Top Models

Avoid hassles at automated kiosks

credit card machinesYou deserve a credit card machine that is affordable, won't break down under pressure, and batches out quickly so you don't experience any downtime or tied up phone lines. Find out how to get the best deals on terminals and accessories.

When it comes to credit card machines, it is hard to go wrong with name-brand models. Terminals from First Data, Verifone, and Hypercom are well known in stores and businesses around the US, and are built to last. However, many of the older machines may not be compliant with security standards that mandate a higher level of encryption, and information storage that does risk large batches of credit card numbers. Many business owners have used the same terminal for over a decade, which is a testament to the construction of the device, but this doesn't mean that the terminal is safe. Additionally, it looks like a dinosaur compared to the newer models, and one of the biggest problems with older terminals is actually realted to the LCD screen which starts to get buggy and unreadable over time, assuming that the little green light hasn't already burned out.

Buy The Best Model

When looking for a credit card terminal, price is a big consideration but you really need to plan for the future. A good machine will either accept new smartcards and contactless credit cards, or it will have USB ports and enough memory to handle a peripheral like a PIN pad that can perform these functions. At the time of this writing, a lot of processors and sellers are dumping their old inventory at discounted rates, or signing up people with a steep early termination fee, with the full knowledge that more secure machines are mandated down the road.

Ask for PCI Certification

Under PCI-DSS rules, your terminal should be handling information securely at high levels of encryption. The terminal should not be holding credit card numbers following the authorizaition process. You may not know this, but you are liable for a lot of crimes that can happen if credit card numbers are stolen from your terminals. Therefore, when you buy a terminal you should ask the processor if it is on the "end of life" or "sunset" list which is published by MasterCard and Visa, and shows which terminals will not be supported within a certain timeframe. Once your terminal is obsolete, it pretty much becomes a brick. and one of the reasons you see a lot of credit card machines for sale on eBay and Craigslist is that they are already useless to the merchant. In the same vein, the kind of people who buy storage lockers and attend business auctions will list any old terminals that they can find, and they will be clueless about whether the machine even works, or if you can get it reprogrammed by your processor.