The world is changing, and cash is becoming less and less common. Which is why many companies are branching out and investing in card payment machines. However, with so many available options choosing the right card reader for your business can be confusing.

So, we’ll explain how card readers work and the system requirements and the available options.


How does a card reader work?

Card readers, credit card reader or card machines are electronic devices that allows businesses to process credit and debit card payment. Modern readers use several different types of technology to process payments, this can include; chip and pin, contactless, Apple Pay and Android pay.


Chip and Pin

Chip and Pin has almost completely replaced the old magstripe technology, where payments were confirmed with a customer signature. Offering encrypted processing, the chip and pin card machine interacts with the chip inside the card and transmits the transaction data to your merchant account


Contactless, Apple Pay and Android pay

Contactless payment is a secure payment method using RFID, or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology interacts with “smart cards” to process the transaction. It has a maximum transaction value of £30 and does not require a credit or debit card to be inserted into the card reader, or a pin number to be entered. Apple Pay and Android pay use the same technology as Contactless payment, but the smart card is replaced with a customer’s Apple or Android device. Both options allow for very quick transaction times and can help reduce queueing in your business.


What system requirements do you need for card readers?

Card readers are relatively easy to set up and depending on usages your business will need different connection requirements.

Card readers do need a connection to pass information over to the Point of Sale (POS) app, but this is done through Bluetooth on the devices. The POS app, however, does need to have a connection to communicate with the bank.

A phone line, connection via a phone line is required for either countertop or portable card reader machines.

Broadband – This is needed to connect Wi-Fi

Good mobile network – 3G/4G GPRS, this is required for Mobile card machines that are used remotely.

Card reader options

There are many different card readers available, not all of which will be of use to your business, below we’ll outline which card reader you’ll likely benefit from:


I need a fixed location card reader by my till

Countertop terminals like the Spire SPc5 are the best for a shop or other business with one place to charge customers. The SPc5 especially is perfect for having next to the till in your shop or reception of your practice. They are known as fixed terminals as they plug directly into phone line or broadband and therefore needs to be stationed by the till or POS system. The model on our books comes contactless, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay ready as standard.

Business who are likely to benefit from these models include:

· Retail outlets

· Beauty salons and spa’s

· Garages


I take payments on the go and need a portable card reader

Our portable terminals are the Spire SPg7 WiFi and GPRS. This series is made up of portable card machines which give you the flexibility to take credit and debit card payments anywhere in your business. It works via WIFI between the unit and modem, giving the Merchant the ability to take payments anywhere within the store. This terminal is one of the most powerful portable card machines currently available and also includes contactless, Samsung Pay and Apple pay capabilities.

Business who are likely to benefit from these models include:

· Bars and pubs

· Restaurants and café’s

· Pop-up shops


I need both fixed location, and portable card readers

(EPOS) The Streetaway Spark is an EPOS system (Electronic Point Of Sale) or till system, but with a twist. Experience ultra-modern, intuitive software design and sleek hardware, including customer-facing screens, designed to bring interactivity to the forefront of the customer’s experience. EPOS hardware, including their new Dual-Screen Display, is designed specifically for the harsh environment and heavy use of hospitality: scratch-resistant screens, multiple port compatibility for accessories and drop-resistant handheld ordering devices for tableside and on-the-go ordering!


Call us today if you’d like more information about the range of card machines offered by CheaperPay.