6 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Payment Terminal
As your retail store operation continues to grow, your business’ credit card sales provide a highly beneficial income stream. In 2020, many customers prefer the ease of paying for goods and services with credit cards. Other shoppers prefer to rack up their card rewards points or accumulate balances on a cash-back card.
Your credit card payment terminal is the catalyst for each sales transaction, ideally processing each sale at lightning-fast speed with no technical glitches. Get an overview of payment terminal operations, and learn how to identify a terminal that’s ripe for replacement, in this easy-to-read payment terminal snapshot.
Payment Terminals in a Nutshell
Two general types of payment terminals can serve your credit card processing needs. Your terminal choice primarily depends on your business type, card types processed, and your business’ technology requirements.
Traditional Payment Terminal
Chances are, your business currently uses a countertop payment terminal, which is perfectly suited to a brick-and-mortar retail store or a professional business that takes telephone payments. This payment terminal requires a direct physical connection to your telephone line or to the Internet.
Traditional payment terminals enable you to process multiple forms of payment including credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards. You can also process “card not present” transactions by manually punching in the transaction details. Finally, traditional terminals offer more security features than mobile card processing terminals.
Mobile or Wireless Payment Terminal
If you operate a field-based business, such as a plumbing company or mobile dog grooming service, a mobile payment terminal is a good choice. Or, if you’re selling at a craft exhibition or other business event, a mobile terminal makes it extremely easy to process sales transactions.
A mobile payment terminal doesn’t require a physical landline phone or wired Internet connection. Instead, you can utilize your WiFi or 4G connection to process transactions. Although you’ll have some payment security challenges, using a private network and following good data security practices can minimize your risks.
Your Payment Terminal’s Expected Lifespan
Payment terminals can easily last for several years under normal use. A brand-new credit card terminal typically lasts for about 100,000 hours, or about 10 years, under normal processing conditions. For perspective, under a typical manufacturer’s warranty, which only covers manufacturing defects, the terminal hardware is covered for five years while the device’s printer is covered for one year.
Of course, dropping your payment terminal on the floor will probably shorten (and maybe completely end) its lifespan. Spilling a soda on the device may have a similar effect. Operating in an excessively warm environment, or next to devices that emit considerable heat, can also damage your terminal. And, debris and dirt can also (literally) gum up the machine’s works.
If you do spill liquid on the terminal, quickly unplug it. Contact your payment processor’s technical department for proper cleaning instructions. Although you’d rather handle it yourself, take a few extra minutes to make the phone call. After all, you don’t want to damage the terminal or void your warranty by improperly cleaning the device.
6 Signs You Should Upgrade Your Payment Terminal
Credit card payment terminals are designed to be durable when used normally and not subjected to abuse. However, several well-known indicators can signal that it’s time to upgrade to a newer model with current technology.
1. Terminal Won’t Accept All Major Credit Cards
Maybe your payment terminal is in great shape, but it doesn’t recognize one or more popular credit card brands. Although some customers will gladly pull out another card and complete their purchase, others might become annoyed and cancel the transaction. Or, shoppers who prefer to use a particular card could abandon the transaction and shop elsewhere.
2. Terminal Doesn’t Recognize Latest Payment Technology
Using a payment terminal that’s compatible with current payment technology is important, as that maximizes your sales opportunities. Specifically, you should have a terminal that accepts near field communication (NFC) payment forms via a wireless data transfer.
Your NFC payment devices can include your smartphone, tablet, smart watch, and others. The majority of new terminals are NFC equipped, and some older terminals will be compatible when modified in the store. If your terminal doesn’t fall into either category, spend the money for a new one.
3. Terminal Has Card Reading Problems
Maybe your payment terminal operates in fits and starts, and has trouble reading an entire card signature. As a result, you must manually key in the customer’s card information. Unfortunately, this practice typically results in a higher charge from your merchant account provider. And, if you’re using a very old machine, it may not process debit card transactions at all.
4. Painfully Slow Card Processing Times
When your payment terminal seems to take forever to complete a transaction, that might mean it’s near the end of its useful life. This excessively slow processing time often results from outdated hardware or software. Network-related problems and security deficiencies could also be the culprits. Or, the terminal might have become damaged or worn out from years of everyday use.
5. You’re Facing Expensive Terminal Repairs
Chances are, your older payment terminal has had some recent hardware and/or software malfunctions. Yes, they might be fixable, but the repair costs could exceed the cost of a new machine. To add insult to injury, the company that wrote the software program may no longer support it. Finding a software developer who can cobble together a workable system will likely become more and more difficult over time.
6. Terminal Doesn’t Have Complete POS Capabilities
Until recently, your payment terminal purchase would only include a receipt printer and scanner. Then, you’d have to rent a credit/debit card machine, along with an integrated POS system. For a brand-new retail store, or one operating on a tight budget, this could be a substantial chunk of money.
