Ways To Save On Credit Card Processing Machines

Owning a business can take quite the investment. Then when you layer in the need for payment processing, the complexity of managing your finances escalates significantly.

This is especially true when solution providers charge hidden fees, outrageous markups, and endless hours of confused Google searches. Not to mention, some credit card machines can be shockingly expensive. Depending on the credit card terminal you choose, buying a new machine could cost your business between $200-$1,000 per terminal. Most small businesses cannot handle that cost when starting.

Thankfully, we’re here to break down how you can save when investing in a credit card machine. Whether the solution is leasing machines, opting for refurbished models, or joining groups, there are several ways to save on your business’s credit card machines. 


  • Credit card machines and terminals can be costly. Thankfully, your small business can find alternatives to renting or buying equipment at full price. Many businesses buy refurbished machines at a low cost or lease-to-own their equipment. 
  • Some small business owners choose to join buying groups of experts in their field. These groups serve as a great resource, as well as a place to buy products in bulk. 
  • Owners are encouraged to ask for help from their point of sales representatives or other providers. 

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Opt for a Lease-to-Own Option

Many small businesses choose to lease their credit card machines. But unlike renting the machines and throwing money at them with no return benefits, a lease-to-own option allows businesses to pay off their credit card machines incrementally. Most lease-to-own options range between 24-48 months. The leasing agreement is often between the merchant service provider.

Lease-to-own agreements differ in price, depending on the type of terminal you purchase (wireless are more expensive than older models), the length, and if your business requires a separate receipt printer. Lease agreements range from $25-$50 a month typically.  

Benefits of leasing credit card machines

Leasing agreements on expensive equipment can benefit small to medium-sized businesses just starting. Spreading out smaller expenses allows your business to gain all the equipment to thrive. Small businesses can also benefit from tax deductions on their lease payments more than they would if they paid in full. 

Plus, leasing agreements provide small businesses access to the latest business technology they might not have had access to if they chose a credit card terminal they had to pay in full.

Drawbacks of the leasing-to-own 

While leasing equipment can be one of the best short-term options for your business, compare the cumulative lease costs to the direct purchase expenses. Most lease agreements end up costing more than purchasing the product flat-out. While incremental payments are convenient, buying the equipment can be wiser than paying more than the card machine is worth. 

Buy Refurbished Equipment

Buying refurbished credit card machines is another cost-effective solution to a potentially expensive problem. Refurbished credit card processing machines offer both cost and environmental benefits. 

And contrary to what some might think, these terminals aren’t not old or outdated. Many connect to ethernet, come with contactless payment, and connect to the wifi. More often than not, refurbished machines work perfectly fine.

Ensuring your equipment’s reliability

When purchasing a refurbished payment terminal, choose one with a warranty. Never buy a machine labeled “as-is.” Always purchase from a trusted source. Many businesses refurbish the best credit card machines, so you don’t have to worry about quality. 

And don’t forget to read the reviews and the fine print before you buy. Verify the seller’s authenticity and the product to ensure everything is above board. 

Trusted sources for purchasing refurbished machines

While we cannot guarantee that every store will have refurbished credit card readers, here are some of the most trusted vendors and refurbishers. 

Negotiate with Providers

One of the best ways to save money when making a big purchase is to develop and flex your negotiation skills. (If you’re able to negotiate in person—even better.)

If you choose to purchase from an eCommerce company, research their competitors’ prices for credit card processors and ask if they can meet or beat them. Negotiating also helps vendors get to know you and your business needs.

Tips for negotiating

  • Be professional 
  • Do your research
  • Watch the market for the best time to buy
  • Treat your vendors like experts
  • Get quotes 
  • Don’t be desperate

Join a Buying Group

Buying groups are where small and medium-sized business owners and merchant accounts can buy products and services, like credit card machines, for a low price. These groups are designed for multiple businesses, so they often provide bulk buying and other benefits. These groups are also great for negotiations and experts to join forces and get the best deal. Before you join a group, make sure it aligns with your business’s specific needs. 

