Credit Card Machine For Your Small Business – Do You Know How To Select?

Credit card (CC) terminals or point-of-sale (POS) terminals are a necessary piece of hardware at any store or business that accepts credit cards. Usually, businesses purchase or lease credit card terminals from their merchant account provider as that is more convenient. However, there are other options. This article discusses some important points regarding picking CC terminals.

Acceptable payment types in POS terminals and credit card machines 

Before you start to look for a credit card machine, establish the payment types you want it to handle.

Debit card payments: Does the POS terminal accept credit and debit cards? Accepting debit cards is good as it only incurs a transaction fee, not the discount rate. If yes, does it have an internal or external PIN pad? An internal PIN pad is neater than a hand-held but it also means customers will be handling your terminal. External PIN pads cost around $100-$200.

Electronic Check Conversions (ECC): If you want to process paper checks electronically, you will need a check reader that scans the MICR code and takes a snapshot of the check for record keeping. It costs a few hundred dollars. The advantage of ECC is that the processing time becomes much shorter. Plus, you don’t have to bother about keeping checks safely or depositing them, rejected checks are reported quickly, 

Credit card machines and the deposit is made much faster

Loyalty cards: You may want to accept gift or reward cards if you offer them as promotions to increase sales. Most POS terminal software can be customized to accept such cards.

Smart cards: Smart cards are the successors of credit cards but not widely used yet. Apart from account information, they store personal particulars on a chip. A POS terminal should have the provision to integrate with an internal or external smart card processor as this payment option will become popular in the next few years. External units cost $100-$200.

Check/ATM cards: Commonly confused with debit cards, check/ATM cards work as both debit and credit cards. They are recognized by the MasterCard or Visa logo on them. Save on the discount rate by asking the card holder to enter a PIN while using the card.

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT): If many of your customers use food stamps and cash welfare benefits, your PSO terminal should be able to accept them. Customers will need to enter a PIN, the same as they do with debit cards.

Types of credit card terminals

Credit card terminals can be integrated (all-in-one) or non-integrated. Integrated terminals are compact, have an inbuilt printer, not as many cables, and serve all your processing needs. The downside is the high cost and the hassle of not being able to use the unit if it’s printer develops a snag. Non-integrated POS terminals are bulkier as the PIN pad and printer are external. There are more cables to hide but the cost is lower.

Purchasing or leasing a credit card terminal

New POS terminals could be expensive. If your budget is tight, you can consider purchasing a refurbished terminal. These are used terminals that have been fixed up by the manufacturer and sold at a discount. Warranty for such units is similar to that offered for new terminals. If you don’t mind some blemishes, this is a good option.

You can also choose between leasing and purchasing a POS terminal. The cost of a basic terminal falls cheaper than a lease as providers only have long lease contracts (48 months) that cannot be cancelled, and you pay sales tax and security against loss or damage.