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Do You Need a Credit Card Machine?

The simple answer: No, you don't need a credit card machine. Read on to learn why.

GoSite
GoSite
4 min read
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You developed a product, wrote a business plan and tested dozens of prototypes. Now, it's time to launch your retail venture. But first, there's one more important decision to make: How will you accept payments?

With millions of consumers choosing cards over cash, accepting credit and debit payments is a must. 

But how? For most people, credit cards conjure an image of a button-studded device with a tiny screen. Unwieldy wires jut from old school credit card machines. Customers are always asked to swipe or insert their cards. And at some point, someone will have to hit a big green button to usher the payment through. 

Today, these traditional credit card machines are far from your only option. In fact, they've become downright outdated. And chances are, your business doesn't need one at all. 

Read on to learn why there's a better way to accept credit card payments. 

You Don't Need a Credit Card Machine

We'll cut right to the chase and say it: You don't need a credit card machine. But to understand why, it's important to consider how your customers actually shop. 

Years ago, a successful business was build from a physical location. Success was visible in long lines of customers, or the cash register's clang. When products disappeared from the shelves, it was a sign of popularity. 

Some of these criteria still hold power. But retail has changed dramatically. Even if your brick-and-mortar locations are thriving, online sales can supercharge your revenue. You don't have to maintain thousands of locations to have a national — or even global — presence. Today, all you need is a website equipped with an online payment processing solution.

Consumers are also using their smartphones and tablets for virtual window shopping. If online shopping is convenient, mobile shopping is irresistible. 

Consider the possibility that mobile shoppers browse during spare moments during their day. They might buy a pair of shoes while waiting for a gym class to start, or new sheets while laying in bed at night. The last thing you want is a payment processor that's too slow or unreliable to complete a transaction. 

Of course, online and mobile shopping doesn't require a physical credit card machine at all. But even in-person shopping is changing. As rent skyrockets in major cities, new brands are finding customers through informal, pop-up events. 

These temporary shopping experiences happen at markets, fairs or in other stores' spaces. It just doesn't make sense to haul a traditional credit card machine or register along for the ride.

So, where does that leave retailers? Traditional credit card machines tether businesses to the past, especially the brick-and-mortar model. 

Instead, you need a modern payment solution that's lightweight and digital-first. With the right payment solution, you can take your business anywhere — off- or online.

credit card machine

Popular Credit Card Machine Alternatives

So, if credit card machines are out, what's in? In a nutshell: Secure, lightweight, digital-first solutions. Modern payment processors use minimal hardware and sophisticated software. 

When upgrading your old credit card machine, the best credit card processors have some things in common. Opt for features such as:

  • Easy Website Integration: Your payment processor should be able to handle sales that come in through your website.
  • SMS Payments: Customers should be able to pay via text messaging. It's a nice perk that delivers fast, convenient service.
  • User-Friendly Apps: Your staff should be able to process transactions via smart devices. Best of all, payment processing apps can provide a deep dive into your finances, all in real time.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Be sure your payment processor can accept all major credit cards. Ask about digital wallets, cryptocurrency and other emerging payment options.
  • Security Features: Ask how a new payment processor will keep your customers' data safe. At a bare minimum, encryption is a must.

Ideally, you'll be able to find a full suite of features in one solution. 

Finally, keep an eye out for other integrations and features. Booking tools, fast transfers and low fees will all help your business grow.

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Still Need a Credit Card Machine? Avoid This Common Mistake

While mobile payment processing is the way forward, credit card machines aren't dead yet. If you use a credit card machine, or plan to, it's important to be aware of the pitfalls first.

The number one rule: Never rent a credit card machine. This is a common ploy to scam businesses out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Buying your own payment processing equipment is almost always more affordable in the long run. 

With so many cons, it's easy to see why businesses prefer other payment processing methods. If you don't use digital payment processing today, you'll soon want to make the leap!

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