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Leasing or Buying Card Swipe Equipment

If you own a brick and mortar business or otherwise intend to process credit card transactions in person , you will need proper electronic equipment for doing so. However, many merchants question whether they should lease or purchase outright when the time comes to get set up with these machines. There are several things to consider when making your decision.


While buying card readers and other machinery can seem tremendously expensive, when you factor in the increase in sales that typically accompanies the ability to process credit cards, this is one very worthwhile purchase. Additionally, choosing instead to lease the equipment will end up costing you three to four times more than if you had just bought it when you got up and running with a merchant account. Provided your business is successful and remains open for several years, you will end up owning the machines anyway, so paying for them up front can be a great way to save a little – or a lot – in the long run.

You can often buy your card swipers from your merchant bank, at the same time you set up an account, and if you accept this option, they will typically program them for you so that everything arrives ready to plug in and begin using immediately.

The warranty is also worthy of some consideration. When you are the owner of the machines, you will work directly with the manufacturer for any repairs or warranty issues. This can expedite the process for you, and get your business back up and functioning smoothly faster than if you had to navigate the issue through the leasing company.


Although purchasing your equipment seems like the clear best choice, there are also some good reasons to lease. If, for instance, your start-up costs are already high and your budget is running thin, a lease may allow you to make smaller payments over a longer period of time, minimizing your up front charge and making the machinery affordable to you when it otherwise would not be.

You can also deduct the interest portion of your lease payments from your taxes, which will give you some savings over the two or more years during which you must pay off the card readers and PIN pad. That said, the remaining balance of your lease will also count on your credit report as a financial liability. Depending on how good – or poor – your credit rating is, you may need to avoid this negative mark if at all possible.

Finally, read the fine print and make sure all your questions are answered fully and completely before signing a lease. Some options do not allow or penalize you for paying it off early. Other companies insist upon an early termination fee if your business closes and you return the equipment. Still others will not allow you to break the contract at all, and you will be required to pay on the machines for the full lease term. You should also consider whether or not the lease is transferable in the event that you sell your company. If the leaser cannot adequately address your concerns, do not work with them!

The bottom line is that buying your card readers is the absolute best option, and if this is impossible for you, precautions must be taken to make sure you get the most affordable, flexible lease you can find.