A Guide To Square Credit Card Readers And POS Bundles

 

Square made its name offering a free mobile credit card swiper, but the company has expanded so much in the past few years that there is now a massive array of hardware options, catering to all types of businesses. You can still get mobile card readers from Square if you don’t need more than just a phone or tablet and a swiper, but you can also get a countertop POS system complete with a customer-facing display, or a slim, portable credit card terminal with a phone-sized high-resolution screen and built-in receipt printer. And if you’d like to print paper receipts and have an automated cash drawer, Square offers a wide range of compatible hardware. You can even save some money by opting for one of Square’s ready-made bundles of hardware.

Let’s take a look at Square’s hardware options, including its mobile readers, POS systems, and POS kits. We’ll start with simplest options and move on to the most comprehensive kits. We’ll also talk about what you can do to control your costs and manage your cash flow with Square’s financing.

If you’re still curious about Square’s offerings, we also recommend checking out our complete, in-depth review of Square, which covers hardware as well as the software.

Square Mobile Card Readers

Square’s mobile card readers are meant to work with smartphones and tablets — unlike with some of the company’s “all in one” hardware solutions, if you go with a card reader it’s a “bring your own device” situation. Square’s mobile readers are ideal for businesses that are always on the go — farmer’s market stalls, service businesses, food trucks, etc. These card readers work with any of Square’s POS apps as well. However, compatibility with specific tablets or smartphones will vary — and you should check before you buy that a card reader is compatible with your device. Square has a helpful compatibility checker tool on its website for this purpose.

Square Magstripe Readers

Square has been offering free basic magstripe readers for years. The boxy design hasn’t changed significantly over the years and it’s simple to use. Recently, the company added a Lightning connector variant in addition to the 3.5mm headphone jack connector. Square used to sell a 3.5mm adapter, but that’s no longer available (because it’s no longer necessary). However, I will say that adapters from other makers will work for the same purpose.

New Square merchants get 1 free card reader; additional card readers sell for a very reasonable $10. Unlike PayPal Here, Square doesn’t impose any limits or restrictions on transactions processed with a magstripe reader — there’s no limit to the number of swiped transactions you can process before you trigger a hold. That’s a nice touch. However, if you do process large transactions or do a significant volume of credit card payments you should definitely look at upgrading to a chip card-capable reader.

Magstripe Reader Quick Facts 

  • Free for new merchants
  • $10 retail price
  • 3.5mm headphone jack or lightning port connectors
  • Supports magstripe transactions

Square Chip Card Reader

 

Square’s first chip card reader wasn’t particularly fancy, or even all that different from its elder sibling: it was boxy, with a headphone jack connector. And it has since fallen out of favor — partly thanks to Apple and its removal of the headphone jack on its iPhones. However, this entry-level chip card reader is still available at a reasonable price — ideal for merchants who want to accept chip cards but also save some money.

Square doesn’t offer a lightning connector variant for the Chip Card Reader, but as I mentioned, a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter would work for iPhone users. This reader also requires the occasional battery charge because of the addition of the chip reader.

Chip Card Reader Fast Facts 

  • $35
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack connector
  • Requires battery charging
  • Supports magstripe and chip card transactions

Square Contactless + Chip Reader

Square’s Contactless + Chip Reader is a departure from Square’s earlier mobile credit card readers. First, it connects via Bluetooth. Second, it doesn’t support magstripe transactions at all. Instead, Square includes one of its free magstripe reader in the box as well. (To be honest, this design kind of disappoints me, but I figure that the Contactless + Chip Reader was designed to add EMV support to the Square Stand, which already has an integrated magstripe reader. So building magstripe support into the Contactless + Chip Reader was a moot point. Still, for merchants who don’t have a Square Stand, this might prove to be a small annoyance if the chip reader can’t read a card properly.)

Square also sells a charging dock, which can be plugged into a wall, or into the Square Stand’s USB hub. It sells for $29 separately. You can use it in a countertop retail environment and let customers insert their payment cards themselves, or you can set the dock aside and grab the reader by itself whenever you need to make a transaction.

Contactless + Chip Reader Fast Facts 

  • $49
  • Charging dock sold separately ($29)
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Supports chip card and contactless transactions
  • Basic magstripe reader also included

Square Countertop POS Devices

If you’d like something a little bit more permanent and stationary in your POS setup, Square offer options tailored to different environments. The offerings here get a little more complex, so bear with me!

Square Stand

The Square Stand has been one of the company’s core offerings for a long time — it is a tablet stand with a built-in card reader, all for a reasonable price (at launch, it cost $99). It swivels, it has minimal cords, and it looks good. Square has improved it slightly with the bundling of the Contactless + Chip Reader. That brings the price to $169.

Square doesn’t include a receipt printer for the Stand, but a printer is available in hardware bundles. Likewise, Square doesn’t include an iPad with the Stand, but you can purchase one directly from Square for an additional $329. Keep in mind that the current edition of the Square Stand only works for the most recent iPad models. If you have an older iPad, you can order a legacy stand from Square for $99, but the Contactless + Chip Reader requires iOS 9.3.5 or higher, and that version of iOS isn’t supported on an iPad 2 or other earlier models.

Because the Square Stand runs an iPad, it can also support merchants using Square Point of Sale, Square for Retail, or Square for Restaurants. There are an assortment of recommended hardware bundles for the Square stand, but if you prefer to build your own setup, you will be happy to know that the Square Stand supports USB, Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth printers, as well as other devices.

Square Stand Fast Facts 

  • Accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions
  • $169 (iPad sold separately)
  • Includes Contactless + Chip Reader (integrated magstripe reader in stand)
  • Compatible with Square Point of Sale, Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail, Square Appointments

Square Terminal

Square Terminal (read our review), the newest addition to Square’s lineup of hardware, takes the concept of the Square Stand and the traditional credit card terminal and combines them into one portable machine. The display is large enough to be a fully functioning POS (it runs Square Point of Sale, the free app). It accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions. It even has a built-in thermal receipt printer.

While you can operate Terminal by keeping it plugged in, Square promises the battery will last all day if you prefer to go wireless. You also get a cleverly-designed power brick and USB hub to connect accessories, such as the USB barcode scanner and cash drawer. Bluetooth accessories aren’t supported, so the USB hub will be important for some merchants.

While Terminal runs Square Point of Sale, it also offers some compatibility with the iPad-based premium POS app, Square for Restaurants. Specifically, Terminal can be used for tableside ordering and payments. It doesn’t support all of Square for Restaurant’s features, though, so it’s important that you make sure Terminal will really fit your needs.

Square Terminal Fast Facts 

  • Accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions
  • $399
  • $300 processing credit for new merchants
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Compatible with Square Point of Sale (limited compatibility with Square for Restaurants)

Square Register

 

Square Register (read our review) definitely targets a higher-end market, with a price tag of $999 — not counting a cash drawer, receipt printer, or barcode scanner. However, for that price, you get a 13.25-inch screen running Square Point of Sale, as well as a 7-inch consumer-facing screen with integrated support for magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions.

Square Register runs an Android-based version of Square Point of Sale, which means it’s not compatible with Square for Retail. However, you can take advantage of the back-end features if you opt to subscribe to Square for Retail. Specifically, that means access to the reporting features, including cost of goods sold and profitability reports. Square Register also integrates perfectly with Square Loyalty and allows customers to see the status of their loyalty accounts.

All in all, Square Register is an absolutely gorgeous piece of hardware that would look great in a retail space. The addition of the customer-facing display, combined with all of the supported hardware, brings Register on par with more traditional countertop POS systems.

Square Register Fast Facts

  • Accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions
  • $999
  • 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Compatible with Square Point of Sale (back end features compatible with Square for Retail)

Square POS Bundles

Square’s POS Kits are available for the Square Stand and Square Register — but if you’d prefer to use a different tablet stand for an iPad, Square also offers some alternatives. It would be a bit redundant and very overwhelming to go through every single bundle that Square offers, so let’s focus on what they offer, broadly speaking.

Square will first ask you to pick a category for your business. The options are limited — just food and beverages, beauty and wellness, or retail. However, those three categories cover a lot of industries. And honestly, you shouldn’t worry too much about picking the right category because the offerings will be similar. Check the options in each category and see which bundle you like.

After you’ve chosen an industry category, Square will also ask you about your Internet setup, specifically whether your business has a router. If you are relying on cellular data, obviously, there’s no router involved. But this question primarily affects what kind of printer Square includes in its bundles.

The biggest advantage to choosing a Square POS kit is the cost savings. Buying individual accessories from Square will cost more than buying a bundle. Square lists the prices as “starting at” for most bundles, but that’s usually because you have the option of purchasing an iPad direct from Square. (Note that you can only get the most recent model of iPad. Square offers POS bundles that support the iPad 2, for example, but you’ll have to acquire the iPad separately.)

Let’s start by looking at what the Square Register and Square Stand bundles look like, versus the alternative tablet stands.

Square Stand POS Kit

 

Square Stand on its own is pretty affordable, but if you opt for the bundle with the stand over buying individual components, you’ll save a small amount. Square suggests running the Stand with a router setup, which includes a USB hub for accessories, rather than wireless options. Your Square Stand Kit includes the following:

  • Receipt printer paper (25 rolls)
  • USB Receipt Printer
  • 16 in. Printer-Driven Cash Drawer
  • Square Stand for Contactless and Chip

If you decide against the Square Stand Kit, keep in mind that you can use any piece of hardware that works with an iPad running Square Point of Sale, as well as USB-enabled devices. That includes barcode scanners and receipt and kitchen printers in addition to cash drawers.

Square Register POS Kit

The POS kit for Square Register will add $530 to the cost, but it will save you $67 over buying the parts individually. (Also take note: You can’t order just the hardware bundle separate from the Register.)

In addition to the Register itself, the kit includes:

  • 16 in. USB Cash Drawer
  • USB Receipt Printer
  • Receipt printer paper (25 rolls)
  • Square Register

Square only recommends the Register kit for businesses with routers, not mobile setups. That’s not too surprising because it’s clearly not a mobile setup. Register does support some USB and Ethernet printers (and one WiFi printer), but it does not support as many devices as the Square Stand or just a standalone iPad. Square also offers compatible kitchen printers, which aren’t included in the bundles for food and beverage businesses, surprisingly.

