What's a Fair Price for a Good Credit Card Terminal?
What's the Motive for this Hub?
I'm writing this hub in hopes that it will help you avoid overpaying for an item that has become indispensable for businesses today - the basic credit card terminal. Not only did I once make that same mistake myself, but I'm now involved in the credit card processing industry. Since I know how much the terminals actually cost (at wholesale), I'm qualified to provide this information to help you avoid being ripped off. First, a little background info...
Taking a Bold Leap into... Traditional Retail?
When I was one of the owners of 2BigFeet.com, we decided to open a small retail store in Albany, GA. We were first and foremost an e-commerce business, but at some point we decided "We've got shoes in stock, so why not sell a few pairs to walk-in customers?" Well, that's about all we ever sold through the retail store - a few pairs. I'm exaggerating a bit. We did have regular customers, but our retail sales never exceeded about 5% of our total sales. In the end, we decided to close the store, but we did learn a lot about brick-and-mortar retail along the way.
There's a Sucker Born Every Minute
One thing we learned was that salespeople will often take advantage of uneducated customers. (Can you imagine?!) In this case, we were the customer, and the salesperson was our credit card processor. We were getting enough walk-in customers to justify purchasing a credit card terminal. We didn't know any better, so we bought the line about how this thing was just "fabulous" and "worth every penny!" Besides, they assured us the price was fair. If memory serves, I think we paid about $600 for the terminal - far more than it was worth, but not as much as some other suckers have admitted to paying.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
I won't bore you with all the details of how we went from one processor to another, hoping to locate one who was ethical and charged low fees. If we had succeeded in finding a good credit card processor, I probably wouldn't have left the shoe business to start my own sales agency, Creek Financial Services. As I learned about my new industry and began signing up clients, many of those clients kept echoing the same theme. They'd all had bad experiences dealing with representatives of various credit card processors, and most of them felt they were overcharged for equipment.
I believe that any sales agent who works hard and treats his clients fairly can make a good living in this industry, without overcharging for equipment. I've found that by keeping a client happy, I'll make enough money over the long haul to offset any quick profit I passed up when the merchant needed a new terminal. That's why I sell terminals and POS systems for prices far below the norm. For terminals, I only sell the Omni series by Verifone, because I consider them to be the best available. I mark them up just enough to cover my cost, plus a few dollars to cover the shipping, my time to deliver them, and my labor. There was a time when credit card terminals were a brand new technology, and like anything new, their cost was high. But that time has passed, and now you should be able to get a good terminal for less than $400. If you're willing to take a chance on a refurbished unit, you should spend no more than half of that amount.
All Lunches Are FREE!! (plus a small $19.95 service charge)
There are many processors out there who advertise FREE! FREE! FREE! terminals if you'll sign their contract. Be wary of those offers. As you've heard before, there's no such thing as a free lunch. If they are willing to give you something that cost them $200 or more, you'd better believe they'll get their money back through higher fees, rates, or both. The same goes for leasing. To quote Nancy Reagan, "Just say no!" Over the term of a typical two or three year lease, you'll spend enough money to purchase the terminal three or four times. If you can't buy it, you probably don't need it.
So What Price is Fair?
Now for the terminals I sell and the prices I charge. Let me first say that there are older models still available from Verifone. Despite the technology being old, some agents still sell them. Personally, I only sell the Verifone Omni series, because the technology is relatively new, but they've been around long enough to be proven.
For the base model Verifone Omni 3730LE, I get about $300. Sometimes, I'll go lower if I can find them at a better price. This is an outstanding terminal that does just about everything the typical business will require. It's fast and reliable. I've heard of them going for $600+, but that's ridiculous. Those sales agents should be ashamed.
The rest of the popular Verifone Omni series includes:
- Model 3730 - I get about $350
- Model 3740 (a.k.a. VX570) - I get about $385
- Model 3750 (a.k.a. VX570 w/ Smart Card) - I get about $450.
I'm not going to list all the features of these terminals, because I'm not trying to sell them here, anyway. If you want to learn more about their capabilities, just follow the links I provided. But if you need to ask me any questions about terminals or merchant accounts, you can find my contact information on my website. I love hearing from business owners, and I'd certainly be happy to help you!
Just to be clear, I'm not saying that any agent who charges more than I do is a crook. Business owners are expected to earn a profit. Just be wary of anyone who tries to charge prices far in excess of what I've listed. A few bad apples gave my industry a bit of a bad reputation in the past. And some of them may still be bobbing around.