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Business owners across the capital region are facing rising expenses as more consumers opt to pay with plastic. A recent study found that only one in four Canadian transactions in 2015 used cash. Not the most welcome news for business owners who are keeping a close eye on expenses in a sagging economy.

Every swipe or tap of a payment card passes along a fee to a business,” says Bret Torok-Both, regional manager of business banking at Island Savings.

A business could choose to only deal in cash, but that will just turn away sales. Paying the fee is pretty much table stakes for doing business in today’s market.

The fee—called an interchange fee—often covers things like point-of-sale equipment, fraud protection and even software.

Merchant fees on credit cards and debit cards are not cheap,” Torok-Both says. “And because fees are per transaction, it generally follows that more sales means fee expenses are creeping up in turn.

Enter one of the more scholastic aspects of running a solid business: proper budgeting.

Interchange fees are like any other expense line item,” he says.

In recent years, we haven’t seen the per-transaction fee decrease, so a business owner would be wise to forecast these expenses and budget and price accordingly. Business owners can tap into their local business banking expert for help with an operating budget.

The popularity of electronic payments, as well as the emerging mobile payment trend, should also lead business owners to consider comparison shopping when choosing a merchant services provider, adds Torok-Both.