Other Square POS Kits

If you’d still like to use Square on a tablet — but without the Register or Square Stand — you can get a selection of Heckler brand tablet stands designed for iPads, as well as Galaxy Tab A devices. They contain the following:

  • A tablet stand
  • A printer (Ethernet or Bluetooth)
  • Cash drawer
  • Receipt printer paper
  • Card reader (Magstripe or Contactless + Chip)

Prices vary by the tablet stand model, as well as whether the kit includes an Ethernet or wireless printer. Which card reader Square includes depends on the model of iPad (remember, early models of iPad can’t upgrade to the iOS version required to support the Contactless + Chip Reader). And again, you can mix and match tablet stands and other devices to create a custom setup, though you will ultimately pay more than if you chose one of Square’s pre-made bundles.

Other Square Accessories

When you check out Square’s hardware shop, you can also browse standalone accessories for Square’s products. I like that the site has added the ability to filter compatible accessories by the POS device. The available accessories include kitchen printers, USB and Bluetooth barcode scanners, WiFi routers, and more. However, these are far from your only options. Square actually supports an extensive array of hardware in addition to the options available directly through its own shop. And it’s great about publishing that list of confirmed, supported devices.

Should You Finance Your Square Hardware Purchase?

There’s one last factor to consider when shopping for hardware from Square: the cost. If you are worried about the price of Square’s hardware, or the overall price of accessories, you’ll be glad to know that Square offers financing on purchases of $49 or more. Generally, the limit is $5,000, but you can apply for an increased limit. Depending on the total sum you’re financing, Square offers payback terms of 3, 6, 12 and 24 months.

Square will deduct your payments from your total processing volume before disbursing funds to your bank, so you don’t have to worry about making monthly payments. Eligibility depends on a credit check, and the financing program isn’t available in all U.S. states yet. However, if you are eligible, this could be a great option.

Square’s markup for financing is incredibly reasonable, and the program is managed by Square directly so you don’t have to worry about a shady third-party stepping in. If you can’t afford the upfront investment in hardware, Square’s financing can help you manage your cash flow better. And I like that it’s not a leasing program — when you’re done paying off the hardware, you own it.

Which Square Hardware Is Right For You?

If your business is primarily on the go, you can get a cheap, affordable mobile card reader. If you’d like a countertop setup, there’s Square Terminal with its very small profile, Square Stand for a good entry-level piece of hardware, and of course, Square Register. Plus, the bundled kits from Square allow you to easily add a cash drawer, receipt printer, and any other hardware you need. The number of options can seem overwhelming, but it really comes down to how portable you need your hardware to be and what you can afford.

One of my absolute favorite things about Square is that the company offers a huge array of very affordable hardware for all types of businesses. Some companies might only offer a few options, use expensive leases, or charge an arm and a leg just for a single terminal. You don’t have to worry about that with Square. The price is right and there are hardware options to suit every business that work with all of Square’s Point of Sale apps. That’s a very powerful reason to go with Square already. Throw in the affordable credit card processing and the great customer service, and it’s easy to see why Square is a favorite among small businesses.

If you’re still just learning about Square, be sure to read our complete Square Review! You can also check out our Square Point of Sale, Square for Retail, and Square for Restaurants reviews to learn more about the point of sale systems.

Thanks for reading! Leave us your thoughts and your questions in the comments below!

The post A Guide To Square Credit Card Readers And POS Bundles appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Guide To Buying ShopKeep Hardware

There are a lot of reason why ShopKeep is among our most recommended point of sale systems for small businesses. This product remains one of the more affordable options on the market while giving you a wide variety of features to help your retail or restaurant establishment function efficiently. Chances are, if you’ve decided to go with ShopKeep or are heavily leaning in that direction, you appreciate convenience. You don’t want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary sweating some of the seemingly mundane aspects of starting a business — such as researching and purchasing all of the necessary hardware you might need.

Fortunately, ShopKeep makes this process easy as well. ShopKeep offers an impressive array of hardware bundles and individual items from some of the top-rated companies around all for purchase through their website, making it possible to get absolutely everything you need in one convenient stop. Here’s a brief overview of the hardware that ShopKeep has to offer.

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Hardware Delivery & Shipping

To get started, ShopKeep will ship all hardware within the continental United States for free with no minimum purchase and all orders generally arrive within 7 business days. They will also ship to Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada for an additional fee.

ShopKeep has a generous replacement policy, offering to replace any new equipment that fails to work properly within one year. The same agreement applies to refurbished hardware for 90 days. You may also return any hardware, no questions asked, within 30 days of purchasing it to receive a full refund. Shipping back to ShopKeep is free.

Get Started With ShopKeep

Hardware Bundles

ShopKeep offers some convenient Starter Kits to get your business up and running quickly.

  • Basic Starter Kit for iPad: $809 or $839 if you choose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16  Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Epson 2″ Bluetooth Printer (
    • iPad Air Stand
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Basic Quick Service Starter Kit for iPad: $1166 or $1196 if you choose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16 Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Epson 2″ Bluetooth Printer
    • iPad Air Stand
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • Epson Kitchen Printer
    • Ethernet Cable
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Basic Restaurant and Bar Hardware Kit for iPad: $1166 or $1196 if you choose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16 Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Espon 2″ Bluetooth Printer
    • iPad Air Stand
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • Epson Kitchen Printer
    • Ethernet Cable
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Basic Retail Hardware Kit for iPad: $1297 or $1327 if you choose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16 Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Epson 2″ Bluetooth Printer
    • iPad Air Stand
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • 1D Laser Barcode Scanner
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Complete Quick Service Hardware Kit for iPad: $1369 or $1399 if you chose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16 Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Epson 2″ Bluetooth Printer
    • iPad Air Stand
    • Epson Kitchen Printer
    • Ethernet Cable
    • Cash Drawer Mount
    • Thermal Paper – 50 Roll Case
    • 1-Ply Bond Paper – 50 Roll Case
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Complete Restaurant and Bar Hardware Kit for iPad: $1369 or $1399 if you choose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16 Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Epson 2″ Bluetooth Printer
    • iPad Air Stand
    • Epson Kitchen Printer
    • Ethernet Cable
    • Standard Duty Cash Drawer Mount
    • Thermal Paper – 50 Roll Case
    • 1-Ply Bond Paper – 50 Roll Case
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Complete Retail Hardware Kit for iPad: $1519 or $1549 if you choose Bluetooth printer
    • 14×16  Cash Drawer
    • Epson 2″ Ethernet Printer or Epson 2″ Bluetooth Printer
    • iPad Air Stand
    • 1D Laser Barcode Scanner
    • 7 Series USB Charging Cradle
    • Cash Drawer Mount
    • Thermal Paper – 50 Roll Case
    • 1″ x 1.5″ Barcode Labels
    • Label Printer
    • Ethernet Credit Card Reader
    • Compatible with Apple iPad Air/Air 2 and Apple iPad Pro 9.7″
  • Mobile Register Kit: $198
    • iPad Mini Handheld Enclosure
    • Lightning Credit Card Swiper
    • Compatible with iPad Mini 2/3
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A La Carte Hardware Options

Of course you can also purchase hardware a la carte if you don’t need everything in one of the packages or already have existing hardware that is compatible with ShopKeep.

Card Readers:

  • Magtek Lightning Credit Card Swiper: $99
  • Ingenico Credit Card Reader (EMV Enabled): $329
  • Ingenico Bluetooth Credit Card Reader
  • Vault Credit Card Reader Stand: $49

Printers:

  • Epson Bluetooth Printer: $269
  • Epson Ethernet Printer: $239
  • Epson Kitchen Printer: $331
  • DYMO Label Printer: $119

Cash Drawers:

  • APG 13×13 drawer: $109
  • APG 14×16 drawer: $112
  • APG 16×16 drawer: $139
  • Cash drawer mount: $35
  • Cash drawer till: $29
  • Cash drawer till cover: $29

Barcode Scanners:

  • Socket Mobile 1D Scanner: $269
  • Socket Mobile 2D Imager Barcode Scanner: $449
  • Socket Mobile 7 Series USB Charging Cradle: $79
  • Socket Mobile 2D Imager Stand: $149

iPad Enclosures;

  • iPad Mini Handheld Enclosure: $99
  • iPad Mini Stand: $109
  • iPad Pro Stand: $139
  • iPad Stand: $129
  • Freeform Made iPad POS Stand: $199

You can also purchase gift cards, labels, printer and receipt paper, and a variety of USB and ethernet codes directly through ShopKeep.

Get Started With ShopKeep

Ready To Buy ShopKeep Hardware?

No matter how equipped or completely green you are as you’re starting your business, ShopKeep has you covered. Not only do they provide you with a wide variety of hardware options, they are stocked with some of the most trusted and best-reviewed brands on the market.

If you’ve decided to go with ShopKeep, you’ve already made an informed decision for your POS needs. They also make it very difficult to go wrong when selecting all of your necessary hardware. Hopefully, we’ve just simplified the process slightly.

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Get a complete POS hardware bundle for free! For new customers only, while supplies last. Act soon – expires 9/30/2018. Get Started

The post Guide To Buying ShopKeep Hardware appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Best Credit Card Machines And Terminals

When you scan or insert your debit or credit card at the mall or your local convenience store, you probably don’t put a lot of thought into what type of machine is reading and processing your payment. And really, why should you? To consumers, they’re all pretty much the same (except for maybe those machines that angrily beep at you to remove your card. Why is that sound so aggressive?) That said, if you’re a retailer and you’re not paying attention to what type of credit card machine you’re using, it could cost you. An unreliable or even just a slow machine can impact your bottom line. It’s imperative to know what you want and need from a credit card machine when you’re purchasing your hardware.

Let’s start out by defining some terms. This post will specifically talk about credit card machines and terminals as opposed to credit card readers. A credit card machine is a device that connects directly to or is integrated with your point of sale system, whereas a reader is a smaller, mobile device that generally connects to phones and tablets and can be used with an app.

While many terminals look similar (big buttons, a place to slide or insert your card etc…) there are a number of other features you should be looking for when you make your purchase.

Credit Card Machine Features

First off, you’ll need to make sure your machine is compatible with your processor. Some companies sell hardware that can only be used with their own processing plans. However, there are many universal options available that will sync up with any processor and will give you more flexibility. Some credit card processors will charge reprogramming fees for hardware not purchased directly, so keep this in mind. 

