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How to choose the right card machine for your business


March 9, 2022 ( Newswire) In the last few decades, it's become increasingly more important for businesses to offer card payments to their customers.

They are quickly becoming the preferred way to pay, and have well overtaken the use of cash in the UK.

Of the 35.6 billion payments made in the country last year, only 17% of them were made with cash, while over half of them were made using cards - according to a summary by UK Finance.

Not only are card machines more convenient for your customers, but they're more convenient for you as well.

There's lots to consider when choosing a card machine for your business, and a few wrong decisions can leave you seriously struggling to handle payments.

Here's how to choose the right card machine for your business.

Why would you want a card machine in your business

There's many ways introducing a card machine to your business can give it a boost.

  • You'll be able to take more payments

Believe it or not, having a card machine at your checkouts can help improve your customer service by speeding up transactions with contactless card payments.

The majority of card machines are equipped with technology that will enable you to accept these types of payments, and it will be a huge help to you during your peak business hours.

You'll be able to cut down queues and serve more people - therefore selling more of your goods.

  • Card payments are more convenient

Not only is taking card payments quicker for you, but they're quicker for your customers too.

Being able to pay by card takes away the need to fumble for cash and for you to spend time giving out change.

It's also a lot easier to pay for bigger items using cards as well.

  • Card payments are safer

If you're a cash only shop, you're going to have a big amount of cash stored at the premises.

When you start taking card payments, you increase your security because you won't be keeping as much cash in store or need to deposit large amounts of money.

  • Your customers are more likely to pay by card

In 2020, 35.6 billion payments were made in total and over half of them were made using a credit or debit card, according to UK Finance's report.

Cash payments also continued to decline, but it was accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and payments made with cash declined by 35%.

Choosing the right card machine

Choosing the right machine is an important decision.

There's a few different options and picking the wrong machine can leave you struggling to handle payments.

Not only is choosing the right card machine important for being efficient and accepting quick contactless payments, it's also crucial that you choose the right provider.

Choosing the wrong provider can make your card machine far more expensive than it needs to be, so there's a few things you need to consider.

  • Fees

Whichever provider you choose to go with, you'll have to pay merchant service charges, terminal rental costs, interchange and scheme fees and premium card charges.

The amount you pay for these charges will differ from provider to provider.

Some providers will also charge you for fees that you might not be made aware of, including PCI DSS compliance or non-compliance charges, minimum monthly service charges as well as statement and reporting charges.

Make sure you're aware of everything you're paying for and that your provider is transparent with what they're charging - you could be paying too much.

  • Are you getting enough support?

Card payments are the lifeblood of your business, so it's important you've got a reliable provider to help you if things go wrong.

Can you call them and get help whenever you need?

Or does your provider limit you to the hours they're available, even if it's urgent?

Can you speak directly to an expert or are you passed through different departments to try and get the help you need?

These are all things you should think about.

PAYG vs contract

You can either choose to pay for your card machine as you go or on a monthly contract.

Pay as you go card machines are usually best if you're new to taking card payments and aren't sure how many transactions you'll process.

It can be a cost-effective way of easing you into card transactions until you've figured things out.

They're also ideal for smaller businesses who don't accept many card payments.

Once your monthly turnover goes beyond £1,000 though, you should consider switching to a long term contract.

With a long term contract, you won't only receive better rates per transaction, you'll also receive better service, capability and support.

PAYG card machines typically are limited in functionality, with often just a tap contactless payment option for your customers.

If you're wanting to facilitate all different kinds of payment, it might be better to look into getting a dedicated terminal so you can process a wider range of functions, including refunds, cashback and Chip and PIN payments.

Countertop vs portable vs mobile

There's a few different types of card machines so it's important you figure out which one is best suited to your business.

  • Countertop card machines

If you're in the retail business, a countertop card machine is probably your best bet.

This type of card machine is ideal for fixed location payments and provides a hassle free way of accepting card payments at your designated point of sale.

  • Portable card machines

Portable card machines are the perfect way for you to be able to accept payments while on your feet.

For instance, this might look like settling up a bill at a restaurant table.

You can take the card machine right to the customer as they're connected to WiFi.

  • Mobile card readers

If you're on the road, a mobile card reader will be perfect for your business - you'll be able to roam as freely as you desire as they're connected via GPRS.

This makes them perfect for delivery services, tradespeople and even the likes of market sellers.

Other considerations

Here's a few other things you should consider when choosing the right card machine for your business.

  • Upfront costs to set up

Most card payment providers offer businesses the ability to pay a monthly rental fee to start accepting card payments, without a large sum of money upfront.

Working out your monthly costs depends on the type of machine you choose (countertop, portable or mobile) and the number of machines you think you'll need.

If you're just getting started and opt for a pay as you go machine, you could end up forking out hundreds up-front to cover the cost of the machine.

  • How expensive are transaction fees?

On top of monthly rental fees, you'll also have to pay transaction fees as well.

These fees total a small percentage of each transaction you take, which is split between your acquiring bank, your terminal provider and card scheme (Mastercard or Visa for example)

Transaction fees can be a s little as 0.01% of a transaction, but it could be more depending on the type of card your customer uses.

  • How long will it take for funds to clear in accounts?

Traditionally, it takes 3-5 working days for funds to clear in your account.

There used to be nothing your provider could do about this, but some now offer faster settlements - which allow you to see funds clear in your account in a matter of hours.

As a merchant all you need to do is send your reports as normal and if your provider offers faster settlements then you'll be guaranteed to get your money a little quicker.

  • How easy is the machine to use?

The majority of card machines are fairly easy to use, and you can start taking payments right away once they're set up and you've completed a test transaction.

Your provider will instruct you on how to set it up and be there in case you run into any problems.

Once you're up and running you can start training your staff on how to use them properly.

  • Does it accept all modern payments?

Payment technology is changing quickly and it's important to make sure your card machine is set up to accept all types of payments, including contactless and mobile payments.

Most card machines come equipped with the technology for you to be able to accept payments made with contactless cards, and so long as you're able - you can also offer mobile payment options too.

Your customers will be able to pay using their digital wallets on their mobile phones using the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google pay

Getting the right support for your card machine

While getting the right kind of card machine for your business is important, it's also crucial you find a provider that is able to offer you the right amount of help and support if a problem arises.

Running into problems is inevitable sometimes, but you shouldn't have to put your business on hold and potentially lose out on money because you're struggling to sort it on your own.

With the right provider, you won't have to worry - they'll be sure to get you back up and running again as soon as possible.

Make sure your card machine is right for your business

You might not think it, but the type of card machine you get will make or break your business.

Choosing the wrong one could leave you unable to take payments from your customers, and you'll essentially be wasting your budget on useless equipment.

The type of machine you choose isn't the only important consideration though; you should choose your provider wisely and make sure to explore all your options.

Your card machine should be a beneficial addition to your business - it definitely shouldn't hold you back.

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