In an article for online publication Practical Ecommerce, Phil Hinke recounts his recent experience as a keynote speaker at a conference with U.S. and Canadian merchants. As Hinke explains it, he likes to invite business owners at these events to bring their processing statements to him, along with their merchant contracts, so that he can offer to audit them.

“Before starting, I always ask each merchant how often he audits his statements for correctness,” he writes. “Inevitably, merchants who seldom look at their statements are the ones that overpay the most.”

Hinke then goes on to offer multiple examples of instances where companies were overpaying because they thought they knew the details of their agreements better than they actually did, and as such, they rarely conduct audits. One merchant didn’t realize he had two different transaction fees – one for credit cards and a higher one for debit cards. With roughly 87 percent of his transactions being processed as debits, he was paying about $2,000 more a year than necessary.

The moral of the story here is that the devil lies in the details. Business owners need to stay on top of these matters and conduct regular processing statement audits. Otherwise, overpayments and other anomalies will go unchecked and cost them a fortune.

If you find that a vendor is knowingly overcharging you because they think they can get away with it, it’s probably time for a change. If you had the foresight to invest in a POS card processing software system that can easily be used with any vendor or independent sales organization, making the necessary changes will be a lot easier.