How A Business Can Benefit From A Credit Card Reader
Check out the top four ways you can use a credit card reader to your small business's advantage.
A credit card reader is a device that takes debit and credit card payments and can be used in various settings to take in-person card payments. We’ve written this guide to spell out the various ways your business stands to benefit from using a card reader.
(While card-reading devices are part of any POS register setup, in this article, we’re talking about mobile readers that can be used independently of a countertop-bound register.)
The Benefits Of Credit Card Readers
Mobile credit card readers have many different use cases for merchants. Let’s discuss four of them.
Taking Payments In Mobile Settings
For businesses and merchants processing card transactions on the go — food truck operators, farmers’ market vendors, and sellers at conventions/craft fairs, among others — a traditional countertop POS/register setup isn’t practical.
These sellers have three main options for doing business:
- Operate in a cash-only capacity
- Use a mobile card reader or mobile smart terminal to take card payments
- Take card payments directly from your smartphone or tablet using a virtual terminal
When you use a virtual terminal, you key a customer’s card number directly into a virtual terminal app on your phone or tablet, effectively turning your existing device into a card reader. This can be a handy way to take card payments but know that keyed-in transactions carry higher processing fees than card-present transactions taken with a card reader.
If you take payments with any frequency, using a physical card reader instead of a virtual terminal will see you making up the cost of the reader with cheaper payment processing fees over time. Additionally, many card readers can take contactless payments directly from the smartphones of customers who use mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Using A Card Reader As A Backup To Your Main POS
If you run a brick-and-mortar store and you have a traditional countertop register for taking payments, you might not see a pressing need to have a mobile card reader. However, if your primary POS system goes down, having a backup means of taking card payments will really come in handy.
What’s more, if your power and internet both go out simultaneously, having a charged card reader that can operate in offline mode can enable you to take card payments, even under these adverse conditions.
One cost-effective option for this scenario is the Square Reader for magstripe. Square’s free magstripe reader, because it only takes magstripe payments, is limited. You won’t want to use it as your primary means of taking payments due to the outdated security profile of magstripe tech.
However, this reader is free, and it doesn’t even need to be charged. You can have it on hand in an emergency, and even if you never use it, you won’t be out any money.
Using A Card Reader To Cut Down The Line When Your Store Gets Crowded
Let’s say it’s Black Friday, and your store is overwhelmed with customers. The line at the register is getting ridiculously long, and you’re worried about customers getting frustrated, abandoning their items, and leaving.
This is another scenario in which having a secondary device for taking payments comes in handy. When the line backs up, having someone approach customers with a mobile card reader can ensure you don’t lose sales to a lengthy line at checkout.
Using A Card Reader To Take Payments At The Table (Attention Restaurateurs)
Restaurants and other eateries have been taking card payments for decades. However, you now have the option of taking a customer’s payment directly at the table using a mobile card reader or smart terminal.
Facilitating on-the-spot payments eliminates the need to carry a customer’s payment card away from the table. By reducing the time it takes to take payments from eaters, you’ll be able to seat incoming customers more quickly, allowing your restaurant to operate more efficiently and reduce customer crankiness.
Furthermore, the modern mobile POS systems many card readers can be paired with tend to handle check-splitting quickly and easily.
Get Started With A Credit Card Reader
Mobile credit card readers offer flexibility and efficiency for businesses of all sizes and types. From saving on credit card processing fees to enhancing customer experience, the advantages are clear. As technology continues to evolve, staying updated with tools like these can significantly benefit your business’s bottom line.
If you still aren’t quite sure what a card reader is and how it works, you can read more about credit card readers and what choices exist for you as a small business owner. Before making a choice, it’s wise to explore the best credit card reader options tailored to your business needs.