Your level of connectivity is also crucial as any downtime or lag that impedes your ability to process payments is going to have a significantly negative impact on your business. Most newer machines have both a phone and an internet connection and many are now equipped with wireless capabilities in case your landline connection fails or you are in a place where only WiFi is available.

You’ll also want to assess the type of payments you’ll be accepting. In this day and age, you will almost certainly need to process debit card payments, in which case you’ll want a PIN pad (either separately or built-in) for customers to type in their number. Depending on your industry, you may also need a device that handles EBT (electronic benefits transfer). If you’re accepting checks, you’ll want a device that can process them electronically — the same goes for gift cards if that’s an option your business offers. A more modern way to accept payment, like a tap terminal that allows customers to pay via their phone with a service like Google Pay, may also be advisable.

If you’re buying a new machine or terminal, you’ll almost certainly want to make sure that your system can accept EMV chip cards. These cards are becoming the standard in the industry (as of 2015) for their superior level of security; any quality processing machine should be compliant at this point.

What Do Credit Card Terminals Cost?

Now let’s get into what everyone is really interested in: the cost. Credit card machines are generally a bit more expensive than your standard credit card readers which simply hook up to a phone or mobile device. But, with that added expense, you’re also getting added security. To put it in broad terms, machines can run from anywhere between $50 for a bare bones terminal that simply takes card payments, to upwards of $500 depending on what features you want or need.

Each added feature will typically send the price a little higher. If you want to be capable of accepting mobile payments, like Apple Pay or Google Pay, expect a slightly higher cost. If you need a built-in printer for receipts, expect to pay a little more. If wireless capability is a must, that will also result in a slightly higher cost alongside the expense of a data plan. However, many companies offer payment plans and, depending on what services you’re signing up for, some companies run promotions where you can get hardware thrown in for free or at a discount.

Credit Card Hardware Options

When you’re shopping around for a credit card machine, you won’t be hurting for options. However, there are a handful of companies that you will want to check out.

Ingenico and Verifone have long been the gold standard in the credit card terminal industry, and for good reason. They both offer a wide variety of products that are reliable, durable, and competitively priced.

  • Ingenico: Chances are good you’ve used multiple Ingenico products, perhaps in just the past week. It’s difficult to recommend a specific item as they range from very basic readers with built-in PIN pads to others that accept virtually all forms of payment and can print directly all from a device small enough to fit in your hand. Ingenico’s products thrive on their user-friendliness, from set-up to the customer experience, and they have a highly-rated customer service department. Ingenico is also an international company with products that can function all over the world.
  • Verifone: Verifone is equally user-friendly and has an exceptionally sleek and modern interface in many of its credit card machines. Like Ingenico, they offer a wide range of products from a fully integrated POS to mobile and desktop devices. Verifone prides itself on the speed of its transactions and its versatility. The VX520 has been one of its most popular models and should be able to handle most small business needs for under $300. Verifone packs a lot into its devices and they are highly durable and built to handle large numbers of transactions.
  • Pax: Another company to keep an eye on in the credit card terminal game is Pax. While not as ubiquitous as Ingenico or Verifone, Pax is a cost-effective solution with many of the same features. Pax’s products are brightly colored and aesthetically pleasing. The S80 CounterTop terminal has an inbuilt contactless processor and can handle multiple payment types. Pax’s products offer speed and strong memory capabilities while featuring state of the art security measures. They also offer a wide variety of PIN pad options.

A current trend in the world of processing is fully integrated systems. These systems are ultra-modern with the ability to accept nearly any form of payment. They can connect to existing hardware but they’re also on the more costly side.

  • Poynt: Poynt has become a major player in the past few years. It currently offers a two-screen desktop system and a mobile device that allows customers to make payments from anywhere in your store. Poynt accepts gift cards, EBT, and mobile payments — among others — and has features like signature encryption, EMV, and a receipt printer built in. The system is incredibly simple to use and lets the customer see exactly what is happening with his or her transaction.
  • Clover: A similar product to Poynt is Clover Station, which also features a dual screen model. Clover has been extremely popular since its release. With Clover, you are locked into First Data processing, a fact that is still holding Clover’s devices back in our ratings here at Merchant Maverick. However, there’s still a lot to like with this hardware. The ability to customize your experience with Clover is a huge benefit and Station comes with 20 preloaded apps. There is also fingerprint log-in for employees to increase security. Clover accepts EMV cards and comes with an optional NFC printer, 4 GBs of memory, and access to the Clover app store.
  • Square: One of the newest integrated processing products on the market is Square Register. Square’s reputation and popularity speaks for itself and this rollout doesn’t disappoint. With the same dual-screen format as Poynt and Clover, customers can make payments seamlessly with a recognizable and simple interface. Square offers a simple and consistent plan for processing fees and pairs with existing hardware in seconds. You can literally be up and running in a matter of minutes once you’re registered with Square and it comes with a two-year limited warranty.

It’s likely that you’ll find multiple credit card machines that can offer you the functions and features you’ll need to successfully run your business. That’s why it’s important to go with a trusted company and a product that’s proven to be reliable. Having a credit card machine that processes payments quickly and runs smoothly is one less thing a busy merchant needs to worry about.

Final Thoughts

Make sure that you’re always staying on top of current payment trends. Hardware companies constantly update to make sure that their clients always have access to the latest technology. New ways to give and accept payment are constantly hitting the marketplace, and whether it’s a new app for making payments or the ability to accept crypto-currency, credit card terminals are adapting quickly and many low-cost credit card readers are now on the market as well. Hopefully, this post has made your credit card processing hardware search just a little easier. 

Want more information? Read our Complete Guide To Credit Card Machines and Terminals.

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The Best Credit Card Reader For Your Small Business

So you want to use your cell phone or tablet to start accepting payments for your business. Whether this is your first time around or you’re just wondering if it’s time to update that old credit card reader you’ve had for four years, there’s certainly a lot to consider. What kind of technology is out there? How much does a cell phone credit card reader cost? Should I get a credit card machine and POS instead? Which are the best credit card readers?

I’ve seen a lot of mobile card readers in my time. And the first thing to understand is that the card reader is tied to the mobile processing app (mobile point of sale, or mPOS for short). Sadly, we can’t just mix and match one card reader with another app. So before anything, you need to look at the software and make sure it’s a good fit for your needs. You should also check the processing rates and the cost of the hardware.

Apart from aesthetics, the reality is there aren’t a lot of differences between one card reader and the next. They all have the same core features, and they all use the same sort of security. Reliability is as much a product of the app design as it is the hardware design, sometimes moreso. So while you do want a good, affordably priced credit card reader, you should first narrow down the list of potentials using the software as your main criteria. Once that’s done, you can take a closer look at all the hardware.

If you are curious about what your hardware options are, read on! I’ve compiled a list of the most popular credit card readers and their specs. Make sure you read our reviews for each mobile app so that you understand the drawbacks and shortcomings of each as well as all the advantages.

But first, let’s set the record straight.

Credit Card Reader vs. Credit Card Machine: Know Your Terms

So what’s the difference between a credit card reader and a credit card machine? While it’s certainly possible that you might encounter some people who use the terms interchangeably, “credit card reader” is generally the term for small mobile devices that connect to smartphones and tablets and process transactions through a mobile app. This connection can be physical or wireless. However, the smartphone or tablet typically has to also have either cellular signal or a Wi-Fi connection.

A credit card machine (also called a credit card terminal) is larger, not mobile, and generally connects to a full-fledged POS. They may or may not have an integrated receipt printer or a PIN pad device for customers. Credit card machines require a connection to either a phone line or the Internet to function. Some machines are capable of wireless Internet connections, but they do add to the cost.

The biggest difference between a credit card reader and a credit card machine is price, though. A mobile card reader can cost anything from $10 to about $80, whereas the typical entry-level price for a machine is about $120. However, depending on what features are included, a credit card terminal can cost $600 or more.

Types of Credit Card Readers for Phone & Tablet

When categorizing credit card readers, you need to consider two criteria: how the device connects to your phone or tablet, and which payment methods the device accepts (we’re not talking about manual entry options just yet).

Phone Connection Options:

  • 3.5mm/Headphone Jack: Most of your entry-level credit card readers will connect to a phone or tablet via the 3.5mm headphone jack. However, it’s worth noting that this design is slowly fading out. Part of the driving force is Apple’s removal of the headphone jack from its iPhones, but I think it’s also a result of our overall shift toward wireless. It’s worth pointing out that both Square and PayPal have Lighting to 3.5mm headphone jack adapters that will allow you to continue to use their magstripe readers.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth readers are becoming increasingly common. They’re compatible with both iOS systems, they’re secure, and they allow for some sophisticated card reader designs. The one downside to Bluetooth readers is that they can run low on power quickly if they’re always connected without a “sleep” mode.

Generally speaking, credit card readers for smartphones and tablets support one of these connection methods, but not both. There’s always an exception to the rule, however. With Apple moving toward Lightning ports for everything, it’s worth getting a Bluetooth device, which will ensure that no matter what smartphone or tablet you get in the future, the card reader will be able to connect.

Supported Payment Methods

  • Magstripe: Until 2015, magstripe transactions were the only form of credit card payment commonly accepted in the US. Magstripe transactions (also referred to as swipe transactions because they are made by swiping the card through a terminal or card reader) are still supported, but becoming superfluous as other, more secure payment methods become available.
  • EMV: In October 2015, a major liability shift occurred, shifting responsibility for fraudulent swipe transactions onto merchants, if that card had an EMV chip and the merchant did not have an EMV-enabled credit card reader. As a result, you probably saw a surge of chip cards appear, and payment processors rushed to introduced new hardware capable of processing chip card transactions. Chip cards are more secure and can help reduce in-person fraudulent transactions.
  • NFC/Contactless: Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and all of the other “Pay” apps you’ve seen rely on NFC (near-field communication) technology. Transactions are often called contactless or “tap” transactions.

All mobile card readers on the market accept some combination of these three payment methods. As a merchant, it’s important that you are able to process EMV transactions to protect yourself against liability for fraudulent transactions.

Card Readers for iOS vs. Card Readers for Android: Is There a Difference?

Generally speaking, mPOS apps tend to offer more features to tablet users, especially iPads. But apart from enhanced features for tablets, there usually isn’t much difference between apps for iOS vs. apps for Android.

