When you decide to accept credit cards, one of the first important decisions you’ll make is to choose the type of processing equipment that works best for your business. There are more choices than ever — and that’s good news for businesspeople like you.
Do you own a brick-and-mortar business? That’s an operation where your customers come to you and physically purchase products or pay for services right there. If so, your best choice is a point-of-sale terminal. Customers can swipe their cards and pay on the spot. You can choose wired models that stay on the counter — an excellent choice for traditional retail stores — or you may prefer a wireless model that lets you swipe the customer’s card away from your counter — a good choice for restaurants or stores where lines tend to build quickly. Both options offer different sizes and some come complete with a receipt printer.
What if you do business with customers by mail or phone? Then you’ll want to use a virtual terminal. This is a computer-based application that lets you process a customer’s purchase by entering their card number yourself and sending it to your processor; you can also keep track of purchases and customize reports about your card business. Virtual terminals work through the Internet and can generally be accessed through any web-connected device. If you do business online, you’ll also need a payment gateway. This application works with your business website and lets customers shop, check out and confirm their purchases, with card information sent directly through the virtual terminal to your processor. Many virtual terminals include built-in payment gateways.
If you do business off-site, you’ll want to use a mobile payment app. These apps let you use a smart phone or tablet to process payments on the go. They’re perfect for contractors, caterers, field management professionals and other business owners who take business directly to their customers. You can hand-key the card information or use an attachable device that lets you swipe the card and possibly get lower processing rates.
Many business owners find that a combination of all these types of equipment offer the most convenient and economical solutions. But whatever you choose, the best decision you can make is to work with a payment processor that offers you choices, support and all the information you need. Then you can be confident that the equipment you decide to use will help you save money and grow your business.