Credit Card Terminal FAQ

What is a credit card terminal?

Credit card terminals may sometimes be referred to as credit card machines or credit card processors. Although several types of credit card terminals are available to merchants, all have the same primary purpose. Credit card terminals allow merchants the means to transmit a customer’s credit card data to a credit card merchant service provider (also referred to as an “acquiring bank”). Once the data is transmitted, the merchant service provider can authorize or deny the credit card holder’s account.

If the primary purpose of a credit card terminal is to send and receive data, what makes one better then the other?

Manufactures of credit card terminals have taken advantage of developing technologies to add additional powerful features. These features can reduce expenses, develop stronger customer relationships, increase revenue and streamline work-flows.
Innovations in internet communications now allow credit card terminals to use faster, more reliable and more secure means of moving data. Cellular technology now allows merchants to accept credit cards under atypical circumstances. Specific information on credit card terminals can be found in the following pages:

What do credit card terminal use to send and receive data? Do I need special phone lines?

Lower end credit card terminals will need a dedicated phone line. We work
with our merchants to evaluate their communication systems and make better recommendations to save on the cost of a monthly dedicated phone line by providing alternate methods.

What is a Point of Sale System? Aka POS?

Point of Sale Systems (POS) are a combination of cash register, credit card terminal, computer hardware and software that work together to streamline transactions. These systems have features that can include recording and tracking customer orders, monitoring customer shopping habits, connecting to other systems in a network and managing inventory. Merchants who have upgraded to Point of Sales Systems report that they would never go back to credit card terminals with less functionality.

Does everyone who accepts credit cards need a credit card machine?

No. Some merchants who accept credit cards in certain industries, medical
offices or other service organizations for instance, may opt for an online terminal allowing for the merchant to access a secure web page and hand enter the customer’s information.
Business that accept fax and phone orders would also benefit from the use of an online terminal. For retailers and eCommerce businesses, an online shopping cart with a payment gateway is all you need to accept credit cards on-line. A payment gateway or virtual terminal is an application that authorizes payments while encrypting sensitive information.

Would I benefit from a wireless credit card machine?

Any merchant that accepts credit cards at a remote location could benefit from a wireless credit card machine. This includes kiosks, conventions, on the road sales and any place where phone lines are inconvenient or inaccessible.

Should I buy or lease a credit card machine?

There are advantages to both options, your customer service representative will evaluate your specific needs and determine which would be best for you.