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7 Tips on How to Install a Credit Card Terminal in Half the Time

7 Tips on How to Install a Credit Card Terminal will help the sales agent save time and provide a better merchant experience.

When I first started my processing business, I thought that the biggest challenge would be making sales, but I was wrong.  I quickly found that by using the prospecting procedures I had developed in other sales jobs, offering competitive pricing and free terminals, the sales came quickly.  The challenge was doing the installations!  I couldn’t believe how much time it took for me to do a simple installation!


I remember one in particular was a Hypercom T4210 that I had to reprogram. The business didn’t have a dedicated phone line; the download took about 90 minutes to get 80% completed…and then they got a phone call on the same line! That install took me literally all day long.

My advice is really to provide a free terminal that is pre-programmed whenever possible to save you time so you can make the next sale but depending on your processor, you may be able to get an extra bonus by doing a re-program, or the merchant may simply request to keep their terminal.  Whether you are doing a reprogram or a simple install of a pre-programmed terminal these 7 tips will help you cut down on the time you spend installing credit card terminals.  I learned these tips the hard way, you can benefit from my mistakes!

Tip #1 – Never do a reprogram in a merchant’s place of business unless the business is closed for at least 1 hour and has a dedicated phone line.  Reprogramming a terminal while a line of customers is waiting on you is one of the most stressful situations that a merchant sales rep can find themselves in.  Don’t do it!  Take the terminal to your home or office and give the merchant a temporary terminal.

Tip #2 – If the Merchant has a Hypercom Terminal, always give them a free terminal. Take the Hypercom back to your office to use for another merchant later on who does not own a terminal. This way, the Hypercom can be reprogrammed at the office and sit all night on a dedicated land line while you get some sleep or work on something else.  I finally got to the point in my business where I simply refused to work with Hypercomm terminals, they take too long to reprogram and adjust.

Tip #3 – Install a dedicated phone line at your office and /or your home (the cost is $18.00 per month on average and is well worth the investment) for the purpose of doing installations so you can hook up a terminal and work on something else.

Tip #4 – Once the installation is complete, rather than running out the door, take time to ask a bunch of questions so you don’t have to go back.

  • Ask if they want a tip line on the receipt (even some retail places want a tip line.)
  • Ask if they use “Server ID’s” to track anything in their terminal. A server ID is a number between 1 and 20 which the credit card terminal can prompt the person running the card to enter before or after swiping the card. Restaurants use this to track tips; small gas stations use this to track fuel types; consignment shops use it to track who rang up the order; hair salons use it to track who cut someone’s hair, etc. Some merchants track this in their register; some also need to track it in their terminal. If they want it, call tech support at your processor and get this added on the spot.
  • Ask if they want a “Footer” on the receipt, such as “All Sales Final” or “Bring back 3 Receipts, get $5.00 off,” etc.
  • Ask if they want the terminal to automatically batch out and at what time.  I had a client recently with a hotel and bar.  The terminal was set to batch at 11pm.  However, I discovered when I asked that they stay open till 1:30am.  If I hadn’t asked, I would have been driving back out the next day to make this change.

Tip #5 – Run a test transaction with your card for $0.10 before you tell the merchant the install is done, so you don’t look stupid.  Every time I forget to do this and drive away, murphy’s law kicks in and they call me 10 minutes later to tell me the terminal isn’t working and I probably forgot to plug something in.

Tip #6 – Have the merchant use your card to run one test transaction for credit and one for debit if they have a pin pad.  If there is any problem at all, call tech support and resolve the issue!

Tip #7 -Buy rolls of credit card paper at Sam’s Club or another inexpensive bulk seller. Bring at least 3 or 4 rolls to give the merchant in case the old machine used a different size. Find out whether the merchant is expecting you to provide paper. If so, do you offer this? I hope this short article helps you with your installs!  Look for helpful articles like this that will be going out each and every day.

Make it a great day in the field!
James Shepherd

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