Are you confident in where your business will be in a year’s or two years’ time? If your card sales are unpredictable, it’s probably not a good idea to enter into a long-term contract where you have to pay monthly fees or a cancellation charge, should you seize to take payments. You can end up wasting a lot of money this way.
Are you a fast-growth startup? If you are, either choose a contract that allows an adjustment on charges (a larger sales volume should give you lower transaction fees), or start by buying a commitment-free card reader, then rent a terminal when sales become more predictable and you can get better card rates.
Do you have time to read the small print in all your contracts and monitor charges? We’re not asking “are you lazy/disorganised”. We’re asking – realistically – does your day-to-day operations require all your attention, and would it mean you may overlook key charges that your payment company can sneak into your ongoing fees? This can easily happen with a complicated contract, so we always recommend keeping an eye out for unexpected fees on your monthly statements.
Do you accept more that £8k-£10k in card sales a month? Even with low-cost card readers, you can get lower transaction rates beyond this threshold and save money using a low-cost terminal. If your sales are steady above this volume, a hire contract with a traditional terminal could be best for you.
Do you want a traditional card terminal and definitely not a small card reader? Many companies want the larger card machines because they are the most durable and advanced. If this is you, consider whether you can afford a new terminal if you purchased one upfront and it broke. Look into costs of repairing and whether it is better with an ongoing service contract for technical support. Hiring may also be the only option if you cannot afford the upfront cost in the first place.