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3 Silent Ways a Credit Card Terminal Is Sinking Your Profits

If you’re a business owner who still uses a traditional credit card terminal system, it’s time to make a small but fundamental shift in your business strategy—because that POS tool you are using is quietly eating away at your profitability and dulling your competitive edge.

I often use the story of the Nokia phone when discussing this with business owners around the country. The Nokia phone reigned supreme for much of the 1990s and 2000s until Steve Jobs walked onto a stage holding an iPhone in 2007. He held in his hands a shapeshifting tool—a phone that went on to simultaneously become a publishing platform, taxi-ordering service, music player, fitness instructor, weather reporter… whatever you wanted it to be. Apple took a basic processing tool and transformed it through the genius of software and cloud services.   

This is exactly what is occurring right now in the credit card processing world.

Are you ahead of the curve? Are you still expecting customers to swipe their cards at the payment processing equivalent of a Nokia phone—outdated and minus most functionality? All while more and more of your competitors are switching to the sleek iPhone-version of terminals—the kind that can not only get the payment done but that can track customer habits, manage their gift cards, and maintain their database? The kind, in other words, that has the value-added features that are rapidly becoming necessary?

Here are three qualities of credit card terminals that, thanks to their inflexibility, will drain your profits and hold your business back:

Sink #1: Wasted staff hours

How much time is your staff spending manually updating customer rewards programs and customer lists? How much time is spent checking and ordering inventory—or fixing inventory mistakes? According to, businesses can boost profits by 25-50% by instituting smart inventory management. Their recommendation is to use cloud-based, POS systems as these tools help you automatically track inventory as each item is sold, thus giving you reliable, up-to-the-moment data whenever you need it—and accessible on any device, anywhere.

By moving to a cloud-based, software solution, you can begin to infuse smart automation into your workflows across the board, cutting down on wasted time—and freeing up your team to do more of the fun stuff, like focusing on their customers or dreaming up new business projects.

Sink #2: Lack of intelligence

A traditional credit card terminal is not able to understand who the customer is—therefore the incredible valuable data about their behavior is lost. This negatively impacts your ability to retain existing customers. It impedes your ability to track data on incentive or gift card programs. That’s a major loss as roughly half of Americans buy prepaid gift cards each year.

Cloud-based software tools are also, by their flexibility, able to build ramparts against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and data breaches without your business having to suffer through downtime or hardware upgrades. We recommend systems that include point-to-point encryption (P2PE) such as the Magtek iDynamo Reader, which is our most popular credit card swiper because of its enhanced security.

Sink #3: Lack of agility

Which brings us to the topic of change and the need for agility. How fast is technology changing today—and does it make any sense to be using a system that is hardware-based and therefore stuck in unmovable plastic? Let Nokia be your guide in this.

The future of retail isn’t only about getting faster with the features that have always existed. It’s also about offering and embracing new features that cater to consumers’ shifting expectations around an in-store experience. It’s about enhanced memory, connectivity and usability that make the old hardware system look like what it’s quickly becoming: a relic from the past. By upgrading to the smartphone version of the POS system, you’re cutting down on efficiencies, building intelligence into the fabric of your workflow and you’re future-proofing your business.

You’re also frankly about to have a lot more fun as you save profits and explore an endless variety of tools to keep you ahead of that pace of change.

Photo copyright: mike_kiev/