If you own a small business, you definitely understand the importance of getting the most bang for your buck. Especially if you are just starting out, your profit margins may be slim and frivolous spending is likely scarce.
If you are consciously watching your spending, you also understand the importance of providing safe and secure transactions. With so many major companies having security issues recently, your small business needs assurance that it won’t be next. You need to protect yourself and your customers from identity theft and failed payments. In addition, you need to be capable of providing clients with a quick, safe and simple way to pay for your products or services.
How can you implement these important elements into your small business without shattering your bottom line? Consider outfitting your business with a portable credit card reader.
What is a Portable Credit Card Reader?
In the past, businesses which accepted credit or debit payment needed to have a bulky card reader which attached to their in-house point of sale system via several thick cords, strewn across the countertop. These card readers often stored information to send to an offsite payment processing company at the end of the business day. Companies may not have known if a card was declined or an account was empty until long after the sale was made and the customer was out the door.
These days, processing is much quicker and, thankfully, much more convenient .
Portable credit card readers offered by companies like Shopify are small devices which connect to your mobile phone or tablet (either by wire or Bluetooth) and can completely replace their lumbering ancestors. These modern readers also outstrip their predecessors in terms of safety, says Yahoo. Most portable systems have built-in encryption patterns, process payments more quickly, and will often connect directly to your existing accounts or bookkeeping programs.
How Will it Improve Your Business?
Only 23 percent of all sales are expected to be paid in cash by 2017, according to Business News Daily. They go on to say “more than three-quarters of transactions will be conducted with credit and debit cards. Businesses that only accept cash will quickly find themselves losing sales to competitors that are equipped to handle credit and debit card payments”.
In other words, in order for a business to be successful, it needs to be able to handle a high amount of credit and debit sales.
Using a portable card reader will not only allow you to accept these common forms of tender without requiring a bulky point-of-sale setup in-store, but you will also be able to take your business on the road. Setting up a booth at local events and fairs is an excellent way to generate community support and good word-of-mouth for your company. Having a lightweight card reader that connects directly to your mobile phone is the simplest way to accept the widest variety of payments.
Some portable card readers even have the option of syncing with your existing point-of-sale systems, making it even easier to track transactions and income.
Which Card Reader Should You Invest in?
So, which portable credit card reader will be the best for your small business? There may not be a definitive answer, but here are some of the most important things to look for in a great device.
Ease of use. An amazing product will do you no good if you can’t figure out how to set it up. Your card reader should be somewhat straightforward, preferably with the ability to sync to your other point-of-sale consoles.
Security. TechCrunch recommends using a system that automatically generates sales reports, as these reports can be instrumental in helping a small business win disputes over failed transactions. In addition, your card reader should always be able to encrypt account numbers and other information. This not only protects your customers’ card numbers, but it also defends your small business from theft and bad publicity.
Convenience. Many portable card readers use a third-party payment processor, meaning that your transactions can take much longer to process and your bookkeeping information may be scattered over several devices. There are a few card readers, however, that connect to their own point-of-sale systems (like Spotify’s POS card reader and compatible app). Using a self-contained, portable point-of-sale system means that all of your important information is centralized. Generally, inventory details, revenue information, and sales receipts are all accessible in one easy location.
Good design. When selecting your card reader, according to PacketWire, you should find one that will sit securely on your mobile device without wiggling around. Occasionally, and ill-fitting card reader will detach, voiding a transaction and possibly causing damage to cards or tablets.
No matter which device you choose, your business can undoubtedly benefit from the implementation of a portable card reader. Whether you’re looking to increase sales, travel to events or simply de-clutter the counters in your shop, having a point-of-sale system in the palm of your hand can change the way you do business.