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There are a number of options to consider when shopping for a credit card machine. The best choice for your business depends on how and where you do business.
Look for a payment terminal that seamlessly connects to your point-of-sale system (POS). And, of course, it should be reliable.
Countertop card machines are ideal for shops that have a fixed point of sale like a till or sales desk. Connected to the Internet via ethernet (recommended) or traditional phone line, these devices are hard-wired for reliability.
They can take credit and debit cards, as well as digital wallet payments including Apple Pay and Google Pay. They can also print receipts or send them to customers by email.
Depending on the provider, they can support features like same-day settlement that deposits the funds into your business bank account within 2 hours of making a sale rather than the usual 3-5 days. Costs can vary widely depending on the type of terminal you choose and any additional features.
A new micro business might opt for a countertop terminal that costs under $100, while an integrated POS system can be over $400. The best choice will depend on your business needs, how and where you operate, and the amount of time you want to spend on maintenance.
There are a number of mobile credit card machines available. These terminals allow merchants to take payments on the go, such as at events or in customers’ homes. Most offer wireless connectivity, and some even support email receipts (although these are more of a nice-to-have than a must-have).
You can find mobile payment terminals from manufacturers like Ingenico and Verifone. Most of these devices have small screens and may include a PIN pad for debit transactions. Some have a built-in printer while others connect to an external one.
When choosing a portable credit card machine, look for ones that support EMV chip and NFC payments. These features offer extra levels of security to protect the sensitive information associated with each transaction. You’ll also want to ensure your mobile payment terminal is compatible with the point of sale software or POS system you use. Most merchants purchase their credit card machines from their processor, and many of these offer a range of portable terminals to suit different business needs.
Whether you run a business that operates primarily on the go or would like to make it easier for store staff to reach customers, a mobile credit card machine could help. There are a wide variety of wireless devices available on the market, from tiny portable readers that plug into an iPhone headphone jack to standalone mobile POS iPad systems with built-in touch screen functionality.
Most wireless reader devices connect via Bluetooth or radio frequency (RF) technology, meaning they can work in a variety of locations as long as the device is within range of its base unit. Some machines also offer NFC contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Typically, these devices will integrate with your point-of-sale (POS) system to log the transaction and its associated data in your inventory and reporting systems. As with traditional terminals, you will usually pay a flat fee or a monthly rental rate to use these types of hardware.
If you need to take payment in your retail shop or small market pop-up, a smart credit card machine might be the right choice. These are terminals that come with fully integrated point-of-sale (POS) software. They’re typically more expensive than other models, but they can simplify many business tasks.
They support most types of payments and include features like receipt printers, PIN pads and cash drawers. Some can also process near-field communication transactions, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.
Clover is one big name in the industry and offers countertop Clover Mini and Duo, portable Clover Flex and mobile Clover Go. Their devices have a variety of tools, including a handheld scanner and a large display for entering items or pricing. Some have a built-in PIN pad that allows customers to enter their own PIN, reducing your merchant fees. Some have a shield to block prying eyes as you swipe cards. Other options add color touch screens, installable apps and signature encryption.