5 Questions to Consider When Choosing a Credit Card Terminal
Credit card terminal options abound in today’s marketplace, and their complexity certainly surpasses that of the original “knucklebuster” or “pump handle” imprinters commonly used for manual credit card processing just a few decades ago. Today’s terminal technology can really pay off for you and your business, but you need to ask the right questions to ensure that you choose the best credit card terminal for your needs.
Here are five questions to consider:
- What type of business do you run, and what type of credit card processing do you do?
If yours is a traditional face-to-face POS operation, a standard credit card terminal equipped with a PIN pad and integrated printer can probably handle all your credit and debit card transactions. However, if you’re doing business online, you’ll need a virtual terminal like Merchant Express’ electronic payment gateway Transaction Express™. If you’re a mobile vendor and most of your sales come in the field or at a remote location (customers’ homes, conventions, outdoor venues, sporting events, fairs), a mobile credit card processing app like PayFox® can turn your iPhone or iPad into a handheld terminal for processing payment cards.
- Do you have plans to expand into other business modes?
Perhaps you’re considering launching a mail order/telephone order branch of your business. As a MOTO merchant, you may find that phone credit card processing is the most cost-efficient way to process plastic. Or consider a multiple account terminal if your business is diversified and requires multiple merchant accounts or if you share a terminal with another business.
- Are you currently running your business from your laptop?
If so, wireless laptop processing could be an easy and budget-friendly credit card processing option since it requires only the addition of the proper software package and a card reader to get started.
- How secure is the terminal I’m considering?
PCI compliance is a very important issue when it comes to credit card processing. After all, you want to protect both yourself and your customers from costly credit card fraud and identity theft incidents. The first line of defense is secure processing that meets the requirements laid out in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) administered by the PCI Security Standards Council. For more information on the importance of PCI compliance, visit Compliance101.com.
- Should I buy or lease a terminal?
There are pluses and minuses for both options. There are many different terminals on the market, lots of different features to consider and a variety of price points to appeal to different budgets. Consult with your merchant services provider to determine which credit card terminal meets your requirements and your bottom line, then negotiate the best deal possible.
And finally, don’t totally dismiss the idea of having a manual credit card machine like the ones mentioned at the top of this page tucked away somewhere handy. They may not be very high tech, but they can be a valuable backup that will keep you processing if your main terminal fails during an emergency situation.