If you’re looking to accept credit and debit card payments in your business, it’s not as straightforward as picking any old card reader.
Card machines have evolved along with card payments.
Gone are the days when card payments were simply Chip and PIN transactions. Today most card payments are contactless. Many don’t even involve a card, with customers able to make payments using smartphones and wearable technology.
With all the options available, you should take time to choose the best card machine for your business, and consider exactly what you need to process payments.
Do you need a mobile card reader or a countertop card machine?
The type of business you run will impact the card machine you choose.
For example, if you run a shop with a fixed cash register, countertop card machines will suit you fine.
But if you run a business where you need to move around, like a restaurant, mobile card readers will be more up your street.
Then you’ll need to consider factors like how many customers you expect to serve in a day and make sure your card machine has enough battery life to handle the load.
The best card machine features you should consider
Once you’ve nailed down what type of card reader you need, you can look into the more impressive card machine features you might find useful.
Is the card machine easy to use?
Technology can be a pain. When businesses get busy and the workload becomes stressful, the last thing people need is to struggle to take payments because of awkward card machines.
An ideal card machine should have an easy-to-read display, with buttons that are clearly visible and distinguishable. Or, if you’re using a card machine with a digital touchscreen display, the user interface should be a breeze to operate.
Is the card machine reliable?
Card machines are all designed to perform a similar function: take payments from credit and debit cards. But they’re all different. One card machine might handle payments more effectively than another.
You should check whether the card machine you’re investigating has a positive rating amongst users and is considered reliable. Keep an eye out for users reporting crashes or other issues you’d rather avoid.
Is the card machine fast?
Time is money. The less time you need to accept payments, the more time you can spend accepting even more payments. Having a fast card machine that accepts payments with lightning speed can be a godsend during those busy spells and can help boost profits.
Does the card machine feature strong security and PCI compliance?
Card machines need to be resilient to attacks from cybercriminals, considering they handle a lot of sensitive financial data. Thankfully, card machines from reputable companies come with built-in security protocols that prevent thieves from stealing customer data. They should also follow all regulations regarding PCI compliance, for the best possible protection.
Does the card machine have good connectivity?
Your card machine needs a Wi-Fi connection to collect payments, so a machine that connects efficiently to the internet without blips will be helpful. Some modern card readers also come with built-in mobile network connectivity via 4G – a nifty feature allowing you to take payments almost anywhere.
Plus, if you’re using portable card machines, make sure their portability is suitable for your premises and they maintain a strong connection wherever you are.
Does the card machine accept mobile phone and digital wallet payments?
Most card machines accept contactless payments from cards. But contactless mobile phone payments are on the rise. Over two billion mobile payments were made in 2021, utilising digital bank services like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and more.
This payment method will be even more popular in 2023, and why wouldn’t it be? Tapping your phone is just as easy as tapping a card, only more convenient in most cases. With the popularity of the service soaring, you should absolutely consider choosing a card machine that accepts mobile payments.
Is the card machine easy to maintain and clean?
Given nearly 80% of illness-causing germs are transmitted from your hands, it’s worthwhile to choose a card machine that’s easy to maintain and keep clean. Especially if numerous people will be using it. Card machines that can handle simple disinfectant wipes will help reduce the spread of germs between your staff and any customers handling the machine.
Does the card machine print receipts?
Most transactions are visible via online banking pretty quickly, but physical receipts still have a part to play in the modern world. If you need to have easy access to your transactions for future reference, a stack of physical receipts will give you all the info you need.
Does the card machine come with customer support?
When all else fails, it helps to have someone outside of your business to talk to. Some card payment machine providers offer customer support options, to resolve issues with card payments quickly. If someone having your back is important to you, choose card machines with strong customer support.
What costs are involved in using card machines?
Depending on which provider you choose, there will be different annual or monthly fees involved in managing your card machines. Usually on a contract basis. You can lease the equipment from a card machine service provider, along with any card machine accessories you may need. Make sure you take everything your business will need into account before making a decision.
Do card machines come with transaction fees or processing fees?a
It depends on which card machine you choose, from which provider, and any other merchant services your card payments are linked with. These fees can differ per payment and per card type but usually consist of things like statement fees, refund fees, PCI fees, business account fees, etc. Be sure to investigate how much you’ll be paying for card payment processing before diving in head first.
It’s time to choose the best card machine for your business
Now that you’ve read all of the above, you’re armed with enough information to make an educated decision and pick up the best card machine for your business.
Remember: Choosing the right card machine to accept card payments is an important decision. Don’t just grab the first one you see. Set aside some time to research your needs and the card machines that can meet those needs properly.
You’ll be giving your business the best chance of success if you do.