Warning: Reading this post might make you angry. Especially if you are a merchant service sales rep who enjoys large commissions from leasing stand-alone credit card machines. If you are a business owner who leased a machine, you may be upset with yourself after reading this. It’s ok, I may be able to help, but first – my advice.
DO NOT LEASE A CREDIT CARD PROCESSING MACHINE!
Now – let’s be clear so that we are all on the same page. When I say ‘stand-alone machine’ I am referring to the typical countertop machine that you see in most retail establishments. I am not talking about a restaurant or retail point of sale systems. In some cases, it makes sense to lease that type of equipment.
The machine pictured here is a Verifone VX520, it’s the tank of the merchant service industry and costs around $200.00 new. Many merchant service companies (including ours) will give you one of these for free if you become a client.
So why am I writing this? On a regular basis, I come across people who have agreed to lease this exact machine. Many of them are paying $49.00 per month for 48 months!!! That works out to $2,352.00 and leaves a fat commission for the sales rep who set it up.
Why would a sales rep lease equipment?
There are a few reasons why a merchant service rep would recommend that you lease equipment. The biggest one I have already mentioned, a large, upfront commission. It also makes it harder for you to switch companies.
If you are stuck in a lease then why bother to switch processors? The sales rep may also be required to lease equipment to meet their sales quota.
What if I already leased?
Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do unless you do not care about a mark on your credit report. If you stop making your lease payments, the leasing company will most likely be very aggressive with their collection efforts. It could also end up on your credit report.
The good news is that you can still switch credit card processing companies if it makes sense to do so. Let’s say that a different processor offers you a better processing rate that will save your business $200.00 per month. You are stuck paying the lease no matter what. You can switch, get a new machine for free, and put the leased machine under the counter until the lease is up.
Be sure to read the fine print in your lease agreement. Many times, they will automatically renew if you do not give proper notice of termination. They will probably want the machine back as well.
Leasing is not as common today as it was several years ago, but I still come across it. There have been many complaints and even a few lawsuits filed against leasing companies for deceptive practices.
If you are in a lease and need help figuring out your options then let’s talk soon!