Put merchant CC fees on guest?

Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum

Help Support Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum:


Well-known member
Oct 11, 2009
Reaction score
We did well in 2022, income up about 50%, but also saw an even larger proportional increase in merchant processing fees from tee sis a subsidiary of glow ball .pay and are considering a switch to a different processor. My experience has been that they all seem to offer a lower fee structure, but it creeps up and the non-qualified card bank fees are substantial.

Curious to know what cc processors you are happy with.

And, we are looking at a service that has low cost to us because it automatically adds 3.75% to the cc payment to cover bank costs. Would not apply to cash or check payments -- we charge at time folks check-in so that's a real option. This puts the cc fee on the guest. I'm tempted to try this instead of raising rates this year. I'd put a notice of the additional charge on the site, booking engine, confirmation so no surprises. Afterall, where do they think the cash back and airline miles come from? Thoughts?
It is required to be posted at the point of charging the card for surcharging.
BECAUSE of all the non-qual fees and the charge for a paper statement, I switched to Square years ago. I have not seen an uptick in fees yet. What I really like about Square is #1 - no fees when it is not used (the empty winter months or when the guest actually pays cash) and #2 - I know how much they took WHEN they took it - before it went into my bank account so I can verify no cheating and also no sweating out how much did they take at the end of the month to know if the bills I paid were covered (and not depleted by the fees grab). I also like their invoice capability for a VERY slightly higher fee. I have no experience with Stripe so cannot comment on that one but it is similar to Square.
We use a company through the Cost Warehouse. With square a backup. The thing is, around here, debit is 8c a transaction, and Square didn't offer it at the time. They do now, at 10c a transaction, but you need their new terminal and we haven't bought one. Our highest rate is below squares' standard rate.

Also, it's now legal to surcharge everywhere in this country except one place... HERE! It's a consumer protection law that says we aren't allowed surprise fees. So we still offer the cash/debit discount, though it's not popular. Almost everything is CC
I put Merchant Fees in the same category as
  • Propane
  • Fuel Oil
  • Insurance
  • Banks, and
  • Credit Cards

Every three years I put my business out for bids, and whoever offers me the lowest deal wins.

After finding out six years ago that I wasn't bluffing, my insurance company now knows to come in with a low bid so they don't lose my business again. My bank learned the hard way this winter by FAFO that my complaints about fees and poor service had consequences - I moved my business checking to American Express. My fuel oil/propane company is about to get an education next year when its turn rolls around.
Last edited:
I put Merchant Fees in the same category as
  • Banks, and
  • Credit Cards...
Every three years I put my business out for bids, and whoever offers me the lowest deal wins....

The largest CC processor in this country has a special deal with the hotel association, so I asked about it. I put one stipulation when I asked them about pricing... email only, no calls. She kept on calling. The last email she got said this:

Sorry, but we are no longer interested. I asked you to contact us via email, but you continue to call. I can't handle telephone calls. Thank you, but no thank you.
And that was the end of that.

I don't understand why you would be so stupid as to tank your chance of getting the business (and they are on commission) by completely disregarding the clients wishes.

I have the same policy with TA. It's why I have so many 617 & 781 area code phone numbers blocked.

My opinion on phone calls... the only people (outside of reservations) are scammers. No one else uses the phone for business purposes anymore. It's the front door to a scam. I know that you are a scam of some sort because you CALL.
We switched to a processor (CMS) who I think is owned by the reservation system we use. We did not want to have interchange fees that varied widely each month. We have a great rate which is the same for all cards, including intl. cards and no per transaction fee. There is one annual fee ($80) for PCI compliance. (The initial questionnaire for this was daunting for our small business, but is a simple ok the second year if no processes change.)

I would not be a fan of charging the guest for CC fees.
I have no experience with Stripe so cannot comment on that one but it is similar to Square.
I've used Stripe for about two years and love it. Integrates beautifully with Reservation Key to take payments, and to refund deposits when people cancel a reservation.

I much prefer Stripe to Authorize dot net that I used to use. Lower fees, simpler online portal than Authorize, and fewer rules and hoops to jump through. Like, I don't have to go through the yearly online retraining that Authorize made me do. I also have Square as a backup, but haven't needed to use it in about two years.