The same goes for mobile card readers. Unless the app itself is built to function only on one operating system, a card reader for iPhone or iPad works with an Android phone or tablet. So if your business has a mix of Android and iOS devices, you can use your hardware on both. You’ll just have to worry about pairing and re-pairing any Bluetooth devices as needed.

Now that we’ve identified the defining traits of credit card readers, let’s look at the mobile card readers from the most popular mPOS systems: Square and PayPal.

Square Credit Card Readers

Square (read our review) is definitely a leader in the mPOS industry, both for its software and hardware. It was one of the first mobile systems to embrace chip cards and it seems to put a high priority on keeping its hardware affordable.

The one piece of Square hardware that we haven’t included here is the Square Register, which is more of a full-fledged POS than a mobile system. Check out our full review of Square Register for a closer look at the system.

Square Magstripe Reader

If I wanted to be extremely hyperbolic, I would say that Square’s magstripe reader is synonymous with mobile processing. Instead, I’ll just say that the white and boxy device certainly is iconic. The overall design hasn’t changed in years. Available for free if you order directly from Square or $9.99 at retail stores such as Staples (Square will reimburse you later), this entry-level device connects via the headphone jack, and as the name says, handles magstripe transactions only.

  • Cost: Free ($9.99 reimbursed if bought at a retail location)
  • Connection: 3.5mm
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe

Square Chip Card Reader

If you just glance at the Square Chip Card Reader (read our unboxing review), you might not notice any immediate differences between the magstripe reader and the chip card reader. That’s because Square didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. The Chip Card Reader is slightly thicker than the original, with an extra slot for inserting the chip end of a credit or debit card. Unlike the magstripe reader, you need to periodically charge this model. Square sells the Chip Card reader for $29, which is, all considered, a pretty good price for a device that can handle magstripe and EMV transactions.

  • Cost: $29
  • Connection: 3.5mm
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV

Square Contactless & Chip Card Reader

The Contactless and Chip Card Reader from Square doesn’t exactly break the mold as far as design: White, boxy, with Square’s logo set into it. What’s that expression? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it?

Unlike the previous two card readers, the contactless and chip card reader relies on a Bluetooth connection to process transactions. And it doesn’t support magstripe cards at all. To get around this, Square includes a magstripe reader in the package as well.

The contactless and chip reader sells for a very reasonable $49, but if the upfront investment makes you cringe a bit, Square also offers an installment plan that will allow you to pay off a portion of the cost each week. Expect to pay a little bit more in the long term as a trade-off for the convenience of the installment plan, but it’s nowhere near as bad a hardware lease program from a traditional merchant account.

The contactless and chip reader is a slim, slick little device and you can certainly use it in a handheld mobile situation. But Square also sells a clever little dock to charge the device and still allow you to use it. The dock goes for $29 on its own, but it is optional.

  • Cost: $49 (dock available for additional $29)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: EMV, NFC/Contactless (separate magstripe reader included)

Square Stand

The Square Stand isn’t really a card reader — it’s an iPad stand with an integrated magstripe reader. But it was one of the devices that helped make Square so popular with merchants. These days Square sells the stand with a contactless and chip card reader plus the dock. But it merits a mention here because it shows that mobile card readers can also be used in countertop/retail setups. Square even sells bundles and kits with everything you need to get set up.

The Square Stand plus the card readers will run you $169, which is less than you’d pay for all the individual components — the stand ($99 originally). The contactless and chip card reader ($49), and the dock ($29). Bundles that include a cash drawer and receipt printer start upwards of $500, not including the iPad.

  • Cost: $169
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: EMV, NFC, Magstripe (integrated into tablet stand)

PayPal Credit Card Readers

The other major name in the mPOS space (and commerce in general) is PayPal. The company’s mobile processing app, PayPal Here (read our review), isn’t quite as full-featured as Square, but you’ll find a lot of similarities between the two, especially as far as business model.

PayPal Mobile Card Reader

PayPal’s mobile card reader is a standard magstripe reader with a headphone jack connector. While the color has changed from PayPal blues to black, the overall shape hasn’t: it’s still a simple and quite stable triangle that connects via a headphone jack. There’s no frills or fuss here.

PayPal used to offer the mobile card reader for free through its website, but that’s no longer the case. It’ll cost you $14.99 to get started, though it’s worth the extra money to upgrade to at least an EMV reader.

  • Cost: $14.99
  • Connection: 3.5mm
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe

PayPal Chip & Swipe Reader

PayPal’s Chip and Swipe reader is a step up from its Mobile Card Reader, with a sleek rectangular design. It’s about the size of a credit card and slim at just half an inch thick. Plus, $24.99 for a Bluetooth device that accepts both EMV and magstripe, makes it one of the more affordable options for card readers, especially if all you need is mobile support.

  • Cost: $24.99
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV

PayPal Chip & Tap Reader

If you want more than just magstripe and EMV support, PayPal also sells a Chip and Tap reader that allows you to accept Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other contactless methods. The Chip and Tap reader looks quite a bit different from the Chip and Swipe reader. Though it’s still black, it’s boxy and measures 0.75 inches in depth.

I actually hate to say this, but the PayPal reader reminds me a bit of Clover Go’s all-in-one reader, just more refined. And unlike the Chip and Swipe reader, this design is meant for both mobile and countertop use — and PayPal offers a charging dock for those who are interested in a countertop setup.

Alone, the reader sells for $59.99, but a bundled kit with the reader and dock sells for $80 (PayPal indicates that’s a markdown from $89.99 on its website). I don’t see the dock listed for sale separately, but I would assume it would sell for $30 on its own.

  • Cost: $59.99 (bundle available for $79.99)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

PayPal Chip Card Reader

PayPal’s Chip Card Reader was actually the first EMV-enabled reader the company offered, and it wasn’t PayPal’s own design. The reader is actually a branded Miura M010, which has also previously been offered by Square, and is still available from Shopify as well.

The Chip Card Reader is a handy little mobile reader, but you can get a dock for it and mount it in a countertop setup (at least, until PayPal possibly phases this device out of its lineup). Despite its rather bland name, this reader accepts magstripe, EMV, and NFC/contactless payments. However, it comes at a steep price $79, which is still less than the original $150 it sold for. It’s worth noting that despite the PIN pad, it doesn’t support PIN entry because PayPal Here doesn’t support debit transactions.

  • Cost: $79
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

Alternatives to Square & PayPal Readers

While Square and PayPal are certainly two of the biggest names, they’re not the only options if you need a mobile credit card reader. Let’s take a look at some of the other processors and what hardware they offer.

Shopify

Shopify is mostly associated with eCommerce, but it’s moved toward an all-in-one approach that includes a POS (read our review). The full-fledged POS package is designed for a countertop setup and syncs with your Shopify store. However, for a very reasonable $9/month, you can get the Shopify Lite plan, which supports sales through social media and a buy button on your own website, as well as access to the mobile POS. Keep in mind that this is designed almost exclusively for retail environments. For mobile users, though, Shopify offers two readers.

Shopify Tap, Chip & Swipe Reader 

I mentioned before that PayPal’s Chip Card Reader is actually made by another company and is called the Miura M010. Shopify licenses the same device and calls it the Tap, Chip and Swipe reader.

Again, you have a Bluetooth connection with support for magstripe, EMV, and contactless transactions. Shopify sells the reader for $89, which is on the higher end of things. The dock sells for $39. However, the reader is well designed and very functional, and if you want to accept Apple Pay and other “Pay” apps with Shopify, it’s the only option.

  • Cost: $89 (dock available for $39)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

Shopify Chip and Swipe Reader 

Shopify’s Chip and Swipe Reader is a sleek white device. As the name implies, the reader can handle both magstripe and EMV transactions, but not contactless/NFC. I like that it comes with a dock charging dock by default, instead of as a pricey add-on.

The retail price for the reader is listed as $29, but as I am writing this, Shopify is offering it for free. The Chip and Swipe Reader is easily one of the more beautiful card readers I’ve seen, as well as innovative and well priced.

  • Cost: $29
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV

Payline Mobile

Payline Data is a traditional merchant account processor, but its Payline Mobile app (read our review) is actually a viable standalone processing option even for low-volume and seasonal merchants. The company offers a standard magstripe reader (the Ingenico G5X) that isn’t particularly interesting. Its other mobile reader, though, is the Ingenico RP457c, and it is definitely one of the more innovative card reader designs I’ve ever seen.

For starters, the RP457c can connect to cell phones and tablets through the headphone jack or Bluetooth, which is very uncommon. It also supports magstripe, EMV, and NFC transactions all in one. The device is designed to clamp onto phones or rest in a dock for use as a wireless reader.

Payline doesn’t disclose its current pricing for the RP457c, in part because some merchants may be eligible for a free device. However, I was able to confirm that the reader retails for $150, which is quite expensive.

  • Cost: $150
  • Connection: 3.5mm, Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

SumUp

SumUp (read our review) is a European company that opened up processing for US merchants in 2017. While it’s not as comprehensive as other mPOS options, it does everything most merchants will need to do. It’s also worth pointing out that the SumUp mobile card reader, called the SumUp Air, actually won an award for its innovative design.

The SumUp Air shows its European sophistication with its sleek white minimalist design. It relies on a Bluetooth connection to process magstripe, EMV, and contactless transactions. If you want more information, check out our unboxing review of the SumUp card reader.

  • Cost: $69
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

Clover Go

Clover Go (read our review) is the mobile extension to the Clover family of POS products developed by First Data. It functions best as an extension of Clover, but it can be a standalone POS option. However, pricing for the hardware as well as payment processing can vary significantly depending on which reseller you go through, and you should be wary of sales gimmicks and possible contracts with early termination fees.  However, don’t forget that anyone selling Clover products is just reselling First Data’s processing services.

Clover Go Reader 

Clover’s basic “entry level” reader is a headphone jack reader that supports magstripe and EMV transactions. The design is overall larger than most comparable devices, but Clover does include a clamp to help stabilize the card reader while attached to a phone or tablet.

Pricing for the Clover Go reader will depend on resellers. Some may even offer it for free. Unlike its all-in-one sibling, you can’t get this reader through the Apple Store and if you sign up with First Data directly you’ll probably be offered the All-In-One Reader first and foremost.

  • Cost: Varies according to reseller
  • Connection: 3.5mm
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV

Clover All-In-One Reader

I said earlier that the PayPal Chip and Tap Reader reminded me of Clover Go. That’s because Clover Go is also a square, boxy device with very similar dimensions. However, whereas PayPal’s is black, Clover Go’s is white.

