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What Type of Card Reader Does My Business Need?

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

A credit/debit card reader or a card machine will make your transactions easier and faster and can be very convenient for your customers. Most payments these days take place through credit cards and debit cards, and this is even more true after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many businesses have gone online. Therefore, if you ignore card payment options in your business, you could be missing out on a lot of customers and sales, which could have a highly negative impact on your business.

However, before signing up for a card reader, it’s important to think about which type of card reader is most suitable for your business. Read on to learn about the different card reader options currently offered by various financial service providers in the market. Consider your needs, do your research, and go for the one that is the best option for you!

Countertop Card Readers for Fixed Payment Terminals

Countertop card readers are the most suitable type of card machine if your payment terminal is physically fixed – that is, you can receive payments through a card machine placed on the counter or any fixed area of your office or store. These kinds of card readers work by connecting to a telephone line or broadband connection. They are the best option for business centres, convenience stores, and similar bricks-and-mortar businesses where there is a fixed payment counter or cashier, and customers approach the point of sale to hand over their cards for payment.

These cards usually come with an EMV chip or magnetic tape and are detected when they are swiped through the machine. The latest versions of cards come with a ‘tap-to-pay’ option which is a contactless method of payment. The card only needs to be brought near the reader and there is no need to swiping the card in order for the machine to detect it. This is the better option in the context of the pandemic threats as it minimizes the chances of contact.

Portable Card Readers for Better Freedom of Movement

These are the portable versions of the countertop card readers – they don’t need to be physically located in a particular spot as they are not connected via any kind of cable. Instead, they work with wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and so you can take them with you around the premises of your business. These are best suitable for restaurants and bars where you can easily take the machine to the customer’s table along with the bill and immediately process the payment.

These card readers typically have an ample remote connectivity range of around 50 meters, so that you can easily move it around to reach outdoor areas of your restaurant or café. Except for the increased freedom of movement, portable card readers generally have the same features as their countertop versions.

Mobile Card Readers for On-the-Go Payment

Mobile card readers give you even better freedom of movement than portable card readers. They’re great for taking with you to accept payments from customers and clients on the go. They’re well-suited to mobile vendors, field services, courier services, personal trainers and other personal services delivered at the clients’ homes, and temporary stalls or kiosks at exhibition centres and expos.

This type of card reader works with 3G mobile signals and so can work anywhere where you get mobile signal. Some versions are not independent but work by connecting to your mobile phone or tablet.

Payment Gateways for Remote Online Payments

Though a payment gateway cannot be considered a card reader, it is also a convenient option for transactions for your customers to pay you using their credit cards. If you provide services online, a secure payment gateway is indispensable. You can also make the sale offline and still recieve the payment online as a convenient form of payment to offer your customers. Depending on the type of business you run, your customer may pay for products or services they select online with a virtual shopping cart or could choose to pay for a service or product already agreed upon or delivered physically.

A card reader can give your business a significant boost, as it gives your customers and clients a more convenient way to pay. Since a card reader makes the transaction process faster and easier, it also encourages your customers to spend more on your products and services. All types of card readers have their benefits, but not every kind of card reader may be suitable for your business. As a business owner, you should do your research on the various options, collect additional information on specific service providers, and weigh up the features offered by each so that you can make an informed decision and choose the type of card reader that best suits your business model and operations.

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