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Many merchants are confused by credit card processing rates and fees, and increasingly they are turning to the Internet for information, says Sean Harper, CEO of Transparent Financial Services LLC, a Chicago-based provider of financial service comparison-shopping services. Transparent Financial offers an online credit card processing calculator tool that merchants can use to audit their processing fees and an online comparison-shopping service that enables them to view and choose from multiple service providers' offers. The calculator compares the merchant's rates with those of comparable businesses, provides an explanation of fees and recommends how to reduce rates, Harper says. "Merchants have been asking for this," he says. "Of all the financial services, the most they are confused by is card processing." Transparent Financial released an updated beta version of its comparison service in August, and it launched a beta version of the calculator tool in November.


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