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Choosing a card reader

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You only need a telephone socket and a power supply or an Internet box to install a bank card reader. Your customers simply swipe their card through your reader to make their payments. The reader takes care of the checks that guarantee you are paid. The customer's account is debited at the same time as your business is credited, usually within two days of the transaction.

Did you know?  You can use your mobile device as a payment terminal!

Your Smartphone can be turned into a mobile point of sale (POS) by installing the right application and adding a small card reader that connects to the device. This means you can quickly accept card payments for items or services wherever and whenever you like. This mobile payment solution is perfect for craftspeople, small traders and independent professionals

The two main types of bank card reader

  Fixed points of sale – connected to an electrical outlet, their mobility is limited. However, this type of POS can be combined with a pin pad, a small numeric keypad on which the customer enters their confidential PIN, so the terminal does not need to be moved.

  Mobile POS – they can be infrared or radio-operated. While infrared terminals must be placed on their base during the authorisation request, this is not the case for those that use radio, which can communicate with their base remotely. The range of radio systems can cover more than 50 metres but it is, nevertheless, recommended to avoid placing obstacles between the device and its base.

Selection criteria for a bank card reader

  Payment points – does your business have several or just one? Do you move to take payments? The answers to these questions will help decide whether to choose a fixed or mobile EPOS.

  Your peak business periods – do you take payments at a constant rate or do you have very busy periods, such as in the restaurant business, where payments are mostly made when the lunchtime and evening services are finished? The connection mode is important in making your choice

  The average payment amount – above a certain volume, PSTN are not for you.

Connection methods for bank card readers

  PSTN terminal – it is connected to a telephone socket. The costs are billed by your telephone operator and appear under "e-payment calls" or "calls to special numbers". Authorisation takes around 40 seconds.

  IP terminal – it uses your store's ADSL connection. The terminal connects to your modem. It can also work with WiFi – in this case, there may be an additional cost.

  GPRS terminal – it has a SIM card associated with a telecom package. This package corresponds to a set monthly data allowance that you can send to your bank.  A 2 MB plan is sufficient for most businesses. You will be charged extra if you go over the limit.

A GPRS terminal is usually the most economical solution, especially if you process a large number of transactions every month. If you opt for a sedentary GPRS or IP terminal, your EPOS must have a backup system (PSTN system). This means your terminal will continue to work in the event of Internet failure or network problems.

What you should know

The choice of connection method depends on:

  your available budget,

  the existing connection methods in your store,

  your usage needs,

  the space you have in front of the counter for your customers.

Bank card reader functions and options

  Authorisation request,

  Card validity checking,

  Cancellation checking,

  Pin code checking,

Options available for a bank card reader:

  Interest-free payment in three instalments

  Payment by American Express – you often have to take out a specific contract.

  Remote payment sales with a traditional or virtual POS (entry of the amount on receipt of the order and identification data)

  Payment collection on different bank accounts

Security guarantees

A merchant using a bank card EPOS benefits from a payment guarantee. Of course, for the guarantee to be effective, the customer's card must be confirmed as being belonging to them through their pin code. The card must also be valid and pass all the security checks.