Only a few short years ago, it was possible for many small businesses to happily trade without the need to accept card payments. However, rapidly changing consumer habits means this is no longer the case. These days consumer expectation is that all businesses should offer card and contactless payment options. The shift towards contactless has gathered pace recently. For businesses that don't accept card payments, this change can result in a serious decline in revenue. The good news is that setting up a contactless card reader is a simple process, the first step of which is to decide which type of card reader is best for your business. This guide will help you select the perfect type of reader.

Tips for Choosing the Right Card Machine

It used to be the case that it was mainly larger businesses that offered card and contactless payment options. But now, the expectation is that regardless of whether you run a one-man-show burger van or a chain of department stores, every business should be able to accept payments at the tap of a card or phone. Of course, a department store with multiple points-of-sale will need a radically different card machine solution than a burger van. The following tips will help you to decide which solution is best for your business.

The type of business

As already touched on, the first step in choosing the right card machine is to consider the way your business operates. For instance, a mobile plumber will require a solution that they can take with them on their call outs, whereas a small retail outlet with one sales counter may not require mobility. Then there are businesses like cafes and restaurants. For this type of business, a partially mobile solution that can be taken to the customer's table is the ideal solution. To cater for these different needs, card machines come in various types, as detailed below.

The Type of Card Machine

Choosing the right type of card machine is the first process. But before you choose the type, it is a good idea to make yourself aware of the functions any type of machine should offer. All good card machines should offer the following functions: 
  • Chip and Pin
  • Contactless Payment (Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay)
Most modern card machines will offer these functions, but it is always worth checking the details before taking the plunge. As long as these features are included in the package, then the next step is to choose the right type of machine.

Countertop Terminal

These are the type of card machines that we are probably most familiar with. If your business takes the bulk of its income from a fixed sales desk or desks, then this is the ideal solution. This makes it suitable for most retail outlets as well as businesses like gyms, beauty salons, and garages, amongst many others. These used a wired connection to connect to payment processors and merchant service providers.

Portable Card Machine

As the name suggests, these are card machines that are not permanently fixed in position. This type of card machine uses Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity to communicate with a central hub. Portable card machines come into their own in businesses like restaurants and cafes, where the customer can be presented with the bill and the payment method at their table.  

Mobile Card Machine

Finally, there is the mobile card machine. This usually has a mobile SIM to allow businesses to take payments on the move. This makes it the perfect option for tradespeople, taxi drivers, food delivery services, mobile hairdressers & beauticians. In fact, these are suitable for any business that takes payment on the go. One thing worth bearing in mind when choosing a mobile card reader is the network coverage offered. Some card machine providers will tie you down to a particular mobile provider, this isn't ideal as some mobile providers have better coverage than others. Look for a card reader that isn't "network-dependent", such as those offered by PaymentPlus.

Check the Fees Involved

The next step is to understand the fees and ongoing costs associated with the card machine. Various costs can be associated with card readers, all or some of which may apply depending on the package you opt for. Always check upfront what the costs of the card machine are both initially and the ongoing charges. 

Selecting the Right Card Payment Machine

For businesses to thrive, it is now essential that they offer card and contactless payment options. As you can see from the steps above, the process is remarkably simple and painless. Armed with the knowledge from this guide paired with a little diligence, it is possible to be accepting card payments in just a few days. But, as well as the technical and financial aspects of the card machine package you choose, always select a supplier that offers: 
  • Quality Customer Support
  • Transparent costs
  • Helpdesk
  • Full warranty on your equipment
  • Reporting tools and analytics

Checking Out

Offering card and contactless payment options are now something that consumers expect all businesses to offer regardless of the size and type of their operation. Businesses that ignore this shift in consumer habits will inevitably suffer a revenue loss that could be the difference between success and failure in extreme cases. At PaymentPlus, we have made it easy for businesses without card payment options to be accepting card payments within 3 days. Why not contact us today and see how a card reader can help your business prosper.