Processing customer payments is often the last thing on a small business owner’s mind. With inventory management, employee scheduling, making vendor payments, and everything else under the sun on your plate. Does selecting the right payment processing hardware really matter all that much? While it might not be the most thrilling of decisions, understanding and selecting the best payment processing equipment for your business can pay dividends for years to come.
Today, we will review the basics of payment processing hardware and discuss the similarities and differences between credit card machines, point of sale (POS) systems, mobile payment solutions, and more.
Payment Processing Hardware and Software 101
The Basics of Payment Processing Hardware
“Hardware” can refer to both the internal and external hardware of a computer/machine. While the internal hardware of payment processing devices is certainly relevant, most of what gets discussed when talking about payment processing devices revolve around external hardware. Some of the key components of payment processing hardware include:
Near field communication (NFC) technology for accepting contactless payments
The Basics of Payment Processing Software
It probably goes without saying, but all computer hardware relies on software to run. Most modern payment processing hardware will accomplish the same basic tasks, and the software powering it often makes the biggest difference to your day-to-day business dealings. That being said, the proper hardware is required to utilize both native and third-party apps that can do everything from accept payments to track consumer behaviors to track store inventory.
Credit Card Machines
When it comes to payment processing hardware, credit card machines remain the bread and butter for many modern businesses. Both traditional and wireless credit card machines allow merchants to accept electronic payments including debit cards, credit cards, EBT payments, contactless payments, and just about every other modern payment method.
Unlike some of the options, we will discuss below, standard credit card machines are more focused on a singular piece of hardware that does it all. Credit card terminals typically have the hardware to accept swipe payments, EMV chip payments, and NFC payments. Outside hardware is typically provided by the business when it comes to the management of payments and other business transactions/information. Businesses looking for an affordable, secure, and simple way to accept payments might be best served by a modern credit card machine.
Moving past modern credit card machines we get to a more inclusive point of sale (POS) systems. A POS system from Clover comes with much more than the functionality of chip reading, swipe reading, and contactless payments of a credit card machine. Modern POS systems may include:
Hi-def screens for merchants and/or customers
Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, and ethernet connectivity
A sleek, powerful, modern design
High-speed receipt printer
Full PCI PTS compliance
The full hardware capabilities of a credit card machine including accepting electronic payments, gift cards, cash, and much more
As for the internal hardware, the additional power of POS systems allows them to run both native and third-party apps which can be customized through the Clover App Market to give business owners the flexibility they need. Business owners who want a centralized hub for their payments to integrate with the rest of their business processes might be best served by a modern POS system.
Mobile Payment Solutions
Finally, many businesses are on-the-go these days. In the past, industries like plumbing, repair, and even food delivery were cash or check only. With the advent of powerful and affordable mobile payment solutions, any business can accept electronic payments around the world. While the iterations are nearly limitless, there are two basic forms of mobile payments hardware:
A full wireless credit card machine/POS system with mobile capabilities
A card reader which relies on third party hardware (smart device) to process transactions
Both of these options are great for independent contractors or small businesses that are looking for a way to securely accept payments in multiple locations. In fact, many stationary businesses choose this payment method for convenience. The downside of mobile payment hardware is that it may be less powerful when compared to full credit card machines or POS systems. Of course, this is not always the case. By working with a qualified merchant service provider, you can identify the hardware (and software) your business needs to process payments with ease.
True Merchant Offers Hardware and Software Payment Processing Solutions
True Merchant is proud to offer both hardware and software solutions for businesses of all sizes. With our focus on merchant services and secure payment processing, our payment processing hardware is a natural extension of our other features such as CardSecure, EBT Payment Processing, and much more. With True Merchant, you can rest assured that you will be getting the best available price thanks to our complimentary rate reviews.
If you are considering a POS system or other type of hardware for your business, please feel free to contact us by calling 1-888-770-2018 or through our online email form. A qualified merchant service professional will be waiting to walk you through the process!