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By Everett Maclachlan
The moment you allow your business to start accepting credit cards as a form of payment is the moment you open up a new world of payment possibilities. Giving your customers more ways to pay for the goods and services you offer means creating for yourself more revenue-earning potential.
The reason for this is that, whether your company focuses on business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) sales, credit cards are the de facto standard for the way that many customers make purchases.
Credit cards present businesses with the opportunity to take advantage of ‘float’ – meaning that they can enjoy the benefits of a good or service right away but not have to pay interest on it for up to 30 days. On the other hand, many individual consumers prefer using credit cards to make purchases via their cards in order to rack up special rewards such as shopping or mileage points.
Many business owners are wary of contracting with a merchant services company to set up credit card processing because they are concerned about having to pay a portion of each transaction to that company (which is true – they will). But, not getting a credit card machine due to the fact that you have to pay fees is an example of being penny wise and pound foolish. That is because, despite the fees, companies that accept credit cards are able to make more sales than they would otherwise – plain and simple.
If you would like to find the right credit card machine for your small business, here are 5 tips that can help you choose wisely:
1. Should I care if my current machine is getting old?
If you already have a credit card machine, you may be thinking that your old machine will suffice. This may be true, but maybe not. For example, if the magnetic strip reader on your machine is less sensitive than it used to be, you may end up having to manually key in some of your transactions. This could be costing you money. Also, some of the older terminals may not be able to process debit card transactions.
2. Can my Point of Sales (POS) system act as a card reader?
Some payment processing services merchants may be able to integrate your existing point of service (POS) terminal with their payment processing gateway, since many POS systems do have built-in card readers. Check with your POS provider to find out for sure.
3. What are the main types of credit card terminals?
If you believe you need to buy your own terminal, consider one of the three main types of terminals: traditional, wireless, and virtual. Traditional terminals are the kind you have seen and used at other merchants for years. Wireless terminals are very similar to these, but they of course allow full mobility – meaning you could process transactions in your car. And, virtual terminals allow you to skip the machine altogether, processing transactions instead through software on your computer.
4. Do I need a wireless terminal?
Most people need a traditional terminal – or a virtual one if you will not be physically handling cards. But, in some cases you may instead need a wireless terminal. Wireless terminals offer strong advantages for people always on the move (e.g., taxi drivers), seasonal businesses (e.g., Christmas tree sales). All of them have built-in printers for easier processing of receipts.
5. What about debit cards?
Some machines allow you to process debit cards, some don’t. Remember that debit cards are an increasingly-important payment method for millions of people. To be able to process debit cards, your machine has to provide a keypad for processing customers’ personal identification number (PIN).
Consider these answers to 5 frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) about choosing the right credit card machine for small business.
About the Author: Find out more about how to get your business to start processing credit card transactions at: Credit Card Machine Tips.
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