The cost of processing credit transactions varies depending on a few variables. They do not affect your payment processor's costs of handling payments, but instead, these variables affect the non-negotiable base costs of processing payments.
First off, all credit cards are not created equal. The more benefits or perks a card grants a cardholder, the more expensive the rates are for you, the merchant. Each type of card has its own interchange fee that the card network determines.
Types of Credit Cards:
BASIC (QUALIFIED) - no points, no perks, no benefits
AFFINITY (NON-QUALIFIED) - on behalf of affiliations, partnerships, brand retailers, a small portion goes to the organization
PREMIUM (NON-QUALIFIED) - corporate, business, or cards that offer additional perks, cash, points, insurance, discounts, etc. eg. cashback, airline/frequent flyer
Secondly, the rates are dependent on how the card is accepted. Is the card being tapped at a terminal, entered in over the phone, or on your e-commerce site? In card-not-present scenarios, the rates are usually higher due to increased risk of fraud and chargebacks.
Types of Transactions:
CARD PRESENT - when the card being used is physically present at the time of the transaction: in-store with tap or chip.
CARD NOT PRESENT - when the card being used is not physically present with the merchant at the time of the transaction: manually entered online on an e-commerce site or over the phone.
And lastly, some industries or some types of businesses are at a higher risk of fraud and therefore have higher rates. For example, adult entertainment and electronics stores are at a greater risk of chargebacks and card networks and banks need to recoup the loss of these fraudulent purchases.