What Type of POS Terminal Should You Choose?

A way to accept your payments.  Seems simple and yet with the array of selections currently available in the market, the POS terminal you choose should boil down to more than just how much the monthly rental cost will be.  And since manual deposit slips are no longer accepted at the bank, you need to find a way to electronically process those transactions.  Here’s a description of the available options you should consider.

IVR – Interactive Voice Response system, the most basic electronic means of processing transactions.  You are provided a 1-800 number which is accessible anywhere in the country.  You dial in and simply follow the prompts and key in the credit card number, expiry date and the amount.  The system will send your transaction through to your Acquirer for approval and deposit the amount to your bank account.   This cost-effective POS solution is ideal for merchants who take less than 10 credit card transactions a month but will not allow for debit card transactions.

Stand alone Point of Sale terminal.  This unit sits beside the cash register and acts as the terminal, pinpad and printer.  Older models will see three separate pieces for each component however, newer versions have compacted everything into one unit with a small footprint.  The transaction needs to be prompted by the cashier and keyed in separately from the cash register.  This terminal will process all credit and debit cards.  This POS solution is perfect for small card-present merchants with storefronts.

Integrated Point of Sale terminal.  This POS solution connects the card processing to the cash register and eliminates the need to separately enter the transaction on the terminal.  Once the transaction has been rung through the cash register, the message is sent through the POS to the Acquirer.  If the transaction is a debit transaction, the pinpad will be activated to accept the cardholder’s pin number.  This solution also removes the need to separately reconcile your cash register and your POS terminal.  This POS solution is typically the choice of large national merchants and can be rather expensive as it involves the need for software and middleware components.   However, if this solution is something you are interested in, investigate with your Acquirer, they may have an off-the-shelf option for you.

Long range mobile Point of Sale terminal.  These terminals have come a long way since they were first introduced over 10 years ago.  The sketchy technology that once tainted these terminals have made way for CDMA or GPRS wireless technology.  Gone are the days of dropped transactions and missing deposits or having to leave the building to get enough reception to complete a transaction.  These long range terminals are smaller, faster and much more reliable than their predecessors… ideal for merchants who offer delivery or travel to tradeshows.

A variation of the long range wireless terminal is the short range wireless terminal.  These terminals work very similar to a cordless telephone.  There is a base where the terminal sits and charges however, the terminal can be taken within a certain radius of the base and operate as a wireless terminal.  Perfect for restaurants and patios.

Choose your POS solution wisely and you’ll ensure that you always have a reliable means of accepting payments.

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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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