Young male restaurant owner is looking through his monthly finances

While reviewing your payment processing report at the end of last month, you noticed a bunch of extra fees on your merchant statement. Sure, you know what you’re supposed to be paying for credit card processing but what are these other charges? And wait… why is your processing rate so high all of sudden?!

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Table Needs is here to help! 

What are Pass Through Fees?

Pass Through Fees are common practice among merchant services and payment processing service companies. Pass through fees are the costs of doing business between the bank, your merchant service provider, and your restaurant – and they’re what is passed down to you on your monthly statement through a flat rate, variable rates, or a tiered structure. Sometimes these fees appear as line items with a variety of names or acronyms or othertimes as just one bundled charge. 

Pass through fees are largely based on the interchange fees and assessments charged by the issuing bank, such as Visa or Mastercard. The merchant services provider then bundles those charges, adds their own service fee, and then passes the total amount onto the customer. 

How Credit Card Processing Works

To better understand Pass Through Fees, you need to first understand how credit card processing works. There are 3 costs for every credit card transaction: interchange fees, assessments, and processing service fees. 

Interchange Fees

Interchange fees are non-negotiable charges from the credit card companies (like Visa and Mastercard) to settle a transaction. They are different for each credit card company but typically consist of a percentage + fee, such as 1.65% + $0.10 per transaction. 

The interchange rate charged per transaction also varies depending on industry, the type of card used (credit, debit or a rewards card), how the transaction was initiated (swiped in store, manually keyed in, online orders, etc.), and other details sent with the transaction (like address verification and security codes). 


Assessments are another set of non-negotiable fees charged by each credit card company and can also vary. Some assessments are charged as a percentage of total monthly transactions while others apply to individual transactions. There are dozens of assessments that can be charged on the individual basis depending on factors like international charges or specific types of credit cards used. 

Processing Service Fees

Now we’re into the negotiable portion of the process: your merchant services or payment processing fees. These are the fees charged by your payment processing service to settle transactions, authorizations, provide reporting, customer support, and account management and can either be a flat-rate or variable rate. 

A flat rate is a consistent rate that applies to specific types of transactions. For example, a set rate for in-house transactions and a rate for online orders. 

Variable rates can get very confusing and some could say that’s intentional. It’s very difficult to get a clear idea of what you’re paying per transaction when the rate is consistently in flux. 

An important note about processing fees: many POS companies include a clause in their contracts allowing them to change their processing rates for any reason at any time. We’ve seen this countless times… a restaurant starts out at a low rate but over time, month after month, little increases start to add up to a whopper of a processing fee. The most frustrating part? The restaurant is locked into a contract with almost no room for negotiation.

Say Bye-Bye to Surprise Fees

Table Needs believes in transparency, and that includes what’s on your bill every single month. When we tell you your rate, we mean it. We only offer set rates and won’t raise or change your rate. That means that you’ll never find surprising fees, hidden charges, or extra costs labeled with just a mystery acronym.

Our fees are as follows: 

  • 2.69% + 10¢ (when the customer’s card is present at the time of transaction) 
  • 2.9% + 30¢ (when the customer’s card is not present at the time of transaction for example, online ordering or call ahead orders)

Unlike other merchant services, the Table Needs POS reports dashboard gives you complete visibility into payouts and fees. No guesswork, no surprises. Plus, if you ever have a question or something doesn’t look right, we’re just a quick phone call, text, or email away. 

Want to know more about Table Needs and how we can help your restaurant run more efficiently? Let’s talk! Table Needs is committed to your restaurant’s success – and that starts with listening to your specific needs and finding a great fit at a great rate. 

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