Deciding on whether you want to use a credit card terminal or some form of payment processing software to handle card transactions should is usually fairly straightforward. The answer generally depends on the physical environment in which you will be accepting the charges.
Most simply put, the decision usually boils down to whether or not you will have easy access to a computer when you need to charge cards and what kind of transactions systems you already have in place.
If a computer is readily available payment processing software often provides numerous benefits over traditional credit card terminals. Most users love the reporting features available to them and find it helpful to go back and look up a previous transaction. Payment processing software is also usually less expensive and more user friendly than most new credit card terminals.
There are logical reasons why many businesses may be better off with a terminal however. To start with, many businesses already have invested in some sort of cash register or POS system. While some of these can be integrated with payment processing software, many can not. In these cases, it is usually simpler to use a credit card machine rather than cluttering your valuable counter space.
Another circumstance when a terminal may be preferable is when your computer may not always be on or may be in an inconvenient location. If you need to take payments in real-time and can’t be inconvenienced with accessing your PC, then you may be better off with a credit card terminal.