You’ll also find the All-In-One Reader comes with a dock. It’s not the most elegant design, but it will allow you to charge the device or keep it on a countertop while still processing card transactions.

Unfortunately, pricing for this card reader varies depending on which company a merchant chooses to sign up with. You can get it direct from First Data (or the Apple Store) for $39.95, not counting the dock, which sells for $34.  

  • Cost: $39.95 (through First Data or Apple Store; other prices vary according to reseller)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

Intuit/QuickBooks GoPayment

Intuit’s mobile payment solution, QuickBooks GoPayment (read our review) appeals mostly to a small but viable niche — QuickBooks Online customers who need an easy way to take payments in person. While the app isn’t loaded with advanced features, it will work pretty well for merchants with simple needs. Intuit offers two readers to address merchant needs.

Chip and Magstripe Reader

Intuit’s Chip and Magstripe reader is a small, gray, unassuming device. It doesn’t have quite the sophistication of some other readers (I might even call it bland), but the design is overall good. The curves have a sort of friendliness about them rather and prevent it from looking boxy like other devices. As the name implies, this card reader supports magstripe and EMV transactions. It connects to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth.

The Chip and Magstripe Reader goes for $19 normally, but Intuit is offering the reader free for new merchants. That puts it at the lower price end, especially for a Bluetooth enabled device with EMV. You can also connect the device to computers running QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2018 and future versions of the software.

  • Cost: $19 (free with signup for new merchants)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV

All-In-One Card Reader

Intuit’s newer card reader is an all-in-one device that connects via Bluetooth. But unlike its sibling, this device supports magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions. By default, it’s meant to nest in a charging dock.

Intuit sells the all-in-one reader for $49, which is not a bad price at all considering that the dock/cradle is included at no extra charge. It has the same sort of nondescript gray finish, but Intuit has embraced a curvy aesthetic that is easy on the eyes.

  • Cost: $49 (including dock)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

PayAnywhere

Last on the list is PayAnywhere (read our review). While the name isn’t as recognizable as some of the alternatives, PayAnywhere’s mPOS does have some good features and interesting hardware. Its biggest shortcoming is simply the quality of customer service and some practices involving its Storefront plan.

PayAnywhere offers merchants a choice of two readers for merchants, though they still leave me a bit perplexed in terms of design.

PayAnywhere 2-In-1 Reader

PayAnywhere’s entry-level reader is a 2-in-1 device with magstripe and EMV support and Bluetooth connectivity. It looks pretty simple, and it actually reminds me of PayPal’s Chip and Tap reader with its shape and coloring.

There’s not much more to say about this little device except that PayAnywhere offers it free for new merchants. Additional 2-in-1 readers run for $30.

  • Cost: $29.95 (free for new merchants)
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV

PayAnywhere 3-In-1 Reader

I think the most interesting thing about PayAnywhere’s 3-In-1 Reader is that it’s the only mobile card reader I’ve seen that supports NFC and connects via a headphone jack. (The Ingenico RP457c can connect via headphone jack OR Bluetooth, so I don’t count it in the same category.) It looks shiny and futuristic with its black finish and lights, which is ironic for a device that uses a dying connection method.

PayAnywhere offers its 3-in-1 device for $40, but on the website you’ll also see an offer for free processing on your first $5,000 in Apple Pay transactions (valued at $135). However, an offer like that should not be the deciding factor in choosing a processor.

  • Cost: $39.95
  • Connection: 3.5mm
  • Payment Types Supported: Magstripe, EMV, NFC/Contactless

Is a Mobile Credit Card Reader Absolutely Necessary?

You don’t actually have to have a mobile credit card reader to process payments with a mobile POS system.

Flint Mobile, a mobile processor that works through Stripe, has no credit card readers at all. Instead, the app relies on a device’s camera to scan cards. The camera doesn’t actually snap a photo of the card, which would be a huge security issue. But the app is able to open the camera and scan a card the same way QR code readers are able to access the camera to open QR code links. Flint has a couple of filters it applies to the camera for added security.

That said, Flint isn’t the only mobile option with this ability. PayPal Here and Intuit GoPayment also include the camera scanning feature.

Not only that, but most mPOS apps also include a feature that allows you to manually key in transactions. These process at a higher rate that swiped/dipped/tapped transactions because they’re processed as card-not-present, like ecommerce transactions. But it’s a useful alternative when the card reader is being glitchy or the card is very worn. The notable exception to all this is SumUp, a company that started in Europe and doesn’t support manual entry for cards except through its virtual terminal.

Of course, if you don’t want to pay extra for manually entering transactions, it might be best to spend a little extra money and buy a backup card reader or two in case one starts to misbehave.

Are Free Credit Card Readers Worth It?

Several mobile POS options (including Square) provide an incentive for potential customers in the form of a free credit card reader. This can certainly make it more tempting to try out a payment processing service, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

For one, free card readers tend to be pretty basic. Some have EMV support, but none of the free card readers on this list support contactless payments. Contactless support may not be mandatory for everyone, but EMV support should be a mandatory feature for every merchant. A reader with a Bluetooth connection will also ensure it’s future-proof no matter what phone or tablet you upgrade to later on.

Two, a free mobile card reader will absolutely not offset a processor’s shortcomings, such as poor customer service or missing features. It’s smarter for merchants to make a decision based on the quality of the mobile app, its features, and the processor’s customer support.

So while the ability to try some mPOS options without any upfront investment is nice, please don’t let a free credit card reader be the reason you pick one processor over another. Make sure you explore all of your options.

Don’t let a free reader be the determining factor in choosing an mPOS.

Final Thoughts

I’m not going to try and convince you that mobile credit card readers are the world’s most fascinating subject (even if I could probably talk your ear off for a couple of hours about all the different designs and features and how they embody the philosophies of the companies that sell them).

But if nothing else, you should take away a few key ideas that will prepare you to choose a mobile point of sale app and a credit card reader:

  • Software is more important than the hardware. Make sure the app has what features you need before you set your heart on a device.
  • Make sure the card reader you choose has EMV support. In 2018, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be taking such a basic step to protect yourself and your business.
  • Prices for credit card readers range from totally free to upwards of $75. How much you want to spend is entirely up to you, but you will generally pay more for Bluetooth connectivity and for NFC support. Don’t be suckered in by the offer of a free reader, because there are lots of other criteria you should consider first.
  • You don’t technically need a mobile reader to take payments on a phone or tablet. However, you will pay more to process manually entered transactions in your mPOS app, so it’s a good idea to get one anyway.

Thanks for reading! If you’re ready to choose an mPOS app, a great place to start is our mobile processing comparison chart! Otherwise, if you have questions, feel free to leave us a comment!

The post The Best Credit Card Reader For Your Small Business appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Exactly What Is A Kitchen Display System?

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KDS Kitchen Display System

In this point in time, checking up on society’s constantly altering slang can seem to be like a chore. For restaurateurs who wish to conserve a edge against your competitors, there’s yet another have to stay on the top of recent foodservice-related tech terms and acronyms. If you’ve heard the word “KDS” going swimming the and also have found yourself at a loss, you’ve come right article! There’s no requirement for the urban dictionary about this one: KDS is brief for Kitchen Display System. These digital screens replace the requirement for receipt printers or handwritten orders (even though some POS systems still need a traditional thermal printer be utilized along with their KDS screens).

Table of Contents

Exactly What Is A Kitchen Display System?

It’s amazing precisely how fast technology can alter and transform a whole industry. It wasn’t that lengthy ago that the idea of delivering orders from terminals right in front from the house to thermal printers at the back of the house (BOH) could have been mind-blowing. This advancement is a major improvement for many kitchens, especially with regards to efficiency. Today, there’s no more an excuse for chefs and waitstaff to yell orders backwards and forwards or handwritten orders to become magnetically clipped to dirty revolving wheels. Even though traditional kitchen printer systems will not be driven in the restaurant industry in the near future, they’re being enhanced and outshone by their much sleeker competition.

KDS screens aren’t a completely new concept. They were first utilized by franchises like McDonald’s and Wendy’s. (You realize individuals beeping screens all of the workers are always looking at when they throw together your greasy dinner? Yup, individuals are KDS screens.)  While once fraxel treatments might have appeared unattainable for that masses, the arrival of cloud-based Reason for Purchase and subsequent mass manufacture of tablets and iPads have opened up the KDS door for mother and pop operations all over the world.

Kitchen Display Systems digitalize an order making process for individuals within the BOH. Rather of taking the type of paper tickets or verbal instructions, all orders are sent from the POS system towards the digital screen in the kitchen area.

KDS Features

There are lots of Kitchen Display Systems currently available. Here are a few fundamental features you realized to determine having a standard KDS:

  • Meal Coursing/Coursing Manager: Group products inside a course together to be ready and sent simultaneously.
  • Meal Pacing: Your food pacing feature enables the KDS to understand the prepare occasions of every item it’ll alert the right prepare station when that specific item must be prepared.
  • Prepare Occasions: A KDS can manage prepare occasions helping make sure that meals are sent in the optimum temperature and freshness.
  • Recipes/Ingredients: Staff can make sure recipes, preparation procedures, as well as manage qc.
  • Routing Abilities: This selection transmits each food towards the correct kitchen station.

Advantages Of A Kitchen Area Display System

  • Eco-friendly
    • Reduce paper and printer related waste
  • Elevated Efficiency
    • Orders are sent immediately towards the kitchen screen
    • Orders are sent from tablets or terminals and help reduce human error
    • Mistakes made while taking orders could be rapidly remedied within the POS system and can instantly update around the KDS screen
    • KDS screens could be setup each and every individual station
    • When orders are completed in the kitchen area, waitstaff receive notifications in the future get orders and remove them to diners
    • If your KDS includes a grid option, kitchens can keep an eye on approaching orders
  • BOH Appearance
    • Staff will understand the sleek modern appearance of a KDS system
    • Lessen the clutter of paper tickets
  • Order Tracking
    • Track how lengthy orders take to get free from your kitchen
    • Many KDS systems offer color-coded ticket choices for orders such as the following:
      • Late Orders
      • Online Orders
      • Deliveries
      • Voided Orders
      • Compensated Orders
  • Reduce Cost
  • Insight  Reporting
    • Track how lengthy it requires a worker to accomplish orders
    • Track average order fulfillment occasions
    • Track the efficiency of shifts and staff
  • Integrated Online Ordering
    • Online orders instantly show up on the KDS screen out on another require staff people to re-enter them in to the POS system
    • Some systems present an option that needs a supervisor to approve all online or cash only orders prior to being delivered to your kitchen

Note: This non-exhaustive listing of benefits might not apply to every one POS system offering KDS features. Make certain you research your options prior to signing any dotted lines.

