Credit Card Machine Buyer’s Guide

You want to start accept credit cards but don’t know where to start? – Please keep reading for our credit cad machine buyer’s guide on what you need and the steps you need to follow to start accepting card payments from your customers.

Step 1

You need an account with a organisation called a “Card Acquirer“. The Card Acquirer will process credit and debit card payments on your behalf and will deposit the funds in your chosen bank account. The services provided by the Card Acquirer are called “Merchant Services”. When you open an account with UTP we will create a merchant services account for you with Barclaycard Payment Acceptance, one of the largest acquirers in the UK. The charges for your merchant account will be calculated as a small percentage of the value of each transaction processed. The percentage is dependant on the industry in which you operate and the total value of transactions you process.

Step 2

You need to decide how quickly you want to receive your funds. The options are as follows:

  • Standard Settlement – You receive your funds two to three business days after the transaction was processed on the card machine or payment gateway;
  • Faster Processing – You have the option to receive the funds within one hour from the time the transaction was processed on the card machine or at the end of your trading day. The Faster Processing service is exclusive to UTP and is available on request. Please click here for further information on Faster Processing. Please note the Faster Processing Service is only available with a physical card machine.

Step 3

You need to decide how you want to take card payments e.g. do you want to use a physical card machine which you pass to your customers, do you want to take payments on your website or do you want to take payments over the phone etc. There are five options as follows:

Card Machine or Payment Method Physical Machine Alternative Name Details
Countertop Card Machine Yes Fixed Card Machine, Static Card Machine, Fixed PDQ Machine This machine has to remain plugged in to a power supply and a fixed broadband router. It is designed to stay in one location e.g. next to your cash register or EPOS System.

There are two versions of the fixed card machine depending on whether you want a separate PIN Pad which your customers can use to securely enter their PIN number.
Countertop Card Machine with PIN Pad Yes Fixed Card Machine, Static Card Machine, Fixed PDQ Machine This solution is the same as the Countertop Card Machine (see above) however it also has a separate PIN entry attachment which your customers can use to securely enter their PIN number. This avoids the need to pass the machine over to your customers when taking a payment.
Portable Card Machine Yes Wireless Card Machine, WiFi Card Machine, Bluetooth Card Machine This machine is battery powered and is designed to connect to a WiFi network. It is suitable if you want to move your card machine around your store or business, or you want to offer a pay-at-table solution in a restaurant or other hospitality venue.

If you don't have a WiFi network available, a second version of the portable card machine is available which utilises Bluetooth Technology.
Mobile Card Machine Yes Wireless Card Machine, GPRS Card Machine, 3G Card Machine Similar to the portable card machine, this device is battery powered however it connects to the mobile phone network rather than WiFi. This means that the machine can be used anywhere there is a mobile phone signal and is suitable for businesses which need to take card payments off-site.

UTP’s mobile card machines are configured with roaming SIM cards which allow them to seamlessly roam across the Vodafone, EE or O2 mobile networks.

The devices are particularly useful for home delivery, mobile traders and organisations which trade from different locations e.g. trade fairs.
Virtual Terminal No Virtual Card Machine A Virtual Terminal allows you to take card payments on a PC, tablet or smartphone or any device which has an Internet browser. Using the web browser the card details are entered directly into UTP’s Payment Gateway and are then sent to Barclaycard for processing. Customers do not have the ability to enter their credit card PIN number and it is therefore designed for taking payments over the phone rather than face to face.

Card receipts can be sent to customers by email.

One virtual terminal solution can be used with multiple staff members and it is therefore ideal for teams which take payments from customers over the phone e.g. taxi dispatch, call centres etc.
eCommerce Payment Gateway No Payment Gateway If you want to take card payments on your website, you need the following:

(1) A website which has an ecommerce shopping cart module;
(2) A payment gateway.

There are lots of ecommerce shopping cart solutions available such as Woocommerce and Magento and UTP’s Payment Gateway is compatible with the majority. Please click here for further details.

UTP’s Payment Gateway is easy to configure and used by thousands of merchants across the UK.

 

Which Solution is Right For Me?

We have listed below a range of different business types and examples of which machines or payment solutions would typically be used in each.  If your business type is not listed below, please feel free to contact us on 0330 99 99 300 to discuss your specific needs.

  • If you plan to take payments at a craft fair we would recommend a mobile card machine.  The battery in the mobile card machine is designed to last for a trading day and the mobile phone connectivity means you don’t have to worry about finding a WiFi network or broadband connection.  You should also consider having a Virtual Terminal as a back-up or to take payments over the phone after the craft fair has finished.

  • If you need to take card payments in a restaurant where you want to offer a pay-at-table solution you will need a portable credit card machine.  Most restaurants would have a number of machines to avoid to avoid queues when customers want to pay e.g. one machine per waiter/waitress.  The most efficient solution would be to connect the machines to a WiFi network running in the restaurant.  If this is not practical, UTP has a portable machine that utilises Bluetooth Technology as an alternative.  Please note the devices can also be configured to accept tips / gratuities.

    If you are not offering a pay-at-table solution you can place a countertop credit card machine next to your cash register / EPoS system.  Please note the device will need access to power and your broadband network.

  • If you want to give your taxi drivers the option of taking card payments there are two options:

    Option 1 – Opt for a Virtual Terminal solution in your taxi dispatch office to take bookings over the phone.  Each operator can be assigned a log-in to the Virtual Terminal which avoid the expense associated with lots of separate card machines

    Option 2 – Equip each drive with a mobile card machine.

  • Most general retail businesses will use the following combination of card machines:

    (1) A countertop credit card machine next to each cash register / EPoS System;

    (2) An ecommerce payment gateway for taking credit card payments online.

    It is important to remember that each countertop credit card machine will need its own power socket and broadband connection.

  • For many car dealers the number of card transactions will be low however the value of each transaction is often fairly high.  It is therefore important that these transactions are processed as securely as possible.  This can be achieved by making sure that the transactions are taken face to face using Chip and PIN technology thereby minimising the risk of chargebacks.

    Car dealerships typically operate using a small number of portable card machines.  This provides the flexibility of taking the card machine to the customer at the point when the sale is being completed.  Taking transactions face to face using a portable card machine will also ensure that transaction security is not compromised.

    The most efficient solution would be to connect the portable machines to a WiFi network.  If this is not practical, UTP has a portable machine that utilises Bluetooth Technology as an alternative.  We do not recommend using a virtual terminal for a car dealership.

  • The most popular solution for a pub / bar environment is to use portable card machines behind the bar.  A portable card machine provides the flexibility to pass the card machine to the customer without having to worry about wires or asking the customer to move towards the device.

    It is also important to consider that the wet environment associated with a bar can cause the card machine to fail if liquids / drinks are spilt on the keymat, card reader or printer.  It is easier to keep a card machine out of harms way if it can be easily moved when not in use.

    When considering the harsh environment associated with a pub / bar and the likelihood of damage to the machine if it gets wet, we normally recommend having a spare machine as a back-up.

  • The most common solution for a mobile trader is a mobile card machine.  This solution will allow transactions to be taken face to face anywhere in the UK where there is a mobile phone signal.  Transactions taken face to face are more secure which will reduce the risk of chargebacks.  In-car chargers can also be provider where required.

  • The most common solution for a mobile delivery business is a mobile card machine. This solution will allow transactions to be taken face to face anywhere in the UK where there is a mobile phone signal.  Transactions taken face to face are more secure which will reduce the risk of chargebacks. In-car chargers can also be provider where required.