WHICH CREDIT CARD TERMINAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS?                                                5 ESSENTIALS FOR A SMART CHOI...
What features should you insist on?The main features to look for when choosing your PDQ machine include the following:    ...
EPoS Chip and PIN                                                   Electronic Point of Sale systems are integrated busine...
Modem   •   Card terminals now come with a range of connection options, with some offering both GPRS and Bluetooth or     ...
The potential advantages smart phone terminals are enormous:   • Sales assistants equipped with the device could take paym...
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How to choose your Credit Card Terminal


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A quick and dirty guide on how to go about when choosing a solution for accepting card payments for your business.


Useful tips on how to choose your Credit Card Terminal and what you should pay attention to when choosing your supplier.

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How to choose your Credit Card Terminal

  1. 1. WHICH CREDIT CARD TERMINAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS? 5 ESSENTIALS FOR A SMART CHOICEFirst a few facts: more than 165 million payment cards (credit, debit, charge and ATM) werein circulation in the UK at the end of 2011, for a population of 60-65 million souls. Sixty-twopercent of UK adults possessed a credit or charge card, and a whopping 90 percent had adebit card.So it’s safe to say that card payments are an undeniable fact oflife in the UK. Your local chemist and even the cornernewsagent are joining the ranks of retailers offering customersthe convenience and security of debit and credit card paymentfor everyday items. If you want to keep your customers coming,you clearly need a card payment terminal. In order to make aproper choice for your particular business, you’ll just need tokeep a few basic facts in mind.1) KNOW YOUR P-D-Q’sMost card terminals run on PDQ technology (“Parallel Data Query” or “Process Data Quickly”), which breaks down thetransaction validation query into pieces so that several parts of it can be searched simultaneously. PDQ terminals speedcard transaction processing, with most terminals able to process a payment in less than six seconds. They can beconnected or wireless, using IP, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or GPRS to query the merchant bank to authorize a transaction.PDQ machines can run off business broadband or a mobile network at no extra cost for connection. Using businessbroadband also means the number of PDQ machines in use can be increased without additional cost during busyperiods. This offers a big advantage to hospitality and leisure businesses that take payments from customers at tables orat multiple locations on their premises.Where can you use a PDQ machine?Being able to process card payments within seconds can help boost customer traffic and sales. PDQ machines are welladapted to several transaction markets: • Trade fairs and exhibitions • Hotels, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, ice food stalls, bars and clubs • Outdoor businesses such as gardening centres, markets, beach sellers and kiosks • Small retailers like newsagents, sandwich bars and beauty parlours • Sole traders like hairdressers and beauticians, and trades people like plumbers or electricians
  2. 2. What features should you insist on?The main features to look for when choosing your PDQ machine include the following: • A thermal printer for fast printing • Abbreviated credit card numbers on receipts for added security • A long-life battery with charging dock option • Fast recharging (under an hour, preferably), plus an in-car battery charger • Chip and PIN technology for added security • Fast merchant processing services – e.g., payments within three working daysOther options • “Wave-and-pay” processing technology for transactions under £15 • Optional Bluetooth technology to enable you to connect to a PDA • Cheque warranty add-on (e.g., TRANSAX) • A capability to integrate into other payment systems such as EPoS or countertop terminals • Hosted merchant accounts with Web reporting for automatic transaction logging2) CHIP AND PIN SECURITYChip and PIN refers to the EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa)smartcard payment system for debit, credit and ATM cards.“Chip” refers to a computer chip embedded in the card, and“PIN” stands for the Personal Identification Number thecustomer must supply to confirm his or her identity as theowner of the card. Chip and PIN technology began to replacesignatures as a validation method in 2004, and has sinceexpanded to become a ubiquitous payment solution in UKshops.What types of Chip and PIN terminals are available?Chip and PIN card machines for small business may includefixed-countertop and mobile solutions which can operate atrestaurants or multi-site business premises. Chip and PINtechnology evolves continuously, and you have severaloptions for a payment terminal that provides a flexible cardprocessing solution that will save your business both time and money.Contactless Chip and PINContactless terminals are typically used to process sales under £15. They use wave-and-pay technology, with thecustomer simply holding the card in front of the reader which registers the transaction in seconds. This can speed upyour business’s small transactions volume.Fixed countertop Chip and PINCountertop payment terminals have become small and compact, meaning that SMEs with limited counter space cannow deal with a wide range of payments at checkout without having to hire extra staff. The rapidity of these readersensures a fast turnaround and helps prevent impatient customers from walking out before making their purchase.
