By: Javi Calderon
on Wednesday, March 02, 2011
How to Choose the Right Credit Card Terminal for Your Business
In this day and age you simply can’t afford to be a cash-only business. Customers might assume that your inability to accept debit and credit cards is a reflection of poor quality products or services, and customers who prefer to pay with cards will surely head to your competitors instead. Reaching an agreement with a merchant services
provider is the first step to taking credit card payments.
The next step is selecting hardware. Choosing the right credit card processing
equipment for your business is completely dependent on your budget and needs. If you interact with customers face-to-face and they’re handing you their credit card for payment, then you will need a credit card terminal.
The cost of payment processing terminals can range from less than $100 to over $1,000 depending on features, capabilities and the age of the terminal. Many wholesalers offer refurbished models that can meet all your needs at an even more affordable price. Be sure to consider price and features as you shop for your terminal.
There are three categories of credit card terminals, defined by how the terminal communicates and connects with your bank or services provider.
1. IP Terminals
allow a merchant to use their existing DSL
or cable Internet connection to connect to their bank or services provider to quickly process transactions. Earlier models required merchants to have a separate phone line to connect their terminal, now the terminal can be connected through an existing high-speed Internet connection thus providing higher value and lower costs. Some IP terminals do come with dial connectivity as a backup option.
IP terminals are perfect for merchants who conduct business within a storefront and finalize transactions at a point of purchase, i.e. retail stores, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.
2. Wireless Terminals
are well suited for business transactions that are conducted on the go. These credit card machines work off reliable wireless networks like Verizon and AT&T. If you’re business keeps you off your feet all day and on the move you should consider wireless credit card processing machines.
If you provide services at your clients’ home or office, deliver products to your customers, or finalize sales from various locations, wireless terminals will make your business more efficient.
3. Store and Forward Terminals
will be your best bet if a wireless terminal isn’t a viable option and you don’t have access to an internet connection until the end of the day. The terminal will store the information from the day’s transactions and dial out for authorization once connected.
Wireless credit card processing typically includes extra fees that typical merchant accounts don’t. Also keep in mind that wireless reception isn’t always available. For example, some one who owns a food cart on a beach in California
or even the east coast of Texas
might struggle to get wireless reception. Keep these kinds of factors in mind when shopping for your credit card terminal.
If you also intend to accept debit cards you will need a PIN pad for your customers to enter their PIN numbers to authorize transactions. While some terminals do come with internal PIN pads, you can also buy a PIN pad as a separate, stand-alone device. Internal PIN pads will save you countertop space and money since one machine will be doing the job of two. However, if the encryption is erased or damaged the entire terminal would need to be sent out for re-encryption. With an external PIN pad the terminal can still process credit cards while the PIN pad is out of commission.
As you research credit card processing equipment search for providers who don’t require you to enter into lease contracts. Leasing instead of purchasing will cost you more in the long run in monthly fees and interest rates. Not to mention, at the end of the lease you will have to return the equipment! If a company tries to pressure you into a lease contract take your business elsewhere.
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