When you're running a business that deals face to face with customers, one of the worst possible scenarios you can experience is having your credit card terminal break or malfunction. For modern brick and mortar business owners, accepting credit cards is as necessary and natural as opening the doors at the start of the business day. So when the credit card terminal shuts down, something must be done, and quick!
Time Delay Considerations
Many business owners dread having to get a credit card terminal repaired because it can be time consuming. There are local electronics repair shops that specialize in fixing credit card terminals, and online businesses that will accept your terminal for repair through the mail. Most business owners will simply send the terminal to the credit card processing company for repair. In any case, there is going to be a delay before the credit card system at the store is back in business. Since most business owners can't afford to do business without credit card acceptance, getting that terminal back is of utmost importance.
The cost to repair a credit card terminal will vary depending on the severity of the problem. If it's something as simple as a printer issue, the repair will be relatively inexpensive. However if the problem is more serious, such as an issue with the computer, you could end up spending hundreds. Some credit card terminal repair operations will require a non-refundable "diagnostic" fee of anywhere between $100 - $200 regardless of the problem in addition to the repair fee. So this can end up being a costly repair. It may make more sense to simply buy a new one.
Alternatives to Repairing Your Terminal
Many credit card processing companies will allow you to trade in your broken credit card terminal. You will have to pay a fee for the new and updated or refurbished version, but at least you can have the peace of mind of knowing that you're still up and running. In most cases, you can have the new terminal shipped overnight to you, and then send the old terminal back to the company for a credit.
You simply can't afford to take days and possibly weeks to wait for your credit card terminal to be fixed. The lost business you would experience from not being able to accept credit cards for a week should be enough for you to justify the upgrade to a new terminal.
Temporary Online Processing
If you are a small business owner who is desperate to continue taking credit cards while a credit card terminal is being repaired, you can set up your laptop and accept payments through an online credit card terminal. With the online version, there is no swiping--you simply enter the numbers into your computer and submit them for approval. As long as you have a printer, you can still give your customer a receipt for the transaction (keep a signed copy for your records) and have proof of the transaction.
Weigh Your Options
If your credit card terminal is on the fritz, it's not the end of the world. There are other alternatives that will allow you to continue to accept credit cards, even if your machine is in the shop. Weigh your cost options to decide if you really want to go ahead and repair the credit card terminal, or if it just makes more sense to order a new model.