How to Choose the Right Credit Card Terminal

Merchant Basics

When you apply for a merchant account, you’ll probably wonder whether or not you need a credit card terminal — and if you do need a terminal, which one is right for you. There are a many different types of credit card terminals from which to choose on the market today, and TransFirst® offers some of the best. Choosing the right one for your operation is a matter of determining and addressing your specific small business credit card processing needs.

Traditional Retail Terminals

If you run a business that involves face-to-face contact with your customers, such as a retail shop or a restaurant, you probably deal exclusively in face-to-face, “card-present” transactions. This simply means that the cardholder and credit card are physically present at the time of the sale. Your best terminal option may be a countertop point-of-sale model.

In a brick-and-mortar environment, a countertop credit card terminal enables you to swipe your customers’ credit cards through a card reader to process the transaction. With the addition of a PIN pad, you can also process debit cards and EBT cards.

A printer connected to the card machine prints out a receipt, which the customer signs and you retain. A copy of the receipt is printed out for the customer.

It is also possible to use a countertop terminal in a “card-not-present” (CNP) situation. For example, if you are a MOTO merchant who takes mail order or telephone/fax orders, or if you do business on the Internet, you can simply key the credit card information into the terminal and process the sale.

  Mobile and Wireless Terminals

TransFirst offers mobile credit card processing with ProcessNow® Mobile and ProcessNow Register . Set up a mobile merchant account with us, then download the appropriate ProcessNow app to your smartphone or tablet and you’re ready to start accepting major credit cards and signature debit cards wherever the sales opportunities arise.

Virtual Terminal

Merchants who prefer online credit card processing should consider an electronic payment gateway like TransFirst’s Transaction Express® that delivers a state-of-the-art processing platform that allows them to accept multiple payment types in real time.

Transaction Express uses your computer’s web browser and Internet connection in conjunction with an attached USB credit card swipe reader to process all major credit cards, signature debit cards and ACH payments. It also offers a virtual terminal, hosted payment page and shopping cart integration for e-commerce merchants. As an added bonus, Transaction Express helps reduce costs associated with maintaining traditional POS hardware or software.

Terminal Features

Some diversified businesses need more than one merchant account to meet their processing needs. For example, if you operate a retail establishment and have an online presence as well, you’ll need different merchant accounts for each.

Some terminals can accommodate this need by being able to process multiple merchant account transactions. Or, if you share space and a terminal with another business, there are terminals available to meet that need as well.

Some terminals require a dedicated phone line to connect to the processor. Newer models use IP connections in lieu of phone lines. They are a great option if your business has DSL or high-speed Internet access because they speed up processing time and don’t require the expense of maintaining an extra phone line.

Getting Started

Once you’ve decided the type of terminal that’s best suited for your payment processing needs, get started by filling out the form on this page. A TransFirst representative can set you up with a merchant account and help you choose the right terminal for your needs so you can start accepting credit and debit cards in just days.

And don’t forget to ask about our risk-free 30-day trial offer on our merchant account products and services. TransFirst wants you to be satisfied with your choice of credit card terminal.


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©2017 Total System Services, Inc. TSYS® is a federally registered service mark of Total System Services, Inc. All rights reserved. TSYS Merchant Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA, and First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE. TSYS Business Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA; and Deutsche Bank, New York, NY for Visa and Mastercard transactions only.