Final Ideas

Just this past year, a business report found that 73% of restaurants updated their technology in 2016. While a KDS system might not seem just like a significant bit of technology, it is able to modernize your kitchen area and lift your restaurant’s efficiency level. Many restaurateurs have previously made a decision to upgrade their BOH operations.

With increasingly more cloud and tablet-based POS systems offering KDS, it’s simpler than ever before for anybody to benefit from these functions. What are you awaiting? I

Elizabeth Cranston

Elizabeth Cranston is really a author and native Oregonian who resides in the gorgeous Off-shore Northwest. She enjoys researching and becoming to the foot of questions relating to begin Purchase industry.If not covering and researching Reason for Purchase software, she will usually be located overindulging in Nederlander Bro’s coffee, making others laugh, or hearing music.

Elizabeth Cranston
Elizabeth Cranston
Elizabeth Cranston

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Watch out for Clover Station POS Scams

Clover-station-POS

There’s been lots of buzz surrounding First Data’s new tablet-based POS products: Clover Station, Clover Small, and Clover Mobile. Bank of the usa A Merchant Account can also be heavily promoting these items. But unlike iPad POS systems, you cannot just download the application and try out the POS. You need to purchase the complete hardware package to determine Clover for action. It has brought many retailers to eBay, searching for any deal. Regrettably, it’s also brought predatory a merchant account companies to market business owners more compared to what they expected.

What’s the offer With Clover POS?

Since the change to nick cards formally arrived in October 2015, many a merchant account companies have developed new hardware solutions with integrated EMV-compliant nick card readers, in addition to NFC readers for acceptance of contactless payments via digital wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay. We lately reviewed some from the new EMV and NFC card readers available on the market, which you’ll find out about and compare here.

So it’s no shocker that First Data, among the greatest processors in america, has come up with a beautiful, EMV-compliant software and hardware bundle. Unlike standard tablet or smartphone POS software, which utilizes interchangeable hardware, to make use of Clover you have to purchase one of First Data’s proprietary tablet, stand, and card readers bundles. This involves a preliminary hardware investment of approximately $500 to $1,000 per station, which hardware is useless for you if you choose to switch systems.

Still, it’s an attractive and sleek suite of merchandise, using the Clover Small representing competition for a similar readers and software combo provided by Poynt – another new-wave POS hardware developer. But the reality is, it’s fairly costly and business proprietors are searching for the way to get hold of it for a cheap price.

A Merchant Account Scams on eBay

Where do you want to go shopping for a cheap price? eBay, obviously. While researching the Clover Station POS system, I poked around eBay to find out if any systems were for purchase. Initially, I had been impressed to determine a lot of packages at inexpensive price points. And, indeed, a number of them were legitimate gently pre-owned systems up for purchase. Most of the listings, however, were really for credit card merchant account contracts, not only the hardware.

Unless of course you browse the descriptions carefully, you will possibly not even notice that you need to sign a processing agreement to be able to get the machine. Signing up with a a merchant account provider is not something to become taken gently. These contracts can finish up squandering your 1000s of dollars in overpayments and termination charges, in addition to numerous hrs of headaches. Certainly, eBay isn’t the best forum for evaluating these types of services and car loan terms.

What’s happening here’s that resellers of First Data’s payment processing services (like Ignite Payments, a subsidiary make of First Data A Merchant Account with lots of independent offices and agents) can sell merchant services underneath the guise of Clover Station POS hardware. They allow you to accept purchasing the device, after which pressure you into filling out the contract to be able to get the machine.

This practice is deceitful and dishonest. Yes, within the listing they are doing explain the processing contract is required before you decide to get the machine, but the reality is the practice is predatory and away from the welfare from the merchant, who’d ought to enroll in payment processing services in line with the merits from the provider, no eBay item description.

A Good Option to Buy a Clover POS System

The easiest method to purchase Clover POS is to enroll in a free account having a trustworthy reseller that you simply research in-depth. Don’t just join a business simply because they possess the cheapest equipment cost on eBay. Individuals charge card processors are simply attempting to trick you into registering for a free account without getting taken into consideration your car loan terms, processing charges, customer care, along with other key elements.

Certainly one of our favorite suppliers that can setup First Data accounts with Clover POS systems is Payment Depot. The corporation provides transparent and fair prices, alongside exceptional customer care, and it is among the most popular providers for just about any system.

When you buy a Clover Station on eBay, it is possible purchasing not only the hardware: You’re registering for a lengthy-term processing hire a business you realize nothing about, that’s almost certainly likely to incorporate a hefty early termination fee. For me, it’s a gimmick along with a ripoff. Don’t get it done.

It may be worth thinking about other POS options before choosing to move forward with Clover. Take a look at our POS software comparison chart and our led matching system to locate other good choices for your company to check against Clover.

Shannon Vissers

Shannon is really a freelance author and editor located in North Park, CA. Shannon type of wants an apple iphone 7, but she’s not necessarily prepared to lose the headphone jack.

Shannon Vissers
Shannon Vissers

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Square’s EMV Nick Card Readers Unboxing and Review


Square-chip-card-emv-reader-unboxing-review

Square brought the way in which for that mobile processing boom, so it’s no shocker the company was the first to promote having a headphone jack nick card readers in front of the October 2015 nation-wide shift to nick cards. Some other mobile processors are biding time and telling customers that the nick card option would be “in the whole shebang,Inches Square debuted its nick card readers design late in 2014 and started accepting pre-orders around the same time frame.

Allow me to be obvious: All mobile payments apps that process transactions as card-present will possess a nick card readers by October, otherwise they’ll likely get free from the game (like Leaf POS). However with its excellent group of engineers and sizable jump, Square certainly has an advantage within the race and, come October, its readers will most likely function as the most tested and therefore probably the most reliable.

We ought to observe that other mobile processors that do not depend on swiping cards might not be effected through the nick card transition, since their transactions are technically processed as card-not-present. If this sounds like the situation, providers like Flint Mobile – which utilizes your phone’s camera to scan the credit card with no additional hardware – might find themselves better off since users won’t have to incur any extra hardware cost or hiccups.

But camera checking apps aside, Square is poised to achieve the best headphone jack EMV-compliant mobile nick card readers available on the market this summer time as business proprietors start to bother with the nick takeover.

My knowledge about Square’s nick card readers was entirely positive. It showed up with beautiful packaging and sufficient instructions, and labored flawlessly during a number of tests. I scanned dozens of transactions with no single error. It loads rapidly, reads rapidly, and works just as described. It’s small, simple to use, and doesn’t need a Bluetooth link. This is actually the first headphone jack nick card readers I’ve used, but it’s difficult to imagine a lot of enhancements came from here.

But here’s one pretty significant disadvantage for that Square nick card readers: No Uncover Card nick compatibility! Although this feature should launch eventually (hopefully by October), for the time being you’ll need to swipe all Uncover transactions.

Browse the full review and unboxing pictures below. Should you be undecided about upgrading your Square readers, I really hope this puts the mind comfortable. It’s not necessary to hurry, but because we obtain nearer to October you’ll likely see longer shipping delays because of elevated demand. So certainly order by September. Otherwise, it never hurts to become accustomed to the brand new hardware meanwhile. You’re likely already seeing nick cards out of your customers. Adding the additional layer of security can help you to protect against chargebacks and funding holds before the October 15th switch.

You can observe our in-depth Square Register review here, and out mobile processing comparison chart here if you are interested. Happy selling!

Table of Contents

Packaging:

Only nine days once i placed my order, the readers showed up via United states postal service. It shipped after four days. Square states it will require between two and three days to obtain the readers – and this can be true as demand increases – until then they appear to crank the orders out. I ought to observe that while my order mentioned which i may need to sign for that package, no signature was really needed. The readers was delivered within my mailbox using the regular mail.

What’s within the Box?

  • Nick card/magnetic stripe card readers
  • USB charging cord (USB to Micro USB)
  • Instructions (British and Spanish)
  • Emblem sticker (Square, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Uncover)

Square’s Nick Card Readers Specs:

  • Cost: $29 ($31.32 with tax, free delivery)
  • Weight: 20 grams (under an oz)
  • Dimensions: 1.31″ H (2″ if including jack)  x 1.31″ W x  .56″ D
  • Time for you to arrive: 9 days from order date
  • Time for you to charge very first time: twenty minutes
  • Time for you to scan card: Under 1 second
  • Time for you to connect: two to three seconds (each time application is opened up)
  • How lengthy will a charge last? A lengthy time. Multiple times of heavy use.

So far as battery existence, observe that the very first time I made use of it battery appeared to empty more rapidly, possibly because of the initial firmware update. After that it appeared to carry up very well. Reconnecting over and over appears to become a bigger drain around the battery than running transactions.

The next images compare the brand new readers towards the old model. Clearly the older model may be the smaller sized one around the left.

Connecting towards the Device:

Every time you open the application, even though you haven’t removed the readers, the program will require a matter of seconds to acknowledge and fasten towards the hardware. This never required greater than three seconds, even if your readers is taken away and reinserted. I did not experience any glitches or slow starts.

Not Only for Nick Cards:

This readers really has two slots: someone to insert nick cards, and the other to swipe magnetic stripe cards. Even if your nick card shift is available in October, you will probably still visit a fair quantity of mag stripe cards in circulation, so it’s vital that you support them in to the near future to prevent lost sales. Fortunately you won’t be required to take with you two separate readers! The swipe slot will act as it has, and it is easily differentiated in the nick slot since the nick readers includes a barrier that stops swiping in addition to three visible metal connectors that browse the nick circuit. These connection points also actually firmly contain the nick card in position throughout the transaction.

Nick and Signature, Not PIN:

If you’ve seen European mobile nick card readers, you know the way bulky and inconvenient nick and PIN card readers could be. Since these readers need a dedicated PIN pad (i.e., the PIN can’t be joined around the devices touchscreen), these visitors completely outside of the telephone and communicate via Bluetooth. Which means you need to take with you and keep an eye on two devices, each of which may need substantial charging.

