Credit card processing is an absolute must for any 21st Century retail business. Credit and debit card have rapidly become the UK customer’s favourite method of payment after cash. The Payments Council even recommended phasing out cheques by 2018. That recommendation has since been withdrawn but the facts still speak loud and clear: if you can’t do credit card processing, you’re inevitably turning business away.
High risk merchant account companies which provide credit card processing offer a number of solutions to make sure your customers have all the payment options they need. Choosing the right credit card processing provider for your business depends on what you’re selling, who you’re selling to and how you’re selling it.
To find out more about the rank of credit card processing options available, simply continue reading the content on this page; otherwise, if you want to start comparing quotes straight away, just fill in the form at the top of this page.
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Credit Card Processing Terminals
Credit card processing terminals come in three forms, which each offer features that can be more or less suitable to businesses and users depending on their requirements. Though these credit card machines do vary in some ways, they generally offer the same functions to users.
To find out more about your credit card processing options, simply visit the sections below:
Countertop Credit Card Machines
As the name suggests, countertop credit card machines are used to process card payments from a tethered location. Retail stores are the most likely to use countertop credit card machines, although they can be used in other environments too.
A countertop credit card machine is often the simplest option available in terms of technology and installation - this sort of terminal is simply plugged in. A countertop credit card machine cannot be moved around a premises, although this is generally not an issue in retail stores.
The lack of portability provided by countertop credit card machines can be a disadvantage although, as mentioned, this is only likely to be the case for businesses that require payment processing in other areas.
Portable Credit Card Machines
Portable credit card machines are similar to countertop and mobile terminals; they are not tethered to a specific location within a store or premises, but they can be used throughout a location, without needing to be fixed to a single point.
Portable credit card machines makes processing payments easier, allowing staff to accept money from wherever they need to within a business. This form of credit card machine is especially useful in restaurants and other environments, where it would be disruptive to have customers all paying at one point.
This option allows for more flexibility than a countertop credit card machine, and allows your business to take payments quickly and easily.
Mobile Credit Card Machines
Mobile credit card machines can be used in any location, provided that there is coverage. These sort of credit card processing terminals work in a similar way to your smartphone, and allows for transactions to take place in any location.
Mobile credit card machines offer the greatest flexibility of all of these options, and are most useful for businesses that often need to complete transactions in remote locations. Service providers - plumbers, electricians or delivery drivers, for example - are a great example of the kind of position that can benefit from this form of machine.
This option allows the most flexibility of all of the credit card machines included on this page, although can sometimes be restricted by poor signal, in the same way that a mobile phone can be.
Top Credit Card Processing Terminals
In this section we have pulled together information about three of the best credit card machines on the market - this information is not definitive and will need to be considered carefully in relation to your own requirements.
We have not included price in these quick reviews - to find out about how much a machine is likely to cost, simply complete the form at the top of the page.
Verifone VX820 Credit Card Processing Terminal
Verifone’s VX820 credit card machine is an excellent choice for a range of businesses. Designed to be resilient and reliable, this option will fit any business - from small to large - with the functionality they require.
The VX820 credit card machine includes a 3.5” colour touch screen, as well as a back-lit keypad; additionally, this machine has been created to ensure that it works well with Verifone systems, allowing your staff to quickly and easily complete transactions.
Verifone’s VX820 credit card machine is an excellent choice for any business, and can significantly improve your business’s ability to handle transactions.
Spire 4200 Credit Card Processing Terminal
Spire’s 4200 credit card processing terminal is an excellent option for a range of business types and sizes. Providing excellent functionality and features, this credit card machine can be the best choice for a huge range of companies.
Suitable for use in a range of industries, Spire’s credit card machine is an excellent choice for modern businesses. Created using a 32-bit ARM9 processor, and with a quality, easy-to-read display, this machine is superb and can fit into most environments quickly and easily.
Spire’s 4200 credit card processing terminal is an excellent choice; to find out more about it, simply complete the form at the top of the page.
Ingenico iCT 250 Credit Card Processing Terminal
Ingenico’s iCT 250 credit card machine is an excellent choice for any business, whether small or large. The terminal offers a range of options, with features and functions designed and included to ensure your staff can work and take payments quickly and efficiently.
