What is a credit card terminal?
A credit card terminal is a device that receives credit card information using an electronic credit card reader. It typically includes a credit card swiper and a keypad which allows the user to enter his credit card details manually. The credit information can either be saved onto magnetic tape or stored electronically in a small memory unit included with the credit card terminal. It may also print out receipts so you have proof of purchase.
A credit card terminal can be used where credit cards are accepted as a form of payment. In the checkout process, the credit card terminal acts as a device that verifies financial transactions. It may or may not work wirelessly depending on the type of credit card reader it uses. The credit information from the credit card swiper and keypad are sent to a credit processing company, and then verified with your bank to confirm that it’s valid and there is money available in your account. The data may also store this information electronically within its memory unit if it has one included.
To use credit card terminals, once the credit card information is swiped through a credit card terminal, the credit information can either be saved onto magnetic tape or stored in a small memory unit included with the credit card terminal. To process purchase orders, you would press enter on the keypad and swipe your credit card through to store your credit card information into the credit card terminal.
What is a POS system?
Point-of-sale systems are used to process transactions, track inventory, and more. A POS can often accomplish many more tasks than credit card terminals because it includes additional features such as receipt printers, barcode scanners, scales, and cash drawers. Many point-of-sale systems will include credit card readers, however, a credit card terminal can be attached to a POS system if it does not have a credit card reader.
POS transactions include entering sale items and quantities, tax rates, discount amounts, and printing receipts for customers. For example, if you were checking out at a retail store using a point-of-sale system: You would select an item and add it to your cart and choose whether or not to apply any discounts to your purchase. This information would be entered into the POS system and taxes and totals would be calculated automatically. Once this transaction is completed, you can choose to add another item or simply pay for your order before leaving the store.
Card Terminals vs. POS Systems
Both credit card terminals and POS systems are used to process transactions by receiving credit cards. As mentioned, credit card terminals are attached to POS systems or can function independently. Both credit card terminals and POS systems help businesses track inventory by saving names, product codes, quantities, etc. of what is being sold in their store/business. Some of these credit card readers may even be equipped with scales that automatically calculate product weights for items that need it (such as meat at a butcher’s shop). Another similarity between credit card terminals and POS systems is that they both may provide receipts for customers for proof-of-purchase after credit card processing is complete.
There are some differences between credit card terminals and POS systems. POS systems may include advanced features such as receipt printers, scales, cash drawers, etc. whereas credit card terminals will not have these additional features included. They can also track inventory in a more detailed manner than credit card terminals because it has the added functionality of being connected to the internet. However, credit card readers may be used with credit card terminals if they don’t have one built into the unit itself.
Credit Card Terminal vs Point of Sale System Summary:
- A credit card terminal is typically used where credit cards are accepted as a form of payment check out process for customers.
- A credit card terminal may include a credit card swiper and keypad allowing customers to enter their credit card details manually.
- A credit card terminal typically sends credit information wirelessly or saves it onto magnetic tape/memory storage.
- POS systems may offer additional features such as receipt printers, barcode scanners, scales and cash drawers.
- POS systems usually include credit card readers but credit card terminals can be attached if the credit card terminal does not have one built in.
- Both use credit cards to process transactions and save purchase information for proof of purchase and inventory tracking.
- A credit card terminal is more suited for small retailers with little to no credit processing needs whereas POS systems are more suited for larger retail shops and businesses which require point-of-sale tracking of inventory, data storage, etc.
A credit card terminal may be used for checkout purposes. A POS is often more advanced and includes additional features such as receipt printers, barcode scanners, scales, and cash drawers. Additionally, credit card terminals do not provide detailed reports of sales like point-of-sale systems. Depending on the type of business you own or work for, having either a credit card terminal or a point-of-sale system could help you save time and money.