With so many incidents of identity theft and fraud lately, ensuring safe credit and debit card transactions is becoming a top concern for business owners – and not just large retailers like Target and Home Depot. In fact, because they oftentimes don’t have the resources for investing in high-tech online security systems, fraudulent transactions can be an even bigger worry for small businesses.
Yet, making sure that customers have an easy-to-use system for making their purchases is also a way to safeguard that both new and existing buyers don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort checking out.
To help owners make informed decisions, we researched the different types of credit card readers and processing companies. Here are the best credit card readers for small business, including POS processing and mobile payment options.
Top Types of Card Readers for Small Companies
When it comes to choosing the right mobile card reader, there are three primary types to consider. These mobile point-of-sales systems are the best and most secure the industry has to offer right now.
- Swipe Card Readers
- Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) Card Readers
- Near Field Communication (NFC) Card Readers
Swipe Card Readers
One of the easiest card readers for both customer and merchant use, as well as for data sharing, is the swipe card reader. This device allows customers to simply “swipe” their card through the machine, whereby a magnetic strip on the card quickly transfers funds from the buyer’s bank account or credit card merchant.
In addition to ease of use, swipe card readers are typically very affordable – which can be beneficial for small business owners who are on a tight budget, but also require an easy-to-use payment processing system.
Even though the traditional swipe card reader has been the payment processing method of many businesses over the past several years, it is likely that this type of reader will soon be phased out in lieu of “safer” options that are more resistant to fraud.
EMV Card Readers
Another option, the EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) reader, is presently the global standard for payment processing. One reason for this is because this type of card reader is able to accept all types of card payment options.
On top of being versatile, the EMV card reader can also provide business owners with an additional layer of security against fraud. That’s because these cards contain a small microchip that is embedded in the card with the customer’s banking data encrypted on it. This can make it more difficult for fraudulent transactions to occur – at least when the buyer is making a purchase in person (as versus online).
The additional security that an EMV card offers doesn’t just benefit the buyer, though, as businesses that do not use this type of card reader could be liable for any fraudulent charges that are made through the company.
NFC Card Readers
With more companies doing business online these days, having a card reader that offers ease of use, and protection from fraud, is becoming necessary. The NFC, or near field communication, card readers can fit the bill here. In this case, a buyer can make payment via their NFC-equipped card by way of their computer and/or smart device (including a phone), once they have downloaded the appropriate app.
The near field communication option transfers the purchaser’s payment details via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, allowing the entire transaction to take place in cyber space. While some customers may not yet feel comfortable using this “virtual” technology, others will consider it a key advantage in terms of ease, convenience, and speed.
Other Factors To Consider Before Buying A Reader
With a myriad of things to worry about as a small business owner, choosing the right payment processing card reader – and ensuring that it can stand up against fraudulent transactions – shouldn’t have to be one of them.
Before making the decision as to which card reader is best, it is important to consider how the majority of transactions are conducted (in-person or online), as well as the comfort level of customers making virtual purchases.
And, as with most any business purchase, budget should be factored in. With card readers, this will not just encompass the use of the actual device itself, but also any fees that are charged by the payment processor on a per-transaction basis.
Likewise the size of the business will also come into play, as companies with numerous locations will likely require multiple card readers. In this case, it could be necessary to multiply the cost of the device itself, as well as the ongoing fees; although it may be possible to obtain a discount, depending on the payment processor that is chosen.
The ability of the card reader to help with preventing fraudulent transactions should also be top of mind, as this could end up saving a great deal of time, money, and frustration (for both the company and its customers) if any fraud should occur.