If you are running a small business, you don't have a lot of money to waste on expensive credit-card machines. At the same time, you know you are missing out on potential customers by not accepting credit cards. There are ways to buy a credit-card machine cheap yet still avoid super-high service fees.
You can often get a machine practically for free, because many companies want you to sign on for their monthly service plans. It's similar to the way cellphone companies will offer you one of their less popular phones for free if you agree to a 2-year contract. Vendors of credit-card machines work in the same way.
Don't go with a company that charges extra fees for items like account set-up, reprogramming or needed software. There are plenty of reliable companies that include those services for free.
eBay actually has plenty of credit card machines for $.01, and with free shipping. Of course, you have to agree to the terms and contract of the company that is offering the machine. Most of them charge $.15 per transaction, but they impose no extravagant added fees. That means they don't charge you extra for statements, and there are no yearly fees, batch fees or avs fee. They also set no minimum, so you won't be charged extra if you only make a few sales each month.
If you are uncomfortable buying a credit card machine on eBay, you can partronize several decent merchant services. Flagship Merchant Services offers the lowest prices around if you have a good credit history. They offer a lot of free services and tech support. Call (866) 889-5909 or follow the link under Resources.
Go with a warehouse if you need more than one credit-card machine for a large business or company; it's cheaper. Merchant Warehouse (800-749-2173) has a low-price guarantee, but mostly for applicants with good credit. They may charge more for individuals they judge to be more of a credit risk.
If you have bad credit, you may want to work on restoring it before applying for a credit-card machine. If you do apply for one, you should be prepared to pay higher fees.
Always check with the Better Business Bureau to determine the record of a company you want to do business with.