Transparent: Credit Card Processing Made Clear

Despite its services being used millions of times a day, public knowledge of how the credit card processing industry is structured is… well… pretty much nonexistent. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, most of us have no clue how cars are built, but that doesn’t mean we can’t drive them. However, in the case of credit card processing, usage isn’t just limited to swiping. Every business that accepts credit cards has to have some sort of merchant account, and having a merchant account requires business owners to learn more about how credit card processing works.

That’s probably why you’re reading this. Chances are you got to this article because you have to figure something out about credit card processing and a search engine told you the answer is in here. That’s unfortunate for you because this article isn’t intended to teach you anything practical about credit card processing. It won’t explain how to save money on credit card processing, and it won’t explain how to become PCI compliant. It won’t even tell you what the best credit card processing companies are (not that there’s any better than Transparent). Instead, this article is meant to teach you something about how the credit card industry is structured. And while, initially, that knowledge might not seem to have any practical value, understanding how the industry is structured should help you make more informed merchant processing decisions.

Whether you already have a merchant account and are looking for new credit card processing, or if you’re trying to get a merchant account for the first time, a simple Google search has surely shown you how many choices you have. What you probably don’t understand is why. The answer – at least in the United States – has a lot to do with federal regulations. While the regulations themselves are complex (and not necessarily worth detailing here), the result is a fractured industry with numerous different companies being responsible for different stages of each and every credit card transaction. That’s a big deal for you – the merchant who needs credit card processing – because, whether you realize it or not, it means every time you take a credit card you’re engaging with multiple “middlemen.” Each one of those middlemen are businesses that need to make money, which means they all have to charge for their services.

Are you starting to understand why credit card processing gets expensive? The process itself is supporting multiple industries on each and every swipe, which means the processing fees have to keep the proverbial lights on for multiple companies with multiple employees who all want paychecks and dental insurance and 401Ks, and you – the merchant accepting credit cards – have to foot that bill.

While having so many middlemen involved in every credit card transaction certainly isn’t ideal, it does have the benefit of competition, and, as hundreds of years of laissez-faire economics have taught us, competition is a good thing. Because each of the competitors are ultimately competing for your business, more competition means better services at better prices.

That’s where Transparent comes in. A company like Transparent is what happens when of a group of people who had been in the credit card processing industry for years recognize inefficiencies and see an opportunity to make a better product and offer it at a better price. Although we can’t get rid of all the middlemen (sorry – talk to your congressman), we can create a more efficient company that can offer more streamlined services at better prices. So that’s what we’ve done, and that’s what you get if you choose to process payments using Transparent. We won’t be another middleman who nickel-and-dimes you with fees you didn’t know about unless you read page 42 of an 86-page contract typed in a size eight font. We’re clear and open about our pricing, our product, and our services, and, as a result, our pricing, our product, and our services are clearly the best.