As a business owner, having the ability to process credit cards is important to the success of your business. To process credit cards you have to open a merchant services account and choose a credit card terminal.

Credit card terminals are used most often when the card is present for the purchase. For instance, if you have a small gift shop, you can install a “card swiper” where customers can swipe their cards, input their information (pin numbers or signatures) and the transaction is processed. You can also use these terminals for physically inputting the information and then processing the transaction. For example, if you receive a telephone order, you can input the customer’s card information directly into the terminal for the purchase.

Choosing a terminal depends on various factors.

Your budget – terminals vary in price, depending on the features you choose to have.

Your needs – do you have a small retail location, or a sales team in need of mobile solutions?

Your accessibility – some credit card terminals require a phone line. You can have other items like modems and fax machines on the same line as your credit card terminal – just make sure you do not have call waiting because this can interrupt a transaction while it is processing.

Other credit card terminals operate with the Internet, so you can use DSL to access the terminal. There are even wireless terminals that function much like your wireless phone.

One final factor you need to consider is whether or not you need a pin pad. If you want to give your customers the option of running their transactions as debits, a pin pad is needed. Otherwise, you can have a terminal just for swiping and run the transaction as a credit transaction.

Not sure what’s the best choice for your situation? Let your merchant services representative help you out. We can quickly assess your needs, and provide you with the options that are most relevant for you, and work within your budget.

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