Card Processing & Fees Clearly Explained
We live in a largely wireless world. Phones went cordless decades ago. Laptops are no longer tied to an ethernet cable. Tablets and cell phones allow us to wander pretty much anywhere while staying connected.
The one thing that has largely stayed wired are merchant card processing terminals. Yet even that has changed. Wireless terminals are readily available and reasonably priced.
The question is no longer IF you can go wireless. Instead, the questions for merchants today are —
1) Is wireless the right choice for my business?
2) If yes, what are my wireless system options?
When all of your other devices are wireless, a card processing terminal that doesn’t require cords might seem like a logical acquisition. But . . . before you run off and buy a wireless processing terminal, consider carefully and completely your actual business reasons for needing one.
For some merchants, the impression that a wireless terminal gives is enough of a reason. By going wireless, a business can appear more up-to-date on the latest technologies and forward-thinking.
For others, their business is very mobile, and the ability to process cards on-the-go is important to their customer’s experience and their bottom line. Delivery drivers, taxi companies and ride providers, food trucks, home repair service teams, and craftspeople selling goods at shows can all increase their revenue and cash availability if they process credit and debit cards in real time and from wherever they are.
Like most choices in business, wireless card processing can have downsides, too.
For instance, not all terminals perform the same. You need to choose the right equipment for what you’re trying to accomplish with your solution.
Second, geography matters. If you spend a lot of time in mountainous areas, your connection could be spotty, slow. or non-existent.
And if you expect you’ll be using the terminal for many hours at a time, you’ll either need spare batteries or a means of charging the terminal throughout the day.
When considering going wireless, you may initially be surprised that there are two different kinds of processing systems. One is mobile-based and works through a tablet or other mobile device. The other is a self-contained terminal that connects to a cellular network on its own.
Mobile-based wireless card processing is a good choice if you’re looking for a highly mobile solution or one that can be deployed to multiple mobile devices. For instance, if you’re looking for a system that can be used by a team of delivery drivers, a mobile solution might be the right choice. It’s important to remember that you should have a consistent connection with your mobile provider for this type of card processing system.
You might be more interested in a dedicated wireless terminal if you only need a limited number of processing units. A wireless terminal uses a SIM card, much like your mobile phone, to connect to a cellular network. It can be used on-the-go, but many of these terminals also give you the option of plugging them in to a hardline if you lose your wireless connection or if you’re using it in a stationary location.
When going wireless, there are a few other things to consider besides the choice between a mobile solution or a wireless terminal.
First, of course, is the cost of switching to a new system. If you are in the process of considering new card terminals already, or if you are a brand new merchant that doesn’t have a processing system in place yet, now may be the perfect time to go wireless. If not, consider if the cost of a new card processing system makes sense. Evaluate the ROI (Return on Investment) of the move. Will the mobility of a wireless system help your business run more smoothly, improve revenue flow, and enhance your customer’s experience?
Another thing to keep in mind any additional equipment you may need. If your new wireless terminal or mobile card processing system doesn’t have a printer, for instance, you’ll need to consider purchasing one. Not all customers are happy being offered only an emailed receipt.
You might also want to invest in an additional battery for the system. When using the terminal, or even your cell phone, for long hours at a craft fair or in a food tent at a local event, you’ll need to process cards through the day. The last thing you want is to lose customers because you ran out of battery, can’t take a card anymore, and have potential customers walk away because they don’t carry that much cash.
Wireless card processing is more than just a cool new gadget. It can take your business to new places it’s never been, both literally and figuratively. Understanding your goals in going wireless will help you choose the right system and ensure you’ll be up and running when customers are ready to buy.
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