Options for Accepting Credit Cards

I have previously written on this but times have changed. Customers for the most part don’t even have to sign for the purchase, pin numbers have replaced signatures and soon bio-metrics will replace pins. Bio-metrics includes fingerprints, iris scans, face recognition and heart rhythm.  Many businesses don’t know all of the options and could add a lot of convenience and possible save money by picking the right option for their business.

Face to Face with a Countertop Terminal

This is the tried and true method currently in use. Merchants have to option of leasing, buying or renting terminals. We always recommend renting as the life expectancy of terminals if 5 years or less and technology is changing rapidly.

Face to Face Bluetooth

Also known as “short range wireless” these are popular in restaurants. The terminal communicates with a base that is connected to a phone line or the internet. They are cheaper than GPRS (long range wireless) but more costly than countertop terminals.

Face to Face GPRS

These work off cell towers and are the most expensive option for equipment costs. If you are on the road you can accept credit or debit cards. You should check which cell provider our processor uses and what the coverage is in your area.

Face to Face Bluetooth on Phone attachment

*NEW, this is a great option in our opinion, with these it is now possible to take credit and debit cards using Pin technology with your cell phone. They connect to your cell phone by Bluetooth, you must have a plan that allows you to have a phone app. There is a variety of options here with different processors some insist upon a second account with higher processing rates but if your processor allows you to use your current account with the same rates it is a great option.

Face to Face using a POS System

A good POS system can save you a lot of time and trouble if it is integrated with your processing terminal. This means when you enter the sale on your cash register (computer) the amount comes up on a pin pad connected to the computer eliminating the need to balance at the end of the day. The disadvantage can be a lack of processors options so you may be paying higher fees.

NFC from Phone

*NEW, this involves using NFC or Near Field Communications to record credit card information. NFC is the same system that enables “tap & go” or contactless transactions. Started with Iphones and spreading to other phones.


As above this uses NFC with a chip in your credit card. Fast convenient for customers but subject to extra cost for the merchant. For instance Interac charges an extra 3.5ȼ per transaction.

Virtual Terminal

Online terminal you log into and enter your transactions manually most transactions are considered card not present and have a higher processing cost. The exception to this is recurring payments which are automatic payments set up to be taken out on a regular basis these are actually cheaper to process than face to face transactions. You can also use this system to securely store your customers credit card information on the processors server for future transactions.

Keyed Transaction

This is a transaction entered manually on any of the above hardware and included all internet transactions. This is called a “card not present” transaction and is more costly to process than face to face transactions.

Phone Authorizations

Like it sounds involves a phone call to the processor to get a verbal authorization of a transaction. The processing costs are higher as they are card not present and many processors also charge an extra per transaction fee.

For more information visit: www.smallbizassist.ca

Submitted by: Rick Smith President SmallBizAssist, small business consultants specializing in payment processing. 1/27/2018



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *