Tablet Terminals Ipads

Tablet Terminals-- Advancement, or Just a Pretty Face?

You see them at falafel trucks, ice creameries, and sandwich-eries. Maybe your coffee shop just got one.

Until the last 18 months or so, tablet credit card terminals were a bit janky. But fret not! Two things have happened since the first iPad was presented in 2010. First, the tablet is now way better. Seriously. Pick up an original iPad. It feels downright biblical ( Second, developers have beautified and streamlined their applications. They're actually a pleasure to use now.

Here are two offerings that in my opinion, represent the product type.

Oh, and just a note to clarify; we are considering the Tablet Terminal. By this we mean the tablet that is designed to replace a credit card terminal and cash register. It's not a full POS system like ShopKeep or LightSpeed. So here it goes:

In Square's case, the product is beautiful, simple, and works with most mobile devices. On the other hand, it's limited and not ready for complex retail inventory or a restaurant table-service environment. Some argue that's not Square's target market. And they're right. Square has made a name by targeting the small/mobile/quick-service-food-carts/handyman/home-service market. The rate of 2.75% is high at a glance. But the lack of other fees is compelling for small, low monthly volume businesses. It's basically a great rate if you process less than $10 average ticket. Merchants with average tickets above $10 and monthly volume over $7500 and you can score a net rate of around 2.00% including all other fees. Square came out of the gate in 2009, focusing on smartphones with some reader and app glitches. But updates and better phones and tablets soon led to smooth sailing. 

PayAnywhere is similar product (that we actually offer). But to be objective, just like Square, it's not right for everyone. It's the same basic billing idea as Square for $12.95 per month and 2.69%. If you process over $5000 per month, you qualify for a loaner tablet from PayAnywhere (Square's stand is $99 plus the tablet). But again, like Square, it's limited. It is designed for the same basic market. Don't expect features like an employee time clock, advanced inventory tracking, table charts for your restaurant, or printed out tip lines. Oddly, in my experience, PayAnywhere actually runs better on Android tablets. The free tablet program is a Samsung encased in a credit card reader with a swivel base. A recent update has resolved glitches and added comprehensive billing explanation. Another nice change is that the advertisement to accept credit cards through PayAnywhere no longer appears on the customer's receipt. If you don't like the 2.69% + $12.95 fee structure, you can opt for a traditional account injected into the app. 

Overall, the Tablet Terminal is better than an old fashioned credit card terminal.

1. They're faster.

2. Customers are used to them.

3. They will connect to a cash drawer and receipt printer.

4. That 16 year-old you just hired as a cashier already knows how to use it as he has a tablet or smart phone on his person. At this moment. 

5. They're cheaper to operate and reduce paper consumption with email and text receipts. 

6. Swiping a card through a dial terminal and waiting 12 seconds and spending 25 cents on the transaction fee alone before the percentage rate is very vintage. Why not prove you were there in '84 with a Cosby sweater, and save the money?


Jason Hanson, ePOS