Not every terminal is built the same. Different terminals have different features and perform different sets of functions. The same goes for merchants; not every merchant is the same and not all require the same functions from their credit card terminals. If you are looking to purchase the POS equipment that best fits your business, you will first need to know how you'll be conducting business. In addition, you'll need to know which kinds of payments you're looking to accept. Determining what you actually need, instead of having someone telling you what you should buy, can keep you from spending unnecessarily.
First, how will you be conducting business? Are you generally going to see the customers or do you do business via the Internet or telephone? If business is done face to face and payments are accepted directly at the point-of-sale, you'll probably want to purchase a credit card machine. However, MOTO or Internet merchants may want to consider an Internet Gateway, which integrate with a website's shopping cart, or with a Virtual Terminal such as MerchantWare. One advantage to using an Internet Gateway, Virtual terminal, or both, is that these can be used on a computer with a broadband internet connection. If you already have this in place, all you have to buy is the software or a license. Not having to invest in new hardware will save you both money and work-space.
Secondly, for regular Retail merchants, do you have customer demand for more secure, PIN-based transactions? If so, you might want to get a POS terminal with an internal PIN-pad (no additional hardware to purchase, besides the terminal itself), or one that is compatible with an external PIN-pad. If you have a compatible terminal, I would recommend that you get an external PIN pad. With the external option, the PIN-pad is usually already facing the customer so there wouldn't be a need for you to hand over the entire credit card terminal for the customer to use. This also means that your credit card terminal is more secure and there is less of a chance of the terminal falling into the wrong hands, literally. Using a customer-facing, external PIN pad should also cut down on transaction time.
Credit and Debit transactions aren't the only electronic payments you can accept as a merchant. Gift Cards could be a great way to strengthen customer loyalty, beef up your customer retention, and broaden your customer base. If you are considering taking these cards, you will need to either make sure that your existing POS solution can work with your Gift Card service provider, or purchase a new solution which will.
However, like I first mentioned, not all terminals are the same and different merchants will require different functions out of their terminals. If you want to learn more about how to accept Gift Cards, Debit, or even simply credit card transactions and want to know what POS solution will best suit your needs, give a call to Merchant Warehouse and allow one of our friendly and knowledgeable Account Representatives to assist you. They can help you figure out what kind of merchant account you will need and what POS Solution will best fit your business. Check back for my next blog which will discuss POS Solution connectivity.
Joseph Fitzgibbons - Senior Support Specialist