Men and women around the country have latched onto the idea of subscription services and rates like Netflix and Birchbox, allowing consumers to know exactly what they’re paying and receiving every month.

Personally, I’ve always been drawn to these companies and subscribed to them from the very beginning, acknowledging their benefits and using them religiously.

That’s why, when I launched a merchant processing company five years ago, I had this concept in mind for two reasons: one, because it was simple and easy for business owners to understand; two, because I was tired of seeing business owners ripped off by fluctuating and insane fees from month to month without even knowing it.

Bloomberg News

All signs point toward monthly subscriptions continuing to gain momentum – you can find everything from planned date nights to prescription contacts waiting for you on your doorstep for the same price every month - and the payments industry is taking note.

Traditional merchant services providers charge non-essential markups and ancillary fees, and force merchants to sign lengthy contracts locking them into it all.

Plus, many try to hide the unnecessary fees from you until it’s time to pay up. If you look out for the right things and ask the right questions, however, you can significantly decrease the cost and put that money back into growing your bottom line.

Look out for miscellaneous fees you see on monthly statements, processing equipment costs, and long-term contracts. The goal of subscription-based processing is to eliminate all of these unexpected expenses and provide complete transparency. That way, you’re paying one flat fee, and you’ll never have to be surprised when you receive your statement.

I look forward to the day when better customer service and transparent pricing becomes an industry standard for business owners, but unfortunately right now that is not the case.

As time goes on, we should start to see payment processors adding in more options for personalized subscriptions, similar to how you can choose which Netflix or Hulu plan is best for you based on your viewing habits.

Payments technology has changed vastly in the last decade, from PayPal and Venmo to Apple Pay and Android Pay. With tech changing so rapidly, there’s no reason for business models and the industry itself to be falling behind. For payments to keep up, we have to start focusing on the shift to subscriptions and the true personalization of processing.

Suneera Madhani

Suneera Madhani

Suneera Madhani is CEO and founder of Fattmerchant, a subscription based merchant services provider.