How do card readers work?
When you think about paying with a card at a shop today, you probably imagine card readers; the rectangle chip and PIN devices that you see in supermarkets, shops, markets and all over the world. They have a slot and a swipe for credit / debit cards, a screen, a number pad for entering a PIN and can be either fixed in one location or used within a store via Bluetooth connection.
The machines that first launched many years ago now have come a long way and can take many different forms. Typically, card machines are handheld devices that enable businesses to take card payments electronically. They make the process easy when making a face to face sale; they are quick, simple and very secure. Using a card machine also eliminates the need for cash.
Card machines come in a variety of designs and there are a number of companies offering their services. Choosing the best one for you can come down to any number of variables you should consider; location, customer volume, if you have at table service needs or a fixed spot for payment, whether your business is portable, etc.
The three main styles of card machines are; fixed terminals, portable or mobile. A fixed system is one that you see at a check out. This does not require an internet connection to work and makes for a very quick transaction. Portable units connect via Bluetooth to a fixed hub and allow for payments to be taken in different places within the business (i.e. from tables). Finally, the mobile unit. This is very similar to portable except it has its own sim card and connects to the business through an app.
A card reader is usually the smaller and more agile version of the card machine. They don’t always have a card insert feature and rely on tap, or NFC for the more technical, payments. A card reader is often a more easily portable alternative to a card machine but they process card payments in a similar way. Card readers are a newer solution, with some small differences, for instance they require an internet connection and an app to operate.
All of these machines work by connecting both customer and business bank accounts. The process in its simplest form is: payment authentication, payment verification, payment authorisation and payment confirmation.
What are the payment benefits?
Using a card machine or a card reader is a fantastic option for businesses that want to make the customer purchase experience quick and simple. The ability to take payment with the tap of a card makes queues easy to manage and busy services easy to tackle.
On top of this, they are more reliable than cash payments as they eliminate room for human error. There can be no miscounting or worry for fraudulent notes.
It’s also worth noting that in the current climate, card machines are much more hygienic than taking cash.
Can card readers help small businesses?
Yes! Card machines not only make the front end of the business smoother but they also make bookkeeping and accounting easier too. Systems that are connected to apps and till facilities allow you to monitor daily takings and they can help regulate cash flow too.
Card machines make taking your business cash free simple. No more trips to the bank or waiting for funds to clear. It’s all instant and very straight forward.
They are also a very efficient way to operate your business. Once staff are trained in using your system, using a card machine or a card reader can make busy queues and high volume trading an easy process meaning you will capture every opportunity, with happy customers and a stress free work force. Having a card machine is more important than ever in the current climate, installing a system now can help you get ahead of the game.
How do contactless payments work?
Contactless payments, as the name suggests, are a way to make a purchase without physical contact with anything. They can be made via smartphone or bank card using NFC, ‘near field communication’. This powers contactless payments for a card reader through a type of radiofrequency which in turn enables the card or the smartphone to connect with the payment device. Usually, they need to be around 10cm in distance to work effectively.
Apple / Android
Apply pay only works via an apple device, this could be the smartphone, watch or other alternatives that they have on the market. The next step is to connect your primary bank account so that you can easily access the card for payment without the need to carry additional payment options.
Your card is stored securely without listing all of the bank details so that in the event of a lost phone your details are not revealed. The use of fingerprint or face recognition technology makes the payment method incredibly safe and secure.
Paying with Android follows a similar process as Apple Pay. If you hold your device above a card reader, payment a blue tick will appear on your phone to confirm that you have completed the transaction. Your phone stores your information safely and discreetly, meaning you can make contactless payments easily and securely wherever you are.
Both options utilise RFID, or radio frequency identification, and use NFC to make the payments. They are brilliant alternatives to carrying a wallet or additional bank cards throughout the day, making trips to the supermarket or for daily errands much more convenient.
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