If you rent a card terminal, you enter into a fixed-term contract that can be 12, 18, 24 or 36 months – even up to 5 years. You can rent for the short term, but this is more pricey and only recommended for one-off situations where you want the best card machine for e.g. a day, weekend or up to a month.
With a hire contract, you rarely get a simple monthly price with predictable fees. A lot of the charges also depend on the card machine model and what is included in the merchant service contract.
The extent of contract lock-in determines some of these charges. Renting a terminal typically means you’re stuck with a contract until you cancel it, but cancelling early leads to an early termination fee which often is the equivalent price of paying out the remaining charges planned up until the end of the contract. This can cost hundreds of pounds, but some providers may let you off easily at a lower cost or even for free (the latter is not common, though).