The best credit card machine and terminal is the one that works for your business. Different businesses will require different features, and certain features may be unnecessary or even dangerous to your company depending on the nature of your business. This article lays out what you need to look for in a credit card machine and provides advice on how to get started shopping around for the best credit card machine for your needs.
Essential Features of a Credit Card Machine/Terminal
In an effort to save time and provide you with the maximum value for this article, we will go over some of the most important features that every business should look for when shopping around for a credit card machine and terminal. These features are not necessarily ordered by importance, but rather what features are usually included in the most popular machines.
Terminal EMV Certification – Terminal Certification is essential to ensuring that your credit card machine will be compatible with your customers’ new and existing chip cards.
Surety Bond – A surety bond protects both you and your customer in the instance of a chargeback. It is insurance against the possibility that your customer will lose money as a result of credit card fraud and will be unable to pay you back for their purchase. The surety bond gives you as the merchant additional protection at no additional cost.
No Monthly Minimum – Although you would ideally only have one or two charges per month on your credit card, there is a chance that you will be the victim of fraud and will have to contest 4 or 5 fraudulent charges. When this happens, you won’t want to pay your credit card machine company for an account that has a monthly minimum and is not active enough for you to reach that minimum by filing lots of small disputes.
Customer Service – Having a credit card machine company that you can contact when you have any questions can make or break your business. In the event of a dispute with a customer, you will need to be able to speak with someone who understands your business and is willing to help. If you are having problems getting in touch with them or resolving disputes, then you will have a problem that could have been prevented.
Chargeback Fees – Different credit card machine companies have different policies regarding chargebacks and fees. You want to make sure that you understand how much it will cost if your customer decides to file a dispute with their bank or credit card company after receiving their product/service. The amount that you will need to pay as a fee may be the difference between staying afloat and going under.
Additional Peripheral Devices – In addition to your card reader, most businesses require other peripheral devices such as receipt printers, cash drawers, barcode scanners, etc. For this reason it is important to not only look at the EMV and PCI compliance of the machine, but also what other devices may be useful to you as a business owner.
In-house vs 3rd Party Processing – The biggest difference between in-house credit card processing and 3rd party processing is the cost. In-house credit card machines are typically more expensive as they do not charge a percentage of each transaction for their service. This means that it is cheaper in the short term to use a 3rd party credit card machine company to process your transactions, but more expensive in the long run. There are other differences between in-house and 3rd party processing companies, so be sure to investigate before making any decisions.