Credit Card Terminals: Which Are Best For Your Business?

If your practice does not have any credit card terminals, it should. Accepting credit cards will increase payments to your practice, and result in fewer past-due accounts going to collections. Most people expect to be able to pay by credit card, and providing this service benefits provider and patient alike.

Several types of terminals are available; which you choose should depend on how you will be using your system.

Premium  terminals with free placement are often offered by many of the credit card processing retail and business companies competing for your business. Accepting a free credit card terminal could be a great option for a business which wants to accept credit card payments for the first time without incurring any upfront expense. This can also be a good alternative for the merchant or business who has outdated equipment and wants to avoid the expense of buying or leasing a new credit card processing terminal.

One of the downsides to accepting a free  terminal is that most credit card payment processing services companies will ask you to sign a contract and possibly a higher credit card processing rate; be sure to read the fine print.

For information on how to choose the best credit card processing company for your business, click here.

Weigh the pros and cons of the types of credit card processing terminals (traditional terminals, wireless terminals/portable credit card terminals and virtual or software based terminals):


These are the credit card processing machines you are most familiar with and are found in most brick-and-mortar businesses.


  1. Most consumers expect to be able to pay by credit card or debit card.
  2. Accepting credit card payments limits bad debt and improves cash flow, while reducing the need to invoice customers--which in turn reduces past due accounts receivable.
  3. Provides potential for larger orders and impulse buys.
  4. Affordable-- Credit card rates have become very reasonable with many credit card processing companies offering free credit card terminals.
  5. The newer credit card processing machines give you the option of accepting checks in addition to credit cards and debit cards.
  6. Can accept gift and loyalty cards
  7. Offer age verification for tobacco and alcohol.

Looking for Credit Card Terminals? Get multiple quotes to find the best terminal for your needs:

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Wireless credit card processing terminals are a great option for mobile merchants such as plumbers, electricians, landscape companies as well as merchants of trade shows and flea markets who want the convenience these credit card machines offer.


  1. Small, light weight and portable
  2. Saves money; no need for an additional phone line
  3. Swipe rates are usually much lower than keyed in rates
  4. Increased security--you will reduce the amount of cash you and your employees need to handle by accepting credit cards


  1. Monthly wireless fees
  2. Many portable credit card machines are not capable of accepting checks.


Virtual credit card terminals can be used anywhere you have internet coverage, and are useful because they are not tied to any one location. You simply enter the credit card account holder's information, then the payment is processed, and you are sent confirmation.

As a merchant accepting credit cards online, you can expect to pay a higher rate, primarily because the customer is not  physically present to sign for the purchase. Therefore, the risk to the credit card company and to yourself is increased.

Cell Phone Credit Card Reader

If you have a very small practice, or a practice where you travel to different locations, you may consider using a cell phone credit card reader. This enables you to take a credit card payment with your phone anywhere you have cell phone coverage. The credit card reader plugs into an iPhone or Android jack and uses encryption to ensure data security. No data is stored on your device after the transaction is completed, making it more secure.

Return to Medical Providers Resources from Credit Card Terminals 

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