Should you get a card machine for your new business? To answer this question, let’s dive a little deeper first.
When an individual starts a new business, they usually take one of the following two paths:
- Not adopt technology at all to save costs thinking that they will have ample time to pivot when necessary
- Adopt new, unfamiliar technology too quickly while overspending and losing control.
Ideally, new business owners should learn how to identify the core necessities of the business and control their urge to get “the best of the best” early on. However, they should also adopt technology that lays the foundation for several critical functions. The payments function is one such place where the business owner would be better off looking for a robust system over the “best deal.” Starting your own business? This small guide will help you set the fundamentals right.
The business owner should ideally look for a seamless one-stop solution while setting up the company’s core payment and collection functions. A card machine is a key component that may or may not be a critical component of the financial processes.
Should You Get a Card Machine for Small Business?
Yes, most brick-and-mortar business store owners should ideally get a card machine for their day-to-day operations. A reliable modern-day card machine helps merchants easily accept credit card payments. The best ones also allow you to accept payments via magstripes and digital wallets. Some of the core benefits of a card machine include:
- Advanced security (using a pin-based or fingerprint login)
- Inbuilt mini-printer to print receipts
- Offline payment acceptance
- Bar code scanners
- Cellular coverage (to accept payments without Wi-Fi)
However, the catch is that card machines only help you accept payments in person. For all other scenarios, you need to rely on different solutions. So, if you are running a cloud-based business that has no conventional physical store location, you do NOT need a card machine.
If you do need a card machine for your business, you should choose one that:
- Accepts both credit and debit cards
- Supports chip cards as well as swipe functionality
- Has an in-built receipt printer
- Is portable with a long-lasting rechargeable battery
- Supports cellular as well as Wi-Fi networks
- Supports the suitable processors (choosing a universal card machine over a proprietary one helps you accept payments from different processors seamlessly)
Do You Need a Card Machine or a Full-Fledged POS System?
Most people get confused between a card machine and a POS (point-of-sale) system. A card reader can only help you accept payments and generate receipts, whereas a POS system does more. Apart from helping you accept payments, a POS system also helps you:
- Print receipts
- Keep track of sales
- Scan barcodes to identify and tag products during sales
- Calculate the final price of the product (including sales tax)
- Plug data into a back-end accounting system
- Calculate change and controls the cash registry
- Keep track of inventory
POS systems are customizable and have several complementary pieces of technology like additional card readers, bar code scanners, printers, etc. Most businesses that deal with a high transaction volume and sell various products need a full-fledged POS system and not just a card reader.
Should You Get a Mobile Card Reader Instead?
As a new business owner, if you deal with low sales volumes, you might not need a dedicated card reader. A mobile credit card reader may fulfill all your needs. Such mobile devices are small handy tools that can plug into your phone directly. They help you accept credit card payments from cards that do not have an inbuilt chip and need to be swiped. Mobile card readers are generally less expensive and complimented by a mobile application that helps you accept payments.
Why You Should Adopt Advanced Payment Solutions
Having a card machine for small business payments may not be enough for most modern-day business owners. They need to adopt payment solutions that let them process and accept payments online. You should adopt online payments as soon as possible because they help you:
By accepting payments online, you can accept payments from anywhere in the world. Most cloud-based stores have no physical in-store locations. Instead, they ship their products/services from a remote location and process payments online to save costs.
Accept Payments Via Different Methods
Partnering with the right payment processor helps you accept payments via both ACH and credit cards on a single platform. By giving them an option to pay via ACH solutions, you can attract customers who do not wish to pay via credit cards
Offer Cash Discounts
Few customers prefer paying via cash to save money on processing costs. These customers do not have the option to pay in cash in an online store. However, they can still leverage the benefits of a cash discount program if you accept payments via ACH technology.
Offer Contactless Payment Methods
Collecting dues via payment portals and other contactless payment methods helps you limit exposure to diseases. It also reduces wait times, thereby offering better customer service.
Reduce Upfront Costs
Accepting online payments also helps you reduce the upfront cost of buying/leasing a costly card machine. Moreover, online payment solutions receive OTA (over-the-air) updates directly from your payment processor. Online payments are a long-term payment solution, unlike credit card readers that go through wear and tear and need to be replaced when they get outdated every few years.
How to Choose an Online Payment Solutions Provider?
If you Google “online payment solutions for small businesses,” you will see over 2,240,000,000 results. It is evident that with the rising popularity of online and mobile payments, there are thousands of vendors offering the same services on the internet. So, how do you choose the right partner for your growing business? While interviewing different candidates for partnership, look for solution providers that offer the following:
Complimentary Tech Solutions
The world of online payment solutions is powered by several complementary technologies to make the lives of accountants easier. The partners that offer you the following technologies while processing ACH and credit cards act as a true one-stop destination for all your payment processing needs:
- SMS Payments
- IVR Payments
- Email Invoicing
- Mobile Payments
- Virtual Terminals
- Check Verification Systems
- Hosted Payment Portals
- Recurring Payments, etc.
Transparent Fee Model
A few payment processors are notoriously infamous for adding unnecessary hidden fees to their services. Remember, if the transaction fee by a particular payment processor seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before selecting a payments processor, sit down with the representative to find an exact breakdown of the processing fees, monthly fees, flat rate fees, bank account setup fees, etc. Always rely on partners that offer a completely transparent fee model.
Great Customer Testimonials
Before signing the dotted line, look for good customer reviews. Does your payment processor support enterprises as well as small business owners? If so, do the small business owners get adequate support? The best payment processors go the extra mile to assign a dedicated customer support team to handle all your queries.
Navigating the world of credit card and ACH payment solutions for a new business owner can be daunting. If you are confused and need help, request a callback from one of our top financial experts that help small business owners expand rapidly here.
Date originally published: April 24, 2022
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