  3. 3. EPoS Chip and PIN Electronic Point of Sale systems are integrated business solutions that can be linked to other business software such as CRM, stock control and security systems. By integrating all aspects of an SME into one business solution, EPoS does the work of several employees – reducing payroll costs – and also logs and cross-references data automatically. Mobile (GPRS) Chip and PIN Mobile card payment terminals are essential to small or home offices, telephone order businesses, sole traders, and SMEs workingin open-air environments. The reader uses mobile technology or is connected to a mobile phone using a virtual (hosted)merchant service. Mobile readers can be charged in a vehicle or using a dock. They are capable of processing up to 300transactions on a single charge.Portable (Bluetooth) Chip and PINReaders operate within a prescribed radius of the main payment terminal or base station. They are most commonlyused in restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels, allowing payment at the table or away from the main till. Portable Chip andPIN card readers are designed for a wide range of conditions, with backlit screens and keypads for poor lightingconditions. Portable terminals also record transaction automatically, helping to reduce paperwork.Touch-screen Chip and PINConfigured with pre-programmed icons, touch-screen terminals speed up payment and reduce mistakes at the till.Touch-screen technology is common in retail shops, restaurants and cafes where there is a fast turnaround of customersand items may need to be altered quickly as a result of changes in stock.3) TECHNICAL ASPECTSThere are several factors to take into account whenchoosing your card processing machine:Portability • Countertop (fixed), portable (works within a radius), mobile (works wherever there is a GPRS signal) or flexible (a combination of fixed and portable or mobile).Display • LCD resolution is measured in pixels; more pixels means sharper display-screen resolution. A high-contrast screen with white backlighting can be used in poor lighting conditions, especially if the keypad is backlit.Memory • More memory means more transactions, processed at greater speed. Most PDQ card processors average 3-6 seconds per transaction. Memory on a typical card terminal will range from 6MB to 24MB and will comprise both Flash memory and SRAM memory.
  4. 4. Modem • Card terminals now come with a range of connection options, with some offering both GPRS and Bluetooth or GPRS and Wi-Fi as standard or as options. This means your card processing machine can be used in multiple locations, e.g., indoors and at open air events.Regulatory compliance • Your card processing machine should comply with PCI (Payment Card Industry) and PED (PIN Entry Device) security requirements. And of course you’ll want to make sure it accepts all major cards such as Mastercard, Visa, Amex and debit cards. 4) MERCHANT CARD SERVICES Your businesses will need a merchant account in order to use Chip and PIN payment processing for card payments. The bank will charge a monthly fee for the facility as well as a percentage of each card transaction. Look for add-ons such as e-Commerce processing if your business trades online, or fee-per-batch if you do high volume, which may be cheaper than fee-per-transaction charges. Merchant service providers will usually supply you with (a) Chip and PIN machine(s) as part of your merchant services account. It’s also possible to set up a merchant account and buy or lease a Chip and PIN machine separately. Details of service plans will vary, so it’s important to do some comparative shopping before choosing your merchant service plan.What should you look for in your merchant account? • A business overview to analyse where savings might be made in your business • Low transaction fees which may go below 1% per transaction, depending on your volume • Service plans without set-up fees, early-termination fees, or terminal leasing fees • Flexibility if you occasionally work special events such as trade fairs; look for providers that offer merchant services and card processing terminals on an irregular basis • Access to a reliable help desk and support centre is always desirable5) KEEP AN EYE ON NEW TECHNOLOGIESChip and PIN technology is lurching forward, particularly in the PDA domain. Growing numbers of retailers andindividuals are using mobile phones and tablets to make and accept card payments.Turning your smart phone into a tillUsing a mobile phone handset as a payment terminal isincreasingly popular. Providers like Square in the UnitedStates and SumUp in the UK offer devices that enable smartphones to process Chip and PIN transactions anywhere amobile network connection is available. Users download anapplication onto their phone to scan barcodes and managestock and billing. An additional piece of hardware attachesto the handset to process card payments.
  5. 5. The potential advantages smart phone terminals are enormous: • Sales assistants equipped with the device could take payments for purchases anywhere in the store at the moment a customer decides to buy. This could dramatically accelerate sales by eliminating the need for queuing and avoiding lost sales that result when customers have time to reconsider on their way to the till. • Receipts can be emailed from the Smartphone terminal directly to the customer. • As mobile networks continue to expand throughout town and country, mobile Chip and PIN transactions will no longer be limited to traditional retail premises. • The handset can provide brands with a platform to advertise special offers, promotions, directions to their stores, or other sales-generating information.