The abundance of card payment options has been a thing for quite a long time. But that’s evolving too. App-based mobile card readers are replacing traditional card terminals. As they do kind of a similar job, you might be wondering what’s the point of switching to those high-tech app-based machines.
The benefits of mobile card readers are many. They are fast and efficient. You can keep track of your sales, product stock, returning customers, and many more with mobile card readers. App connectivity permits payments on the go. Almost all types of payment methods are supported by these devices. They can also be integrated with POS systems.
There are lots of things to know about mobile card readers and card payments. In this article, I will explain what is card processing and how the device providers play a role in this. I will also discuss the differences between mobile card readers and traditional card terminals. Lastly, I will explore the benefits of mobile card readers for your business. Let’s start!
What is Credit Card Processing?
Credit card processing is a complex procedure. There are several parties associated with the process. The card provider, the issuer bank, the merchant bank, the processing device, etc. Each of them has their role to play. When a specific card is swiped or inserted, the machine reads the information stored on the card.
The processor then contacts the bank via the payment network such as Visa, MasterCard, or any other. The payment is then authorized and sent to the merchant’s bank account. Every party associated charges a fee. The processing company has its fee for each transaction.
This fee is universal and there is no other way. The fee is charged as the price of delivering necessary equipment to process the payment, no matter the card type. This is constant for credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, mobile payments, etc.
When getting the card reader device, make sure the transaction speed is fast and their rates are transparent.
Traditional Terminals vs Mobile Card Readers
You might be wondering why use a mobile card reader rather than a traditional credit card terminal. Let’s talk about their differences:
Traditional Card Terminals
Traditional card terminals are the first in the line of the latest credit card readers. Although they are called credit card terminals, they can process both credit and debit cards provided by a specific card provider. If a machine supports Visa cards only, it can process both debit and credit cards provided by the Visa network.
They are usually bulky and connected to the card associations network by the internet. Some advanced machines are integrated with the POS system of a store so the daily sales amounts are automatically recorded. These devices have no other features. They can only process cards for payments and that’s it.
Mobile Card Readers
Mobile card readers do the same thing, but they have far more features than traditional card terminals. These devices are fast so processing takes no time. They are connected to a smartphone and integrated with an app. Mobile card readers have many features that help your business such as keeping sales records, contactless payment, etc.
Mobile card readers support almost any card type or payment type there is. Credit and debit cards, gift cards, contactless payments, app payments like Google pay, Apple pay; almost all of the payment methods that are in vogue can be processed with mobile card readers.
This is highly beneficial for your business as you won’t have to reject any customer. You can also take payments with your smartphone instead of the card reader. This feature is particularly helpful in-home delivery services.
Benefits of Using Mobile Card Readers
A mobile card reader can boost your business due to its unique features that aren’t available on traditional terminals. Let’s break down the benefits of having a mobile card reader for your business:
Transactions in your store can now process at lightning fast speeds. If you have ever shopped at Costco, you know what I mean. Cash payments used to take quite some time. Taking the bill, calculating, and returning the change takes time. Although it’s not that much, considering how much time you can cut down by card payment, this seems a lot. Mobile card readers are way faster than traditional card terminals.
These card readers use the latest technology and superfast chips. they are faster than old card readers. Swiping or inserting cards have never been easier. Plus, the card readers have lots of extra features so you won’t have to use several other devices for one transaction. You can add the funds to your daily sales, print receipt, track your daily sales from just one device.
Using mobile card readers reduces waiting time for your customers which means you can now treat more customers at a time than before.
Card payments always leave a footmark. And there’s no better way to keep records of customers than following the footmarks. When a customer pays by credit, debit, or any other card, the merchant bank, and the payment network become able to keep track of that customer. As a result, your entire customer base gets tabbed.
You can keep records for both your and your customer’s benefit. For customers who purchase on a monthly basis, you can keep track of their purchases and remind them from time to time. You can use the same record for restocking that particular item. The card reader and the payment network do an excellent job of keeping that record.
Mobile credit card readers are integrated with their app so you won’t need any separate app to keep records. You can see which customers buy which products, the amount, the quantity they purchase per month; all of it from the app. Now you can remind your gym goer customer to get their protein powder or protein bar before running out.
Many small retailers do not accept any form of card payment. This adversely affects their business because this interiorizes the business in the customer’s eyes. Anyone entering the store, seeing the logos of visa, MasterCard, American Express instills a sense of trust and dependency in the customers.
Having mobile card readers also means each of your sales is being tracked and taxes are being paid accordingly. So, your business isn’t anything sketchy. This makes the customers believe in you. Your consumers feel confident and consider you trustworthy when you have multiple payment options available.
So, it is especially important for small retail businesses. Growing the business that you just started is a bit difficult. Availing mobile card readers for card payments can promote your business.
Increases Customer Base
Opting for card payment shall increase your customer base by default. And when you have a mobile card reader or two at your business, it changes the shape of your business. People tend to talk about anything that they like. When your customers find convenient payment options at your store, they’re sure to talk about it with others.
Using mobile card readers attracts more people because the technology is relatively new. Still many stores and small businesses use those old, bulky card terminals with which you can take payments and nothing else. Having the technology and announcing that at your storefront shall have a far-reaching effect.
