How to rent a credit card machine

Written by laura college
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Perhaps you're participating in a trade show where you'd like to accept credit cards, or maybe you're running a promotion at your business. If you normally only accept cash and checks, it might be best to rent a credit card machine for special occasions rather than buying one that you may never need again.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Determine whether you would like to rent a credit card machine on a long-term or short-term basis. The difference in price will be significant, and many rental companies specialise in one or the other.

  2. 2

    Decide whether you should obtain a merchant account separately or let a rental company set one up for you. The biggest factor here is price, and it is sometimes cheaper to obtain a merchant account -- which allows you to accept credit cards as payment --- from a third party rather than paying for it at the rental company.

  3. 3

    Research places in your community where you can rent a credit card machine. It is often best to handle this rental locally so you can be assured great service rather than ordering a machine online or over the phone. However, make sure you research rates for both types of rentals.

  4. 4

    Determine what type of equipment you will need. Some rental companies will provide you with a terminal that accepts all credit and debit cards, including those that require a PIN. Others will have a more limited selection, so you must decide in advance what you're willing to sacrifice for cost.

  5. 5

    Ask for quotes on exact rates and fees that you will be charged when you rent a credit card machine. This will include a daily, weekly or monthly flat rate, in addition to a per-transaction charge that can vary widely depending on what company you choose. Some rental companies will guarantee an equal or lower rate than others, so make sure to do your homework.

  6. 6

    Verify that you can rent a credit card machine for a limited time, and that the machine will be delivered when you order it. Late deliveries mean lost profits, and you don't want to sign a long-term contract when you don't need one.

  7. 7

    Consider renting a credit card machine that takes gift cards if you plan to give them out. Such equipment may cost more, but it will allow you to process a greater variety of transactions with more accuracy. In many cases, this is easier than passing out gift tokens.

  8. 8

    Request a wireless credit card machine specifically if this is what you think you will need. A wireless machine will process credit and debit card transactions without being connected to a computer. This is particularly handy if you are running a trade show or other off-site promotion for your business.

Tips and warnings

  • Obtain quotes for rates and fees in writing, and make sure they are signed by an authorised representative prior to making your purchase.
  • Negotiate high daily fees if you feel they are too high. Many credit card rental companies are more than happy to work with you.

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