There are a number of machines used to swipe credit cards. One of the oldest is the imprinter, which is a small device that can create carbon copies of the card, making imprints of the data which the merchant can process. The disadvantage of imprinters is that should the credit card be declined, the merchant won’t find out until after the customer has left their store. The advantage of these machines is that they are available for free or for a very low cost, and will typically be provided by the bank which opened your merchant account.
Imprinters require you to carry the imprinting slips, which is the same as carrying around a bunch of credit cards. If you lose the slips, you’ve lost all your payments. Imprinters are best used by merchants who only need to handle a few payments at a location which is temporary. They’re a short term solution that should never be used for processing a high volume of payments.
Credit Card Terminals
Most modern stores and shops use credit card terminals. They are best used by merchants that process a high volume of payments. These machines allow the customer to swipe their card, key a number into the keypad and then complete the payment. Many models will also print out a receipt. Unlike imprinters, credit card terminals are quite expensive, with a single model costing as much as $200. For merchants who are selling goods at temporary events, it may be possible to rent them. As with imprinters, credit card terminals will be sold by the same bank that sets up your merchant account.
Some card terminals run on batteries, while others require a source of power. Every card terminal must be connected to a phone network. Phone lines allow credit card terminals to perform transactions in real time. Other models also allow you to store information, and unlike imprinters, card terminals can store data internally, giving you more security since you don’t have to carry around imprinting slips. Card terminals are versatile and can be used in many different situations. They’ve become the standard device which is used to perform most credit card payments.
The disadvantage to credit card terminals is that integrating them with certain databases can be challenging. For example, if a merchant wants to process a credit card payment for a donation and record it simultaneously, they may find a terminal hard to work with.
Credit Card Swiper for Mobile Devices
The newest credit card swiper is a miniature device that can be attached to cell phones or tablet PCs. This allows credit card payments to be made over 3G or 4G networks. These devices can be used in two ways. The first is by manually entering your credit card number, and the second is by attaching a device to your phone which allows the card to be swiped. The biggest advantage of a mobile phone swiper is portability. This means that you can perform credit card transactions anywhere a phone signal is available, and the hardware is also cheaper than traditional credit card terminals.