How to accept credit and debit card payments

Digital payments are now the default option for customers, with many turning their backs on paying by cash entirely.

Whether your customers choose to pay by card or their phone, using contactless methods or ‘payment wallet’ options, it’s vital that businesses can take payments wherever and whenever they are operating.

What you need

There are a lot of products on the market to take card payments, but the main equipment you will need is a card reader, or multiple card readers.

That might be a countertop terminal (ideal for premises with a fixed payment point), a portable device to take payments anywhere within your premises (useful for restaurants and larger venues) or fully mobile card readers (a must-have to take payments if your business is mobile).

Most businesses will require a card reader with the options of chip and pin, as well as contactless payments, although if your transactions are always likely to be low value, a reader only offering contactless may suffice.

You will usually then need the software to accompany the card reader. An increasingly popular option now is a simple app download which will allow you to manage transactions on your smartphone or tablet.

Staying connected

To use your device to take card and other payments, you’ll need a communications connection. If you’re using a fixed device, that can be as simple as a phone or internet line.

The more mobile your card reader is, the more reliant you will be on wireless connections to take your payments.

A good mobile card reader will give you a reliable connection anywhere there is 3G/4G or wi-fi.

Things to think about

It’s really worth comparing different products when you have a clear idea of what you will need to use your card reader for. As well as simply taking payments, some products offer insights and payment data so you can track sales more effectively.

Be realistic as to how tech savvy you are – there’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple – both for the card reader and the software or app you use alongside it.

Check your card reader itself has the battery life, security features and speed that you need. If you’re making an investment, it may be worth making sure you can take more than just credit and debit card payments, such as Apple and android device payments.

Cost it up

Of course, cost will be a big consideration. As with many financial products, think about the long-term costs as well as the set-up fees.

Hiring equipment may make more sense for your business and help you manage fixed costs, although purchasing equipment may work out cheaper over a longer time-frame if the technology holds out.

Have a realistic idea about how many payments you are likely to take so that you can compare transaction fees too.

London & Zurich provide card payments services to tailor most businesses no matter what size they are. To find how we can help contact our team today on 0121 234 7999.

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