Become hardware smart – choose the best credit card reader and terminal

There’s seemingly endless choice when it comes to the credit card terminals, or the hardware, that you can use to process payments. While the card processing machine choices often appear to be variations of the same thing, they’re usually not. Let’s arm you with intelligence to help you decide.

From the traditional cash register to fully integrated point of sale (POS), and smartphone to tablet, ringing up sales takes place in a number of ways today.  So what should you consider as you determine what card payment terminals and devices are best for your business. Ultimately, how you take credit cards and other payments should be driven by a number of things. Start with these questions. How does my business operate?  What types of payments am I accepting? What do my customers want for payment options? Will the hardware I use be compatible with other systems I use? Is it easily upgraded—i.e. can I update the software that runs it easily and often? Finally, are you ready to configure all of this yourself, or is it time to call in a specialist? We’ll go into detail in a minute after looking at the general groupings of hardware used to process payment transactions. 

Several roads to a credit card machine for businesses


Cash registers, credit card machines and basic payment terminals

Credit card swipers and terminals whether standalone or connected to your register, checkout system, have been the standard for years. They’re evolving rapidly in the age of chip cards and EMV.


Smart terminals to POS - Connect to any payments

These more advanced systems typically support the full range of payment options today and allow for more sophisticated software including things like inventory management, accounting, and reporting.


Other payment processing hardware options

Your smartphone or tablet can easily become a checkout device with today’s mobile acceptance offerings. Solutions such as “virtual terminal” can turn any internet-connected device into a point of sale device.

Be smart about scale and service in choosing credit card terminals

As your business grows, your payments requirements will too. The hardware system that you use should be able to expand with you. Regardless of your selection, you’ll need to know how scalable it is. That’s to say, can it connect to services that you don’t need today, but may need tomorrow. Is it easy to update via software and what systems is it already integrated with today.  What’s more, you’ll want to know about service. From the day-to-day of today to tackling challenges as your business grows, what kind of service can you rely on—what does it cover, how available is it?

And, when it’s time to take your business to the next level, will the system you choose get there? You’ll want to know how easy it is to upgrade, integrate other needs and/or if you’ll possibly need to replace a system completely.  Knowledge of these things now will help in the future.  

Why pick Vantiv?

Because when you work with Vantiv you get a payments company designed for the digital age - combining both talent and technology. It's time to pick a processor that's hands-on to help your business have a seamless and secure payments experience.