Information on Merchant Accounts,
Ecommerce and Credit Card Processing

April 10th, 2006 by Jamie Estep

How to safely Purchase a Wireless Credit Card Terminal

Filed in: Credit Card Equipment, Merchant Accounts | 8 comments

Nurit 8000
Wireless credit card machines hold the future of credit card processing. Wireless credit card machines offer businesses the ability to process credit and debit card at virtually any location. There are several common pitfalls not found with traditional credit card terminals that a potential buyer can fall into if not careful when looking to purchase a wireless credit card terminal. Over priced equipment, wireless coverage availability, and outdated equipment top the list for the most common problems found when purchasing a wireless credit card machine.

Common Pitfalls

Pitfall – 1, Over Priced Equipment
The most common wireless terminals in use in the US are the Nurit 3010, the Nurit 8000, and the Nurit 8000 GPRS. The manufacturer Lipman, only makes 1 version of each terminal. The price for any of these terminals should fall into the $700 – $900 range for a new terminal. Anything higher and you are being ripped off. No matter what your provider tells you, this is how much you can buy these terminals for. There are no other versions of these terminals, so don’t be talked into an overpriced terminal.

Pitfall – 2, Outdated Equipment, Outdated Networks
It is often very easy to find a ‘very low’ priced wireless credit card terminal on ebay or at other marketplaces. Many of these terminals use outdated processing networks, and what was a wireless terminal, will no longer work for wireless processing. Many Nurit 3010, and Nurit 2090 wireless terminals use a network called the CDPD network. This wireless network is all but abandoned for credit card processing and you will not be able to use this terminal for wireless processing.

Make absolutely sure that the wireless terminal that you are buying is not one made for the CDPD network. If the seller does not know, or will not disclose what network the terminal is programmed for, then do not buy the terminal. In general, if the offer just sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Also, many merchants that are selling their used terminals may have no idea what network the terminal operates on. Whatever the case, you need to make sure the terminal is not programmed for the CDPD network.

Pitfall – 3, Wireless Processing, Wireless Service Coverage
The ability of being able to process anywhere at any time is a great asset for many mobile businesses. But, don’t confuse the coverage area that your cellular phone gets with what is available for wireless processing. Wireless credit card terminals currently operate on three wireless networks; the Motient, Mobitex, and GPRS Edge networks. All three of these networks are considered business class networks that have much better data, speed, and security than traditional cellular networks. Wireless processing networks also have much lower cellular coverage availability than cellular phone networks.

Wireless Networks Overview

GPRS vs. Motient and Mobitex
Wireless networks are by nature a confusing topic. The Motient and Mobitex networks are different networks but wireless terminals generally use both, so I group them together. GPRS on the other hand is a completely different technology operating on different towers.

GPRS offers the best signal and widest coverage of any network available. Motient and Mobitex have good coverage in urban areas, but several states have no Motient or Mobitex coverage at all. GPRS has at the very least, some coverage in every state. In general you want to purchase a GPRS enabled terminal. The Nurit 8000 GPRS is currently the only certified terminal that operates in the GPRS network. The Nurit 8000 GPRS also uses the Motient and Mobitex networks, so there is no reason to buy an older outdated terminal. Lipman, the manufacturer of the Nurit 8000, has discontinued all other wireless terminals in favor of the Nurit 8000 GPRS. The Nurit 8000 GPRS is also referred to as the Nurit 8000S.

Mobitex / Motient Coverage:
Motient and Mobitex Cellular Coverage

GPRS Edge Coverage (Dark Blue):
GPRS Edge Cellular Coverage

It is important to ensure that there is sufficient coverage in the areas that you intend on using your wireless terminal, otherwise an expensive wireless terminal is a waste of money. You also have the ability to plug your terminal into a standard phone line if wireless coverage is not available.

The Apriva Coverage Search will allow you to search for coverage based on ZIP codes. The GPRS Edge, Motient, and Mobitex (Velocita Wireless) networks are searchable on the Apriva website.

General Features
Wireless credit card terminals are almost identical to land line terminals except they operate on cellular networks, and use a battery instead of a power cord.

