Credit card processing fees have always been a necessary evil for quick-serve operators, especially in an age when plastic money is increasingly becoming the norm. But one online service thinks it can help at least keep those fees to a minimum.

FeeFighters, which launched last spring, is a free online engine that compares credit card processing rates for business owners. Operators can access competitive rates from providers that have been vetted by FeeFighters, and can view Better Business ratings and customer reviews for each provider as well.

Sean Harper, cofounder and CEO of FeeFighters, says operators just have to answer a few questions about their business to filter out the best providers for them.

“We throw it into an instant reverse auction where we have a bunch of these credit card processors—big ones and small ones—bid for your business,” Harper says, comparing FeeFighters to travel-industry services Priceline and Expedia. “The upshot is it’s a reverse auction, so you save lots and lots of money.”

Harper says the service also helps alleviate one of the biggest headaches of owning a business by removing middlemen like brokers from the processing provider choice.

“[With] businesses that accept credit cards, there are gripes that you always hear,” Harper says. “The first is [it’s] expensive, the second is it’s really complicated to understand what all the different options are, which parts of it are negotiable, how the service providers differ from each other, [and] who these service providers even are.”

Harper founded FeeFighters with friend Joshua Krall after each had experienced the woes of credit card processing fees as small business owners.

“It’s so frustrating to see that credit card processing bill at the end of the month,” says Harper, who previously founded e-commerce site TSS-Radio. “It’s higher than you thought it was going to be, and you don’t really know why.”

Manndible Café, a coffeehouse and eatery on the campus of Cornell University, is one quick serve that used FeeFighters to cut credit card processing fees. The company says Manndible Café lowered its credit card processing fees by 40 percent.

Harper says FeeFighters plans to expand the service to include additional financial services for business owners. And even though the service is lowering the payments operators are sending to credit card processing providers, he thinks the providers are still thankful for the service.

“It’s a competitive world out there,” he says. “They’re happy when we can send them new business, even if it’s priced very competitively.”

By Sam Oches

Back of House, Growth, News, Ordering, Restaurant Operations