What Is the Best Card Machine?

Whether you’re looking to take table-side payments at your restaurant or charge clients for a great new pair of boots, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best card machine for your business.

Initial and ongoing costs, security, and usability should all be kept in mind when selecting the best card machine for your business. This guide will help you understand what to look for in a card machine so you can make the right decision.

9 features to look for

Choosing the best debit or credit card machine might seem like an easy proposition. It just needs to take payments, right? Well, yes and no. To make sure you’re getting the most reliable and cost-efficient technology that creates a seamless experience for your customers, you need to think about more than just the payment.

Whether you’re hoping to purchase your first credit card machine or switching to a new one, here are the nine most important features to look out for during your decision-making process.

1. Ease of use
Consider how usable the card machine is. Look for a machine that’s easy to use and requires minimal training. If it’s complicated for you, your team, and your customers to understand, you’ll hold up your queue and frustrate clients.

2. Reliability
Getting paid is the lifeblood of your business, so a reliable card machine to take payments is key to keeping everything running smoothly. Search for a high-quality card machine that’s highly rated for reliability, so you never have to miss a payment.

3. Simple price input
Whatever your customers are buying, you should easily be able to input the exact amount they’re paying. Invest in a card machine with custom input, so you never have to compromise with a workaround.

4. Payment security and PCI compliance
Violating PCI compliance can lead to major financial penalties, and it leaves you and your customers vulnerable to fraudulent charges. Your card machine should be PCI compliant to avoid financial and security infringements.

5. Portability
You’re never in the same place, and your card machine shouldn’t have to be, either. Having a card machine that’s portable and easy to move around means you can take payments wherever you and your customers are.

6. Contracts
Often, card machines require contracts or long-term commitments to begin processing payments with their hardware. You may be required to sign contracts and pay fees for things like applications, chargebacks, compliance, retrieval, hardware rentals or leasing, and more. Look for a card machine that doesn’t have long-term commitments or hidden fees.

7. Connectivity
Wherever and whatever you’re doing, it’s important that your card machine can actually take payments and stay connected when you move around. Determine if your card machine will connect via Wi-Fi or Ethernet at your business location, and select a machine that processes accordingly.

8. Trial period and warranty
Opt for a system that you can try out (a 30-day trial, for instance) and that has a two-year warranty in case issues arise. You should also look for a machine that includes 24/7 phone support, so if something goes wrong, you can get help quickly.

9. Ability to print receipts
If it’s important for your business, printing receipts is a critical attribute of a terminal that’s right for you. Some card machines have a built-in printer, while others need to be connected to a separate receipt printer.

How to evaluate the cost

Another thing to keep in mind is the cost. There are two main factors that determine the price of your card machine: hardware costs and processing costs. These costs will in turn reflect the card machine price.

Hardware costs

Also referred to as equipment costs, hardware costs include the price to purchase or lease the actual card machine and any additional accessories you might need, like a separate receipt printer, scanner, or charger. (It’s easy to forget, but be sure to factor accessories into the final price of your machine.)

Processing costs

Whenever your customers insert their card or tap their contactless or mobile device, their payment is processed by a number of parties. That costs money, and charges per card type and transaction can differ, depending on the card machine you are using.

Charges may include fees for setting up, statements, refunds, PCI compliance, business cards, hardware leasing, and even monthly fees.

Be sure you know how much you’ll pay for processing, both up front and on an ongoing basis.

The best card machine for your business

Every business is different and so what card machine is best for your business is something only you can determine.

Square Terminal is the all-in-one terminal, receipt printer, and POS that enables merchants to accept any form of payment (contactless, chip and PIN, or mobile device) all in one device. You pay one affordable price and no monthly subscription fees. It’s a modern device optimised for easy, professional, and reliable payments that treat you and your money fairly.

Square Terminal users pay a flat rate of 1.75% + VAT per contactless, chip, and PIN or mobile payment, no matter the card used. And if you process over €200,000 per year, our sales team can create a custom rate for you.

If you try out Square Terminal, you can get started in minutes and try it risk-free for 30 days. Square Terminal also comes with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Interested in Square Terminal? Order a card reader for your business now.