The Hidden Cost of Free Mobile Credit Card Terminals

10th November 2009

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.

  • Proprietary

    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.

  • The

    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

    protect you.

  • 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.