3 Reasons Why You Need A Swipe Machine For Your Business

James O'Donnell10/20/2021

What is a swipe machine?

A swipe machine is a term used for a credit card reader. When a customer chooses to use a credit card or debit card to make a purchase, they "swipe" their card across the reader to complete their transaction.

What's A Swipe Machine?

If you run a retail establishment, you've probably noticed that you're conducting fewer cash transactions each year. It's a fact that fewer people are using cash for purchases. And by all indications, this trend is going to continue.

There are many reasons why your customers are using credit and debit cards to complete their transactions. These days, people don't like carrying a lot of cash on their person. With swipe machines, paying with a credit card is faster and easier than using cash.

Business owners benefit from their customers using credit card machines as well. Cash transactions take longer to complete and cash has to be secured. Credit cards increase a customer's purchasing power, generating more sales.

We've all seen and used a credit card swipe machine. They're a feature at almost every POS terminal. The cashier tells you how much you owe, you swipe your card, and the sale is approved or declined.

We use swipe machines so often, we tend to take them for granted. However, they're one of the most important components of your POS system. There are many ways your business benefits from having a credit card swipe machine.

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How Does a Swipe Machine Work?

A customer comes into your restaurant. They just wanted a burger and fries, but they notice you have a special on chocolate cake. You don't have enough money for both, but you do have a credit card - problem solved.

The cashier rings up your order and tells you the total. You take out your credit card and swipe it through a credit card reader. You may be required to enter a PIN number before the transaction can proceed.

Not all credit card machines require you to swipe your card. To use some readers you have to insert rather than swipe your card. There are contactless readers as well, which use ultrasonic sound waves to read a card.

It takes only a few seconds for your credit card information to be processed. The business's credit processor company will contact the card issuer. The credit card company or your bank responds by approving or declining the transaction.

In case you were wondering, the card data is encoded during transmission for security reasons. A special payment data token with a one-time transaction code is generated. No customer or store data is stored in the credit card reader.

The response comes back. The cashier will either thank you for your business or ask for an alternative payment method. The entire transaction took less than a minute - is it any wonder card payment is so popular?

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Evolution of the Credit Card Swipe Machine

Credit cards didn't really catch on until the 1960s. Starting around 1970, IBM began using magnetic strips on credit cards. These magnetic strips were used to store customer information.

This created the need for a payment terminal device to read the information on the magnetic stripe. The device had to be designed to allow customers to "swipe" their cards in order to read the customer information. Thus, the swipe machine was born.

Today it'd be hard to find a retail business that doesn't have a swipe machine. The technology has improved greatly. There are now many different types of credit card machines being used in retail POS systems.

Modern credit card swipe machines are able to process a wide range of non-cash payment methods. Most have keypads to enter PIN codes and other data. They can be mounted to a POS terminal or as a separate handheld device.

Mobile swipe readers are popular because they can go anywhere. The reader is a dongle plugged into a table or other mobile device. Apps are used to process credit card and debit card transactions.

One of the most recent types of card readers is contactless payment terminals. Instead of swiping the card, customers pass their card near a reader. These readers use ultrasonic radio fields to read the data on a chip instead of a stripe.

Swipe machines are an important part of any POS system. Let's take a look at three benefits of using a credit card swipe machine.

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A credit card swipe machine isn't just a way to process sales. It's a tool you can use to actually increase sales.

For one thing, just advertising the fact that you accept credit card payments is enough to increase sales. Credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard are two of the most trusted brands in the world. Customers are more likely to choose a that they know accepts these brands.

Swipe machines also increase sales by providing customers with a wider range of payment options. For instance, a customer sees an item they want, but they don't have enough cash on them to afford it. Rather than losing a sale, credit cards allow the customer to go ahead and purchase a product.

A POS merchandise display near a credit card swipe machine is a tried and true marketing tool. The idea is to appeal to the impulse shopper. They might not have to cash to afford the impulse items, so they decide to use their credit card instead.

Mobile swipe card readers provide yet another way to increase sales. Mobile swipe card readers let you take your business to your customers. It makes any place with an internet connection a POS location.

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Retail is a highly competitive industry. One way to out-compete your rivals is by offering superior customer service. A credit card machine is an excellent way to improve your customers' shopping experience.

Credit card machines extend a customer's purchasing power. A customer doesn't have to pass up an item because they don't have enough cash. A credit card lets them purchase the items they want.

Customers want to spend as little time as possible at a POS. Credit cards greatly speed up the transaction process. With a swipe machine, their transactions are completed in seconds.

Customers like to have many payment options when they make a purchase. A credit card swipe machine allows them to take advantage of a wide range of payment types besides cash. These include credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, mobile app digital wallets, and many more.

Credit cards are a more secure form of payment. A lost credit card can be replaced; missing cash can't. There is also less chance of a payment error, such as getting back too little change.

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A credit card swipe machine can save money as well as make money. For a POS device, swipe machines are fairly inexpensive. They can save you money in other ways as well.

For one thing, credit card swipe machines are pretty much all-in-one devices. They don't require any peripheral devices to perform their functions. Some credit card readers can even print receipts.

Most credit card readers can be integrated into a wide range of POS systems. They are traditionally used at a POS terminal location. Smaller, mobile credit card machines can be used just about anywhere.

Credit card readers can be quite compact. There are many that can fit in the palm of a hand. They can be stored in a drawer or cabinet when not in use.

Customers use many forms of payment in addition to cash. With a credit card swipe machine you can process many forms of payment using a single device. This includes NFC, EMV, and magstripe payments.

Mobile credit card swipers can be quite inexpensive. They can accept a wide range of payments including chip cards and Apple Pay. Many mobile card swipers are included free with a subscription POS.

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Which Credit Card Swipe Machine is Best for Your Business?

A credit card reader is essential for any retail business. But which one is right for your business? You need a payment terminal that has all the features you need, yet fits your budget.

What type of business you run is also a factor. A brick-and-mortar business has different needs than a food truck or other mobile business. You need a credit card reader that fits your operations.

There are four types of credit card readers-

  • Traditional credit card terminals are the most commonly used credit card machines today. It requires a physical connection to process payments. Traditional credit card machines typically sit on a countertop or are mounted to a POS terminal.
  • Mobile/Wireless credit card machines function pretty much the same as traditional credit card machines. The difference is they use a wireless connection to process payments.
  • Integrated credit card machines let you process payments through your point of sale system. They allow a POS system and credit card machine to work together. Examples of integrated credit card machines include Clover Station and Square Register.
  • Mobile swipe machines are swipe machines that connect to mobile devices such as a smartphone. These can be integrated into a tablet pos or other mobile pos system.

The price of a swipe credit card machine depends on the device's type and features. You can buy, lease or rent a machine; some vendors offer free credit card readers. Basic traditional credit card swipe machines start at just over $100 USD.