A new smart payment terminal, which combines smartphone features and updated payment terminal functions, may provide a solution. A typical smart payment terminal includes a touchscreen color display, a receipt printer, and a scanner. You’ll also receive sales reporting, inventory management, and customer relationship management tools. These handy little devices accept all payment technologies, and your monthly rental fee will be similar to a traditional terminal rental fee.
Typical Payment Terminal Upgrade Costs
To streamline your credit card transactions, and keep your card customers happy, invest in current technology that enables fast, efficient processing with minimum downtime. This all sounds great, you say, but how much will a new payment terminal cost?
Payment Terminal Price Ranges
Your payment terminal’s price depends on your desired capabilities and your purchase budget. In 2020, you should be able to buy a basic (traditional) credit card payment terminal for $150 or less.
Not surprisingly, you’ll pay more for a terminal that includes an integrated printer. If you want a terminal with a pricey thermal printer, prepare to shell out $300 to $600. Fortunately, the Payment Depot offers a good selection of credit card payment terminals that should fit within your budget.
If you’re in the market for a mobile/wireless credit card terminal, you’ll pay $100 to $350 (or more). Some models can retail for up to $1,000, although that’s certainly not the norm.
Should You Lease a Payment Terminal?
Leasing a payment terminal (of any type) isn’t a cost-effective move — in fact, it’s borderline scammy. Whereas you might spend a few hundred dollars for a brand-new terminal, leasing the same equipment could cost $30 to $100 per month for a two-to-four-year period. Over time, you’ll shell out thousands of dollars for a device you will never own.
And, it could get worse from there. If you don’t closely read the leasing agreement, you might get stuck with an automatic contract renewal that keeps prolonging your misery. So, find a way to buy that card payment terminal, even if you need to put the purchase on a credit card. Then, work your magic to general additional income so you can pay off that bill and keep your retail store growing and thriving.
Grow your business – not your fees
These days, the ability to accept credit cards is no longer “nice to have” — it’s virtually table stakes in just about every business sector. That’s why it’s essential that you arm your business with a terminal or machine that allows you to ring up sales efficiently and provide the best customer experience possible.
If you need help selecting the right terminal or are looking to process credit cards at lower rates, get in touch with Payment Depot. Merchants who switch save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars through or membership model. And as far, as upgrading your equipment, members of our Premier plan get free upgrades every two years.
Good luck and we hope you find the right credit card machine for your business. If you need more insights into credit card machines and payments, feel free to get in touch!
FAQs about Payment Terminal
Q: What is a payment terminal?
Payment terminals enable businesses to process card transactions. There are typically two types: traditional and mobile wireless payment terminals. The type of terminal you choose largely depends on your business type, the cards you process, and your technology needs.
Q: What is the lifespan of a payment terminal?
Payment terminals can last for several years under normal use. Under normal processing conditions, a brand-new terminal typically lasts about 100,000 hours, approximately 10 years.
Q: What are the signs that indicate it’s time to upgrade my payment terminal?
Signals for an upgrade include if your terminal doesn’t accept all major credit cards, doesn’t recognize the latest payment technology, has card reading problems, has slow processing times, needs expensive repairs, or lacks complete Point of Sale (POS) capabilities.
Q: What technologies should a modern payment terminal support?
A modern terminal should be able to accept near-field communication (NFC) payment forms via wireless data transfer. It should also have complete POS capabilities, including a receipt printer, scanner, sales reporting, inventory management, and customer relationship management tools.
Q: What are the costs associated with upgrading a payment terminal?
The cost varies depending on the features you desire and your budget. In 2020, a basic traditional terminal can cost $150 or less. Terminals with integrated printers may range between $300 to $600. Mobile or wireless terminals might cost anywhere from $100 to over $1,000.
Q: Should I lease a payment terminal?
Leasing a terminal tends to be more expensive in the long run as it could cost you thousands of dollars over a certain period for a device you will never own. It is generally more cost-effective to buy the device outright.
Q: What factors might shorten the lifespan of my payment terminal?
The lifespan of a payment terminal is generally shortened by dropping it, spilling liquids on the device, operating in an excessively warm environment, or exposure to devices that emit considerable heat. The device may also suffer from damage due to debris and dirt buildup.
Q: How can I safely clean a payment terminal if liquids are spilled on it?
If liquids are spilled on the terminal, the best course of action is to unplug it and contact your payment processor’s technical department for proper cleaning instructions. This will help avoid further damage or voiding the warranty.
Q: What happens if my terminal doesn’t accept all major credit cards?
If your terminal doesn’t accept all major credit cards, you might lose potential sales as customers could abandon the transaction and shop elsewhere.
Q: What are the advantages of having a smart payment terminal?
A smart payment terminal combines smartphone features with updated payment terminal functions. It includes a touchscreen color display, receipt printer, and scanner. It offers functionality such as sales reporting, inventory management, and customer relationship management.