customer paying employee with credit card
After making the decision to accept credit card payments for your business's transactions, the next step is to decide which processing method to choose. — Getty Images/PeopleImages

In today’s world of e-commerce, mobile wallets and online banking, many consumers no longer carry cash with them. Instead, they opt to pay for everyday transactions with credit cards or electronic payment systems connected to those cards.

Retailers and service providers that fail to provide card payment options to their customers could potentially miss out on sales, so it’s wise to consider this for your business. There are several different ways to accept credit card payments from your customers, and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with your options so you can choose the best one for your company.

Traditional POS systems

If you’re selling goods and services in a brick-and-mortar location, you’ll likely benefit from having a point-of-sale (POS) system. This technology allows you to manage customer interactions and accept multiple forms of payment, including debit and credit cards.

Today’s vast array of POS systems come with a variety of features. It’s important to do your research so you can select the one that best suits your company’s unique needs. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a POS system for your business:

  • Size of your business
  • Quality and quantity of its features
  • Which industry it falls under
  • Its potential for expansion
  • The costs of the hardware and software

Some POS systems are designed specifically for businesses in certain industries, which can help you provide better service to your customers. For example, if you own a restaurant, you’ll want to find a system like Toast or Lightspeed Restaurant. Retail businesses, on the other hand, might consider Vend or Lightspeed Retail.

[Click here for a complete guide on choosing the best POS system.]

Retailers and service providers that fail to provide card payment options to their customers could potentially miss out on sales.

Mobile POS systems

A mobile POS system is a smartphone, tablet or other device that acts as a “register” for credit card payments. Many stores with multiple employees on the floor (think Apple) find it convenient to carry a tablet with them to swipe a customer’s credit card on the spot, rather than have them stand in line at a check-out counter. Additionally, retailers often use a mobile POS system if they’re selling goods offsite, such as at a farmers’ market or festival.

While some mobile POS companies manufacture their own portable devices, most allow you to download their software onto the mobile device of your choice, then purchase the hardware for swiping separately. This hardware connects to the device by plugging it into a port or wirelessly via Bluetooth. Popular mobile POS options include Square, Clover and ShopKeep.

Online payment processors

Any companies that conduct business online must accept credit card payments by default. This is done through an online payment processor. There are three main types of online payment processors:

  • Merchant account and payment gateways, like SecureNet and Authorize.Net, combine a merchant account (business bank account that accepts credit cards) with an online payment gateway (which connect your store with your account), facilitating the transaction.
  • All-in-one solutions, like PayPal and 2Checkout, redirect users to their platform at the point of purchase and allow them to pay with cards connected to their personal accounts.
  • Simplified credit card processors, like Stripe, simply allow customers to enter their credit card information and pay without leaving your site.

There are aspects to consider pertaining to each of these payment options, such as ease of use, integrations and processing fees. Depending on your business’s needs, one option may make more sense for you over others, so you’ll want to research different companies’ offerings before committing to one.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best POS system, visit our friends at business.com.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published April 26, 2019