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Costs of accepting credit cards

Glossary of
Credit Card
There are a variety of costs involved with accepting credit card payments. You should be aware of what may be included even if it may be difficult to estimate how much they ultimately are.


  1. Set up costs. There is a cost to acquire a swipe machine. If your level of activity indicates that you should have your own merchant account, there is an activation cost. There are licensing or purchase costs for business applications used to help manage information about customers and items or events purchased. This business application may be available from a third-party vendor or built to your specifications by agreement with Web Services. Web Services would be happy to provide a proposal for a project designed to meet your needs. Web Services uses the TouchNet Payment Gateway (TPG) as the payment application. We strongly encourage you to choose a business application that works with TPG as its payment application. You should not have any separate set up costs for using TPG as your payment application.



    Developing standards for the protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) may require the purchase and installation of additional software for the identification and protection of confidential information. Since the standards are still developing, the estimated cost of this, or other required, software is uncertain. The current estimated acquisition cost is less than $120 per user.



  2. Maintenance costs. There may be some small maintenance charges associated with swipe machines. If you use a third-party business application, it may require regular maintenance fees. The maintenance fees for TPG are paid centrally.



    The data protection software mentioned above requires annual maintenance fees. They should be approximately $20 per user per year.



  3. Credit card fees. Credit card processors charge fees for each transaction. They will vary from 2 to 3% per transaction. If your volume or method of payment requires you to have your own merchant account, you will be billed directly each month. If you use the Web Services merchant account, you will be charged 3% of your gross sales each month via IDT.


Set up Costs 
Purchase of new credit card reader (swipe machine) Dial-up:  $290
Wireless:  $787
New merchant account activation fee No cost –
unless using an internet gateway other than TouchNet
Business Application annual fee/purchase price Varies by application
Web Services hourly rate to create business processing web site  $65.00/hour
Confidential data detection and data encryption software  <$120 per user 
Maintenance Costs 
Credit card reader maintenance fee (swipe machine) $5 per month
Monthly statement fee $5 per month
Business application maintenance fee Varies by application
Confidential data detection and data encryption software  $20 per user per year 
Credit card fees 
Transaction fees (discount rate) if you have your own merchant account varies –
depending upon many factors –
2 - 3 %
     - surcharges will be added for failure to comply with timely settlement requirements
     - surcharges will be added for failure to complete requested authorization field
     - surcharges will be added for certain types of cards, e.g., reward and corporate cards
Transaction fees if you use Web Services' merchant account (only available for accounts with very low account activity) 3% of gross sales
Additional fees if you use TouchNet as your payment gateway $0
Additional fees if you do NOT use TouchNet as your payment gateway $20 per month
plus $0.08 - $0.10 per transaction

Want to know more about the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS)? Visit this site.


Looking for information about PCards? Visit this site for the manual and this site to learn about training.


Need a copy of the Guide to Card Acceptance and Best Practices from Global Payments?
The slides from the Rice PCI training class are here.
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