There are several abuses of women businesses owners that I have seen over time when it comes to taking plastic at their businesses, but are among the worse must be the fee for a terminal. That’s is their credit card terminal. I don’t mean a little bit more, but instead whopping high fees for a simple machine.

Here’s what you need to understand: Most often it’s free. Seriously, if your business has anywhere near $1,500 in sales a month you can get a free terminal in 9 out of 9 cases. Think of it like a cell phone. If you sign up for the account, they will give you a phone just so you can make the calls (because that’s how they make money). Well when it comes to taking plastic at your business, almost any terminal will do. There is little to no need for an upsell.

Still, in the last four years, I have seen 30% more female business owners overcharged than their male counterparts. The list is so bad that it is hard to be believed. Where men will be charged $38-$48 a month for a terminal, women’s rates will start at $54 and go to $77, even $99. That’s per month. Let me repeat this: PER MONTH. Almost any of these machines can be bought new for about $250 or refurbished for $140 or less. So for anyone to pay $38-48 a month is just the company lining their pockets. $54-99 in that light should be considered highway robbery.

Unfortunately it gets worse.

I was upset when a women that owned a small cab company told me she was quoted by competition at $73 per machine, per month. She was a single mother with little to no business experience, and her education was almost entirely from the school of hard knocks. She built her company out of sheer force of will and was making her family proud. I instantly liked her zeal, but I could understand how she was nearly duped without the background. I had seen many who not been so lucky like the restaurateur who opened shop with her daughter. In a year and a half they were selling $30,000 a month in credit card sales. For all her skill in food and clever placement, she was paying an absolutely unheard of $142 a month for a single machine that she could have bought brand new for $250. Now while this is no academic study, the facts we have seen in our own dealings have been inescapable. The main point to take away is simply most machines are free. If you don’t do enough to get a free machine, one can generally be bought refurbished for a fraction of what it would cost monthly. When in doubt ask the group that has your account what type of machine they work with and go buy one.

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