Finding a credit card machine that handles all of the needs of a business is one of the integral parts to becoming a successful merchant, by providing customers a fast and simple means to accepting credit cards while offering the business the reporting and management that might be needed. There are many different types of credit card machines that allow merchants to run a variety of different types of transactions, including credit, debit, gift cards and checks while providing the mandatory security required by payment processors of an EMV chip reader.
Credit card machines, also known as credit card terminals, connect to the payment processors through either telephone, Internet, wireless/mobile network or a combination of all 3 to securely send and receive transaction authorization requests and finalization reports. Depending on the business; the functionality and requirements of the credit card machine can differ from merchant to merchant, some only requiring a machine to accept swipe transactions, while other businesses might need a more sophisticated POS system to help with inventory and order management.
As technology has advanced, payment processing companies have added new features and requirements to help assist with reducing fraud and providing a more secure methods of processing credit card transactions. One of the most recent, and large-scale improvements has been the addition of smart chips on customer credit and debit cards that has required merchant to upgrade credit card terminals to accept this new type of payment method.
These smart chips, referred to as EMV, increase security and limit the possibly of fraud by creating a unique transaction ID between the credit card and credit card machine during each transaction, removing the need for the magnetic strips that store card account information in more vulnerable and fraud inducing manner. Merchants that are able to process EMV chip card transactions will be in merchant in full compliance with the card association requirements and limit any potential liability of fraud liability from transactions that occur at the business.
Types of Credit Card Machines:
The 4 main types of credit card machines used by merchants are wired terminals, wireless terminals, virtual terminals or as a point of sale systems (POS), each chosen based on the type of business and the functionality needed by the merchant. Most transactions will occur by slipping the EMV chip on customer credit card into the credit card terminal, but in instances where the chip is not present or unable to be read, cards can be swiped using the magnetic stripe on the back.
Probably the most common type of the credit card terminal in usage is the standalone wired terminal that is often used in retail locations, requiring either the customer to slip or swipe their credit card into the credit card machine. This type of credit card machine primarily runs transactions over the Internet, but also has the ability to process transactions through a dialup connection as either a primary or backup connection.
Wireless terminals operate with the same type of acceptance methods as storefront credit card machines, allowing for either slipped EMV transactions or swiped transactions when the chip is unable to be read. The significant difference between terminals is the ability for a wireless terminal to operate using a secure mobile network, same as a mobile phone, but operating within a full PCI compliant manner to ensure that transactions are encrypted and handled properly.
Merchants operating online need to have the services of a different type of credit card terminal, referred to as a virtual terminal, instead of physically slipping or swiping a credit card, transactions are initiated by the customer on their web browser to be sent through the virtual terminal. The virtual terminal allows for merchants to accept online transactions and accept phone or mail order transactions through manual input of customer card information, permitting multiple uses of the same payment application.
One of the most sophisticated types of credit card machine is the point of sale system, known as a POS system, that is commonly used in restaurants and other inventory based businesses. Most POS systems not only handle payment processing services, but also can help manage the sales and the inventory of the business, helping merchants to manage their businesses.
Most Popular Credit Card Machine Brands
When businesses are applying for a merchant account, many times the merchant services provider will offer a credit card terminal for free or at a reduced price as part of the payment processing services. Since the introduction of the EMV technology, new merchants or merchants with existing merchant accounts have been required to use a chip enabled credit card terminal to avoid noncompliance and avoid any potential fraud liabilities.
Merchants in need of a credit card terminal will notice that there are many different brands of credit card machines, wireless credit card machines, virtual terminals and POS Systems available at all price levels. Some of the more common credit card machines are Hypercom, Lipman Nurit and Verifone credit card terminals, while many more brands exist, and newer models have the EMV Technology built-in and will provide all the necessary PCI Compliance required by the card associations.
Similar to credit card terminals, POS Systems are available at a variety of different price points, allowing for custom layouts of terminals and printers, back office and order management along with other features that are needed by different types of businesses. Working with a POS system professional, businesses can find the best solution for their needs at a price that can fit within their budget.
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Our credit card machines provide quick transaction speeds along with reliability and flexibility to fit any sized merchant's credit card processing needs. Contact one of our sales professionals to see what credit card equipment best fits your business' needs.