Jeff Shavitz Helps YEC Members Save Money on Credit Card Fees
As the co-founder of one of the largest independent credit card processing companies in the country, Shavitz worked with merchants in a variety of industries to save businesses money by reducing credit card fees. He learned a lot about the industry, and often heard his clients say that while they wanted to save money, they were not keen on changing processors due to the administrative hassle. So after he sold his company, in 2014, he decided to solve that problem by starting Merchant Advocate, an expense auditing firm in the credit card space.
“We don’t want to be your processor,” says Shavitz. “We want to help expose the hidden fees of credit card processing. If we can save you money, we do a revenue share. And if we can’t save you money, you pay us nothing.” YEC members can get a free evaluation by sending Merchant Advocate a credit card statement. “They’ll get a rate analysis done within three to four days,” says Shavitz. “I’m very transparent, and if we can’t save you money, we’re going to be very forthright.” If a member decides to move forward with Merchant Advocate they empower the company to negotiate on their behalf with processors and banks. Then, says Shavitz, “we're going to become your external CFO, usually for a term of three to four years. Every month we go through the statements with human effort, and we also have behind-the-scenes technology.”
“We have a lot of clients who save a couple thousand dollars a month. I think that’s amazing ROI for a ten-minute exercise.”
Merchant Advocate works with companies of all sizes, but Shavitz says his services make the most sense for companies that accept at least $35,000 to $40,000 a month in credit card payments. Shavitz’s team negotiates with issuers and often finds that businesses are unaware of hidden fees or that they have been incorrectly categorized, which impacts the rate they pay. “We’ll go in and fix things on the back end,” he says. Understanding a credit card bill is a bit like trying to decipher cell phone charges, he says. “You’re paying $100, but you don’t really understand how that $100 happens. It’s the same with credit cards because the statements are so confusing to read.”
As an entrepreneur himself, Shavitz is familiar with the challenges of running a company. In addition to operating Merchant Advocate, he has written seven books and started several companies, including an app called ToolBox Payment, a mobile payment solution for tradespeople and home service contractors.
“I think so many entrepreneurs and business leaders are always busy growing the top line,” he says. “They don't have the time to focus on the bottom line.” During the pandemic, business may have slowed down, and many leaders now have both the time and the motivation to focus on expenses that may have a dramatic effect on the bottom line. “We have a lot of clients who save a couple thousand dollars a month,” says Shavitz. “I think that’s amazing ROI for a ten-minute exercise.”