How to choose the right card machine for your business

Worldpay from FIS

November 30, 2022

If you’re accepting payments in person, among the short list of things you’ll want to do in order to get started is to select a credit card machine. You’ll want to choose equipment that’s right for the way you do business—both today and into the future.

Let’s take a quick look at a few typical small business scenarios to see which type of credit card machine offers the best fit.

Scenario #1 – “My customers want to pay with their smartphone, but we don’t have the right equipment.”

Solution: Small businesses can accept payments via contactless cards and digital wallets with a stand-alone credit card machine, a mobile payment system or an integrated POS system.

Today’s credit card machines do much more than just accept traditional credit and debit card payments. Most new payment acceptance terminals contain near-field communications (NFC) technology that makes contactless payments fast, secure and convenient. NFC lets you accept payments via contactless cards as well as digital wallets used in smartphone apps and other devices like smart watches.

Virtually all new credit card machines for small businesses are equipped with the ability to accept mobile payments.

Scenario #2 – “I have a simple storefront business that needs to process credit cards at the lowest possible cost with no frills attached.”

Solution: You likely need a stand-alone credit card machine.

Credit card terminals have been processing payments for businesses of all sizes for decades. Their longevity and durability is attributed to their simplicity: they do one thing, accept credit and debit card payments. If your choice of credit card machines is driven by simplicity and affordability, a credit card terminal is right for you.

Credit card terminals may be known as “simple” but they’re up to the modern tasks of secure payment processing. These days even the most basic credit card machines for small businesses are equipped with secure EMV “chip card” technology, legacy magnetic stripe (or “magstripe) and near-field communications (NFC) to accept digital wallets.

Scenario #3 – “Our new restaurant is packed every night, but our ordering and checkout system can’t keep up. Plus our systems don’t talk to each other so after a long day we’re up late reconciling accounts.”

Solution: You need the help of a fully integrated POS system.

An integrated point of sale (POS) system offers the functions of a smart credit card terminal combined with other essential business systems like ordering, accounting and inventory. POS systems integrate the hardware, software and support, so you can focus on growing your business.

POS systems are highly customizable, and can evolve as the business grows and changes. POS systems are designed for virtually every type of food and beverage service to help you manage menus, kitchen and bar orders, delivery schedules, employee hours, sales analytics and more.

Scenario #4 – “I own a lawn maintenance company and my customers want to be able to pay me by credit card right on the spot.”

Solution: You need a mobile point of sale solution.

For many small businesses the right credit card machine is something you already own: a smartphone or tablet.  Tablet- or smartphone-based POS systems allow you to easily download a mobile application, plug-in a card reader attachment, and start accepting payments from your customers wherever business takes you.

Mobile POS systems are finding use in more and more business situations every day:

  • Trade shows and festivals
  • Food trucks and restaurants
  • In-house services like plumbing, landscaping or house cleaning
  • Any business where you exchange services on-the-go

Mobile POS solutions are easy to implement and require little to no training since they leverage something everyone already knows how to use. Mobile solutions can complement in-store credit card machines to add more associates to bust a stubborn line or simply help shoppers checkout more easily.

Selecting the right credit card machines for your small business

So which credit card machine is right for your business? Only you can make that decision. Thankfully there are plenty of viable options for however you interact with your customers.

Many businesses don't need a credit card machine at all to accept electronic payments. Virtual terminals allow businesses to safely and securely accept credit card payments over the phone with nothing more than a computer, a web browser and an internet connection. Then there are a wide variety of options for accepting payments online, from payment gateways to integrated solutions built directly into eCommerce platforms. Whether you plan on accepting card-present, in-person payments that require a credit card machine or online/over the phone card-not-present transactions, accepting credit card payments is easier and more convenient than ever.

Whatever your budget, your business type and your growth goals are, there is a credit card processing machine that’s right for your small business. Credit card machines are available for lease or purchase, but that’s only one variable in the very important selection of a payments provider. Only you can determine what’s right for your business. But a payments expert as a partner can surely help.

Worldpay is a global leader in payment processing that helps business of all sizes enable every payment made anytime, anywhere and any way.