How to Take Credit Card Payments

How to Take Credit Card Payments
If you don’t accept credit card payments, you’re missing potential sales. Read this step-by-step guide on how to start accepting credit cards.
by Square Aug 01, 2023 — 3 min read
How to Take Credit Card Payments

In a world where people are leaving their wallets at home and making in-person payments with their mobile phones, is it reasonable to expect your customers to always pay with cash?

The bottom line is, if you don’t accept credit card payments, you’re missing out on potential sales. And if customers have to hunt down the nearest ATM to complete a transaction, the hassle involved makes it likely that they won’t rush back to visit your business.

Benefits of accepting credit card payments

If you’re worried that accepting credit card payments will take a big chunk out of your sales or otherwise be a headache, don’t worry. Here are some reasons why you should take credit cards at your business:

  1. Your sales will be higher
    Australians are increasingly moving away from cash. According to the Australian Payments Network, by 2019, cash only accounted for 10 percent of consumer payments, down from over 40 percent in 2007. It’s not hard to see why people prefer credit card payments—it’s a safer, faster, and more convenient way to pay.
  2. Your customers will feel good about shopping with you
    When customers see the logos of the major credit cards you accept, they see your business as more trustworthy and legitimate. For better or worse businesses that can’t process credit card payments are often regarded as less reliable.
  3. It won’t cost you much
    Credit card transactions won’t eat up your profits. In fact, payments taken with Square Reader cost 1.6% per tap, or dip.

Common ways to accept credit card payments

Each payment method will require different technology needs and fees


This payment method is for businesses with a physical location and it involves customers presenting the card to make the payment. All you need to do is set up a card reader like Square Reader and a POS system like Square’s free POS.


Businesses that provide digital services and eCommerce will be more likely to rely on online payments. This method often incurs higher processing fees in comparison to the in-person method. For this type of transaction, you’ll need to have an online website and a payment gateway, such as Square Online.

Over the phone

These card-not-present transactions are common in restaurants where customers place takeaway orders. This method poses a high risk of fraud, which often results in the highest processing fees among all credit card payment methods. In order to process this type of transaction, a credit card reader and a POS or an online payment gateway are required at the premises.

What’s required to accept credit card payments?

Now that you know all the reasons why you should accept credit cards and know the main methods of accepting the payment, let’s go over what you’ll need. If you’ve never accepted credit cards, you’ll need an EFTPOS chip card–enabled reader. If you do take credit cards but haven’t upgraded to an EFTPOS-enabled reader, now’s the time.

Here’s why: chip credit and debit cards are inherently more secure than magstripe or ‘swipe only’ cards. For this reason, magstripe-only cards (cards without a chip) are being phased out in Australia. So, protect yourself and your customers with a reader like the Square Reader, which accepts EFTPOS and is just $65.

Square Stand for contactless and chip and Square Terminal also accept EFTPOS payments. Our newest Square iPad POS Stand fits iPad (2019), iPad Air (2019), and iPad Pro 10.5”.

How to take credit card payments

While magstripe credit cards are swiped, chip cards are dipped into the reader chip-side down. Here is how to process EFTPOS payments on the Square credit card contactless and chip reader:

  1. When your customer is ready to check out, tap Charge on the screen to trigger the payment. (You can tap charge before or after the chip is inserted.)
  2. Insert the card chip-side first and with the chip facing up into the wide port at the top of the reader.
  3. Keep the card in the reader for the whole transaction. Transactions can take 6-7 seconds to complete.

If you’re taking the step to accept credit card payments, why not fully modernise and start accepting mobile payments? Mobile payments, or transactions customers make with their phone or other mobile device, use something called near field communication (NFC) technology.

This means that customers hold their device over an NFC reader—a mobile card reader—to pay (which is also why it’s referred to as contactless payment). The most popular forms of this technology are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Mobile payments are faster than EFTPOS transactions and just as secure. Square Terminal, Square Stand, and Square Reader for contactless and chip accept credit card payments through NFC.

1.6% card present rate applies for Square Sellers who sign up on or after 30 May 2024. The rate of 1.9% will apply for Square Sellers who signed up prior to this date when using Square Reader, Square Stand or Tap to Pay, as listed in the Square Fee Schedule.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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