How to Choose a Card Machine for Your Small Business


Providing your customers with inefficient or non-intuitive methods of payment can harm your customer base. Customers want to pay quickly and efficiently. Indeed, waiting to pay can turn them away from your business.

This means you will need to choose the right equipment. Here’s how to pick the right card machine for a small business.
 Feature-What-Is-POS-System-Software-(4-Key-Features)-900-450to Choose a Card Machine for Your Small Business

How Credit Card Terminals Function

Before understanding how to pick a credit card machine, let’s go through some basics as to how it completes transactions. There are three phases to the actual processing of credit cards.

  • Authorization: Once the machine reads the card, it sends the information to the processor over the internet. The processor then sends the information to the appropriate card network, like Visa or MasterCard, with a request for processing. The network then forwards the request to the issuing bank and the bank checks whether the card is valid and there is enough credit to complete the purchase. If everything checks out, the payment is approved and the message is sent to the merchant. This process takes seconds.
  • Submission: After authorization, the merchant submits the request for actual payment. That can happen either right away or it can be held up in a batch that gets submitted at day’s end or at the weekend. The submission goes to the processor which is then forwarded to the card network. From there, it goes to the issuing bank which pays the appropriate amount.
  • Settlement: Now comes the settlement. When the bank makes the payment, it goes through the standard inter-bank money transfer methods. The money then reaches the merchant account and by then everybody – the processor, the card network, and the banks – have taken their respective transaction fees. Now, the merchant can withdraw the money from the account.

There are different kinds of credit card machines and terminals that a small business can use for payments.

  • Traditional Terminals: These credit card terminals use wired connections like Ethernet or telephone lines to connect to the internet. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can connect them to the cash register in different ways.
  • Portable Machines: Many credit card readers today come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. That means you can carry them around to collect payments. But you must have a strong Wi-Fi signal for it to work.
  • Debit Card Machines: It costs less to process a debit card than a credit card, and there is no such thing as dedicated debit card machine. You can use any card reader with a PIN pad to accept payments from a debit card.
  • Smart Terminals: Smart terminals are known to have better processing powers than traditional ones. They can connect directly to the landline and typically are wireless terminals with a printer.
  • Integrated Credit Card Machines: Integrated systems are the most efficient and come loaded with essential hardware and software. They have a huge display, PIN pads, cash drawers, receipt printers, et cetera.

3 Points to Consider re Card Machines for Small Business

The trick topicking the most appropriate card machine for your business is to understand what you want from it.

1. Making Payments with Smartphones

Even if you’re a small business, you can accept contactless payments from cards and digital wallets using a mobile payment system, stand-alone credit card machine, or integrated POS system software. Near-field communications (NFC) technology makes contactless payment secure, fast, and convenient. With NFC you can accept payments via digital wallets in smartphones, smart watches, and similar devices.

2. Processing Credit Cards at Lowest Possible Cost

If you are looking to process credit cards at the lowest possible cost, without frills, a stand-alone credit card machine is your solution. These terminals have been in use for decades. They last and are durable because they have a simple function but can handle the security in processing equally efficiently.

Today, card machines for small businesses come with secure EMV “chip card” technology, NFC, and legacy magnetic stripe for accepting digital wallets.

3. For a Quick and Integrated Payment System

For a packed restaurant, you will need an ordering and checkout system that can keep up with the crowd. And you need your systems to be able to talk to each other, so you don’t have to worry about reconciling accounts every night.

Here, fully-integrated POS system software functions very much like a smart credit card terminal. Plus, it has other essential systems like software, hardware, and support. These systems are easy to customize. So, it is easy to evolve them according to the changes and growth in your business. POS system software is designed to manage the functions of virtually every type of restaurant.

4. On-the-Spot Credit Card Payments

If you are a business that operates outside your physical location a lot, you will need a payment system that you can easily carry around. Your smartphones or tablets are the perfect mobile POS solution for your business. They allow you to download their mobile apps easily and plug in a card reader to accept payments on the spot. They are extremely useful for festivals and trade shows, food trucks, in-house services, and any business that exchanges services on the go. It is extremely easy to implement and use.

Selecting the right credit card machine for your small business will not only boost the business but make tallying and management easier. With the extra time, you can concentrate on expanding your business.