Parts of a Credit Card Machine

Wireless Only Features
Store and forward is a feature that will store a credit card transaction when wireless coverage is not available. You can later process the transaction when you connect the terminal to a phone line or wireless coverage becomes available. With store and forward a business takes the risk of having a credit card decline after the sale has been made. When using store and forward no electronic authorization is ever made, so it is possible for card to decline when the transactions are actually processed. Also, a merchant needs to batch within 24 hours of accepting a credit card using store and forward, or the transactions may downgrade. Wireless terminals can be, but are not always programmed with the store and forward application. Your service provider will need to setup a store and forward application for your terminal.

There are also a variety of accessories for wireless terminals that are useful for some but normally not needed. These include docking stations, extra batteries, and high gain antennas.

Summing it up
Before you purchase a wireless terminal, make sure you are buying a terminal that is still able to process wireless. Make sure there is sufficient GPRS Edge, Motient, or Mobitex coverage in the area that you intend on processing at unless you have access to a phone line. And, make sure you are aware of any fees that will be incurred from your service provider for processing with a wireless terminal. Following these tips will help you avoid any unsuspecting problems when your business needs a wireless credit card terminal.

8 Responses to “How to safely Purchase a Wireless Credit Card Terminal”

  1. Spike Spiegal June 1, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Does anyone know if Mobitex coverage at the San Diego Convention Center or Anaheim Convention Center? It would be nice if someone could build a site that had Convention Center specific coverage info, as those are locations where merchants would frequently use such wireless devices. The providers only have general zip code level coverage info.


  2. Tim Davis August 1, 2006 at 4:30 am

    Jamie, you wrote: “Wireless credit card terminals currently operate on three wireless networks; the Motient, Mobitex, and GPRS Edge networks.” NOT TRUE
    I am with Commerciant. We sell (and you can too) our Mobilescape 3000 (CC only) and Mobilescape 5000 (CC and Check conversion). The M5000 is the first of its kind on the market. Both units operate on the CDMA technology, currently the Sprint network. Some techies say the Qualcomm’s CDMA technology is superior to GPRS for data transmission. If your interesting in selling our solution, you may contact me or Marc Beauchamp, our VP Indirect Sales. Incidentally, you have a VERY impressive blog and web marketing program. We would welcome the opportunity to visit with you.
    Also, I had drafting something earlier in your “comment” section, but I don’t find it now. If you receive two posts from me, I apologize for the confusion.

  3. jan June 8, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    I live in Prescott Arizona and I am looking at new wireless equipment. I need a unit that will receive a radio signal in Prescott and/or Sierra Vista AZ. I am looking into the new Exidigm 8100 which may provide a radio signal here in Prescott. Any suggestions from other wireless business owners in remote areas of the country will be appreciated! Thank you! Jan

  4. Daniel Helsten June 13, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Does anyone know if I can use the SIM card from my Cingular phone (with data plan) to get the 8000G on the GPRS network?

  5. Richard Kaluhiokalani November 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Jan, I own a processing company in Prescott,AZ. The GPRS networks can generally handle just about everywhere. Make sure the terminal you have has a store and forward function. That way, even if you don’t get reception, you will still get a swiped rate when you get back in range and the transaction downloads.

  6. jan stein January 13, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Does CDMA provide better wireless C/C processing on a Nurit or Exadigm 8100 POS unit than GPRS? Will someone help me with this? I can’t get my sales rep to respond from my current merchant host provider!! Help! Jan – Prescott AZ

  7. jackson December 24, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I am looking at Nurit 8000 and want to know how I know if it is gprs. Is it written on the back of the machine?

  8. Trevor Cutrer April 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    I see that this topic is dated, but i must start somewhere….I ave a POS solution that has a built-in GPRS device, i am seeking information on reccurring costs of using the GRPS feature and who is the best provider of such….Thank you for your time in advance…inceidently..we will be offerrent the first cashless transaction for recycle centers…i know you are discussing charging products for merchants could the same devices be used for deposits?