Since you know that your business needs a credit card reader, where do you begin when looking for the right one? The best place to start is to look at your needs. There are different types of credit card readers in the market, and the best one for the business next door might not necessarily work for you. There are a lot of credit card readers in the market. At least one card reader will meet your specific business needs. When you find it, go for it.
Before looking at the various readers, it is important to understand what a credit card terminal is. A credit card terminal is the means through which the card reader will communicate with the cardholder’s bank. This communication is usually through an internal modem where the message can be sent through the business’s phone line. The business can even allow the card reader to share the fax machine’s line as a means to communicate with the bank. You can use the credit card terminal either through swiping, tapping, or both, with the last two using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip technology. An example of a great terminal is the Shopify mobile credit card reader that plugs into an iPad’s headphone jack.
Manual Credit Card Readers
These credit card readers are on their way out of the market owing to their complex nature. The transaction process that uses a manual credit card reader takes a long time and is not advisable for a business that receives many customers at a time. Here, whoever is receiving the payment needs to have a credit card imprinter, which he or she uses to generate a copy of a customer’s credit card. The receiver of the payment then places a special paper over the customer’s credit card, and pulls the machine lever. The machine thereafter picks up the letters and numbers on the card and the receiver has to type and send that information to the bank. According to Love to Know Business, an individual can process the credit card later using phone or online. That process is tedious and involving, but if it works for you, you can go for it.
Wireless Card Readers
As the name suggests, a wireless card reader is one that you do not need to connect to a fax or telephone line to operate. These card readers are best suited for people who want to accept payments outside their premises. The entrepreneurs who find the best use for these readers include restaurants, taxi drivers, mobile shops, and many other mobile businesses. According to Merchant Warehouse, these card readers usually work over a GPRS or a CDMA network, which is why they are mobile. Some other wireless card readers can connect to a wireless signal or a phone network to process a transaction. Other readers can connect to a mobile phone, thereby transforming the phone into a terminal.
Virtual Credit Card Readers
These days, many businesses are venturing online since the Internet is a way to expose any business to the whole world. If you have a business that is online and you need to accept a payment, a customer’s phone or laptop that can connect to the Internet will be his or her tool of trade. First, a customer has to connect to the Internet using his or her laptop and log onto your online store. Next, the buyer will need to use online credit card processing software to make a payment. Depending on the nature of the product, you will then either release the product for shipping or send it to the customer online (if it’s a digital product). This virtual credit card facility is a great option for ecommerce businesses.
Understanding the Basic Components of a Credit Card Reader
- The magnetic strip reader
This is the section of the reader where an individual swipes the card on. According to Tech Target, this section collects all the relevant information from the card. You therefore have to make sure that the strip reader is always working properly. It is possible for dirt to stick here, so make sure to keep it clean.
- The card reader’s display
As with any other display, the card reader’s display will show you what action you have taken and what you need to do next. Not a lot of characters will be displayed here. Most displays are well lit to allow an individual to see in badly lit places.
- The printer
The printer contains a roll of paper where the information of the transaction is printed. You will give the receipt to your customer, though you will also remain with one copy as well. These receipts will be useful to you for your accounting purposes.
- Pin pads
This section allows the customer to key in his or her information. The pin pad has nine alphanumeric keys and function keys, which enable the user to enter any necessary information. This means that for a credit card transaction to go through successfully, the cardholder must be present.
Figure out what your business needs and pick the card reader that fits those requirements.