What's the best type of card machine for my business?

February 25, 2019

The starting point for deciding on the best type of card machine is to work out exactly what your business needs are.

Shopping list of card machine benefits

Modern card machines provide chip and pin solutions as standard. They also include contactless payment services. Taking Apple pay is now important for many physical retailers, to keep pace with customer preferences. You may also want to accept Google Pay. So, you should consider card machines that offer these features as standard too.

Beyond these considerations, you have a choice between three main categories of card machine. One is a mobile system for taking card payments that is ideal for businesses that change locations such as street food vendors or delivery services.

The second, is a card machine based on Wi-Fi that is also portable, which can be used by businesses such as restaurants to take payments at tables.

Thirdly, you could opt for a countertop card payment machine. This would be fixed in place at your payment desk. It is the option most retailers select.


Modern technology means that businesses can also choose to rent or buy bluetooth card machines.

These are highly portable, enabling you to take swift and problem-free payments anywhere in your location. These are particularly convenient for companies who offer a ‘pay-at-table’ service, especially as they can be used outdoors too.

Best options for eCommerce

Clearly, if you are an online business, a virtual terminal may be more appropriate, to create a system for swift and easy credit card processing for eCommerce sales.

Think forwards

A basic card reader may be adequate, but it makes sense to select a more sophisticated one if you’re going to need greater functionality and more payment options in the future.

Keep in mind that there are card machines that are specially configured to meet specific business needs too – such as hospitality or garden centre ventures for example.

Credit and debit card machine cost

Next, how much can you afford to pay? If you’re concerned about buying a card terminal outright, it’s possible to arrange short-term and long-term card machine hire to spread the cost.

Merchant accounts

Do you need a card machine that integrates with your existing payment systems or one that has a merchant account as part of the package?

Getting a card machine that is supported by integrated merchant payment processing can make your business life easier.

Other essential features

Armed with answers to the questions above, you have found your own solution to the question “What’s the best type of card machine for my business?”.

However, there are some universally essential card machine features for any business. You will need one that is fully licensed by Mastercard and Visa, for example. Also, one that is PCI compliant and certified (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).