As a merchant, you already know that your credit card machine is one of your most valuable tools for payment processing; but other than that, you might not give it another thought. As long as it works correctly and doesn’t present any glitches, you may be satisfied to accept whatever type of machine is available from your payment processor. However, this type of thinking can cost you, especially if you’re using a machine that isn’t updated with the latest technology. The best wireless credit card terminals will have next-generation capabilities to help you process sales smoothly, without lags or system failures.
Additionally, the best wireless credit card terminals will also offer you updated security protections, plus full-time customer support that you can easily access whenever you need it. No matter whether your customer uses VISA, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover, the best wireless credit card terminals will also work equally well for any type of payment method or transaction volume, whether you’re a small business owner or a merchant tycoon.
In the past, credit card machines were pretty universal when it came to features. However, today’s terminals can differ substantially. You can choose a wireless credit card terminal with basic payment processing functionalities or one with an innovative point-of-sale (POS) system with add-ons that can integrate with many apps and online payment systems.
Before discussing wireless credit card terminals, it helps to take a look at the basics of these valuable payment tools, including how they work and how they can improve your business.
What are wireless credit card terminals?
Credit card terminals are designed to process credit card payments during a sales transaction. Initially, the first credit card machines were large, bulky processors designed to take magnetic stripe cards. However, in 1983, a Hawaiian company now known as Verifone introduced the ZON terminal, which became the standard for all modern credit card terminals. Today, ZON still makes a variety of popular wireless credit card terminals with a wide range of features.
How do wireless credit card terminals work?
Wireless credit card terminals stay connected via the internet or a phone line. Once the specific data from a credit card is entered into the machine, it sends that information to the credit card processor. From there, the processor can instantly validate the legitimacy of the card and determine whether there are available funds for the purchase. Once it’s verified, the funds are instantly transferred from the customer’s card to the merchant account.
Unquestionably, since they first gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, credit cards have revolutionized consumer shopping. Today, they’re a necessary part of any successful business. If you’re looking for the best credit card processing services for your high-risk business, Bankcard can help. As a leader in providing payment processing for high-risk merchant accounts, Bankcard can help you get approved for all major credit cards, debit cards, e-check payments, mobile payments, and online payment methods. Even if you’ve been denied merchant services in the past, Bankcard can connect you to the payment processing you need at prices you can afford.
About wireless credit card terminals
The terms “credit card machines” and “credit card terminals” are often used interchangeably. However, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of wireless credit card terminals, from card readers and point-of-sale (POS) systems to compact handheld models designed for digital wallet payments.
Essentially, the best wireless credit card terminal for your business might be a simple card reader, or it can also be an elaborate POS system with all the bells and whistles. Here’s the difference:
Card readers are basic credit card machines designed to read your card data during a transaction. The best credit card readers will be capable of accepting both magnetic stripe, or magstripe, and EMV chip credit cards.
An integrated POS system is designed to take credit card payments like a card reader. However, the similarities stop there. The best POS systems can also accept mobile app payments and NFC payments, making them exceptionally versatile for a wide range of payment methods.
With a POS system, the sales associate uses a bar code scanner to enter the price of an item. However, some POS systems have a camera that enables them to scan items visually as well. After calculating the item’s price, including sales tax, the POS system updates the store’s inventory to reflect the sale. Likewise, it processes the debit or credit card payment and completes the transaction.
Compared to a basic card reader, a POS system is an all-in-one tool that offers a variety of valuable functions for your business. A POS system can:
- Scan bar codes
- Update your store’s inventory during checkout
- Track merchandise
- Process payments
- Print receipts
- Handle and maintain cash transactions and cash drawer amounts
- Handle mobile app and NFC payments
- Provide real-time business analytics
- Offer employee time clock capabilities
A word about NFC payments
As a crucial component of today’s e-commerce economy, near-field communication (NFC) is a wireless data transfer technology that enables all types of devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones, to share data from within a four-inch range from the payment terminal. NFC is used in today’s most popular contactless payment systems, including mobile wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Interestingly, industry leaders predict that in 2022, sales of NFC-equipped POS terminals should reach 112.3 million USD. As a result, 85 percent of the POS terminals in the United States should have NFC capabilities within the coming year.
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, Bankcard can help you get accepted for NFC and mobile wallet payments, online payments, e-checks, and all types of credit cards. Even if you’re in a high-risk industry and you’ve been declined in the past, Bankcard can get you the valuable payment processing services you need to succeed.
Types of wireless credit card terminals
Here are some of the different types of credit card processing machines that you’ll want to know about:
Traditional countertop terminals
For some merchants, the best credit card machine may be a traditional countertop terminal. These are the ones you often see in small storefront businesses. A traditional countertop terminal will have a magnetic stripe reader, a keypad, and a small display screen and should have an EMV chip reader as well.
