How to Get Out of a Credit Card Processing Lease

Credit card processing leases make it possible for merchants to have a credit card processing system without paying a large chunk of money upfront to purchase one. Besides the convenience of monthly payments, leases often also offer low-cost upgrade options and free replacements during the lease term. A merchant usually tries to get out of a lease when it’s no longer financially feasible to remain in it — the merchant has found a cheaper option, the business has closed or business changes have made the system obsolete — or the merchant has signed a contract with a new processor, which includes a new system.

Contact your sales representative or the lease company’s customer service line and ask about lease termination options. Certain companies offer an early termination or buyout option where you agree to pay early termination or restocking fees, a “purchase” or “fair market value” amount or a lump sum equal to the payments you would have paid had you continued the lease term. Additionally, ask the lease company if you can transfer the lease to another merchant interested in taking it over for you.

Ask other merchants that you know to take over the lease. If a merchant agrees to take over the lease, arrange a meeting between your sales rep and the merchant to review the new terms, your responsibilities and the responsibility of the new leaseholder.

Negotiate with a new credit-card processor. If you plan to switch processors, explain your lease situation to the new sales representative before signing a contract. Ask for incentives to switch: Ask the new company for discounts to cover the cost of breaking the lease, including termination fees or buyout costs, or ask the representative for a free system to help you offset the monies you’ll continue to pay on the existing lease.

Tips

  • If you’re filing for bankruptcy, ask your lawyer whether you can include the remaining lease amount with your other debts.

    If you have a credit card terminal and the company requires that you send back the machine, protect yourself from additional costs that can occur. Turn on your machine and take pictures for your records as proof that it worked on the date you shipped it back. If you can afford insurance, ship it back insured. Your lease company will likely send you a tracking label. If so, write down the tracking number for your records. You’re responsible for the machine until it reaches the lease company’s warehouse and can face additional costs if the machine arrives broken or doesn’t arrive at all.

Warnings

  • Always ask if you're still responsible for the lease if you transfer it. Companies may default back to the original leaseholder if the new leaseholder fails to make payments.

    Always explain your situation in detail to the lease company — especially if you have severe medical issues that resulted in the closing of your business, increased medical expenses or other financial difficulties. Although the lease is a binding contact, companies may work with customers to find a solution that suits everyone.

    Companies may not let you get out of a "noncancelable" lease no matter what your situation. By signing this type of lease, you agreed to fulfill the lease contract. Your signature is your acknowledgment that you understood that the lease couldn't be canceled.

About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.