Choosing the Right POS

When you’re opening your business, amongst many of the decisions you must consider is your point of sale solution.  And this no matter to be taken lightly… this is the means by which you will be accepting payment!  So what do you need to know?

First be aware of the many different options there are available.  Today, we’re going to focus on the card present environment and we’ll save the online space for another time.

Point of Sale solutions can range from standalone terminals to fully integrated cash registers and pinpads.  Making the right choice can ultimately save you time and money.

If you are first starting out with a small store front, a standalone terminal may be the perfect fit.  A standalone terminal does exactly what it’s name implies… it stands beside the cash register and is a separate system.  Once you’ve rung the transaction in through the cash register, you process the final transaction amount (purchase plus tax) in the terminal.  The terminal does the processing and sends back and approval or decline.  You end up with two receipts and at the end of the day, you will need to reconcile your terminal to your cash register.  But with a low monthly fee, it’s often the best option for a small store.

If you have a restaurant, a short range terminal would be the best option for you.  It operates very similarly to a cordless phone… where there is a base and a unit that can be taken to the table for card processing.  A short range terminal prevents you from having to ask your guest to come with you to process a debit or an EMV transaction.

If you are a larger store or if you have a lot of merchandise to sell, you may want to look at the integrated solutions available.  Integrated solutions integrated the cash register with the pinpad while tracking your inventory.  The one step processing of a transaction makes it very easy to check out at your store.  But these solutions tend to be a little more pricier as you need to purchase the software that will work with your cash register and pay a monthly rental fee for your pinpad rental.  And, if you need any customization done with the software, you can expect to pay additional fees to the integrator.

If you do deliveries, consider a wireless terminal.  Wireless terminals have come a long way from the old clunky machines that didn’t get signals and consistently dropped transactions.  Today’s technology leverages mobile technology like 3G and processes transactions at the speed of a standalone terminal.  Also, it will allow you accept all EMV and debit transactions at the door.

Choosing the right point of sale can make your life as a merchant infinitely easier.  But choosing the wrong one can also bring head ache and worry.  Ensure that you are familiar with your options before deciding will help ensure your business will run smoothly… at least from a payments point of view.

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Matthew Hunt has been helping small businesses get set-up with Canadian Merchant Account Services since 2007 and helped 1000's do so. Join Matthew on Google+.

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