Leasing credit and debit card terminals is a well-established method for card processors to swindle small business owners. Most processors no longer use this tactic; however, some still do and it is important that you know better. If you’re offered a lease on card-processing hardware and the lease is more than a few dollars a month, you’re being offered a terrible deal.
It used to be common for such things to happen. For example, a small business owner would lease a credit card terminal for $35 per month. Not bad, right? If you look up such terminals, they may be anywhere from $90 for a simple PIN pad to $250 dollars for larger terminals.
Let’s say that the terminal is worth $175. That means that you will pay off your terminal in the first 5 months. After that, you will simply be handing over $35 per month.
Unfortunately, this has happened to countless merchants that have spent years leasing terminals that weren’t worth more than $100 or $200. After a few years they had spent literally thousands of dollars for their machines that they could have bought for less than two-hundred dollars.
Card processors that are still leasing terminals rely on selling points to distract naive customers from the true cost of such terminals. The “benefits” that processors use to lease machines include:
Low initial cost: For the first few months this is true but the payments add up very quickly. As we saw above, after the first few months you’ve already paid off the hardware and are essentially giving away your hard earned profit.
Don’t have to update terminals: Some processors claim that any machine that you buy today will be obsolete soon. This has been shown to be entirely false. The majority of machines that are currently on the market will be usable for many years to come.
Many processors make this claim without acknowledging that buying a machine would also be tax deductible, not to mention much cheaper. This one takes the cake for the most ridiculous.
Ultimately, leasing machines allows processors to ripoff merchants and it is a practice that still occurs today. It is almost always a ripoff; however, the one exception is when machines can be leased for a few dollars per month at the beginning of a new processor-merchant relationship. In this case, the few dollars per month is just used to cover the cost of the machine and keep the processor from losing money. In all cases, however, it is important to know the terms of the processor agreement, even when the lease is only a few dollars per month.
Getting out of a lease agreement is virtually impossible. They are air tight and the one time that it is possible to opt out is during a cancellation period. If you find yourself in a lease, look up the cancellation period and mark it on your calendar. That’s your opportunity to stop throwing money away.
If you don’t have a lease yet, we recommend that you steer clear and avoid them altogether.
At 99 Merchant Account, we offer terminals and POS devices for fair prices. Combined with the wholesale rates that you’ll be paying, you’ll end up saving a bundle. Sign up today!