Things To Consider When Acquiring Credit Card Equipment

Acquiring Credit Card Processing Machines does NOT have to be a major expense. You just have to know where to find the best deals.


There is a world of difference between leasing and renting. Make sure you understand the differences before you sign the lease.

Is the device Certified?

There are dozens of credit card terminal models and manufacturers out there. Not all are certified on every network. So if you make the mistake of getting hardware that is not certified on the network you are processing over, you have no assurance everything will go smoothly. More importantly, when you run into a problem after business hours, on weekends, or during the busy season, the 24/7 network help desk will be unable to help you out, thus effectively putting the Merchant out of business until the manufacturer 9 to 5 Monday through Friday support people return to their desks. For this reason, obtaining non-certified hardware can be a very costly error.

Is the processing device PROPRIETARY or GENERIC?

Proprietary hardware is a dirty little industry trick played by a few disreputable credit card services providers. Proprietary terminals are rigged to make sure the unsuspecting owner never switches processors even if he wants to, since it's either impossible or outrageously expensive to re-program on any other processing network. It also ensures that the sales rep gets another machine sale if the merchant ever sells his business, since the new owner can't re-program the proprietary device. My recommendation is to stick with the mainstream names in the credit card terminal industry, Verifone and Hypercom, to avoid getting stuck with useless proprietary hardware.

Should I consider NEW or USED/REFURBISHED processing devices?

There is money to be saved with used, preferably refurnished, credit card processing machinery provided it is reasonably state-of-the-art. The caveat here is that out-of-date equipment may not support security compliant software which, depending on your processing habits, will result in certain transactions downgrading to higher rates.

Other land mines include buying broken or on-the-verge-of dying hardware, and purchasing stolen terminals; this includes rented and leased hardware that was supposed to be returned to the lessor or rentor but wasn't. If the network matches up the serial number on the 'hot' list, they rightfully will refuse to program it and the buyer will be the proud owner of a very expensive paperweight. Cases such as this are not uncommon on eBay and other similar sources, so your best bet is to deal new or used only from reputable well known sources.

Should I consider PERIPHERAL devices such as pin pads, check readers and so on? If so, what about compatibility issues?

You need to carefully consider before you decide on a particular credit card terminal if your business will benefit from the addition of peripheral equipment that connects to your terminal such as pin pads for debit processing, imagers or scanners for check guarantee or conversion, and so on. This is because there are compatibility issues between individual separate peripherals and you could easily find out the terminal you own doesn't support the add-on equipment you need in the future.

Where are the best prices on processing equipment found? From the processor or from another source?

Purchasing credit card processing terminals wholesale, or at least less than full retail, is the way to go for obvious reasons. This is not possible when you deal with a middleman in the pricing equation such as your processor or bank because they pay wholesale and therefore must extract a mark-up out of your pocket in order to realize a profit.

Fortunately, there are many wholesale sources for excellent processing machines out there, including wireless credit card acceptance equipment if you know where to look. There is also a vast supply of perfectly good used or refurbished hardware on the market if you know where to find it. Don't expect your processor or bank to cut their own throats by helping you pinpoint these bargains. They are in the business of MAKING profit for themselves, not giving it away to others.

NOTE OF CAUTION: Lots of merchants shop for discount merchant credit card processing equipment on eBay and similar venues. Lots of them get badly burned. Horror stores about broken, trashed, and defective equipment abound. Even worse are the instances of stolen, 'rigged', or knock-off models that show up on sight-unseen sales forums. Our advise would be to stick with reputable sources who stand behind and guarantee what they sell, and who you know will still be in business when you need them tomorrow.

Finding the Lowest Prices and What To Buy

How to find the best deals on:

Credit Card machine manufacturers offer literally dozens of brands and models of terminal/printer hardware. We suggest you stick with the well-known manufacturers and avoid "Brand X" because that's where you run into problems such as proprietary and non-certified hardware.

That being said, here is a listing of state-of-the art hardware choices you can't go wrong with. They represent primarily the two most respected and dependable manufacturers in the industry. They are Verifone and Hypercom.

If you're ready to buy now, we've also pointed you in the direction of the very best prices we could find for each particular credit card device.

Please note that, unlike the many "deals" you'll find on the internet, these quotes do NOT require you to apply for an overpriced merchant account in order to get the price advertised. Of course, if you DO need a Merchant account, please contact us we can show you where you can get a great processing deal AND great equipment deals all at the same time.

Why spend hundreds or thousands more for processing hardware by leasing or paying top dollar from the processor? There are hundreds of better priced suppliers out there. Start with these recommendations:

Retail Solutions

Wireless Credit Card Processing Solutions

Useful Software, Mail/Phone Order, Internet Solutions

All merchant accounts are referred to and processing services provided by: North American Bancard, a registered ISO/MSP of HSBC Bank USA, NA, Buffalo, NY; Paymerica LLC, a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, NA, Walnut Creek, CA.; or Innovative Merchant Solutions, a registered ISO/MSP of Innovative Bank, Oakland, CA. and National Bank of the Redwoods, Santa Rosa, CA.