The Best Ways for Merchants to Accept Credit Card Payments

accept credit card payments

Since nearly 50% of Americans no longer carry cash, merchants need to offer a robust variety of payment solutions.

Between touchless payment solutions and on the go card reader dongles, there are many ways to accept credit card payments. Every business is different and will need a solution that suits the need of that company and their speed of life.

Here are the 4 best ways for your business to accept credit card payments in the modern world.

1. Mobile Card Reader

If you’re a merchant who is constantly on the go or lacks a brick and mortar location, a mobile card reader allows you to accept credit cards anywhere. This is the perfect solution for a pop-up shop, trade show, or any merchant who travels.

With the help of a payment app on your smartphone or tablet, credit card readers can plug into your headphone jack to process payments. Newer models will connect via Bluetooth to connect the card reader to the app on the device.

Compare a few different companies who offer this kind of processing. Many will offer their clients free magstripe card reader. You might have to pay a higher premium for a model that allows for chips cards or mobile wallets.

Leave a budget of at least $100 for this tool. Thankfully, once you invest in this tool, it can act as its own stand-alone device or it can connect to a larger POS system.

When you need to process transactions from anywhere in your store or you haven’t set one up yet, this is a solid solution for card processing. If portability and speed are a priority, go with a mobile card reader.

2. Standard Credit Card Terminal

If you’ve got a brick and mortar location, you can get a standard credit card processing terminal to accept debit and credit. These usually come with some kind of keypad device to enter pins for debit transactions or card readers that connect to the terminal.

Countertop models will come with a receipt printer to get signatures for credit transactions and connect via ethernet or even dial-up. If you get a wireless model, you’ll be able to connect via Bluetooth, wireless, or even a 3G network.

While these terminals might cost you a little more, they’re well understood by consumers and make purchasing simple. Set aside $150 to $600 in your budget for one of these. The highest quality ones will be the most durable and versatile.

Your terminals should read both EVM chip and magstripe cards with the same level of accuracy. They should also include technology to later begin to accept mobile wallet payments.

If you have a POS system to connect to, this is one of the most reliable solutions around. If you don’t need your credit card system to do anything other than accept payments, a simple credit card terminal will be everything you need.

3. Standard Point of Sale System

A fully servicing point of sale system will include a checkout station loaded with proprietary software. The system will include a touchscreen or tablet, the card reader, a drawer for cash, and a printer for your receipts. If it’s relevant, it can also include a barcode scanner to quickly bill guests for items.

Merchant account providers or specific point of sale companies often provide these kinds of comprehensive systems. While the pricing will vary based on how many bells and whistles you add, the systems based around tablets tend to be the cheapest.

When you select a tablet-based system, you’ll get third-party software that will allow you to process payments. These systems connect to or sit alongside some kind of terminal or a mobile card reader.

Depending on the system you choose, you could end up with a built-in card reader for stripes and chips.

If you have a stable physical location, this is the best bet for you. When you’re connecting your POS with other business software, like keeping track of accounting or inventory, there’s no better option. Your accountant will appreciate that you made their work much easier.

4. Payment Gateway

Whether you’re a brick and mortar retailer with an e-commerce option or you do all of your business online, a payment gateway is necessary for modern businesses.

A payment gateway allows you to use shopping cart software to accept your payments. You can get paid through a website, blog, or any formal online store.

While most companies will charge you a fee for this service, it’s possible you can get it for free. Some companies will ask that you pay monthly while others will charge you per each transaction.

Inform your online store manager of what you need so that they can help lend some feedback.

Most credit card processing companies offer a system like this to get you to work with them. If you’re already accepting credit cards at a shop, your processing company might have a solution to suit your needs. Be aware that you could be in violation of an exclusivity contract if you do sign up for another service while working with your current service.

For businesses that sell anything at all online, this is an absolute must. The gateways are offered from every credit card company as well as plenty of other third-parties who are no less reputable or trustworthy.

Accept Credit Card Payments Your Way

Because every company runs under different standards, every company will have a different way they want to accept credit card payments.

As long as your payments always go through and don’t charge your clients more than once, customers are agnostic to what payment technology you use. Choose something that fits with what other people in your region or industry are using so that you can fit right in.

To learn more about merchant accounts, check out our latest guide.

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