10th November 2009
The Hidden Cost of Free Mobile Credit Card Terminals
So, you've found a service for processing your credit cards, and they are offering free mobile credit card terminals.
So, you've found a service for processing your credit cards, and
they are offering free mobile credit card terminals. On the surface,
this may seem like a fantastic deal, since really good terminals can be
rather pricey, but when you start digging a little deeper, you may
discover that free has a rather high cost. Here are some things that
you need to be aware of.
- High Transaction Fees - Often, when
the equipment is free, the service may also be advertised as free,
meaning that you do not have to pay standard monthly fees for the
service. However, this never means that the service is totally free,
and typically, you can expect outrageous fees per transaction, or per
batch of transactions, as well as additional fees that are not
considered 'monthly' fees - even though they are.
Equipment - In most cases, when a company offers mobile credit card
terminals as a free gift for signing up with the service, the equipment
can only be used in conjunction with their processing services. Should
you change services at some point that equipment will no longer be of
any use to you, meaning that you will have to purchase new equipment.
Contract - The contract that you may be required to sign when you
accept this free gift may not work in your favor. In fact, it may work
against you. Read every word of any contract before signing on the
dotted line, and make special note of anything that you aren't entirely
clear on so that you can get clarification before signing. Make sure
you read the small print as well. Again, it cannot be said enough, make
sure that you understand what that contract says, and you have a full
understanding of the fees and cost of the service, your
responsibilities, and the rights of the company, as these contracts are
almost always in place to protect the company more than they exist to
- The Quality of the Equipment - If mobile credit
card terminals are offered for free, they may not be high quality
terminals. In some cases, they are rebuilt terminals. Because they are
free, they may not have the most up-to-date features, or the features
that you really need. Really examine the equipment closely before
making a decision to go with the service, and compare the cost of
equipment that you pay for with another service to the cost of the
overall service that is offering free equipment.
- Why is the
Equipment Free? - This is a question you should always ask before
accepting any free gift. In most cases, it is free because the company
wants you to use their overpriced services, and this is their only way
of convincing you to do this. Ask the question, and take the answer
with a grain of salt.
As you can see, free seldom is
free, and this applies to Mobile Credit Card Terminals as well. There
is always a cost somewhere, and it is up to you to discover what that
cost is, and determine whether this is the right decision for you.