As a savvy business owner, you want to make sure you’re up to date with the latest technology or options in YOUR field. When you’re dealing with a merchant service broker, like Sekure, we make our customers our number one priority and we make sure to always have their back. Let’s have a look at a few different terminals and point of sale (POS) options that can be used for your business and analyze the pros and cons of each.
Standalone credit card machines are a fantastically accessible way of processing cards. Put simply, they are machines built for one job, so they tend to do that job very well. Available in all shapes and sizes and communicating via all available networks (dial-up phone, Internet infrastructure, and wireless), you have a machine ready to help you accept cards.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that they come with limitations. In terms of the capabilities of a standalone-processing machine, adding a tip line, multi-merchant function, and signature capture (on a higher-end model) is about the glass ceiling. You can run your refunds and get rudimentary batch information.
Over what’s called “IP” (Internet protocol), transactions can be run in 2-3 seconds.
You always want to make sure, if you’ve made the decision to go with a terminal, that your processor is able to do two things for you.
- Provide equipment at cost or for free
- Update that equipment under the same agreement
Processors and agents who markup processing equipment, or, god forbid, deploy it under a lease agreement are, in the opinion of this writer, to be avoided like the plague. For a processor to charge a merchant a profit margin, or a monthly rate, on a machine WITHOUT which you, the merchant, could not be their customer should sound alarm bells during any sales process. It is at this point that you’ve got to start thinking “hold up! who approached who here?”
Secondly, smart merchants will make sure that the equipment they’ve cleverly negotiated to be provided at no charge isn’t going to be a dinosaur by the end of the term. Credit Card terminals aren’t complex, free upgrades are a great bargaining chip for you to insist on.
Point of Sale Systems
Computer systems at the point of sale provide almost unlimited options for business intelligence. Restaurants can track table numbers and deliver menu information to the kitchen. Supermarket systems help track inventory through a light-speed supply chain process. Retail machinery can track consumer behavior and add eCommerce, user-targeted marketing blasts to augment the physical, retail experience.
No wonder they’re so expensive! We’re talking about an enormous amount of value that an integrated system has the potential to add.
When it comes to processing cards, POS Systems can be tremendously sensitive creatures. PCI compliance and the often open or unrestricted nature of your internal network (or intranet) means that systems need to be integrated/switched by experts and they are more often than not, locked down to a specific roster of processing platforms. Remember, this isn’t what they were built for, it’s just something they also need to do.
They also require an almost constant stream of updates to make sure that they remain the safest option. As I’m sure you can appreciate, there are literally TRILLIONS of dollars moving via a nationwide communication network, the prospect of a bank robbery with very little effort risks a potential security violation. Horror stories like the Target breach of 2013 can be “one click of an email attachment” away.
When making the switch of providers and would like your POS system to remain integrated, make sure you are asking the right questions and dealing with a merchant services provider who has a solid tech support bank to liaise between your POS guys and the new processor.
The “Other” Options
Changing processors can be a phenomenal way to learn about and access the new wave of processing technology. Have you been to the Apple store lately? Have you marveled at their iPhone-based card acceptance technology? Believe it or not, it’s actually accessible to anyone with so much as a DBA and federal tax ID number.
There are multiple options available besides Square – accepting cards on your cell phone has been available for years now. With the correct provider, you can get the same rates as you would if you took a wireless terminal.
And what about a POS-lite? This is an ideal solution perfect for small business owners!
Picture this: You’ve just opened a coffee shop, and are pouring your heart and soul to break even in that difficult second year. How about a little added business intelligence to your Point of Sale instead of relying solely on Facebook likes and a clunky Vx510? Did you know that you could get tablet-based point of sale machinery at Staples?
If you have any questions about which software/hardware system is best for your business, we would be more than happy to help! Give Sekure a call today. Be sure to leave any questions or comments in the section below.