Do I Need a Terminal or a Mobile Swiper?

Do I Need a Terminal or a Mobile Swiper?

Choosing between a terminal or mobile swiper can be difficult because some businesses might benefit from both, and there are certain benefits to each that make them completely unique offerings. While they both offer credit card processing, the additional tools and capabilities are very different. Here are the major things that you should consider when choosing between the two.

Credit Card Terminal

Most businesses can’t survive without a terminal because nearly everyone pays with credit or debit cards. There are wireless terminals that are small enough to carry around, but they aren’t nearly as portable as mobile swipers. While some people might consider terminals clunky and going out of style, they offer benefits that you won’t find with the mobile variant.

The major benefits include additional security, tools and capabilities. For example, terminals allow you to print paper receipts and add advanced security like tokenization and chip readers. These terminals also allow software integration so that you can upload your payments into bookkeeping software. This makes it easier for to manage merchant accounts because you won’t have to manually tally your payments or add them into applicable programs.

Terminals also allow you to use gift cards and are considered more durable because they can handle thousands of transactions without wear.

Mobile Swipers

Mobile swipers don’t offer as many tools as full terminals, but their one major benefit makes them a boon to merchants. You can connect the swiper to any mobile device and take payments anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a swap meet, office or even on the street. This allows you to perform credit card processing wherever you do business. Many people with merchant accounts get swipers to help them collect payments when they’re not at their regular business location.

Swipers are also much easier to use because you just connect the piece to your mobile device and everything’s ready to go. You don’t need to connect a phone line, power cord and then make sure all the software is integrated. Pricing also tends to be a bit better, and the device itself is either free or very inexpensive.


Choosing between a terminal or swiper can be difficult if you move around a lot. Terminals are often considered the stationary option, but wireless terminals allow you to move around and experience all the security and additional benefits of a regular terminal. At the same time, swipers are easy to carry, require little work and are simple to use.