Seeing an unfamiliar charge on your credit card statement can be confusing and concerning. You may wonder, “What is this TST charge on my card?” “Is it fraudulent?” This guide will explain what the TST credit card charge is, why it appears, and how to handle it.
What is the TST Charge?
TST stands for Toast Tab.
It is a credit card processing fee charged by Toast, Inc., a company providing point-of-sale (POS) systems to restaurants, bars, cafes, salons, retailers, and other merchants.
When you make a purchase at a merchant using Toast’s system, the TST charge appears on your credit card statement.
It represents Toast’s fee for processing the transaction, similar to charges from other processors like Square or Stripe.
So in short, the TST charge on your credit card statement simply means you made a purchase at a business using Toast as their POS and payment processor.
Breaking Down the TST Fee
To understand the TST charge better, let’s break down how it works:
Toast provides the payment terminals, software, and processing capabilities that merchants need to accept credit card payments.
When a customer pays with a credit card, Toast routes the transaction through card networks like Visa or Mastercard.
Toast charges the merchant a fee for this service, usually a percentage of the transaction amount plus a few cents per transaction.
The merchant pays this “processing fee” to Toast.
Toast deducts their fee before depositing the remaining amount into the merchant’s bank account.
On the customer’s credit card statement, this fee appears separately as the TST charge.
- Customer payment → Toast → Card network → Merchant account
- Toast deducts processing fee (TST charge)
- Remaining amount deposited to merchant
Why Does Toast Charge This Fee?
Like other payment processors, Toast charges a transaction fee for providing the technology and services to accept credit card payments, including:
- Payment terminals and POS software
- Securely routing transactions through card networks
- Verifying customer identity and checking for fraud
- Covering chargebacks and disputed transactions
- Depositing funds into merchant accounts
- Providing customer support
The TST fee helps Toast cover these costs and risks associated with processing millions of card transactions every year.
Without this revenue stream, Toast would not be able to provide POS systems and payment processing capabilities to merchants at scale.
What Does the TST Charge Look Like?
On your credit card statement, the TST charge will appear as a separate line item for each transaction processed through Toast.
Here are some examples of what it may look like:
- Purchase – TST*CafeName
- TST* 1234
The TST charge is usually followed by the merchant name, part of it, or a reference number. The amount reflects Toast’s fee for that particular transaction, not the total purchase amount.
If you don’t recognize the merchant name, you can contact your card issuer to find out details about the charge. Having the transaction date and amount can also help identify the purchase.
How Much Is the TST Fee?
Toast’s processing rates and fees depend on the merchant’s sales volume, average transaction size, and card types accepted. Their pricing model has three main components:
1. Processing Rate
This is a percentage fee applied to the total transaction amount. Rates typically range from 2.5% – 3.5% but can vary widely. High volume merchants may negotiate a lower rate.
2. Per Transaction Fee
This fixed fee is charged per transaction, usually $0.05 – $0.10. It covers the costs of routing each transaction through card networks.
3. Monthly Fee
An additional monthly fee for access to Toast’s payment processing capabilities and POS software subscriptions. Ranges from $49 to $199 monthly.
Toast also charges higher rates for rewarding cards, corporate cards, and swiped vs. dipped transactions. The TST charge on your statement reflects these variable fees.
Is the TST Charge Legitimate?
Yes, the TST credit card charge is legitimate. As explained above, Toast deducts this fee from transactions to cover their processing costs before paying merchants.
While it may look unfamiliar, it represents a valid charge you authorized when making a purchase at a Toast-enabled business. There’s no need to dispute it or take any action if you recognize the merchant.
However, it’s always wise to periodically review charges on your statement and flag any that look suspicious or unclear. Monitoring statements is an important way to detect potential fraud.
How to Identify the Source of the TST Charge
If you don’t recognize a TST charge on your statement, here are some steps to identify where it came from:
Look at the merchant name, if any, following the TST*. Does it match a place you recently shopped?
Check the transaction date and amount. Think about purchases made that day for a similar amount.
Call your card issuer. They may have more details on the merchant associated with the charge.
Look up the partial merchant name online along with “Toast” to see if you can identify them.
Check your email receipt from the transaction which often includes merchant information.
If you used a rewards card, check your points activity for clues about the purchase.
With some digging, you should be able to pinpoint the transaction source and verify if the TST charge was legitimate or not.
How to Prevent Unauthorized TST Charges
While TST charges are normally valid, you can take precautions to avoid unauthorized charges:
Review statements regularly – Scrutinize charges often to identify any irregularities quickly.
Protect your card – Don’t let your card out of sight and report lost/stolen cards immediately. Use a mobile wallet when possible.
Set up alerts – Many cards offer alerts for large purchases or when your available balance drops.
Avoid skimmers – Only use ATMs you trust and pay inside at gas stations to avoid skimmers.
Monitor your credit – Unusual charges can be a sign of identity theft. Check your credit report regularly.
Know your rights – Federal law limits liability for unauthorized charges. Report them promptly to your card issuer.
What to Do About an Unauthorized TST Charge
If you determine a TST charge was fraudulent, take these steps:
Report it – Immediately notify your card issuer that you did not authorize the charge. Provide details about the amount and merchant, if known.
Dispute it – You can dispute the charge in writing within 60 days in most cases. Your issuer will handle investigating it.
Monitor your statements – Keep checking for any additional fraudulent charges. Alert your issuer if the charge reappears.
Consider a new card – If your card number was compromised, request a replacement card with a new number.
Check your credit – Fraudulent charges may be a sign that your identity was stolen. Review your credit reports and place a fraud alert if necessary.
By acting quickly, you can limit the damage from any unauthorized TST charges and have your card issuer remove them.
Frequently Asked Questions about TST Charges
What if I don’t recognize the merchant name with the TST charge?
Contact your card issuer if you don’t recognize the merchant name. They can look up transaction details like the location and help you identify the purchase source.
Do all Toast merchants cause TST charges?
Yes, Toast will charge processing fees on transactions at any business using their systems, which appear as TST charges. Some merchants may include Toast’s fees in their pricing rather than listing it separately.
Does Toast charge TST fees for debit cards or cash payments?
No, the TST charge only applies to credit card payments processed through Toast’s system. Debit card transactions may have a similar fee, but cash payments do not.
Can I avoid the TST fee by using a different card?
No, the TST fee is charged by Toast for processing the transaction, not based on which card you use. The only way to avoid it at a Toast-enabled merchant is to pay by cash or check.
Why does Toast have higher rates than some processors?
Toast provides an integrated POS system in addition to payment processing. Their rates account for the hardware, software, and technical support Toast provides to merchants.
Are there legitimate reasons for a merchant to test a charge?
Yes, an initial small TST charge may be used to verify your card is valid and active before processing a larger transaction. This helps avoid declined charges or interruptions during checkout.
The Bottom Line
While it may seem mysterious at first glance, the TST credit card charge has a simple explanation. To