Credit Card

Credit Card Readers

Everyone knows what a credit card reader is. Or at least you know where you can find one.

Every store, every gas station, every establishment who accepts credit cards as a form of payment has one.

Even people who don’t have or don’t use a credit card could tell you what they look like.

A credit card reader does just this: reads your credit card when you purchase goods or services.

There are three types of readers which most companies use.

The first is a fixed reader where the swiper is attached to the POS system. The clerk takes the customer’s card and swipes it through the reader.

Credit card readers - screen on a stand with a credit card in the swiper

Second is mobile credit card readers which attach to cell phones or tablets as an external attachment. These have a magnetic stripe reader and the credit card is swiped through the same as the fixed reader.

Credit card readers - Man swiping a credit card through a terminal plugged into his mobile phone

The third is a payment terminal with a built in keypad. These terminals have the card swiper and a chip card reader built in to one keypad.

One of the newest features on these credit card readers is the chip card reader on payment terminals. Credit card companies are issuing safer-than-ever chip-embedded credit cards.

They’re safer not because they advise you against spending when you don’t have the money 😉 but because they are much harder for credit card fraudsters to steal.

These chip card readers require the user to insert the EMV chip side of the card into a slot on the payment terminal to authorize their purchase. The slot is usually on the front portion of the payment terminal, just below the keypad.

Why are these readers so important for you?

Well, if you’re like every other business owner in the 21st century, you understand how important it is to accommodate your guests in any way you can.

The majority of guests who walk through your doors pay with a credit card. Yes, a lot of people still pay with cash, but those same people usually still have a credit card and still use it for a lot of purchases.

If you’ve ever traveled across the country and have made stops at one of thousands of very small towns in America, chances are you may have come across a small diner or shop who only accepts cash payments. While this might not present many problems for that business with the locals, it would not work nearly as well in a more populated area or a big city.

Big city living is fast paced and everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere. The quicker they can go into a store, grab whatever they need, and get back on the road the better. Paying with a credit card makes more sense because it is much quicker than paying with cash. And it’s less to carry.

Fumbling through your pockets, your purse, your wallet, trying to find the right amount of cash and then having to wait for the clerk to make change are all precious moments which could be spent on more important things.

While you can choose not to install or use a credit card reader, I would then ask: how will you accept money? I’d also ask: how realistic is it to not have a credit card reader?

Some people still pay with cash or check, but you’re going to lose the lion’s share of your business if you’re not allowing your guests to pay by card.

The question isn’t, “should I get a credit card reader?” It’s, “which one should I get?”

They are as important for your business success as anything. If you don’t accept credit cards, you don’t accept money. Imagine someone trying to hand you cash and you say, “No, we don’t take that.”

Never going to happen!

If they are anything like me (a former check writer) they got very comfortable with the ease of paying with a credit card and now dread having to write out a check and wait for the approval process to complete. While they may only carry around their checkbooks as emergency backup, they secretly hope that they never actually have to use them.

The moral of the story is: if you want to provide the best service for your guests and the best payment options for them, you need to accept credit card payments.

Credit card readers vary in price but there are affordable options for you. A good reader, with a great POS, for instance, is a wise investment!

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