Mobile credit card terminals
Mobile credit card terminals connect wirelessly through Wi-Fi and use an iPhone reader or Android tablet to process credit card payments. These can be moved anywhere in the store, or even taken outside to shows or markets, as they’re wireless and portable.
Virtual credit card terminals
Virtual credit card terminals are ideal for e-commerce businesses because they allow you to process remote, card-not-present credit card sales, including online and phone sales.
Six best credit card machines and terminals
Once you’ve determined the right type of machine for your business, you’ll want to compare various features and pricing plans. Here’s a look at six of the best wireless credit card terminals for small and medium-sized businesses:
One of the most popular credit card machines is the Clover Flex POS system, a handheld system with many capabilities:
- Accepts cash, as well as all debit and credit card types
- Uses both magnetic swipe and dip (EMV chip) functions
- Accepts NFC contactless payments
- Accepts checks
- Acts as a card reader for iPhones and tablets
- Accepts mobile app and mobile wallet payments, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay
- Has a built-in bar code scanner
- Has a receipt printer
- Offers a variety of inventory management tools
As for cost, Clover offers a version of the Flex system with limited POS features for free, with a special no-cost monthly plan designed for business owners on a budget. These benefits make the Clover Flex a top choice among the best credit card machines and terminals for business owners.
Also made by Clover, the Station provides two screens, one facing the salesperson and the other facing the customer. Otherwise, it offers similar features to the Clover Flex.
The only disadvantage to either of these systems is that they aren’t compatible with all cellular plans. However, this won’t usually be a problem unless Wi-Fi isn’t available.
If you handle lots of Cash App and digital wallet transactions, then the Square Terminal may be the best credit card machine for your business needs. This versatile device can stand on its own as a handheld mobile credit card reader. In addition, if you connect it to an Android tablet or iPad, you can use it as a countertop terminal.
The Square Terminal has two screens, like the Clover Station, and accepts all types of card transactions and alternative payment methods, including offline payment options.
As one of the most affordable tabletop readers available, the Square Stand credit card machine is an excellent option for small business owners. It offers a variety of distinctive features, including a swivel screen so customers can see transactions and an iPad screen for better visibility.
The Square Stand accepts all payment types, including NFC payments and QR codes via Cash App. Plus, you can buy add-on accessories that perform convenient tasks like scanning bar codes and printing receipts.
As the pioneer of the modern terminal, Verifone continues to make user-friendly, high-tech credit card machines. It offers a variety of products, from fully integrated POS systems to countertop and mobile terminals and card readers. In particular, its VX520 is ideal for small businesses because it can take all types of payments at super-fast speeds, has integrated NFC support, and accepts add-on apps for gift cards and loyalty programs.
Ingenico offers a vast range of products, from basic card readers with integrated PIN pads to sophisticated POS systems that can fit in the palm of your hand. As an example of Ingenico’s innovations, its wireless Move/5000 F system has state-of-the-art authentication technology with indelible transaction functions that prevent anyone from ever tracing a transaction. Capable of taking all types of payments, including NFC, it works wirelessly, too, so you can take it anywhere you set up shop, even at outdoor markets.
Whether you conduct the bulk of your transactions through a physical card reader, mobile device, or virtual terminal, Bankcard can help your high-risk business get approved for every type of payment option your business needs, all at affordable monthly fees. Plus, Bankcard offers solutions for monthly invoicing that can help you streamline your operations and make billing more efficient and customer-friendly.
How expensive are wireless credit card terminals?
Here’s the good news: In many cases, credit card processing companies will offer free credit card machines as long as you use their payment processing services. If they do charge for the machine, they’ll typically let you buy it or rent it at a low monthly fee. Whether you get the machine free or pay for it will depend upon the type of machine you get, as well as its capabilities. However, you’ll still need to pay credit card transaction fees and processing fees, which are separate from the rates charged for terminals.
However, despite these extra fees, wireless credit card terminals are a worthwhile investment for your business. By offering a wide range of payment options, you’ll boost sales and customer retention, and enhance your reputation as a merchant.
Wireless credit card terminals are definitely not a one-size-fits-all proposition. But the best credit card machines for your business are the ones that can enable you to take all the payment methods that your customers prefer, whether on-site or remotely. In addition, the best wireless credit card terminals will also offer tools to help you manage your inventory in real-time, whether the sale is in person or conducted remotely.
When it comes to streamlining operations, Bankcard can help your high-risk business get approved for all types of credit card payments, plus e-check and mobile app payments, all at low monthly rates you can afford. Plus, Bankcard offers a variety of business solutions to help you better manage your billing and invoicing every month.
Contact Bankcard and find out how we can help you boost sales, streamline operations, and reach a whole new level of success with your customers.