As for how to find these groups, consult businesses in your industry or consult with your trade organizations. They can often offer resources and recommendations for buying groups based on your needs.

Buying group memberships

Most buying groups charge a monthly or annual processing fee for the services one can access once they’re in the group. The fees cover the group’s operating costs. Buying groups are often filled with experts who know how to negotiate and what services or products businesses should buy. When you join a buying group, you’re joining a community of experts, which is worth the cost. 

Some groups have affiliate programs with certain providers. Many groups require them to hit a minimum purchase requirement from the preferred supplier. Others only allow their members to purchase from one supplier, not allowing for diversity or flexibility.

That said, most buying groups are led by experts. The products on which they focus are never low quality. 

While buying groups have some drawbacks, the network and group negotiation skills you will gain access to when you join the group are often worth the fees. 

Avoid Renting Equipment

Although the benefits of renting might tempt small to medium-sized business owners, the risks are not worth the reward. Before you decide to rent your credit card terminals, run a long-term cost analysis to see if you would be saving money.

Renting vs. leasing

Unlike with leasing-to-own, renting equipment will throw away money that you could have invested in your products. While some leasing agreements are more expensive than renting options, the long-term effects are much more cost-efficient.

As you’re running your business’ long-term cost analysis on renting, run it on a leasing agreement. While there is red tape in both of these agreements, leasing-to-own results in the product completely in your ownership, while renting is a continual cost with no return benefit. 

Alternatives to Rental Agreements

  • Borrowing from business friends
  • Leading-to-own
  • Incremental payment plans 
  • Alternative payment solutions

Buy Equipment from Your POS or Payment Processing Provider

If none of these money-saving hacks work for you, consider buying your necessary equipment from your POS system, point of sale system, or payment processing provider. 

Both systems interact throughout the sales. Your POS system takes the card payment, while the processing provider transfers the funds. If you purchase your equipment directly from your providers, you will likely have a smoother, potentially contactless checkout process. 

POS and Payment Processing Providers don’t necessarily need credit card terminals. As long as they can connect to your machine’s wifi or Bluetooth, they can conduct their tasks. If you already have a subscription to these systems, you can bundle the equipment in a deal and find new savings. 

If you already set up a point-of-sale system or payment provider, make sure the equipment you’re purchasing is compatible with your system, whether by Bluetooth or internet connection. Make sure they work with typical cards like debit cards, Discover, Master, Apple Pay, EMV, and more.


Although you would have never guessed how expensive countertop payment terminals were before you owned a business, we hope our list of cost-effective solutions inspired you. While there is not one clear solution to finding the best credit card machine for your business, there are several options.

Want to save even more money on payment processing? Stax Payments’ membership-based pricing saves merchants hundreds of dollars per month. Contact us to learn more.

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FAQs about Card Machines

Q: How can you save money on credit card machines?

To save money on credit card machines, consider these strategies:

  • Compare pricing models of different providers to find competitive rates.
  • Look into refurbished or second-hand machines from reputable sources.
  • Join buying groups. This helps you leverage negotiating power by asking for discounts or waived fees based on your business volume.
  • Purchase your card readers from your POS or payment solutions provider.

Q: How much does a card machine cost?

The cost of a card machine varies based on the type, functionality, and provider. Traditional countertop models can range from $100 to $600, while portable or mobile readers might cost anywhere from $0 (with certain contracts) up to $250. Additionally, there may be ongoing fees for service, transactions, and possibly rental fees, depending on the provider and plan you choose. The most sophisticated ones can cost up to $1,000 per terminal. 

Q: What is the cheapest way of taking card payments?

A good way to save on credit card payment processing is through a membership-based pricing model like Stax Payments. With Stax, businesses pay a flat monthly fee for access to direct-cost payment processing, eliminating the variable fees and percentages typically charged per transaction.

Q: Which card machine is the best for small business?

The best card machine for a small business depends on the business’s specific needs, sales volume, and mobility requirements. Look into your business requirements and prioritize providers that offer flexibility and no long-term contracts. It’s also best to choose systems that integrate with existing POS software to help you save money (and headaches) from having to integrate separate solutions.