What is a card machine and how does it work?

By 10 November 2023 November 27th, 2023 No Comments

Today, only 1 in 5 of us carry our wallets or purses with us in our day-to-day lives.


We now rely on the convenience of card and contactless transactions to pay for goods or services. For small and medium sized businesses, it’s becoming more important for you to offer customers the ability to pay by card and digital wallet.

What is a card machine?

A card machine is a handheld device used to accept payments by chip and PIN or contactless card. Using card machines is convenient, and is one of the reasons for their popularity.

Making transactions more time efficient for both customers and businesses.

Card machines are also known as card readers, card terminals and chip and PIN machines. UTP provides a range of card machines, including the UTP Pro, to small and medium-sized businesses.

How do card machines work?

Businesses use card machines to accept payments by debit or credit card. A worker will input the total cost of a product or service into the card machine. The customer will then swipe, tap, or insert their chip and PIN into the card machine. For contactless payments, the card communicates with the machine through NFC (near-field communication).

The device will connect to an acquiring bank, which then processes the transaction. The card machine will then communicate with the acquiring bank to approve the transaction. Once approved, the customer will get a receipt and the merchant will receive the funds. UTP works with Barclaycard to ensure that our customers get the best service available.

What are the different types of card machines for businesses?

There are various types of card machines which have benefits and features that will suit different businesses. These include countertop, portable, mobile and ecommerce payment gateways.

For businesses that sell goods and services in person, they will use a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. This is a card machine that allows for in-person transactions to take place, by debit or credit card.


For small businesses with one transaction point, our countertop card machines are ideal. These devices stay in one location, such as a sales desk or till. For convenient and retail stores, these are the best card machines to use.


For businesses that offer pay-at-the-table services, our portable card machines are ideal. These devices connect to a Bluetooth base and have a long battery life that can last several days. Popular businesses that use these devices are restaurants and bars.


Mobile card machines are a step up from portable devices. Our mobile card machines come with a roaming SIM card, which automatically switches to the strongest connection – a bit like your mobile phone. These machines are commonly used in pop-up shops, pubs, and market stalls.

eCommerce Payment Gateways

An eCommerce Payment Gateway takes payment online. Your customers can shop online and then pay for goods and services using a credit or debit card. This system has no geographical or time limitations and is suitable for events, theatres, and pre-paid activities.

UTP card machines

At UTP, we offer all the above card machines. We help small businesses save time and money by streamlining their payment methods.

We are proud to offer some of the lowest transaction fees in the industry. Our card machines accept all standard transaction types, including sales, cashback, refunds, and gratuities.

We’ve revolutionised the industry through our innovative services.

Faster Processing is a free service for our customers. Our customers can get paid in hours, rather than days. We provide different payment solutions depending on the needs of your business.

UTP Shield is another free software that we offer to all our customers. This is an antifraud software that helps protect our customers from both potential fraud and chargebacks.

We are the only merchant service provider to deliver these services free of charge.

If you’re a small to medium-sized business looking to start using card machines or to switch from your current provider, our dedicated helpdesk will help tailor our service to meet your business needs.

Phone: 0330 99 99 9900

Email: enquiries@utpgroup.co.uk