When starting out a business nowadays, big or small, one of the more important things is to make sure you’re prepared for multiple types of payment, as cash-only cuts out a sizeable portion of your customers.
It’s something rarely taught, and jumping into the world of business will sooner or later present you with this question: what type of payment terminal do I use?
Credit card machines can be broken down into three main types – countertop, portable or mobile. In this post we will consider the positives and negatives of these three types, and you can decide for yourself which would benefit your business the most.
Countertop machines are cheap, sturdy and have a hardwired connection to the business, making them the common choice amongst many small businesses. Costing around £100, they’re far better than the portable choice when it comes to price, being up to 3 times cheaper in the most extreme cases, but depending on who you buy them from.
If your business is a small one where the vast majority/ all of the payments are made at the counter such as a coffee shop, local bakery or something else that fits this bill, this is probably the best card machine for you. Along with not needing to be reliant on Wi-Fi or battery charging, this is definitely a great option for any store selling fast-food, clothes or a multitude of other things.
Businesses that mainly use countertop machines consist mainly of retail, with the big players including major supermarkets and department stores.
With businesses that require a lot of moving for its staff, having a portable card machine when having a transaction with a customer can be a godsend.
Restaurants and bars are ones that can highly benefit from this as there’s no need to manage a queue at the counter (it opens up the option of a customer paying at their tale) or fumble with change when it comes to paying at the table. This speeds up the process and leaves everyone happy.
Portable machines work through a Wi-Fi connection. Don’t have one? Then simply hook them up to a standard landline and they’ll work just as fine. They will need to be recharged, however, having an average battery life of eight hours and work at a range of up to 200ft. As long as you have a safe charging point and aren’t operating in a multi-level building (where we’d recommend having multiple terminals), you should have no problem with this.
Portable devices sound great for a lot of businesses, but what if your business ignore the slight flaws of this method, such as the limited range of the connection? What if your business is a delivery company or taxi service, where constant internet/ landline access isn’t always possible, and you can’t simply install a countertop reader?
Well, as long as where you are still has mobile network coverage, then mobile card machines may be right for you. With the flexibility of just needing a mobile and a connection, as well as the charging ports being far more convenient, this option is definitely the best for businesses that aren’t able to have either of the other two options.
These devices work through a SIM card that will connect the machine to a mobile network. Newer varieties such as the iZettle reader, however, make things even simpler by instead just connecting your phone through an app with no need for a specialised SIM card.
With the minimum amount of hardware compared to the other two options, some only requiring the reader and connection to a phone, it seems like the best choice for a business where the employee is always on the go, even more so than the portable reader.
Other businesses that can benefit a lot from mobile devices include and kind of door-to-door sales, from hairdressers and other services to those selling physical products.
A rented machine or service will usually cost up to £30 a month, whilst buying the machine outright will cost anywhere from £80-300. This does vary from place to place, but the cheapest terminal is generally the countertop one, due to its lack of freedom, with the other two being similar in price.
Along with that, there’s the transaction fees. These will depend on the amount of transactions you make within a given time, as well as whether you’re paying through a percentage of the customer’s transaction or a flat fee. The former will usually result in an intake of 2-5% of the customer’s transaction, whilst the latter will usually be a standard payment of 40p per transaction. There are some exceptions on this, such as the SUMUP terminal, which only contracts you to pay 1.69% per transaction with a direct pay-out to your bank account.
Minimum usage fees may be necessary if you’re not making enough transactions. These can usually be around £50 a month.
Conclusion – Which One is the Best?
Choosing a winner between the options is purely subjective in terms of what kind of business you have. To summarise, countertop works better for retail, where paying at the counter is the best option. Portable works better for environments where the workers need to move around a lot like hospitality jobs, and mobile works better for those who are constantly on the move outside of a set building.
If you’re interested in speed, the countertop option seems to be the fastest when it comes to transactions due to not relying on a Wi-Fi connection of any kind, whilst the mobile option seems to be the best in terms of versatility. Overall, it depends on what matters more for your type of business.
Still need help?
We are able to provide low cost terminals designed specifically for the small business market. This is why we completely avoid long-term contracts, and don’t partake in large fixed costs that would affect your cashflow. We offer all three of the terminals mentioned in this post, and can even offer further advice on request! Visit https://www.cheaperpay.me/request-a-quote/ to get a FREE quote.