6 of the Best Credit Card Processing Machines for Merchants
As a small business owner, you may have already realized how quickly credit card processing costs add up. Your point-of-sale system is the last leg of your customer’s shopping journey. It’s also what you use to accept card payments or other payment methods.
As such, one of the most important factors that determine what you pay for credit card processing is your choice of credit card processing machine. With only 19% of customers still using cash as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s important to choose the right credit card terminal for your small business.
To help you with that, we’ve put together some of our top picks for credit card terminals that are most suited for SMBs. Along with that, we’ll also discuss how they work, the different types, and what you should consider when choosing one for your business.
Let’s get started.
The Best Credit Card Processing Machines for Small Businesses
There are so many options for payment processing equipment that it can be hard to lock down a single solution. Every retail store is different and has unique requirements. Here are six of the most popular credit card processing machines for you to choose from.
1. Ingenico Desk 5000
The Ingenico 5000 is a mobile card reader that accepts a wide range of payment options. These include NFC couponing, EMV Chip & PIN, Swipe & Sign, and contactless transactions. It’s PCI compliant, too, so you never have to worry about customer data security. The Ingenico Desk 5000 is just one of the many top-rated credit card machines Payment Depot offers for integrated payments.
2. Clover Mini
It’s easy to see why the Clover Mini is one of the top-rated machines on Payment Depot’s website. It’s one of the most compact, intuitive POS stations on the market. It’s compatible with a bevy of in-demand apps for things like orders, scheduling, reporting, employees, and more. The Clover goes beyond card transactions to support an entirely integrated retail store.
3. Clover Flex
The Clover Flex is a mobile credit card reader. It supports a wide range of payment types, including swipe payments, debit cards, NFCs (like PayPal), and more. This little handheld reader also offers next-level security features such as data tokenization, end-to-end encryption as well as integrated EMV chip sensors and fingerprint logins. Payment Depot has competitive pricing on the Clover Flex.
4. Verifone VX 520
The Verifone VX520 is a countertop EMV chip terminal. It can work with a dial-up or Ethernet connection, which makes it great if you have limited connectivity options. The Verifone VX is not a full POS system, just an EMV chip card swiper for Visa, Mastercard, etc. It’s a mid-tier priced processor and will run you anywhere between $99 to $600, depending on the features you purchase.
5. PAX A80
The PAX A80 is a great option if a lot of your customers use Android phones or your store uses an Android-based app. You can use it to add Android capabilities to your terminal with a simple keypad and magnetic swipe reader. Payment Depot offers the PAX A80 to equip our customers with additional payment processing capabilities.
6. Dejavoo Z11
The Dejavoo Z11 is considered a standard terminal, but its capabilities go far beyond basic features. With built-in EMV, NFC contactless payments, and mobile payment capabilities, this card processor is similar to First Data. It comes with similar pricing as the First Data FV150 too (around $180 to $400). Payment Depot offers both Dejavoo and First Data payment terminals.
How Do Credit Card Machines Work?
The science behind credit card processing can feel pretty abstract, so let’s break it down. Credit card machines fulfill a wide range of functions — from taking payments with basic swipe cards and EMV chip payments, all the way to customer data collection.
Even though modern point-of-sale machines can get pretty advanced, their basic function is to process customer payments at checkout. When customers make credit card payments, funds are transferred from their bank or card company to the merchant’s bank account.
You may use a full-size POS system on a countertop or a virtual terminal that fulfills your business needs. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and just need a simple magstripe reader.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to find the right credit card processing machine for your unique business needs. Choose the machine that gives you the functionality your small business needs, without charging for features you’ll never use.
Our purpose at Payment Depot is to remove the frustration from traditional credit card processing and charge you ultra low, flat rate processing fees. We do this by selling cheap monthly subscriptions that fit your needs and reduce card processing costs.
Credit Card Processing Companies
Every card processing company incurs the same charges from the major credit cards like VISA, Mastercard, etc. each time they are used. Each company, in turn, then creates its own processing bundles and sells them to businesses. The bundles typically include processing equipment and transaction fees. In addition, contracts and various other fees are required.
Payment Depot offers three membership levels to accommodate credit care activity of small or large businesses. There are no contracts, no hidden fees, no cancellation fees, and the subscription level may be changed at any time.
