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Take Charge Review

Take Charge is a program offered by a company called Advanced Merchant Services. While AMS focuses on more “traditional” credit card processing, Take Charge is a newer surcharge pricing model. Instead of charging you the processing fees for credit cards, the company will charge them to your customers at the time of purchase.

Take Charge homepage

Let’s take a look at how surcharging works, what happens in the automatic surcharging model, and considerations for your business.

What is surcharging?

Surcharging means adding a fee to a customer’s purchase to cover the costs of accepting credit cards. Surcharges can only be applied to credit card transactions, not debit card transactions, even if a debit card is “run as credit.” Several states don’t permit surcharging at all.

It’s possible to add surcharges with any processor; however, Take Charge sets it up for you automatically when you sign up for their services.

Cash Transactions

Surcharge pricing only applies to credit card transactions. If your customer pays with cash, they will not be charged an additional fee.  For this reason, Take Charge refers to their model as a “cash discount” model. In its FAQ section, the company suggests that you can help customers who may have objections by pointing out that they can avoid the fee if they pay with cash.

Keep in mind that according to the TSYS Consumer Payments Study, most customers prefer paying with credit or debits.

TSYS payments chart

When considering a surcharge or automatic surcharge credit card processing, be sure to consider whether it will inconvenience your customers or cause them to seek out competitors that don’t surcharge.

Is this model legal?

Yes, an automatic surcharge pricing model is legal except where prohibited by state law, detailed in the image earlier in this article. There are no federal prohibitions against surcharging.

However, you still need to comply with Visa and Mastercard regulations, including posting signage informing customers of the surcharge and listing the fee as a separate line item on receipts.

Related Article: Surcharging Credit Cards.

Take Charge Costs

With Take Charge, you won’t pay the processing fees for credit cards, but your customers will. It’s important to know what they will pay. Take Charge will add a 3.5% fee to your customers’ purchases.

If your customers use debit cards, you’ll have to cover the processing costs. In many cases, debit cards cost less to process than credit cards. View PIN debit network fees.


Take Charge leases processing equipment at $39.95 per terminal. CardFellow advises against terminal leases, so it’s worth investigating if there’s a purchase option or the ability to reprogram existing equipment. Take Charge’s FAQ section indicates that the new terminal is required, but we’ve reached out to Take Charge for clarification and will update this review when additional details are available.


Take Charge requires a four-year contract for processing. There may be a separate contract for equipment leases.

What if I don’t like the Take Charge model after I sign up?

The company states that if you don’t like the surcharge model after signing up, you can switch to a traditional pricing model for accepting credit cards. We’ve reached out to Take Charge for more details about what a business switching to a traditional model could expect in terms of costs, services, and more. We’ll continue to add more information to this review as it becomes available.

Take Charge Customer Reviews

As of 2017, surcharge pricing model processing is fairly new. We weren’t able to find any reviews online for Take Charge. (If you’ve used them, let us know by leaving your own review!)

Take Charge is a DBA of Advanced Merchant Services, a company located in Jacksonville, Florida. There are some reviews for AMS, though remember that the two pricing models are very different. AMS has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, though it also has 39 customer complaints and 4 negative reviews compared to 1 positive review.

The positive AMS review states that the company offers helpful customer service, good pricing, and accurate billing. The negative reviews accuse the company of using scam practices of cold-calling and informing businesses that they need to upgrade equipment even though AMS is not affiliated with the business’ current processor and has no way to know about the equipment.

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