3 Reasons your free credit card terminal is not really free

Published 05/07/2012

Many companies advertise a free credit card terminal option for their clients.  The reality is that most of these terminals are nowhere near free when all costs are factored in.  Lets face it - nothing in life is truly free, however some terminals are more free than others.  Here are the top 3 charges to look for when you decide to use a "free credit card terminal":

1.  Annual fee:  Most merchant services companies charge an annual fee.  Many charge multiple annual fees.  What you need to watch for is an exorbitant annual maintenance fee for you free credit card terminal.  These can run anywhere from $79 all the way up to $199.  If the company is going to charge you that much money every year to have their terminal why not just buy it outright?

2.  Monthly maintenance fees:  This is just another way of getting you the merchant to cover the cost of the credit card terminal over time.  Again - you may not be paying for the terminal up front but if you have to pay a monthly fee (in addition to the regular monthly fee associated with having a merchant account)  then why even bother to accept the terminal.  Over time you will end up paying more than you would have buying it outright.  These fees typically range from $10 to $25.

3.  Higher credit card processing fees:  This is another way of getting you to cover the cost of "free credit card equipment".  The company offers yo uthe terminal at no cost but they bump up your rates.  They can be pretty sneaky about how they go about it.  You may be sold on one rate, 1.69% for example, when in reality you are going to pay a fortune in mid and non qualified rates.  (Your best bet is to be on an interchange plus pricing system which eliminates any mid and non qualified rates).  Companies alos set you up with an introductory rate and then increase them after 6 months.  You are already locked into a contract - so outside of paying an early termination fee there is not much you can do to fis this issue.

Beacon Payments offers credit card termianls at a low cost along with a placement option that does not require any extra fees be added to your credit card processing account.  Contact us to find out more.

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