Purchasing VS Renting Your Card Machine: What questions to ask

There are several things to consider when making the choice between renting a device vs purchasing one. Whatever you choose, it has to fit your business and your pocket.

  1. How long will the device last?

The typical lifespan of any type of card machine should be approximately 3 years as this is the amount of time that a device is typically certified for. If you’re lucky, your device could last a lot longer which would make purchasing the obvious choice. The problem however with this time frame is that certain parts or components within the device may not last that long, for example, a battery. If you’ve purchased a card machine, you need to investigate whether it is possible to replace certain wear and tear parts when they break. If the card machine service provider cannot do this, you will need to purchase a new one each time which could become way more expensive than renting it. A rental package gives you peace of mind that you don’t have to pay for repairs and don’t have unexpected expenses in that regard.

  1. How long have you been in business / how predictable is your business?

If you’re just starting out, can you afford the huge upfront cost of purchasing a card machine or do the monthly rental options work better on your budget? Having the option to rent and later switch to purchase may be a better fit for you. If your business is seasonal or if the business does not have a steady income, you may also consider this.


  1. Is there a service plan offered by the card machine service provider for repairs?

As mentioned above, it is important to find out if the device can be repaired and what the usual repair costs could be. If repairs are going to cost a hefty sum will you gain more by renting instead or does the card machine company offer a service plan? WAPPoint offers a service plan at R100 per month which covers most wear and tear items on PrintPOS repairs. Unfortunately, devices like the Pocket Pro or similar ones on the market today are usually not repairable so they have to be replaced when they break. The average merchant will require a swap out approximately once a year to once every two years and some busier stores may require more regular swap outs. This can depend on the amount the terminal is utilised or general faults like battery or chargers failing, printing problems or even communication issues. Occasionally the issues could extend to bigger problems like hardware malfunction or software corruption. If you own the device, you need to budget for an annual expense at the very least. Therefore, if the card machine provider doesn’t offer a maintenance or service or repair solution, you could end up purchasing a new device every year.


  1. Calculate the cost vs savings of renting vs purchasing a card machine

We’ve been selling card machines outright since 2014 and in a recent comparison, we discovered the long-term benefit of purchase vs renting when a repair/service plan is possible. In one case, the merchant paid R7000 for his PrintPOS device and had a yearly repair cost of approximately R1000 per year. In total over 5 years, they paid R7000+R5000=R12000. A rental merchant would have spent an average of R400pm x60 months = R24000.


Case Study / Comparison:

PrintPOS Rental PrintPOS Purchase
Device Cost R400pm average R2999
Repairs Cost R0 R1000 per year
TOTAL COST over 3 years (36 mths) R14400 R4999


Pocket Pro Rental Pocket Pro Purchase Free Pocket Pro Rental if your turnover exceeds R15K per month
Device Cost R79pm R1199 R0
Repairs Cost R0 R1199x2 R0
TOTAL COST over 3 years (36 mths) R2844 R2398 R0

Of course, the picture can look totally different for you if your device breaks more often than once a year or less than once a year…

  1. You get what you pay for: “Goedkoop is duurkoop”


Although all card machines and card readers can do what they are made for, process card payments, there is a vast difference between card readers and PrintPOSs in terms of durability. If you compare service providers and decide on the absolute cheapest device on the market, you must keep in mind that it may require more swap outs than others and this could result in major losses for your business, not just in device costs but lost sales as well. Can you afford to lose sales during a busy event or trading day? Spending an extra couple of hundred rand to buy a more durable device like the Pocket Pro vs the Lite could mean a couple of thousand-rand difference saved in reliability.



If your business is new or your turnovers exceeds R15000 per month, a month to month Pocket Pro rental option is best since you can manage your cash flow and have the flexibility to switch between options as your needs change. If your business is well established, the purchase options are definitely the way to go but always ensure that you opt for the right device for your needs and if reliability is important to you, opt for something that can be repaired / won’t break as often. If you’re in a fast-paced business like a retail store or takeaway, we recommend rental as the usage will cause the device to possibly break more often which could end up costing you more in repairs than going for a rental device.


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