In the case of bars or restaurants, you can take the portable device to each customer and take payment. When they see the convenience of your store, they will suggest it to other potential customers. Thus, your store will have more customers every day if everything goes right.
Although card payments are fairly contactless, there are completely contactless payment options available in case of low amounts. Mobile card readers have the feature to take contactless payment whereas traditional terminals don’t.
Generally, you will have to swipe the card or insert the card into the machine and then insert your signature or code to verify the payment. Signature is more popular inside the US and PIN code is popular in countries outside the US.
In contactless payment, you will simply have to wave the card in front of a digital display. This is enough for the display to read your card’s information. You will receive a one-time password (OTP) on your phone. Insert the code to verify the payment and there you have it. Traditional card terminals don’t have this feature.
Great for Small Business
As I stated earlier, having a mobile card reader in your store attracts more customers. While big retail chains already have their customer base, it’s more important for beginners to achieve the trust of their clients and slowly build up a customer base. When customers feel the convenience of the payment procedure, they automatically start to trust the business.
Big brands have online stores, Facebook ad campaigns, flyer distribution, etc. to boost their business. As an owner of a small business, you don’t have those luxuries. The least you can do is get a mobile card reader for a variety of payments such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express as well as contactless payment options.
This is also great for home delivery services as you can take payments on the go. Customers won’t have to use cash even if they order from home. This facility separates the mobile card readers from numerous other options.
Mobile card readers take credit card payments, debit card payments, gift card payments. You can use those cards to either swipe or insert to the reader. It depends on the type of cheap you have. Either magnetic stripe or more advanced EMV chips, the mobile card readers can take both.
Customers can also go for contactless payment where they won’t have to swipe the card. Just waving the card in front of a display does the job of reading the card information. In the age of Covid-19, this has become particularly popular with restaurants and retailers.
The point I’m trying to make is that there are so many payment options that come with this device that no customer will have to refrain from buying due to the limitation of cash in their wallet. They can pay via whatever they want. This automatically increases your sales.
No Need to Maintain Physical Cash Registers
With mobile card readers, you can say goodbye to cash register machines. This machine is usually attached to a point of sale and has a keypad and a drawer for cash. The drawer only opens and closes after payment entries.
These machines are pricey and need operating skills. Taking cash and counting the change fast and efficiently requires practice and experience. Maintaining cash registers requires an extra pair of skilled hands. This increases your expenses both on the cash register purchase and the salary of employees.
So having mobile card readers is doing you two favors. Taking payments is fast and easy. Secondly, it’s cutting the costs of having extra manpower.
Convenient Seller-Customer Interaction
Interacting with your customers has never been easier. Mobile card readers automatically print a receipt or you can mail them if you want. This increases friendly interactions between the customer and the store. And also, this automatically does the job of email marketing. You can reach your customers with new offers through email.
Take Payment Anywhere
Mobile card readers are particularly useful due to their mobility. The device is connected to a cell phone and can be operated by the corresponding app. Because of this feature, you can take payments on the go, anywhere. In bars or restaurants where there are separate tables, you can go to each customer for their convenience.
For grocery shops or any other shop that delivers to customer’s homes, the mobile payment feature brings great comfort to both parties. You can take your cell phone with you and give it to the customer. He can then enter the required card information to make the payment.
You won’t have to be near anything or a base station. All you need is an internet connection and you are all good.
How to Pick the Right Mobile Card Reader for Your Business
As mobile card readers are fairly new to the market, it can be difficult to know which product is right for you. Let’s take a look at what to look for when purchasing a mobile card reader:
EMV Card Support
Cards back in the day used to have a magnetic stripe. You would have to swipe the card to make any payment. Magnetic stripe stores the data of a card. EMV chips are the metallic chip that you see on SIM cards. Card with an EMV chip has to be inserted vertically and needs to remain inserted during the whole procedure.
EMV chips are way more secure than a magnetic stripe. Magstripe cards can be easily duplicated but EMV cards can’t be. EMV cards save both the customer and the merchant from fraudulent activities. In case of an unauthorized use, the card provider bears the financial liabilities, not the consumer. Due to these features, more cards now use EMV chips.
So, make sure the device you are getting supports EMV cards. You can take a look at the Clover devices as they are excellent in features and build quality.
NFC is the short form of near-field contact. Office or private facilities issue cards that need to be waved in front of a display to read the card. That technology is NFC technology. This technology is pivotal for contactless payments. Both in the case of card payment or app payments like Apple pay, Google pay.
This is an advanced feature and not many card readers use this feature. You would want to have this feature on your device as it will make things more convenient for your customers.
There’s no point in getting a mobile card reader if the interface is too complex. The whole point of these card readers is the ease of use. So, look for devices that are easy to use and can be operated by anyone. The device has to be easy to install and use. The divide also must be fast for fast payments.
Device security is also an issue. Make sure the device is certified for the safety of your clients and your credibility as a merchant.
The manufacturers charge a fee for each transaction. This is universal and every provider charges a fee no matter where you live. Your goal should be getting the most competitive rates. The Clover card readers are mostly known for their cheap rates that are good for any small merchants.
Their website clearly states every type of fee that they charge with rates. So, you know from the get-go that there are no hidden fees. The reason I recommend them is that their machines and their fees both combined turn out to be far more consumer-friendly than any provider in the market.