Business tips

The definitive guide to smart terminals.

By Jereme Sanborn on
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As an entrepreneur, you are probably quite familiar with the humble credit card terminal. For decades now, this machine has allowed merchants to accept credit and debit card payments from their customers. Although this hardware has evolved in significant ways over time, no transformation has been more dramatic than the current metamorphosis into the modern smart terminal.

What is a smart terminal?

Yes, Smart Terminals accept customers’ credit and debit card payments. However, many also offer consumers the ability to pay contactlessly, simply by placing their card or device near an NFC-equipped reader. Then, instead of only offering a printed receipt, buyers have the option of having proof of purchase sent to their email address.

This capability may give you the first indication of what sets smart terminals apart from more traditional terminals. As it turns out, these modern marvels do far more than simply read cards and send the information securely to a payment processor for authentication. In fact, they can actually help you to run your entire business more efficiently and profitably. 

How do smart terminals work?

Smart terminals simplify your checkout process by allowing for swiping, inserting (for EMV chip card payments) or manually entering card data (for mail and telephone orders). If equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology, they can also run tap-and-pay transactions powered by customers’ Apple Pay and Android wallets. The smart terminal is linked to the internet via wireless or a hard-wired connection, and payments are encrypted and tokenized. The result is transactions that are fast, hygienic, and convenient for everyone involved.

Your smart terminal’s hidden capabilities

As we intimated above, payment processing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what your smart terminal can do for your business. Consider these additional benefits the right smart terminal can bring to your business. 

• Integration with your existing accounting software for seamless record-keeping.

• Simplified inventory tracking – See what is selling, what isn’t, and set low-stock alerts so your ordering process is more efficient, economical, and responsive to customer needs.

• Employee management capabilities that let you track of your workers’ hours and performance, enabling you to maximize efficiency.

• In-depth reporting capabilities let you create sales forecasts. Your smart terminal (in conjunction with your payments app, and your secure, online merchant portal) can help cull the data you need from your sales records and organize it into a format that you can use and understand.

In many respects, incorporating a smart terminal into your business model is like hiring an experienced silent partner who is adept at assisting you with the myriad of routine tasks involved in running your small business as efficiently and profitably as possible.

Convenience, speed, innovation, and security: These are just a few of the tangible benefits that a smart terminal can bring to your retail operation. The best news of all is that these solutions are both intuitive and affordable. Upgrading your small business with this innovative technology might just be the most intelligent business decision you’ll make this year.