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I need to accept credit card payments, what are my options?

For every type of business, there’s a type of credit card payments acceptance that’s tailored to fit. Tough economic times have meant every business owner has had to examine their business, where they can afford to cut costs, what will help them succeed now. While new emerging businesses are simultaneously springing up with a fresh entrepreneurial spirit. But all have different needs when it comes to credit card terminals or accepting payments online.

Card Present Solutions – Credit Card Terminals Counter top credit card terminals offer merchants a fast and secure means of taking credit and debit card payments at the point of sale and are one of the most user friendly options usually incorporating a large graphic display, backlit keypad and lateral keys. This is an ideal solution for a business, perhaps retail, who are looking to have at least one fixed point of sale within a store. You can read more about mobile terminals as an addition or alternative below.
Mobile terminals or portable terminals allow customers to enter their PIN without the need to go to the counter. This can be particularly useful in the leisure and hospitality sector but similarly can be an excellent addition for retail – especially in busier periods like the lead up to Christmas. Most new portable terminals have dual communications and can be easily switched in the event of broadband becoming available and include WiFi and GPRS options in the terminal.

Integrated Credit Card Payments is a solution suited to medium to large retail stores, where the process of taking credit and debit card payments is integrated with the merchants own point of sale system, rather than using point of sale credit card terminals. These would generally be selected and set up in consultation with a merchant advisor in a large merchant services provider. They may work in conjunction with integrated solution providers to find the best solution for your business and the point of sale system you may already be set up on. These are an ideal solution for large businesses who want to conserve counter top space wherever possible. It can also speed up the process of the transaction with the cashier not being required to carry out some actions twice as may necessary with a separate POS system and credit card terminal.
What’s the fastest credit card terminal?

Timing is everything so it’s good to be aware of how your choice of credit card terminal type can affect how long a transaction takes to go through. This depends on the type of connection and credit card terminal type. A terminal using ‘IP’ or Internet Protocol is connected directly to a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). These require a broadband connection and provide credit and debit card processing authorisation in approximately 5 seconds. PSTN is a Public Switched Telephone Network or credit card terminals connected through a phone line. It is slower, taking up to 30 seconds and an individual phone line per terminal is generally recommended.

GPRS terminals will generally apply to the mobile or portable terminals. The connection for authorisation in these happens through a mobile network with a sim in the mobile terminal. Card payment authorisation occurs in approximately 10 seconds. Finally ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is a card payment high speed telephone line. It provides authorisation in approximately 4-5 seconds. Bluetooth and WiFi capability may also be available on many of these various terminal types.

Card Not Present (CNP) Credit Card Solutions

For many sectors, eCommerce and Mail Order/Telephone Order sales are significantly outperforming traditional sales channels. It is essential to partner with a card payment services provider who understands the specific challenges and needs of online businesses, mail order or telephone order businesses.
Online / eCommerce and web based businesses are oftentimes 24×7 operations which require 24×7 service availability and support. Businesses operating in this environment therefore need to know they are working with the reliable, responsive payment processing. A Merchant Services Provider will help you get set up with a merchant account is necessary and secondly with a payment gateway. You’re team of designer or developers may also need to be involved in the process. The Payment Gateway is essentially an online version of a credit card terminal. The shopper is required to enter their card details and possible a third level of security such as a 3d secure password.

The Virtual terminal / Phone Order credit card acceptance is an option that allows you to securely accept credit and debit card payment transactions by phone. While you may feel that because you have a credit card terminal beside you or an online payments system that allows you to type in a customer’s details if they call them out to you, this puts your customer and your business at a much higher risk of fraud, even from staff taking calls where this practice is carried out. It is highly insecure without a virtual terminal. This solution may be extremely useful to seasonal business (Bed and Breakfasts) or those requiring a portable credit and debit card processing facility (exhibitions and tradesmen).
The information provided here is an overview of various products and services available. When speaking to a merchant services provider you can mention elements of these that you think would suit you best and they’ll be able to advise you further from their dependent on your needs and the size of your business. Contact AIB Merchant Services (www.aibms.com) for more information on any of the services or technologies listed above.

Posted on Posted on Posted by Staff Writer
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