Regardless of the credit card processor, cards are processed in the following manner:
1. Card Reading Terminals
At the time of sale, card reading terminals read the magnetic strips on credit cards or the microchip on smart cards. An encrypted binary code on the card contains the name, account number and other information about the user. This information is combined with the transaction amount, date, description and all other necessary information. If it’s a password-protected smart card, a password will need to be entered as well.
2. Information Transferred to Network
When the sale information is collected, the terminal dials a number or communicates to a server online, and the information is transmitted at high speed through telephone or networking lines to Visa, MasterCard, Discover or AMEX. When the data reaches its destination, it is decoded, and the information is forwarded to the issuing banks.
3. Banks Approve or Reject Transaction
The bank’s computer checks credit limits, expiration date, card reported lost or stolen and other factors to validate the purchase. If the purchase is approved, the response is returned to the terminal, and a receipt is printed. If the purchase is rejected, additional information may be requested, or another means of payment required.Transactions are usually processed in batches, and funds are transferred to the bank the following business day.
Internet, telephone and mail orders are similarly processed after the operator enters the information manually, rather than swiping the card’s magnetic strip or plugging in its micro chip.
Credit card processing is completed at high speed. Transactions are approved or rejected instantaneously using high speed telephone lines or digital communication lines. State of the art encryption and other security techniques are used to protect the integrity of the data from start to finish.
What Are the Different Types of Credit Card Processing Machines?
The functions of credit card processing machines run the gamut. As technology evolves, many retailers are opting to add functionalities to their countertop terminals. Advanced features like inventory tracking often require WiFi connectivity. Many retailers opt for advanced features to get a leg up on the competition.
However, using a machine with a credit card reader that can also work offline is insurance. There will never come a time when you can’t ring up a sale. Let’s take a look at four of the most common categories of credit card processing machines.
1. Mobile Credit Card Readers
What’s the best thing about this type of credit card reader? It doesn’t require a physical internet connection to process mobile payments. Instead, mobile card readers connect to Bluetooth or the mobile phone network to process transactions. Mobile credit card readers are also called wireless terminals. They have the advantage of mobility –– employees in different areas of the store can ring up customers.
2. Countertop EMV Credit Card Terminals
These are the most traditional forms of credit card processing machines. They can be used to process credit and debit card transactions, as well as gift cards. As you may guess from the name, EMV chip terminals often sit on a countertop. They have all of the basic POS functions –– credit card processing, keypad, display reader, etc.
The addition of EMV chip capabilities means that customers don’t have to incur the security risk of swipe transactions. Some new terminals even come equipped with NFC (near field communication) technology to process touchless transactions.
3. Integrated Point-Of-Sale Systems
These are the POS machines that can do it all. Your POS system becomes “integrated” once you link it to your payment processing company. All of your customer’s payment information is automatically sent to your solution provider. This reduces the risk of human error throughout the payment process.
4. Virtual Terminals
If you don’t want to mess with a physical card reader, then virtual terminals might be the best option. Virtual terminals are online checkouts where customers enter their card information to process the transaction. Cash isn’t a payment option with virtual terminals for obvious reasons. There is no physical pin pad, but your customers can use a credit card, Apple Pay, gift cards, etc. to pay for transactions.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Credit Card Machine?
Your unique business needs are the most important factor when deciding between credit card processing machines. Another key point to consider is the connection opportunities available at your physical location. Many POS functionalities require more than dial-up internet, so consider the following:
- Do you need and have access to Ethernet connectivity?
- What about WiFi?
- Can your card reader function offline?
Write down the exact functionalities you need from your payment terminal and merchant account. Use that list as a baseline in your search for the perfect credit card processing machine.
Moving Forward With Your Credit Card Processing Machine
To implement an integrated POS system, you’ll often need to choose from the terminals offered by your payment processing company. This can give you less freedom of choice and price point flexibility than other options.
However, leasing a terminal for merchant services comes with its own challenges. For one, you have to check up on the PCI compliance of each machine. Then you have to worry about integrations with your current software and hardware. Not to mention the substantial fee of leasing a machine.
Payment Depot has every terminal your business needs to get paid easily and cost-effectively. Connect with our award-winning sales reps today to learn how your business can save $400 a month on credit card processing.