For retail merchants, a Programming Fee is a fee charged for programming the merchant’s sales terminal or credit card reader. Usually, the third-party credit card terminal service provider who sells or leases the credit card terminals to their merchant clients are the ones who do the actual programming of the equipment on site. In addition to other fees required of merchants who set up a new merchant banking account – such as equipment rental, set-up fees, imprinter fees and transaction fees – there is often a fee to program the equipment itself, which needs updating from time to time as transaction technology and software improves and changes.
Many times, credit card terminals will have additional software installed that help to verify credit cards, credit card holders and checks. In cases for which the merchant did not, say, previously offer check verification, that merchant may upgrade their system by having that additional feature installed at a date later than when the terminal was initially programmed. Of course, at that point, service providers will again require a programming fee of the merchant who will pay this fee along with other notable monthly fees, such as a statement fee, a monthly maintenance fee, and transactions fees.
Many banks offer a complete lines of credit card services to meet a merchant’s business needs. When they offer special overall rates to enlist new merchants to use their services, they will sometimes waive their programming fees, along with Address Verification Fees, application fees and set-up fees, which require very little work on the part of the merchant but for which there could be potential real dollar value in the marketplace. Knowing that the merchant client will be attracted to this savings, the merchant service provider can earmark seemingly unavoidable fees, such as transaction fees and monthly statement fees instead. In the case where merchant service providers must charge for programming fees – such as when a programmer must go out into the field and cannot re-program remotely in a short period of time – contemporary prices for programming fees range anywhere from as low as fifty dollars to as high as the hundreds of dollars. On the whole, programming fees tend to be on the lower end of that range around fifty or so dollars in recent years.
Ultimately, programming fees are part of the package that allow merchants to maintain their merchant service bank account and process credit cards to sustain their business and make the bulk of their credit card-carrying customers happy. It is all too worth it to make sure that they stay up with the most up-to-date software and operate smoothly in the bustling retail business.