From the blog Finding the Right Credit Card Machine for Your Business
Credit card payments are on the rise. Last year, the four most popular credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express) processed 41 billion transactions—accounting for $3.8 trillion in spending. The right credit card machine not only captures these transactions but improves your business processes.
You need to know which credit card machines make sense for your business. Are you looking for an all-in-one payment processing solution that hooks up to your POS system? Or do you need something you can toss in your pocket to accept payments on the go?
Even though your business already accepts credit card payments, you should understand what you have access to. In this guide, we’ll go through different types of credit card machines available. We’ll also help you decide which credit card terminals are the right fit for you.
Support your customers’ preferred payment method
Your business should be conscious of customer purchasing trends as they shift to more secure and mobile options. Credit card processors are moving towards EMV chip readers and NFC payment options for security and convenience.
So what do these terms mean exactly? Let’s go over the different ways consumers complete credit purchases.
- Magnetic stripe card reader: These are the traditional credit card readers you’re already familiar with. Customers swipe their credit card or debit card when completing a purchase. They can also use the PIN pad for debit transactions.
- EMV chip reader: EMV chip readers let you accept credit cards with chips. EMV chip credit cards are more secure than magnetic strip cards and are becoming the norm worldwide. We recommend an EMV chip reader if you plan on accepting credit card payments.
- NFC terminal: NFC terminals—or near field communication—enable contactless payments. Customers can place their mobile devices near the NFC terminal to complete transactions. This works with payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
So those are the different payment methods. Now let’s move on to the different pieces of hardware you can incorporate with your business.
Understand the different hardware options that are available
In order to find the right credit card machine for your business, you should think about how you interact with your customers. Do you accept payments in one physical location or do you process payments in multiple locations?
Some hardware works just fine in a singular location at a brick-and-mortar business but wouldn’t work for another type of business, like a food truck. Others have excellent mobility but don’t have the features that a stationary credit card terminal has—like connecting to a point of sale system.
Here are the different types of credit card terminals available.
- Traditional credit card terminals: These are countertop terminals connected through an ethernet cord or your telephone line. They are the most basic option on the market and accept all methods of payment mentioned in the previous section. A popular choice for many businesses is the Verifone VX520 Terminal.
- Wireless credit card terminals: Take a traditional credit card terminal, remove the cords, and you have a wireless credit card terminal. The functionalities are exactly the same. Wireless terminals have the added benefit of mobility. You can take the terminal on the go wherever you conduct business. Your terminal connects via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a cellular network—like 4G, LTE or 5G. Popular wireless options that businesses use are the Poynt Smart Terminal and Verifone VX680 Terminal.
- Integrated credit card machines: This option has two tools bundled into one—a credit card machine and a POS system. Integrated credit card machines have the tools needed to accept all forms of payment. On top of that, you have the power of a POS system at your disposal. You can manage inventory, set employee work schedules, and track sales and analytics in real-time. These are generally more expensive, but you get two tools for the price of one.
- Mobile and virtual terminals: Mobile payment options have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, especially for small businesses looking for a cheap credit card processing solution. These are the card readers you plug into a smartphone or tablet. They can accept traditional magnetic stripe and EMV payments. Most options are compatible with Apple and Android devices.
Do any of these terminals jump off the page to you? Let’s look at some specific credit card readers to see if they’re the right fit for your business.
Find the credit card machine that aligns with your business
As you can tell from above, there are several different types of credit card terminals that you can choose from. Some of these options lend themselves nicely to brick-and-mortar stores while others are great for on-the-go transactions.
You’ll likely want something more permanent if you operate a brick-and-mortar retail business. This will let you accept credit card payments and integrate with your POS system. If your business is always on the move, then a mobile credit card machine should do the trick.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular credit card machines that are available to you.
The PAX A920 is one of the most versatile payment options on the market. It’s a handheld credit card machine that accepts all forms of payment and runs wherever you can find an internet connection.
It has a built-in thermal receipt printer so you can print anywhere. Customers can also have receipts emailed or sent via SMS.
The PAX A920 credit card terminal is perfect for:
- Automotive shops: It’s a rugged piece of hardware that will fit right in at an automotive shop. You can accept payment in the office, garage or on the road.
- Restaurants and cafes: You can bring the bill directly to your diners’ table. You can even set default tip amounts.
- Professional services: You can use the PAX A920 at your office or take it on the road to your customer’s location. This option works for medical, legal or home repair services.
Verifone VX520 Terminal
The Verifone VX520 is a traditional credit card machine that sits nicely on the countertop of your business. It accepts all forms of payment and has a thermal printer for receipts.
The VX520 runs off ethernet or your landline and can’t be taken on the go. It quickly processes payments but must be plugged in at all times.
The Verifone VX520 credit card terminal is perfect for:
- Retail stores: Your customers can conveniently check out at your register using this terminal. This terminal works just fine since you’re processing payments right in your store.
- Restaurants and cafes: You can set up this terminal in your business and accept all forms of payment from diners before or after their meal.
Verifone VX680 Terminal
The Verifone VX680 has everything the VX520 does but with the added benefit of mobility. This terminal runs off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and can easily be transported around your business.
The VX680 is a powerful credit card machine that quickly processes transactions so you can carry on with business. It also sports a long-lasting battery so you won’t have to worry about charging it all the time.
The Verifone VX680 credit card terminal is perfect for:
- Restaurants and cafes: You can let customers come up to the register to pay, or you can process their payment directly at their table.
- Automotive shops: Sure, customers can come into the office and pay for your services. But what about bringing the credit machine right to their car window?
Mobile EMV credit card reader
An EMV chip reader is the ultimate card payment terminal. It allows you to use a credit card swiper or chip reader with your mobile device and accept payments wherever you’d like.
Some EMV credit card readers require you to plug into your mobile device. Others—like the EMV chip reader Talus provides—use Bluetooth to connect directly to your Apple or Android device.
The EMV chip reader is perfect for:
- Food trucks or stands: EMV chip readers are small, convenient and let you accept payments on-the-go so you can focus on feeding your hungry customers.
- Home repair services: Plumbers, HVAC technicians and other types of contractors can all accept payment while on the job. EMV chip readers don’t take up much room and can fit right in your tool belt.
POYNT Smart Terminal
The POYNT Smart Terminal is a sturdy standalone checkout terminal. This hardware is a mainstay on your countertop and will make your business look even more professional.
The terminal accepts magstripe cards, EMV and NFC payments. It also features two touch screens—one for you and one for the customers to sign off on purchases. You can even integrate this tool with your pre-existing POS system.
The POYNT Smart Terminal is perfect for:
- Brick-and-mortar retail stores: This terminal can be a permanent fixture for your retail store. Not only can you accept payments, but you can also connect right to your POS system for more features.
- Restaurants and cafes: The POYNT terminal is convenient if you would rather have diners pay for the bill on their way out.
- Automotive shops: You can set up the POYNT terminal in your office and have your customers complete payments after their auto repairs.
Credit card processing that fits your business model
The best credit card machine is the one that naturally fits with how you do business. A brick-and-mortar store has different needs than one that’s mobile. You’ll need to decide the unique features and functions your business needs from a credit card machine.
Not all of these credit card machines will be the right fit for your business. You may prefer a stationary credit card terminal that connects to your pre-existing POS system, or you may want a mobile payment solution you can connect to your smartphone.
Feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss individualized options and custom-fit solutions for your company.