3 simple steps when choosing a card machine...
As card payments continue to surpass cash in popularity, practically every business can benefit from a card payment machine, allowing them to accept debit and credit card payments using Chip and PIN, contactless and mobile payments such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Which is the best credit card machine for your business depends on several factors such as
The size of your business
What type of business you operate (i.e. a restaurant, shop or courier business)
The volume of card payments you expect to process
Your access to an internet connection
The methods your customers are likely to pay with
Take payments at a fixed location, such as a till.
Take payments within your business premises.
Take payments anywhere, including on the go.
There's a wide range of credit card machines to choose from, with many designed to offer flexible, contract-free, low-cost solutions for small businesses. The following are some of the most common types of credit card machines:
PDQ machines (or PDQ terminals) are designed to connect to your card payment provider via an internet or landline connection. Generally, these are countertop machines with a single physical card transaction processing point.
Portable card machines use WiFi or Bluetooth to establish a mobile connection. These types of machines are ideal for businesses within the hospitality industry, as they allow you to take payments at a customer's table.
Electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) machines are usually located close to point of sale terminals, as a physical connection to the base station is required. They're capable of accepting a variety of payment cards, including EFTPOS cards, although they aren't very popular in the UK.
Electronic Point of Sale (ePOS) systems sync with card machines to make it quicker and easier for businesses to automate revenue reports and inventory/stock reporting. Perfect for businesses that want to monitor business performance in real-time.
Chip and PIN machines require customers to insert their payment card and enter their 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) to successfully process a transaction. These machines are typically available in countertop, portable and mobile options.
Point of Sale (POS) terminals come with built-in card machines with security features designed for use with Chip and PIN and a variety of payment methods. As POS systems are integrated with card machines, they include the hardware and software needed to process transactions, monitor inventory and track sales.
"Terminal" is the name given to any piece of equipment that lets you work on a specific task. For instance, a point-of-sale terminal would be a till, so in this context, a card terminal is the card machine.
The same can be applied to other machines used to process card payments, such as PDQ terminals and chip and PIN terminals.
While card machines and card readers might appear to be the same device, there are subtle differences. A card machine is a device that allows you to process card payments independently of any other device (although some card machines do require a degree of integration). Conversely, card readers are smaller devices that will only read a card or payment method, requiring an additional device such as a smartphone, to process a payment. These types of devices tend to be used by sole traders and those operating mobile shops or restaurants, but any business can use them.
To take card payments you will need a merchant account and either a card payment terminal, a payment gateway, a mobile card payment solution, or an integrated payment service. If you are taking payments in person, you will need a physical card payment terminal, however, if your business is mainly online, a payment gateway or mobile card payment solution is possible. There are some providers which offer an integrated payment service, including a merchant account, credit card machine and a payment processing solution.
In most situations, you will need an internet connection to use a credit card machine, as most transactions will require a mobile network connection or landline WiFi. However, not all connections are reliable and there are some traditional credit card machines which offer offline functionality. These machines will hold transactions in a pending state until the machine is connected to the merchant bank account via an internet connection.
Yes, you can switch providers. Whether you are looking for a better service, improved features or a lower price, it is quick and straightforward to switch. There are a variety of factors which you will need to consider, such as contract end dates and early exit fees. However, many credit card machines are offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you may be free to switch without any charges. Alternatively, a more competitive deal may outweigh the cost of switching.
In general, the main differences between a PDQ, ePOS, EFTPOS and Chip and PIN card machine will be how they process card payments. For example, a traditional PDQ machine is likely to be situated next to a till point and will be connected via an ethernet cable. In contrast, a modern ePOS-linked machine may be portable and offer useful integration features.
Card machines are designed to be secure, with strict PCI DSS regulations governing the payment card industry to ensure both businesses and their customers are protected from data theft and fraud. As a business you will be potentially handling sensitive financial data, so you should ensure that you implement the latest security features.
Card machines themselves feature technology designed to combat card payment fraud, such as Chip and PIN payment codes and encrypted data transfer. In addition, if you plan to use a virtual terminal to take payments when a customer is not physically present, you can use security checks such as an address verification system and the card verification value. These are designed to ensure that the cardholder is in fact the legitimate owner of the card.
Yes, it is possible to process both credit and debit cards. The majority of credit card machines are designed to accept both card types, with some also accepting contactless mobile app payments. There are some card machine providers which charge different rates for processing either debit or credit cards, so it is always worth comparing these fees before choosing the ideal provider. In most situations, if the rate differs the credit card transactions are likely to cost more than debit card payments.
Yes, you can get a card machine for a small business and there are many options to choose from. There are many card machine providers which specialise in offering flexible, low-cost solutions to small businesses, such as PayPal, Worldpay, Barclaycard, Elavon, Square, SumUp and iZettle.
The cheapest card machines are those which include a low-cost credit card machine and also low ongoing card payment processing fees. Generally, the cheapest credit card machine is the SumUp reader, although other providers will often offer discounts or free machines for certain plans. The cheapest payment processing fee is charged by PayPal, however, the charge will vary depending on the transaction type and your volume of transactions. The average fee charged by the various card machine providers is between 1.5% and 1.75%.
Every business is different and the ideal card machine for one business may not be the best option for another. Here at BusinessComparison, our team can help you compare the best professional and modern options so that you can find the most suitable credit card machine available. To compare options and find the best deal, please contact our team today.