The Square nick card readers does require charging, but each charge lasts quite some time. And also, since it connects to the headphone jack, it will not consume your device’s battery by utilizing Bluetooth.

In america, we’re mainly likely to see nick and signature charge cards. Prepaid credit cards don’t require a PIN, only a signature. For transactions under $25, you may still turn the signature prompt off just like previous versions. If (or when) the united states switches to nick and PIN, we’ll visit a new wave of hardware. On the other hand there isn’t any need to take with you a bulky secondary device.

Troubleshooting:

Here are a few things common items you might encounter when first by using this readers:

  1. Charge the readers just before use: By trying for doing things as they are without charging, it will not work. You should check the proportion of charge residing in Settings.
  2. Improve your application: If you work with a classic form of the application, the nick readers will not be recognized.
  3. Don’t insert the credit card too soon: You need to insert the credit card only when you are getting towards the screen that states Insert, Swipe or Enter Number.
  4. Don’t take away the card too soon: The credit card must stay in the readers before the transaction is finished. Don’t remove it throughout the tip screen. The client must sign using the card still within the slot! Yeah, this is often a little inconvenient, but it is also safer.
  5. Your system is not compatible: Square lists compatible devices here. I tested this with an apple iphone 4, 5, and 6 without any problems.
  6. Your situation is obstructing the bond: As the Square card readers is really among the finest designed readers when it comes to situation compatibility, certain cases are simply too bulky. Used to do test drive it by having an Otterbox Defender (a fairly bulky situation) and also got it using a little finagling. (The readers must be verticle with respect to utilize that situation.)
  7. Browse the instructions: Should you browse the instructions just before use, you likely won’t have problems!

Whenever you connect your billed nick card readers the very first time, the Square Register application will initiate a firmware update. This takes only a couple of seconds.

Square Nick and Contactless Readers Review:

We’ve preordered the brand new nick and contactless readers from Square ($50), coming fall 2015. This allows companies to simply accept NFC payments alongside EMV-compliant nick card transactions. Consider an evaluation with that hardware soon! There’s additionally a Square EMV readers made particularly because of its Square Stand hardware. That readers is wireless and works via Bluetooth.

For now, certainly think about this nick card readers. It’s pretty affordable so far as mobile nick card readers go, although countertop EMV-compliant charge card machines are less costly than you may imagine. Helcim sells them just for $199, including an integrated receipt printer and PIN pad. Considering just how much a standalone printer or PIN pad would cost, it’s a very solid deal. But when it comes to mobile – Square’s readers is actually reasonable.

Since you’ve read our Square nick card readers review, you might like to take a look at our in-depth overview of the Square application and repair, and check out our mobile processing comparison chart too!

Have you ever used Square’s nick card readers? Have you ever used a mobile nick card readers from another brand? Tell us your ideas and encounters within the comments.

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Heckler WindFall Box Set Unboxing and Review

WindFall-Box-Set-Grey-White-Location-760x450

Heckler Design is definitely an American-based product design company, most widely known for pairing minimal designs with solid commercial-grade construction. Founder Dean Heckler is mind of the perception of the organization as well as an artist in the own right based on the Heckler Design website, Heckler oversees the style of best of luck, and try to using the finish-user in your mind. He states he has &#8220long had a love for smart simplicity and finding uses of technology intelligently and superbly.&#8221 This passion is instantly apparent in the organization&#8217s number of products, from cash drawers to wall frames to iPad stands.

At Merchant Maverick, we&#8217re always interested in new kinds of hardware, so that as a POS software reviewer, I’ve got a special devote me for POS paraphernalia. Naturally, after i learned about the WindFall Box Set, I needed to obtain a first-hands take a look at a number of Heckler Design&#8217s latest innovations. Like Heckler&#8217s entire WindFall collection, the WindFall Box Set includes strong, helpful POS hardware having a simple, smooth appeal. It’s beautiful, in the own way, in addition to compact, which makes it a fantastic choice for small companies with hardly any space.

Continue reading to see what else I came across&#8230

Packaging

The Heckler WindFall Box Set is well-organized and comes nicely packaged, a minimum of in my opinion. Generally, this area set will ship within 24 hours you order it when the order is positioned before 12 pm. I had been pleased with how quickly it showed up inside my door, however i was especially impressed with how good it was it to the shipping process.

Securely nestled within the primary shipping container itself were two compact card board boxes: one for that cash drawer and yet another for that iPad Air stand. They were simple to open and didn’t require me to compromise, tear, or else maim the types of materials having a knife or a set of scissors. Every component showed up undamaged, there was tight bubble-wrap around any factors that may have been prone to scratching or damage. Overall &#8211 similar to the product itself &#8211 I discovered the packaging to become both minimalist and functional. The interior boxes were sturdy and multiple-use, and would prove useful should you required to move your hardware in one place to another.

Additionally towards the check out and iPad Air stand, the 2 boxes contained screws, mounting equipment, along with other paraphernalia, and several installation directions (filled with diagrams) along with a flier which alerted me how to locate an instructional set-up video online. Each component was present and taken into account. On top of that, after opening everything up there wasn’t any mess! Obviously, there were a couple of inevitabilities &#8211 small plastic bags and a little bit of tape in some places &#8211 however i didn&#8217t need to get rid of any annoying Styrofoam peanuts or wads of packing paper. It&#8217s always nice to locate a company which understands how to use space correctly (thanks, Heckler Design!) and that i appreciate there weren’t any wasted materials or unwieldy, oversized boxes that i can cope with after unpacking my Windfall Box Set (I&#8217m searching to you, Amazon . com.com).

What&#8217s Within the Box?

The Heckler Windfall Box Set includes:

  • WindFall Are A Symbol Of iPad Air Box Set Edition
  • WindFall Cash Drawer (Automatic)
  • WindFall Cent Tray
  • WindFall Hanger for Star Micronics Receipt Printers
  • Kensington ClickSafe Cable Lock
  • Drawer-Kick Cable for Star Micronics Receipt Printers
  • Drawer-Kick Cable for Epson Receipt Printers
  • Two Manual Override Keys
  • Counter-Top Mounting Screws (optional installation)
  • Under-Counter Mounting Screws (optional installation)
  • PivotTable for WindFall Cash Drawer

Specs

Colors: Black-Gray, Gray-White-colored, Vibrant Red, Seafoam, or Emerald

Cash Drawer Dimensions: 11.9 inches wide, 8.5 inches deep, 4 inches tall

Cash Drawer Weight: 18 lbs

Materials: Powdercoated Steel, Urethane, Polypropylene

iPad Stand Viewing Position: 45 levels

Cost: $339-$399 (cost varies slightly based on that which you order)

Compatible Devices:

  • Ipad2
  • Ipad 3
  • Ipad 4
  • Ipad Air 1
  • Ipad Air 2
  • Ipad small
  • Ipad small 2 with Retina Display
  • Epson OmniLink TM-T70II-i Receipt Printer
  • Epson OmniLink TM-T88V-i Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-T20II Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-T70II Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-T88V Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-U220B Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics DK-AirCash
  • Star Micronics FVP-10 Series Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP143L Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP650II Series Receipt Printer (Ethernet)
  • Star Micronics TSP654II BTi Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP654II WebPRNT Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP700II Series Receipt Printer

Compatible Card Readers:

  • Bank of the usa Mobile Pay on
  • Groupon Payments
  • IDTECH iMag Pro
  • IDTECH iMag Pro II
  • IDTECH iSmart
  • IDTECH Shuttle
  • IDTECH UniMag II
  • IDTECH UniMag Pro
  • IDTECH UniPay Card Readers
  • Intuit GoPayment
  • iZettle
  • MagTek iDynamo
  • MagTek uDynamo
  • PayAnywhere
  • PayPal Here
  • Rambler
  • ROAMPay
  • Shopify
  • Square
  • SumUp
  • Verifone SAIL

Set-Up

The WindFall Box Set is straightforward and doesn&#8217t require much setup, that is nice. Actually, the whole set up process includes investing in a couple of screws in some places, sliding your tablet device in to the iPad stand, deciding where &#8211 or perhaps if &#8211 you need to mount the entire unit for your countertop and/or mount an invoice printer somewhere, and winding cords with the proper channels (though this really is much more of a pleasing issue and it has no impact on function).

For complete instructions about establishing your hardware, and also to discover for yourself how easy it may be, browse the instructional video below:

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First Impressions

WindFall goods are a minimalist&#8217s dream, and never with no certain oddly aesthetic charm, particularly if you&#8217re keen on a glance that’s at the same time bold and austere. Bear in mind, however, this isn’t any-nonsense equipment. It&#8217s heavy, it&#8217s stark, also it&#8217s utilitarian. It’s not only really made from hands-welded steel, however it looks enjoy it&#8217s made from steel and, more considerably, it feels enjoy it&#8217s made from steel (it really contains as much as 300% more steel than a lot of its competitors). Don&#8217t drop it in your feet, quite simply. Around the plus side, the sheer majority of the money drawer means that it’s unlikely to be taken in by opportunistic robberies.

One great feature from the WindFall cash drawer is it is made to be repaired and upgraded, not only replaced, if this malfunctions. This can be a huge money saver over time. What&#8217s more, the engineering is simply plain solid. Actually, &#8220to be sure that your drawer opens reliably each time, the automated WindFall Cash Drawer employs exactly the same electronic latch utilized in hospital crash carts.&#8221

The iPad stand is unremarkable, though well-built and functional, which is mounted in a perfect 45 degree position. The many other components also appear to operate perfectly in a fundamental, utilitarian level. I’d go to date regarding state that the entire box set is well-built, otherwise exactly attentively designed.

No method is without flaws, however. If only the money drawer inserts were as impressive because the cash drawer itself. Unsurprisingly, Heckler Design offers quite a bit to say of the innovation and mass benefit of their funds drawer inserts, that are certainly unique. Begin to see the image below:

2014-0625-Heckler-Design-518-F-600x400

The crux from the design is it can hold many currencies and isn’t restricted to the dimensions or denomination from the bills/coins (it works with $ $ $ $, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars, Euro, small denomination British Pound notes, Yen, and Rubles). In this manner, it features a mass, worldwide appeal, and may function exactly the same wherever it is worldwide. There’s one serious problem wonderful that, obviously: innovation doesn&#8217t always result in better functionality. Heckler Design has attempted to reinvent the wheel here, that is nice of these, don&#8217t misunderstand me, but finances lots of lovely, circular wheels that roll exactly where we want these to go. These re-imagined cash drawer inserts will vary, there&#8217s without doubt, however they&#8217re also confusing, a little cheap-searching, and reminiscent of a kid&#8217s check out set &#8211 less than the sense you need to convey for your customers. In Heckler Design&#8217s defense, the money drawer is produced from the strong polypropylene and it has no moving parts particularly in order that it doesn’t creak, slam, and groan in the same manner that the traditional cash drawer does. Should you&#8217re searching for something with minimal noise and minimal fuss, this can be the perfect drawer for you personally.

