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Navigating Transaction Fees in Payment Platforms: What Coaches Need to Know to Protect Their Bottom Line

Navigating Transaction Fees in Payment Platforms: What Coaches Need to Know to Protect Their Bottom Line

Discover how to navigate transaction fees in various payment platforms to protect your coaching business's bottom line. Learn about fee structures, compare popular platforms, and explore strategies to minimize costs.


When running a client-based coaching business, managing financial transactions efficiently is as crucial as delivering excellent coaching sessions. One often overlooked aspect that can significantly affect your bottom line is the transaction fees charged by various payment platforms. Understanding these fees and choosing the right payment solutions can help you keep more of your hard-earned money.

Understanding Transaction Fees

Transaction fees are costs that payment platforms charge to process payments. These fees can vary widely depending on the platform, the type of transaction, and other factors. Generally, these fees are a combination of percentage charges and fixed fees per transaction. For coaches, who often deal with various payment intervals and amounts, understanding these fees is critical.

Common Payment Platforms and Their Fees


PayPal is one of the most popular payment platforms due to its ease of use and widespread acceptance. For U.S transactions, PayPal generally charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. For international transactions, fees can increase, and there might be additional costs for currency conversion. PayPal also offers a business account that includes benefits like merchant services, which can be useful for coaches handling numerous transactions.


Stripe is another favorite for many online businesses, including coaching services. It’s known for its developer-friendly API and seamless integration with various e-commerce systems. Stripe’s standard fees are similar to PayPal's at 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. However, Stripe offers customized pricing for businesses with larger volumes, which could be advantageous as your coaching business grows.


Square is ideal for coaches who also provide in-person sessions and can benefit from mobile payment solutions. Square’s fees are slightly different, charging 2.6% plus $0.10 for tapped (contactless), dipped (chip), and swiped card transactions. For invoices and online sales, the fee is the same as PayPal and Stripe at 2.9% plus $0.30.

Bank Transfers and ACH

Some coaches prefer direct bank transfers or Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments to avoid higher fees. Typically, ACH fees are lower, sometimes costing only a few cents per transaction or a fixed monthly fee for unlimited transactions. However, ACH can be slower, and not all clients may be comfortable with direct bank transactions.

Impact on Your Bottom Line

The impact of these fees on your bottom line can be significant, especially if you are not passing these costs onto your clients. For example, if you process $10,000 per month in payments through a platform like PayPal or Stripe, you would be paying around $290 in fees alone, which equates to nearly $3,500 annually. This amount could cover other business expenses like marketing, professional development, or even a well-deserved vacation.

Strategies to Mitigate Transaction Fees

Include Fees in Pricing

One straightforward approach is to include transaction fees in your pricing structure. Adjust your session rates to cover the transaction fees you anticipate based on your chosen payment platform.

Encourage Alternative Payment Methods

Promoting payment methods with lower fees, such as ACH or bank transfers, can reduce costs. You could offer slight discounts to clients who choose these methods, still saving more than you would pay in higher fees otherwise.

Use a Tiered Pricing Structure

For clients who commit to longer coaching programs or higher session volumes, consider reducing the transaction fee impact by absorbing these costs. The increased client commitment can offset the lower margin on transaction fees.

Regularly Review Your Payment Platforms

As your business grows, regularly reviewing your payment processing setup is crucial. Volume discounts or changing to a platform with lower fees could significantly impact your profitability.


Transaction fees are an inevitable part of running a modern coaching business, but they don’t have to be a burden. By understanding these fees and implementing strategic measures to mitigate their impact, you can protect your bottom line and ensure your coaching business remains financially healthy. Choose your payment platforms wisely, consider the true cost of processing payments, and adjust your business strategies accordingly to stay ahead.

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