If you’re looking for the right payment hardware to take your business to the next level, congratulations! This is an exciting time.
As your business grows and moves through each evolution, you become familiar with the benefits and challenges of investing in new tools and technology. Just remember that making the right choice is about identifying your specific needs and finding the solution that best addresses them.
A Credit Card Machine for Small Business: Is it the Right Time?
It’s never easy for a small business owner to say exactly when investing in a credit card machine is the right choice to make.
Just a few short years ago, running a small business looked very different. In the small merchant business sector, getting by as a cash-only business used to be a viable option.
However, as the economy steadily migrates towards electronic payment options, cash-only small businesses are largely a thing of the past. As a way to open up business to the growing plastic-only consumer market, a number of credit card processing systems have entered the market.
To reach the operators that need them, electronic payment solutions for small businesses such as Square began to appear. These products were designed to be affordable, presenting little risk to small business owners.
The business model behind Square and competing solutions relies on small business growth rather than up-front costs. Square charges a flat and substantial fee for every transaction on their platform. Simple and easy to understand, it’s tempting for small business owners first opening up this revenue stream.
After some growth and many transaction fees paid, small business owners begin to see the high cost of these solutions stack up and make up a significant portion of the bottom line.
This is when a small business is ready to take the next step. With enough expected revenue to cover a small up-front investment, the savings on transaction fees become worthwhile. And so begins the search for a credit card machine for small business.
Finding a Modern Credit Card Machine: Compatibility, Versatility, and Functionality
The current trend away from cash payments and towards electronic options is only the beginning of a much larger change in the way that people interact with money.
That puts modern small businesses squarely in between two different eras, which might appear a difficult place to be.
A small business operator, in order to help as many customers as possible today, needs to handle every type of payment technology that comes through their door. Doing so means finding the right payment system that is both past and future-compatible.
Magnetic strips, for example, are on their way out. They do still represent a significant portion of US credit card holders today. However, as EMV payment options take their place as the next iteration of card payment technology, investing in an EMV processing terminal is also prescient. The solution, then, is to find a terminal that can handle both EMV and magnetic stripe processing.
The most elegant solution is a hybrid magnetic strip reader and EMV chip reader port. This saves space by reducing two card ports to one, and avoids the occasional confusion caused when presenting more than one credit card slot. It’s also a sleek and modern solution that your clients will appreciate.
While the EMV chip brings its own advances in electronic payment security, newer payment options are already catching up. Apple Pay, Android Pay, QR code accounts, and NFC electronic payment applications are steadily gaining popularity.
This is especially true for millennials, who are eager to start using the latest technology when possible. Pair this with the fact that this generation is rapidly becoming one of the most important portions of the consumer market, and you get a very convincing argument for investing in alternative electronic payment hardware.
Finding a credit card machine for small business that will handle the specific electronic payment needs of the future is important. On the other hand, cash is still king and traditional payment methods still represent a huge part of small business revenue. That’s why an electronic payment processing terminal needs to be reverse compatible as well, with the hardware to operate a cash drawer and external printers.
Of course, a built-in receipt printer eliminates the need for an external printer and simplifies your point-of-payment system.
A Single-Point Checkout and Payment System
The capabilities of a modern credit card machine for small business should be complete, as the point of purchase needs to be modern, electronic payment-enabled, and fully integrated. That means that every form of payment, classic or modern, should come through the same smart, integrated system.
Additional checkout hardware is the next logical step: a built-in barcode scanner completes the single point system.
Beyond these features, your single-point payment system needs to be fast, easy-to-use for both your employees and customers, aesthetically pleasing and sleek, portable, and modern. The quality of your payment hardware should reflect the attention to detail that you put into the rest of your business.
Meet The Tidal Smart Terminal
In consideration of the needs of a small business, Tidal Commerce developed the Smart Terminal.
It’s designed for small business, adaptable and future-proof while enabling operators to work with incumbent payment systems as well. It’s portable and flexible but doesn’t need to move: with a touch screen facing both customer and clerk, the machine provides a smooth experience for every user.
Using the Smart Terminal system with affordable Tidal Commerce Payment Processing is a great way to lower operating costs. Merchants save an average of 30% on payment processing fees by switching to Tidal! Contact us to learn how Tidal is the best payment processing partner for you.