Selecting Credit Card Equipment for Your Business

Shannon Andrade |

May 31, 2012

With so many different types of credit card equipment on the market these days, choosing the correct type for your business can be a confusing task. In order to help guide you towards the correct choices, here are some questions you should ask yourself when shopping for credit card equipment.

Will customers be using their credit or debit cards at my physical business location or will I be collecting the card information through another means?

  • If you will be swiping cards directly from your customers, your best option for credit card equipment is probably some sort of credit card terminal and printer combination. If you will not be swiping the cards manually, many merchants will want credit card equipment that is more suited to their specific needs. Software packages are available if there is a PC at the business location or a standard terminal and credit card printer may work just fine.

Is a contactless payment solution the right choice for my business?

  • Merchants who have "quick service" retail operations, and whose average ticket is $25 or less, may benefit from Contactless Payment credit card equipment. The "tap and pay" technology has proven to be most valuable for convenience stores, fast food restaurants, pharmacies, movie theaters and other merchants who rely on faster transaction times and shorter wait times for their customers' credit card processing needs. Merchants can also upgrade their existing credit card equipment to a contactless payment reader without disrupting their operations.

Is there a phone line or broadband internet access available at the business location?

  • Most businesses have at least one phone line at their business location and, these days, most have some sort of “always on” internet connection. For these businesses, there are many choices for credit card equipment. Most credit card equipment can share a phone line with a fax, or even the main phone if calls are infrequent and some of the newer terminals can utilize broadband internet for even faster transactions. If no phone or intent is available, such as at a trade-show or for delivery companies, etc, merchants should consider either a battery powered credit card terminal or wireless credit card machines that work over the cell phone networks.

Will you be accepting PIN-based debit card transactions?

  • For those merchants that think they will be accepting debit cards they should consider adding credit card equipment like a PIN Pad to give their customers additional payment options. As described in this article about debit card processing, accepting PIN based transactions may save you money and add value to your customer’s experience.

How many merchant accounts will you need for your business?

  • For almost all businesses the answer is one. There are examples however where multiple merchant accounts are either desirable or a necessity. These merchants will want a piece of credit card equipment that can handle more than one merchant account. There are inexpensive terminals which handle two accounts and more robust units which can handle up to 99. A qualified merchant account sales person should be able to recommend the correct credit card equipment for your specific situation.

Which terminal brands should I consider?

  • Since most of the major credit card equipment manufacturers are producing high quality and feature rich products these days, you really can’t go wrong whatever brand you choose. That said, some of the processors may work better with a particular brand of credit card equipment and some newer pieces of equipment are not certified at every processor immediately upon their release. Again, this is a situation where it is best to let your merchant account sales representative guide you as to the best options given your particular processor and needs.

If you have any further questions regarding credit card machines, please feel free to contact our sales team for information and advice on purchasing equipment by calling the number at the top of your screen.