The iCT 250 credit card machine is one of the world’s smallest and lightest options, that also offers security features and payment options that set it apart from a number of competitors. As well as offering a range of features, the iCT 250 can also feature your branding to ensure that your customers understand exactly who they are dealing with.
Ingenico’s iCT 250 is an excellent choice for a range of businesses - to find out more about it, simply complete the form at the top of this page.
Credit Card Processing
Credit card processing isn’t a simple matter of a single transaction between you and your customer; there are in fact several parties involved - the list below tracks this process from start to finish.
- The Payment Processor - The company which collects the customer’s card details, transaction details, and transmits them in a secure way to the other parties.
- The Card Association - For example: Visa or Mastercard. They verify the authenticity and security of the transaction (PIN etc) and forward the request to the customer’s bank.
- The Issuing Bank - The customer’s bank, who respond to the request with an acceptance or declination. In cases where the transaction is declined, a reason is also usually provided (e.g. insufficient funds)
- The Acquiring Bank - Your – the merchant’s – bank, to whom you submit your authorized transactions and who then release the money to you.
Often, credit card processing providers combine the functions of the payment processor and acquiring bank, providing you with both a merchant account and a payment gateway. This could be a bank with which you have a business bank account or a dedicated credit card processing company.
Credit Card Processing Options
Different kinds of business require different kinds of customer interaction and therefore several methods of credit card processing are available:
- Face-to-face: - Credit card processing via a chip and PIN terminal for businesses who conduct most of their business over the counter.
- Virtual Terminal: - A software based solution for mail order or telephone ordering companies.
- Online Payments: - For selling goods and services via an e-commerce website.
Many credit card processing providers can provide combinations of these services for businesses with a range of retail operations. Choosing the right provider entails checking standing charges, charges for the rental of any hardware, turnaround times for payment processing as well as fraud prevention and data protection industry standard compliance.
Credit Card Processing Fees
When your customer pays for a product or service, you are charged a fee for processing that transaction through your merchant account. This fee has four components (or more if it was processed through a payment gateway). These are the interchange fee, the discount rate, the assessment, and merchant account fee.
- Interchange fee - When a credit card or debit card is processed, the acquirer (or acquiring bank) pays the card issuing bank a fee which is called the “interchange fee”. The amount is deducted from the money the card issuing bank pays to the acquirer.
- Discount rate - The acquirer deducts another fee, called the discount rate, before the money is paid into the merchant’s account. The discount rate is usually significantly less than the interchange rate, but not in all circumstances.
- The assessment - An additional fee, the assessment, is paid to the credit card association, for instance Visa or MasterCard.
For most merchants the interchange fee makes up from 70% to 90% of the total charge, but large businesses can usually negotiate a lower discount rate, and some high-risk merchants might have to pay a higher discount rate.
Credit Card Payment Example
This is a possible example of credit card charging:
- A customer purchases an item from your store for £100 by credit card.
- After a few days, £98 is deposited in your current account.
- The remaining £2 is composed of various fees:
- £1.75 is the interchange fee that is paid to the issuing bank
- £0.18 is paid to the credit card association, for instance Visa or MasterCard. This is called the assessment.
- £0.07 will be paid to your merchant account provider
What Determines Interchange Rates?
Interchange rates are complex and depend on several different factors. These include:
- The credit card company
- The type of credit or debit card, for instance rewards cards have higher rates
- Factors specific to the type and size of the accepting merchant
- The kind of transaction, for instance if it is a face-to-face transaction or e-commerce
- The region and jurisdiction – for instance in Australia interchange rates are limited by the government to around 0.5%.
Who Decides Interchange Rates?
This is a somewhat controversial issue. Essentially the credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard set default interchange rates. However each merchant can negotiate fees with its acquirer and the merchant’s bank can negotiate fees with the card issuing bank.
There have been many questions raised about the fairness of interchange fees. Some believe that they are unjustifiably high, and that they involve an element of price fixing. On the other hand, credit card issuers argue that if they were to reduce the fees merchants pay they would have to increase the costs for card holders.
The EU is currently examining interchange fees and might limit them, but the UK government’s position is that doing so would be wrong as it would penalise card holders unduly.
Compare Credit Card Processing Quotes Today
Credit card charges are something that as merchants you can’t avoid however, by shopping around you can find merchant accounts that minimise them. If you would like to find the best credit card merchant accounts for your business, simply fill in the free quote form and we will provide you with free no-obligation quotes today.
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