No matter if you run a small business or a large-scale company, you want to give your customers numerous payment options. Doing so helps ensure that you complete a sale. Failure to accept debit and credit card payments can impact your bottom line significantly

To accept debit cards and credit cards, you need to have payment processing machines. These machines include the physical card readers to chip read or swipe the credit cards themselves – or to accept tap and pay cards or Apple Pay — and the associated software to process the payment on the backend. 

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about credit card machines. This complete guide for businesses will cover the different types of machines available, what to consider when choosing one, and how much they cost. By the end of this article, you should have a much better idea of which credit card processor is right for your company. 

What Are Credit Card Machines

Credit card machines are devices used to process debit card and credit card payments. They are also referred to as: 

  • Payment terminals
  • Point-of-sale system (also known as a POS system) 
  • Credit card terminals 

Credit card machines are responsible for scanning the card, authenticating it, and transmitting data to the associated processing software. During the authentication process, the terminal ensures that the card is not expired, stolen, or damaged. 

Doing so protects you as the merchant, ensuring that you receive funds for the transaction and do not give away your goods or services for free. Should the card be declined, you can cancel the sale. 

Another type of machine is a virtual terminal. A virtual terminal allows you to process credit card transactions without the card being physically present — either online or over the phone. Nadapayments offers a virtual terminal as part of its credit card processing solution.

How to Choose a Credit Card Machine 

Credit card machine: A woman pays at a clothing store with a credit card

Not all credit card readers are the same, and the one that you choose will impact the checkout experience for your customers. There are a few factors that you’ll want to consider so that you can choose the processing terminal that best meets your customer’s needs.

Below are some of the main criteria that you should consider when choosing a credit card machine for your business. 

Connectivity Options 

There are different connectivity options for these terminals that merchants need to be aware of. When a transaction goes out, it connects to a host for verification, so a credit card machine will need to connect to the internet to do that. Many of today’s terminals connect via a cell phone network or Wi-Fi, which means retailers can process transactions from anywhere. There are also some card readers that connect to the internet via ethernet

Payment Options 

Different terminals also accept credit cards in different ways. At the most basic level, your credit card terminal should have a pin pad. Customers looking to use a debit card will need to enter their four-digit PIN on a keypad to process the transaction. 

Next, you need to make sure that customers can swipe their cards. Every debit and credit card has a magnetic stripe on the back. Your terminal needs to be able to read this magstripe, which contains the card information and prompts the authentication process. This is required for both debit and credit card payments

​Though magstripes are the minimum standard, you may also want to consider accepting EMV chip cards. Instead of swiping, customers “dip” the EMV chip into the terminal. EMV chips create a unique transaction code for each purchase and are designed to be more secure than standard magstripes

EMV cards have become more popular, but not every card has one which is why a magstripe reader is still required. Additionally, if the terminal can’t read the chip for some reason, the customer can then still swipe the card for payment. 

Another feature that has grown in popularity over the past few years is the ability to accept contactless payments. With contactless payments, customers don’t need to swipe or insert their card. Instead, they can tap their card to the terminal. 

Taking this even one step further, customers don’t even need to carry credit cards anymore. Instead, they can upload their information into a mobile credit card wallet, like Apple Pay or Google Pay. 

When it’s time to pay, the customer selects which card to use and then holds their phone up to the terminal. As long as your terminal has near-field communication (NFC) technology, it will accept the payment from the mobile phone. NFC devices have exploded in popularity and could be particularly useful for health care providers, where customers may not want to put their fingers on a physical payment terminal

Security

Today’s customers are more conscious of their personal information than ever. Security is of the utmost concern. At the very least, you need to make sure that you are PCI-compliant. PCI is short for the Payment Card Industry. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council sets Data Security Standards (DSS). 

The DSS seeks to protect both merchants and customers. All merchants who accept debit or credit card information are required to be PCI-compliant. Many of the best credit card machines and software meet these requirements, but it’s worth double-checking to verify that this is indeed the case. 

Accepted Credit Cards 

You’ll also want to look at which cards your machine and credit card processor will accept. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards, though Discover and American Express (Amex) have made strides and become more popular over the past few years. For example, of those merchants in the United States who take credit cards, 99% now accept American Express. The total number of merchants accepting Amex in the United States grew from 3.7 million in 2014 to 10.6 million in 2019.  

The more options you give your customers, the more likely you are to complete a sale. For example, if you don’t accept American Express and a customer only has an American Express card, you will need to cancel the sale. Ensuring that you can accept all major forms of payment is worth considering when implementing your credit card processing system. 

Similarly, if your business has gift cards, you’ll want to make sure that you can accept and process these as well. You can usually set up credit card machines to do this. 

Costs 

The price of a physical credit card machine often ranges between $200 and $1,000. This does not include any software required to run transactions. However, you can find high-quality credit card processing terminals and software for as low as $35 per month.

The Best Credit Card Processing Machine Available 

If your business is looking for a machine that makes it easy to accept debit and credit card payments, look no further than Nadapayments. Nadapayments provides merchants with a Wi-Fi-enabled EMV Quick Chip machine for in-person transactions. The machine can accept: 

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay 
  • Contactless payments  

Merchants also receive access to a virtual terminal that can be used for online transactions or for taking payments over the phone. In addition, the Nadapayments mobile app provides you with a mobile point-of-sale system that you can take with you anywhere.  

Because Nadapayments offers a unified payment experience, you’ll be able to easily track all your transactions from either the app on the credit card machine or from the virtual terminal — no matter how you accepted the payment.

Pricing for a Nadapayments terminal is only $35 per month — with no hidden costs or fees. On top of that, when you use Nadapayments, you’ll save money on processing fees.

Typically, businesses are required to pay processing fees whenever a customer uses a credit card. These fees are approximately 3.5% of every transaction.

But with Nadapayments’ surcharge program, these costs are passed onto the customer when they choose to pay with a credit card. Customers can avoid the extra fee by choosing to pay with cash or a debit card instead.

Nadapayments even provides merchants with the signage required to convey this information to customers.

Use a Credit Card Machine for Your Business 

A customer uses contactless payment at a coffee shop

As a business owner, you want to have numerous options for accepting payments. Limiting your customers to cash-only transactions can cut down on your ability to complete sales. It’s important that you accept both credit and debit cards as well. To do this, you need to have a card processing terminal. 

There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing a credit card machine. A Wi-Fi-equipped machine allows you to complete transactions anywhere with an internet connection. EMV-equipped terminals ensure your customer’s information is protected. 

The best credit card machine available today is through Nadapayments. Nadapayments is not only affordable, but it will save you money on your bottom line. When you sign up, you receive all of the equipment and signage you need. Getting started is simple, so get in touch with us today.