Selecting the ideal payment terminal can help boost profit margins by reducing processing costs. With a wide array of options from which to choose, making the final decision can be tricky. Identifying specific business needs allows you to pick a machine with the relevant features. Selecting the wrong machine can lead to inefficiency, disgruntled customers and potential loss of business. Budget is another key factor that determines the suitability of a payment terminal. Newer, feature-rich machines are desirable but they come at a higher price, whether in the purchase or rental cost. Payment terminals are available in four variants. Each type comes with strengths and weaknesses.
Countertop Payment Terminals
Countertop terminals are true workhorses of the retail sector. These point-of-sale machines provide secure credit card processing in addition to various electronic transactions, including electronic benefits transfers (EBTs). They are reliable, fast, easy-to-use and help reduce customer waiting times. Payments are authenticated and authorized in real-time. However, countertop card machines come with a few downsides, including lack of mobility, inability to integrate with apps and a higher price tag.
Portable payment terminals are well suited to diversified and high mobility businesses that require off-premise payment processing capability. The machines are also useful for merchants that need on-premise mobility, such as cafes, bars and restaurants. They provide a fast and secure way to move around collecting payments from customers. Portable terminals connect to the network via Bluetooth or WiFi. They also boast swipe, chip, and tap capabilities for added convenience. Conversely, these portables are costly, do not integrate easily with payment apps and require regular battery charging. Businesses require multiple machines to reduce customer waiting times. In addition, the coverage area is limited to WiFi or Bluetooth range.
Mobile Swiper – Headphone Jack Terminal
Mobile or wireless terminals are a cheaper and more versatile option that allows merchants to accept payments in locations with mobile network coverage. They are easier to set up and can use data or WiFi on a phone or tablet device. A mobile swiper is a viable option that combines the flexibility of mobile devices and the power of value-added payment apps. However, they can only read the magnetic stripe on credit cards and are suitable for low volume transactions. Merchants are liable for any fraudulent activities that may occur.
Mobile EMV – Bluetooth Terminal
The mobile EMV Bluetooth terminal allows merchants to accept face-to-face payments when connected to a mobile phone or tablet, which acts as the point of sale terminal. They provide a highly mobile solution for collecting payments while on the go using mobile data or WiFi. These terminals are fully capable of integrating apps in addition to handling swipe, chip and tap payments. Some of the terminals can process both credit and debit cards. On the downside, they require regular battery charging and are not well suited to high volume transactions.
Payment technology is always evolving and businesses need to take advantage of the flexibility and efficiency that comes with advanced features. However, every business is different – merchants need to identify the right technology that makes a positive impression on customers.