How to choose the right card terminal for your business

Isabella Goode



When it comes to establishing payment options for your business, cashless is key. A growing number of consumers are deciding to shop online and in-store with credit or debit cards. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to setting up cashless payment options in your store. From cost to size, it can be impossible to know which one to choose. Continue reading to find out the many different options available to you and how to select the right one.

how to choose terminal

How to choose the right card terminal for your business. Source:


One of the first decisions you must make is which type of card terminal you require. There are several different options available today. Countertop terminals are amongst the most popular but lack the flexibility and adaptability of wireless alternatives. They are best suited to businesses with single check-outs or limited points-of-sale. One of the main advantages of countertop terminals is that they are difficult to misplace. A virtual terminal, on the other hand, can transform your computer or smart device into a mobile payment processor. This allows businesses to operate remotely and close sales regardless of relative geographical distance. This can also come in handy for customers wishing to set up a regular payment schedule or invoices and for brands to store customer credit card information safely and securely on file.


Card terminals tend to be one of the final purchases made by small businesses. This is due to the relatively high cost of installation and set-up. There are cheaper alternatives available on the market, but they may end up costing you more in regular repair and maintenance fees down the line. Some businesses also incur a minimum spend on their card terminals to prevent customers from using them pay for small purchases. Each time a customer makes a payment, the vendor must pay a small processing fee or merchant service charge. Smaller transactions equal higher card fees. You must weigh up the pros and cons of installing a card terminal to make an informed decision. In order to stay ahead of the curve and surpass the competition, cashless payment options should be a fundamental business investment. Many cashless payment providers offer free credit card processing to help you save money where it matters.


The location of your brand can play a large role in deciding which card terminal is best suited to you and your business. If you are a mobile business, you must take into account how weather conditions and reception coverage can affect your customers ability to pay for your goods and services. A portable card reader is likely to be your best option. With the option to carry it with you on the move, customers can enter their bank details quickly and with ease. You must find out whether or not the card terminal you intend to purchase is fitted with a read range. If this is the case, credit or debit cards will only be accepted if the customer is within a specific distance from the base unit. This differs depending on the provider but usually does not exceed 100m. A mobile phone card reader may also benefit businesses that operate on a rotational, pop-up basis or are always on the move. The smartphone is fitted with a GPRS SIM Card which taps into local networks and Wi-Fi hotspots to connect the brand to the customer’s bank in a fraction of the time.

Transfer speed

Installing a card terminal is not enough to streamline your business. It must not only perform transactions but do so quickly and effortlessly. Whether you are a customer or a business owner, waiting for a card terminal to process a payment can be awkward for both parties involved. By opting for a cashless payment provider that can guarantee quicker transfer speeds, you can speed up the transaction process and serve more customers. Ensuring free credit card processing also saves you money in the long run. This can lead to an increase in profits over time as the funds are deposited within a few days. Some providers also offer instant transfers so you can receive the funds you are entitled to at lightning speed. From the point of purchase, the payment must go through a number of steps before it can reach the merchant. When a customer enters their bank details, the cash must be authorised by the bank of the merchant. Once this process has cleared, the bank will request authorisation from the bank that issued the card. Once this has been confirmed, an approval code is sent back to the point of sale. The entire process usually takes a matter of seconds. Lengthy transfer speeds can discourage customers and slash potential profits.


To help you source the perfect card terminal for you and your business, you must determine which features you are most likely to benefit from. Different card readers offer different sets of characteristics. Deciding what you want early on can save you time and money better spent elsewhere. For example, if your customers are located all around the globe, you need a virtual card terminal with a global gateway solution. If you operate a small store or boutique, a countertop card terminal should be sufficient for the size and needs of the business. You must also decide whether or not you want to incorporate a wide range of additional services such as customer support, invoicing, mobile payments, text or email reminders, recurrent billing, or even smart charge back technology. Preparation is key when it comes to establishing a brand-new business. Finalising these decisions early on can allow you to offer a wider range of services and increase brand loyalty and retention.


Once you have decided which card terminal you want to purchase, you must then decide which provider you wish to purchase from. There are a number of different options available for you. Purchasing directly from the provider is your best option. You are more likely to receive a better deal for a better price. You are also more likely to receive a customer warranty that will protect you in the event of you requiring costly repairs or a replacement down the line. A provider will also be able to talk you through a wide range of card terminals and payment options available to suit you and your business needs and requirements. Purchasing a card terminal through an indirect vendor online may save you time and money initially but can trigger additional fees down the line. With no warranty to cover you in the event of a problem, you may be required to shell out for costly repairs. There are a number of factors you must consider before you make a final decision and proceed with any given provider. Firstly, you must ensure the processor you intend to purchase is compatible with your machine. You must also always remember to read the small print in full when purchasing any business-related goods online.

Deciding to incorporate cashless payment methods can boost brand awareness and skyrocket sales. Customers expect their favourite shops, cafes, and restaurants to cater to their every whim and card payments are becoming the norm in a newly cashless society.


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