Credit card equipment pricing
Credit card equipment is not particularly expensive - the ongoing costs of a merchant account will be a much more significant expense for your business. Terminals are often priced as loss leaders to entice you to choose a particular merchant account provider, so you may see prices online that are "too good to be true" - and usually, they are.
If you want to see actual examples of what other BuyerZone users paid for credit card terminals, check out our real-world credit card terminal pricing article.
Basic terminals range in price from $150 to $300. Terminals with printers go from $200 to $600, and wireless terminals can be $600 to $1,000.
In most cases, you should buy the terminals outright. A 48-month lease could cost you over $1000 for a terminal that you could have purchased for $250.
Because credit card equipment is relatively inexpensive considering the important role it plays for many businesses, it is worth spending a little extra to make sure you get all the reliability you need. Saving $50 is not going to affect your business much in the long run; a terminal that is slow or balky can have a serious negative effect.
Where to buy
Purchasing credit card equipment from your merchant account provider can simplify the process - they will pre-program the terminals for you. They also know that you will be working with them for years to come, so they are more likely to give you a break on terminal pricing and will not be as interested in selling you models at the highest pricing.
If you are purchasing your terminals separately, or will only be buying one credit card machine for your small business, the choice of vendor is not terribly important. The transaction is a one-time purchase, not the start of an ongoing relationship. Combined with the overall reliability of terminals and the low total cost, this means that the decision of which vendor you purchase a credit card equipment from is pretty minor.
If you choose to buy your credit card terminals over the Internet, use the same caution you would with any online purchase: if you are not familiar with the company, do some basic research to make sure they are reputable. Also make sure you understand both the return policies (in particular, what restocking fees you may be liable for if you choose to return a terminal) and the warranties and service agreements that come with your purchase.