A Quick FAQ About Credit Cards and Terminals

Credit card readers are one of the most basic pieces of equipment that make up the point of sale terminal, and have become a nearly ubiquitous part of doing business in the modern world. These terminals are designed to securely move customer banking information from one point to another, using a digital means. You’ll notice the jack in the back for the CAT5 cable connector, which is used to supply an Internet connection. In this brief FAQ, you’ll learn even more about how these machines work.


Credit card terminals costs based on the kind of transaction you’re putting through the system, but there may be some upfront costs you should be aware of. Some of these costs, such as setup fees, can be waived depending on who you work with.

Generally speaking, a basic credit card swipe machine will cost you roughly $100 (maybe less). The more features you add, the higher your costs. Bear in mind, you can rent these machines but that carries an additional cost you have to make up monthly.


Fees are important when you’re processing credit card transactions, and you want to make sure you get a good deal. There are flat fees, presenting an attractive rate upfront, and interchange fees presenting a more complex table of fees that depend on the credit card used and items purchased.  Interchange plus gives you the greatest cost savings, especially if you sell at higher volumes.

Smaller shops might opt for the simplicity of a flat fee. That said, the flat fee usually wears out its welcome as a business expands.


This question is fairly basic to answer, and depends on the size of your store. If you manage two registers, two terminals is all you need. Consider also how many employees may be working at a given moment. Some businesses will run a register as all cash to save on transaction fees and costs to purchase a new machine.

Other Questions

You will encounter chip cards in the modern retail environment, which provide greater security for the customer’s payment information. EMV chip readers can cost a bit more than the basic reader, but the added protection is worth the cost. Businesses are somewhat shielded from liability handling customer information, because the chip makes the transaction more secure.

Some readers also function with an iPad or mobile device, so you may not need a register at all to process credit transactions.
The number one rated merchant account provider for six years in a row, Charge.com Payment Solutions Inc., is ready to serve businesses of all sizes with affordable fees for credit card readers.