Advice on Purchasing Wireless Credit Card Processing Terminals

Dan Dufault |

December 7, 2010

Merchants with the ability to add the ingredient of wireless credit card terminals into their business formula will find that they offer some compelling advantages over the older, more traditional terminals of the past. Wireless processing allows for merchants to accept credit and debit card forms of payment from locations other than one fixed location, whether it means across their large warehouse store or on the road with “mobile” sales.

Depending on the type of wireless credit card processing solution that they have implemented, the mobile terminals might be utilizing short or long range networks in order to transmit the transaction information that is received from the cards magnetic strip. There are two specific types of mobile processing available.

The Long and Short of It

Long-range wireless payment processing uses the same networks that cell phone carriers use for transmitting voice and data. The service is available everywhere network service is present. It is perfect for businesses that regularly accept payments at their customers’ locations, or at trade conventions, flea markets, fairs and similar types of events. They can also be brought in to function at many other locations including indoor and outdoor nurseries, large building supply yards and equipment depots. There is virtually no place that long-range wireless cannot go.

Short-range wireless devices use the same connectivity services that cordless phones use. The mobile credit card processing terminal can be operational within a radius of several hundred feet of the location of its base unit, which is connected to a phone line. The short-range wireless payment processing solution is perfect for merchants with limited mobility requirements, ones who need card acceptance capabilities at different locations on their premises.

And the Pros and Cons, too

There are several main advantages to using mobile solutions for accepting card payments. Additional processing options become available, because mobile credit card processing service allows you to immediately process card payments at trade shows, conventions or on your customers’ premises. Increased security results from many mobile uses, as a wireless terminal allows the customers to retain possession of their cards at all times. Finally, reduced processing costs may result from wireless transactions that are processed in a card-present environment, as they generally receive the best possible rates.

Disadvantages are varied, and may affect you a little – or a lot. There are a couple of disadvantages of using mobile processing solutions that you need to be aware of, starting with the equipment cost. The price of wireless terminals is significantly higher than that of regular point-of-sale terminals and can be the deciding factor in your decision, especially if your processing volumes are low.

Often described as the biggest drawback, network connectivity is a factor that can work against consistent use of mobile units. However, networks are continuously being improved. You will need to check the reliability of the network that your prospective provider is using in the area you will be operating in, before setting up a wireless merchant account. Whatever your situation may be, you have several choices that you can make, allowing you to focus on making the right choice for your business needs.

Bottom Line

There is no question but that wireless technologies will be used more and more in the future, in all industries. As prices change for wireless terminals and the service required to keep them connected and running right, a business owner must keep track of these changes and adjust equipment, services and even merchant account terms to mesh with the ever-changing realities of doing business.
Wireless terminals should not be purchased on the strength of their “newness” or high-tech luster. They have to figure in, cost-effectively and operationally, to the business practices of the company considering their use. If you do not need a mobile processing capability, you do not need the additional expense of wireless terminals. Only move to this new technology when a hardheaded business decision can be made in their favor. They need to add to your bottom