How Can I Accept Credit Card Payments?

In a world where people are leaving their wallets at home and just making in-person payments with their mobile phones, is it reasonable to expect your customers to always pay with cash? (Or, even less likely, checks?).

The bottom line is, if you don’t accept credit cards, 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.

But if you’re worried that accepting credit cards 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 small business:

  • Your sales will be higher. Customers spend 12 to 18 percent more on products and services when they pay with a credit card instead of cash, according to a recent study. It’s not hard to see why: you might have only a limited amount of cash in your wallet, which your credit limit far exceeds.

  • 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, cash-only businesses are often regarded as sketchy.

  • It won’t cost you much. Credit card transactions won’t eat up your profits. In fact, payments taken with Square’s contactless and chip reader cost 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe, tap, or dip.

Accept EMV chip cards everywhere.

Order the Square contactless and chip reader.

Now that you know all the reasons why you should accept credit cards and you’re ready to get started, let’s go over what you’ll need. If you’ve never accepted credit cards, you’ll need an EMV chip card–enabled reader. If you have accepted magnetic-stripe cards but haven’t upgraded to an EMV-enabled reader, now’s the time.

Here’s why: Ever since the liability shift went into effect on October 1, 2015, businesses that aren’t set up to accept chip cards could now be responsible for certain types of fraudulent transactions (whereas previously banks ate that cost). So, protect yourself and your customers with an EMV reader like the Square contactless and chip reader.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to start accepting credit card payments:

  1. Order your Square hardware and tell us where to mail it
  2. Create your free Square account
  3. Download the free Square app and link your bank account for fast transfers.
  4. Connect the hardware with your smartphone or tablet and start taking payments.

How to take credit card payments

While magstripe credit cards are swiped, EMV chip cards are dipped into the reader chip card side down. Here is how to process EMV credit cards on the Square 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. EMV transactions can take 6-7 seconds to complete.

If you’re taking the step to accept credit card payments, why not fully modernize 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, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. Mobile payments are faster than EMV transactions and just as secure. Square Terminal, Square Stand, and Square Reader for contactless and chip accept NFC payments.