So you’ve got your business up and running. You want to start accepting customer payments. You want to batch the day’s reports automatically. You want to track inventory. You want to record employee time.

Maybe you want to do all of these things. Or maybe just some of them. Either way, you’ll want a simple payment terminal or a sophisticated POS system capable of handling everything your business needs. But first, you’ll need to know the basics of each before you get started. Fortunately, the differences are clearly defined and it’s pretty easy to determine which system is best for you and your business.


Payment terminals are simple, effective solutions that have a main purpose of accepting or declining credit and/or debit cards as well as processing mobile payments (like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.). Also known as a credit card terminal, they are a must-have for any merchant, especially since consumers are using alternative methods besides cash to pay for goods and services more than ever – a July 2016 Gallup Poll indicated that only 24% of Americans make most of their purchases with cash. Furthermore, only 21% of “young” Americans (aged 23–34) say they make most of their purchases with cash, proving that cash is no longer king when it comes to in-store purchases.

Many terminals are universal, meaning they can be used with a variety of registers or POS systems, making upgrading rather easy for merchants. Current models support EMV (“chip card” technology) and mobile payment support in addition to credit and debit card processing.

POS Systems

Point-of-Sale systems typically offer more features than standard payment terminals. In addition to a simple terminal where customers can swipe a card or make a mobile payment with a smartphone, they also provide the ability to track inventory, record employee clock-in and clock-out time, and automatically batch reports, sending them to a linked bank account. Advanced POS systems can also create detailed reports including customer statistics and trends, which can be quite useful in your businesses’ marketing efforts.

According to Tim Reynolds, NMA’s Director of Member Support, “Merchants want to have an all in one system that can easily manage sales, employees, and inventory. A sophisticated, simple, and efficient POS can be the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful business.” POS platforms are truly valuable all-in-one systems that help streamline a variety of processes, benefitting merchants by saving time, worry, and ultimately, money.

NMA’s fast, user-friendly systems offer a robust set of features designed to meet the needs of virtually any retail store, restaurant, hotel, or bar.

We recommend speaking with your specialized agent to find the specific model designed for your business. Whether it’s a simple payment terminal or an advanced, all-in-one POS system, you can be sure you’re getting the right system! Having the right terminal or POS can actually help you market your payment system, ensuring repeat customers while improving customer loyalty.