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CHICAGO -- Many small businesses are struggling to survive, as the owners watch their expenses rise and they are forced to raise prices or see their profits shrink. One Web site, www.feefighters.com, wants to come to the rescue by helping business owners reduce a notoriously inflated but necessary expense: credit card processing fees.
FeeFighters is a free online comparison shopping engine that lets business owners find the best rates for credit card processing services. Merchants instantly get apples-to-apples bids from top-tier processors, and can save an average of 40 percent on their credit card processing costs. All processors that bid on the site have been vetted and must adhere to strict rules and transparent pricing¬ to ensure business owners won't get ripped off or hit with hidden costs, according to the Chicago-based company.
"The credit card processing industry isn't regulated," stated Sean Harper, FeeFighters CEO and co-founder, who was himself a small business owner. "All too often, a processor promises one rate, when in reality, the fees end up being much higher, and the small business owner who thought he was getting a good deal is stuck paying a lot more than he bargained for."
FeeFighters bills itself as a Priceline or Expedia for credit card processing. Merchants answer a few questions about their business and then instantly get a range of competitive bids from providers who have passed FeeFighters' rigorous check-up. Pricing is shown in an easy-to-compare, apples-to-apples format, and merchants can see customer reviews and Better Business ratings for each provider, according to the company.
FeeFighters is free for businesses and makes money by charging processors to participate in the marketplace. Unlike lead generation Web sites, the information that business owners enter is confidential and shared only if a business owner selects a processor to work with.
Harper said FeeFighters plans to extend its comparison shopping service to eventually include payroll processing, employee health insurance and other financial expenses, to further help small business owners hold on to more of their money.