them on your statement.

We don’t think you should be exposed to these hidden costs by investing in a contactless card reader.

This is an important investment in your business.

And we want to help you make sure it’s a success.

Before we tell you about these common hidden costs, let us reassure you that we never add costs for anything we haven’t expressly told you about before you join us.

We’re informing you about these costs so you choose a contactless card reader provider with your eyes open.

If you decide to choose us as the supplier of your contactless card reader, you’ll know exactly what you’re going to pay.

If you want to get a free quote and see how much a contactless card reader might cost, click here.

Minimum monthly service charge (MMSC)

When you’re choosing a merchant services provider, look out for a minimum monthly service charge.

These are typically between £10 - £30 per month and is the minimum monetary value of transaction fees you pay each month.

If you accept any less than this, you’ll still be required to pay the minimum amount.

Many businesses accept well over this amount every month so aren’t affected, but this can prove very costly for some companies.

A minimum monthly service charge especially affects businesses who don’t accept many card payments or accept low value transactions.


Your contract has a £25 MMSC applied.

In one billing month, you accept five card payments with a combined transaction fee of £3.37.

You still have to pay £25!

Choose a provider who doesn’t add an MMSC to your contract and avoid paying extra for transaction fees!

Minimum monthly service charge (MMSC)

Authorisation fees

Authorisation fees

When your customer makes a card payment, the acquiring bank and card scheme (eg. Mastercard) perform checks to make sure it hasn’t been lost or stolen, and that your customer has enough in their account to pay.

Some merchant service providers add an authorisation fee to each purchase, to cover these checks.

An authorisation fee is charged whether the transaction is successful or unsuccessful, and will likely be between 1 and 5p, rather than a percentage of the full transaction.

Even if you receive great rates on transaction fees, these can be offset by a high authorisation fee.

Businesses who regularly accept lower value transactions will feel the financial effects of this.


  1. Your contract charges a 0.6% transaction fee on debit cards. It also has a 3p authorisation fee on all purchases.

    You accept a card payment of £10. You’ll be charged 9p (6p transaction fee + 3p authorisation).

  2. Your contract charges a 0.75% transaction fee on debit cards. You aren’t charged an authorisation fee.

    You accept a card payment of £10. You’ll be charged 7.5p (7.5p transaction fee + 0p auth fee).


Online reporting fees

Contactless card readers offers you the opportunity to oversee your payments in much more detail than when using cash.

Thanks to their technology, they can create detailed reports on payment activity, value and volume.

Online payment reporting tools can be invaluable to predicting sales trends and monitoring your cash flow.

Merchant services providers are well aware of this and may charge you a fee to use these features.

Look out for unnecessary costly charges for these vital tools and choose a provider who offers them as part of your existing contract.

Online reporting fees

PCI DSS compliance

PCI DSS compliance

Making sure you accept payments securely is highly important when running a business.

It’s vital to protect your customer’s data to prevent fraud.

Known as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), they are a mandatory requirement for any business using card machines.

Some providers charge a monthly or annual fee to keep your business PCI DSS compliant.

Whether they offer you help with demonstrating that you are compliant, or assistance with filling in PCI forms, these charges can be huge.

However, providers like Handepay don’t charge anything at all to help you remain PCI DSS compliant.

We take out all the legwork, so as long as you accept payments with us, you never need to worry!

PCI DSS non-compliance

If your business fails to remain PCI DSS compliant, some providers add penalty fees. These can be huge, with some businesses facing additional charges of £50 or more per month!

Even worse, some merchant service providers calculate PCI DSS non-compliant fees as a percentage of your monthly turnover. This could cost you thousands of pounds!

This makes it vital to fully understand PCI DSS regulations when accepting card payments. Find a provider who will work with you to maintain your compliance, avoiding the risk of any fees.

PCI DSS non-compliance

Joining fees

Whether you want to switch providers, or start using a contactless card machine for the first time, look out for joining fees.

These could be a standard set-up fee, or could be charged as installation fees.

Often, these fees are totally unnecessary, and choosing a provider who doesn’t add them can save you money during initial set up.

Choose Handepay to get the most out of your contactless card machine investment

The above fees can come as a shock if you don’t know about them when signing a new contract.

Now you’re in the know, make sure to ask any providers you’re considering whether they add any of them.

Did we mention, if you choose us as your contactless card machine supplier, you won’t pay any of these fees?

With Handepay it’s simple:

 Accept contactless payments including Apple Pay, Google Pay & Samsung Pay
Take card payments tailored to suit your business needs
No minimum monthly service charge (MMSC)
No fees for PCI DSS compliance or non-compliance
Free Business Resource Centre

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Need a contactless card machine?
Get in touch with us for a no-obligation transparent quote today!

Date Published: 28/01/2021