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How To Choose The Right Credit Card Terminal

When applying for a merchant account, the question of whether a terminal is needed may arise. If a terminal is indeed a necessity, which one is the right one? Since there are a number of terminals available on the market, the choice is simply a matter of addressing specific needs.

If a merchant is operating a business that involves and even requires face-to-face contact with customers—restaurant or repair shop for example—then the use of a terminal is probably necessary. Generally used in “card-present” situations, which means that more than half of the time a credit card is present at the time of transaction, a terminal can make credit card processing more efficient.

When using a credit card terminal, the credit card is swiped through the machine or the numbers are entered on the keypad of the terminal, processing the transaction. Often, two receipts will print from the machine—one being a copy for the customer to keep, the other to be signed by the customer and kept by the merchant. The cost of a terminal can range from as little as $99 to more than $1,000. The price paid for a terminal depends on the age of the model to be purchased, as well as the features offered and whether a printer is included.

After covering whether a terminal is needed, now to assess which kinds are available and which one is the right choice. If more than one merchant account is needed in a terminal, there are some that can accommodate up to nine. This is valuable for cases where multiple businesses share one terminal. Most terminals dial out through a phone line and have a transaction time of about 10 seconds. This phone line can be a shared line and have other devices such as a fax machine, making it important that the line does not have call waiting or transactions may be disrupted during credit card processing.


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