If you are opening a small brick and mortar retail or service business, you have a lot to consider before doing so. Financing to open your store, suppliers for the goods you intend to sell, advertising to draw in clients, establishing an online presence to boost your traffic and sales; the list is nearly endless.
Being able to accept payments is somewhere on that list. After all, if you cannot accept payments, you cannot receive money for your services and hard work. It may not be at the top of the list, but it is not the most difficult piece of equipment to acquire. When you are ready to start your search for payment devices, this quick guide can help.
The vast majority of the world uses credit cards; it is the number one method of making payments. Compiled below are the best credit card readers available on the market, and why they are beneficial to your small business.
Method of Accepting Payments
There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to picking out the best credit card reader for your business. Consider them carefully before purchasing or signing up for one. Before you do, you need to decide what form the card reader will take. You know your business, you know your goals. Choose the method first, then go for the card reader.
Is your business going to be a retail store with a lot of products available? If so, you may be buying a full scale POS system. This would include all of the hardware: the register drawer, register monitor, receipt printer, barcode scanner (on some systems), and credit card terminal. This is an all-in-one system that you may benefit from. They are much higher in price but everything you need is there.
● Credit Card Terminals
These are stand alone readers you could mount to a countertop. These could be used for service-based businesses or lower volume retail sales. Some models may have built-in printers for receipts.
● Mobile Credit Card Readers
Mobile card readers are becoming increasingly popular among small businesses. They are inexpensive, sometimes free, and flexible in terms of device connectivity. These types of card readers will plug directly into a cell phone headphone jack or the USB port on a tablet, allowing anyone to accept credit card payments.
● Virtual Terminals and Software
There are a handful of software applications and websites that allow you to process credit cards through your computer and Internet connections. These may be good services to utilize, you will just have to be cautious with online security.
Best Card Readers
Once you know what method your business will be using, you can then decide which card reader is best for you. Below are some of the best card readers on the market for each method.
● Lightspeed Retail
If you are that retail store with a large number of SKUs (stock keeping unit), then this may be the best option. Not only does this POS system come with all of the hardware you would require to run your business, the software supports the hardware perfectly.
For this system, the credit card reader is included. Lightspeed gives you the ability to choose the credit card processing company. This allows you to shop around for the best terms from each company. This system is fairly inexpensive and is paid monthly, starting at $99. Since you are not having to purchase a POS system outright, you can reinvest some of that saved money back into your business.
The Ingenico ICT250 has several features that make it one of the best stand alone credit card terminals on the market. This reader not only accepts magstripe and EMV chip payments, it also can accept contactless payments. The Ingenico gives the customer the option to print receipts, and allows you to print a variety of reports from the terminal.
● Square Chip Card Reader
This credit card reader is considered one of the best among the mobile card readers. It is extremely inexpensive at only $29. This can be a great option for sellers of small wares or service providers such as mobile auto mechanics to take payments on the go.
This card reader plugs directly into the headphone jack of a tablet or cell phone, making it plug and play once you download the Square app. It also accepts both magstripe payments and credit cards with EMV chips built in.
For virtual terminals, Square is your top choice if your business has both a physical location and an ecommerce or online business. It has the most options for the two types of businesses. In terms of credit card processing, the fees are less expensive, compared to its top competitors Payline and PayPal.
If you have a strictly online business, then this ecommerce giant may be your best option. This company has some of the lowest transaction fees, as low as just 2.7%. It also backs up its name with security on every transaction, protecting your clients’ personal information.