Information on Merchant Accounts,
Ecommerce and Credit Card Processing

May 16th, 2016 by MSI Newsletters

Make your terminal or POS last longer

Filed in: Monthly Newsletters |

Make your terminal or POS last longer

Credit card terminals and POS systems are typically designed with reliable components that should last for many years. However, there are ways to decrease the lifespan of credit card processing equipment and many merchant may not know they’re already doing them.

Common ways to reduce the lifespan of processing equipment

  • Heat
  • Liquids
  • Physical Damage
  • Power Surges


The most common way that the lifespan of processing equipment is reduced is having it in an area where the equipment overheats. This is especially true for systems that experience heavy usage like a POS system. The best way to keep equipment cool is to make sure there is adequate ventilation around it. These machines are typically designed to produce as little heat as possible but when they are placed in enclosed spaces or areas with poor airflow, heat can accumulate around the equipment. Unless it’s extreme, this doesn’t result in immediate failure, but over time will degrade the electronics and cause the equipment to fail before it otherwise would have. For POS system or equipment with fans, make sure the discharge is away from the equipment.


It goes without saying that liquid and electronics don’t mix well, but we commonly hear about drinks being spilled on terminals, especially in restaurants and counter service businesses. POS systems and credit card terminals are often in a location that makes then highly likely to be spilled on. Keep sodas, drinks, and other liquids away from processing equipment or put the equipment in a place where it is less likely someone would store a drink next to it.

Physical Damage

Credit card terminals, especially the portable ones, are built to be durable. But they’re still not designed to be dropped or heavily impacted. Even if there is no visible damage to the equipment, there are security features that may make the equipment unusable. Using a fixed stand or making sure cables are secured to the wall or counter will make sure it doesn’t get knocked onto the floor. Wireless terminals are more difficult because they’re constantly moved around, so diligence, or storing them in a padded bag when being transported, is the best way to prevent them from being damaged.

Power Surges

It is an absolute must to use a power strip that protects a POS system or credit card terminal from power surges. This is even more important if you live in an area that receives frequent lightning. Even if the power isn’t completely knocked out, power surges can wipe the programming, damage, or completely destroy processing equipment. This is by far the most common way we see terminals get damaged. A GFCI outlet does not protect equipment from surges, you must use a UPS (uninterpretable power supply) or power strip that is designed to protect from power fluctuation. The best ones also have ports for Ethernet and dial phone lines that protect from surges through these connections in addition to the power. Not all power strips actually protect from surges so unless the strip specifically states that it does, assume that it wont.

These are the 4 most common ways we see equipment get broken or the life reduced below what should be reasonably expected. Processing equipment isn’t going to last forever, but because of the slow nature of changes in processing technology, processing equipment can last a long time if treated properly.

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