How Many Payment Terminals Does One Retail Store Need?

November 26, 2018

Most business owners know they need a payment terminal so that they can accept all of the card-based payment forms their customers will use. A problem arises however when it’s time to start considering the specifications of the devices they’ll need. Will it be directly connected to the computer, or wireless? Will it need to accept different currencies? How many payment terminals does one retail store even need?

If this sounds like something you’re going through, we can help! With all business decisions, it’s important to think critically about the needs of your business when choosing how many payment terminals you need. Consider the following as a starting-out point when beginning to think about the amount of devices you’ll have in-store.


One payment terminal can typically meet the needs of a small retail store with only one computer or point of sale (POS) system. With one terminal, you can process one card-based payment at a time; this can make the checkout experience slow, but allows staff to be attentive and create a personal connection with the customer. If your retail store is on the smaller side and only has one cashiers station in place, a single payment terminal may be all you need.

If you plan to have your terminal stay beside your computer or POS on a day-to-day basis, a countertop terminal could be the solution for you. With a countertop terminal, you won’t have to worry about the device being misplaced or lacking a charge, as it stays in one place with a wired-in connection.


Two payment terminals might be the sweet spot if your retail business is slightly larger or busier than a mom-and-pop shop. With two payment terminals, you can process two payments at a time, getting more customers through the checkout process and on their way sooner. As mentioned above, you’ll likely need an equal ratio of payment terminals to POS systems, so if you have two cashiers stations, you’ll want two payment terminals.

With two payment terminals, there’s more variety in the device types you could have. Two countertop terminals may make sense for a business that has two cashier stations that don’t move and have wired-in connections. Two short-range devices may make sense for a store that wants to be able to move around with the devices in hand, or hand them to customers while they pay.

Three or More

Three or more payment terminals may sound like too many in theory, but in practice it can be useful to have this many. With three terminals, not only can you process three payments at a time, you have a device on hand in case you need to line bust or to swap out for a wireless device that’s low on battery power. You could have all wireless terminals for payment ease, and keep them on rotation so that at least one device is in it’s charging dock and ready to be called up for duty. And of course if you have more than one retail store, three or more terminals is likely the right choice for you.

Interested in learning more about payment terminals? Make sure to check out our articles 3 Ways a New Terminal Can Improve Customer Service and The Best Point-of-Sale Terminals for Retail Businesses.

The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed.

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