Another part of the cash drawer that stymies us a bit is it locks at the base. So, if you wish to have the ability to secure your money &#8211 who wouldn&#8217t? &#8211 you are able to&#8217t mount the register on your countertop. You need to either let it rest united nations-mounted (by which situation look out for thieves and/or perhaps your toes!) or mount the drawer around the bottom of the counter, and then leave the iPad stand on the top (begin to see the below image for a concept of the salt water evaporates).

WindFall-Box-Set-under-760x450

This can be a solution, obviously, however it isn&#8217t particularly appealing, particularly if your counter doesn’t have a front (such as the one above) and definitely doesn&#8217t convey the content: I&#8217m An Expert Store, Please Business Here. Frankly, I&#8217m unsure why they didn&#8217t just place the lock around the back or front from the cash drawer, where it might really be around. Because it is, you need to either turn the system over any time you wish to lock it (i adore that weighs 18 lbs?) or stoop lower underneath your counter, just like a little retail gnome.

Basically we&#8217re speaking about confusing design decisions, I must state that I’ve found the Kensington ClickSafe Cable Lock absolutely baffling. Meant to &#8220quickly and safely connect your countertop towards the WindFall Box Set&#8221 and stop against thievery, it appears for the world just like a bike lock. A little, toy-sized bike lock. Which, once more, doesn&#8217t scream professional establishment!

I suppose the cable lock is supposed to provide security, not just so that your hardware doesn’t get broken, but so that you can leave your money drawer unmounted without having to worry. The factor is, I’d think the sheer heft from the factor will probably be much more of a deterrent than the usual little bitty cable lock. Anybody who commits to some smash and grab robbery with this particular till will have a great deal of steel to cope with anyway.

Final Ideas

So what can I only say? The Heckler WindFall Box Set includes a pleasing (if austere) visual appeal, also it&#8217s very well built. It will be a terrific investment for any low volume business or perhaps a start-up. And man! It&#8217s unequalled that cost! At $399, it&#8217s a genuine steal for those that steel (see things i did there?) Overall, it truely does work well and really should be sufficient to obtain anybody through their first couple of years running a business.

That stated, will i recommend the product to medium or high volume companies? No, and it wasn’t designed for use in individuals environments. Do It could be great for a thriving loaves of bread or perhaps a busy thrift shop? Again, no. It isn&#8217t created for volume, it isn&#8217t created for speed, also it isn&#8217t particularly professional searching. However it&#8217s unfair to anticipate a starter package such as this to become any longer than what it’s: a good, functional beginner&#8217s hardware package with fundamental features &#8211 ideal for the merchant who processes couple of cash transactions and it has minimal counterspace.

The publish Heckler WindFall Box Set Unboxing and Review made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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VeriFone VX520 Charge Card Readers Unboxing and Review

verifone vx520

With the various sorts of charge card readers available nowadays, it’s really a nearly Herculean task to find out which kind suits your company. You will find such a great deal of things to consider &#8211 will the card readers accept contactless payments, could it be EMV compatible, will it take gift certificates, could it be portable, how good will it print receipts &#8211 it&#8217s no question that lots of business proprietors end up battling when the time comes to buy new hardware. It&#8217s enough to create anybody&#8217s mind spin!

Have no fear, though. I (along with the other authors and reviewers on Merchant Maverick) make it an individual mission to provide you with the various tools you have to make informed decisions regarding your business. Because of this, I purchased probably the most popular card readers around &#8211 the VeriFone VX520 &#8211 and required a tough consider the basics. I examined from packaging to product specs to testimonials. If you wish to know what to anticipate once you order a VX520, you&#8217re fortunate, my pal. Continue reading to see things i discovered.

Packaging

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I purchased my VX 520 from Amazon . com, despite the fact that it required a long time to obtain here (there’s been a higher demand this month for EMV-capable card readers instead of the current liability shift), it showed up in excellent shape. Every element was well packed, paid by bubble-wrap or plastic, and also the set-up instructions were nicely folded on top of this area.

I had been fairly apprehensive before receiving this specific card readers, because there were some real horror tales concerning the VX520 around the Amazon . com site. Actually, multiple customers complained these were sent outdated, non-EMV capable types of the credit card readers, readers that were used and refurbished, or readers which were not really able to NFC transactions. Consequently, I had been unsure things i would find after i opened up in the package. However, to my relief, the readers I acquired was clearly brand-new and EMV enabled. All the associated parts (the ability cables, the receipt paper, and also the phone cord) were also new and untouched. Actually, thinking about the amount of negative reviews around the Amazon . com site, I&#8217m unsure basically just got lucky through getting a non-lemon or maybe service has become better lately. In either case, regardless of whether you&#8217re ordering from Amazon . com or any other site, be cautious whenever you receive your card readers. Check it for indications of previous use, and be sure right from the start that the constituents work nicely.

What&#8217s Within the Box?

verifone vx520 unboxing

  • VeriFone VX520 Dual Comm (M252-753-03-NAA-3) charge card terminal
  • Power
  • Roll of paper
  • Phone cord
  • Twelve months manufacturer warranty

Specs

Cost: $180-$300 (based on where/from that you purchase)

Processor: 400 MHz ARM11 32-bit RISC processor

Memory: 160MB (128MB Flash, 32MB SDRAM)

Display: 128&#21564 pixel graphical white-colored backlit LCD

Connectivity: Dial Ethernet

Printer: 24 lps Standard: 49mm paper roll Contactless: 40mm paper roll

Card Readers: Triple Track MSR

Contactless: ISO18092 supports major NFC/contactless schemes

Peripheral Ports: One Ethernet one telco one RS-232 port one USB 2. Host port one USB Client port

Security: PCI PTS 3.X approved

Power: 8V Electricity, 2.25A or optional 9V Electricity, 4A

Ecological: 0º to 50º C (32º to 122º F) operating temperature. -20º to 60º C (-4º to 140º F) storing temperature. 5% to 90% relative humidity, non-condensing

Physical Dimensions: 203mm L x 78mm W x 87mm H 500g weight

Set-Up

The instructional diagram that included the VX520 is rather straightforward.

verifone vx520 instructions

You may also read a useful reference guide that will help you with set-up instructions and finest practices, but there&#8217s not really much to understand, fortunately. Obtaining the readers prepared to run includes plugging inside a couple of cords, feeding inside a roll of receipt paper, and installing information out of your merchant services provider. This isn&#8217t brain surgery.

First Impressions

The VeriFone VX520 looks just like almost every other standard card readers you seen, although it sticks out somewhat because of its compact, portable design and ATM-style interface. Additionally, the VX520 is distinguished with a large, high contrast screen that has an 8-line by 21-character display. I discovered myself suddenly astounded by the dimensions, brightness, and readability from the display. This readers can endure the earliest or most near-sighted of the clientele, quite simply. And also the display isn’t the only element of the readers that’s backlit for max visibility. The keypad also features large figures and it is backlit in blue, in order to function easily in the dimmest of settings (or most atmospheric of restaurants). I personally don’t like low light environments &#8211 no candle-lit eateries for me personally, should you please &#8211 but I needed to admit the display and keypad about this readers were greater than a match for any dark locale.

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The VX520 is EMV-ready, meaning with the ability to process nick cards (either nick-and-pin or nick-and-signature) in addition to standard magstripe cards. EMV compliance hasn&#8217t been a problem within the U . s . States until lately, as a result of liability shift which happened October first, 2015. Now, retailers who’ve not upgraded their hardware have the effect of fraud that may have been avoided by devices that may read nick cards. What this means is potentially huge financial losses for companies with outdated card readers, and makes the truth that the VX520 is EMV-ready that rather more significant.

There’s a slot towards the bottom from the VX520 where nick cards could be &#8220dipped&#8221 &#8211 placed half means by the slot and held there throughout the transaction. Nick cards, in addition to regular old magstripe cards, may also be swiped across the right fringe of the credit card readers. &#8220Dipping&#8221 is really a relatively recent procedure within the U.S., so most new charge cards (additionally to getting a micro-processor embedded for nick-and-PIN or nick-and-signature transactions) may also be outfitted having a magstripe. It might appear counterproductive to provide both options at any given time when everybody is actually attempting to push the convenience and security of nick cards, however the liability shift only has experienced effect a short while swiping is really ingrained within our culture that it’ll take a moment for card dipping to get standard.

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Evidently, this readers also offers integrated NFC (near field communication) abilities which support alternative payment methods (contactless payments like Apple Pay, PayPal, Android Pay, etc.) in addition to loyalty card/gift certificate acceptance. However, based on VeriFone&#8217s official data sheet around the product, NFC capacity is just optional. When I pointed out above, there are many online complaints from individuals who bought the VX520 expecting so that you can process contactless payments, only to obtain their hopes dashed. Should you choose end up buying this card readers, I suggest that you simply communicate carefully together with your dealer to make certain the model you&#8217re getting can really try everything you&#8217re planning on do.

VeriFone claims the VX520 is amazingly fast, in a position to manage processing, file encryption, and understanding and processing at amazing speeds &#8220thanks to the effective processor and expanding memory.&#8221 Much more importantly, possibly, is always that we have an optional battery which enables you to definitely go wherever you have to go, within reason. As lengthy as you’ve an electrical source, the purpose of payment could be virtually any place in your store. Thankfully, additionally to merely being portable, the VX520 is lightweight and fits easily within the hands, therefore it&#8217s practical to hold around too.

The final aspect I wish to mention may be the paper door, which appears sturdy and well-crafted. It&#8217s transparent, that is nice, because it enables you to view precisely how have less receipt paper you’re really, also it opens and shuts rapidly and with little wasted movement. It&#8217s efficient, quite simply.

Final Ideas around the VeriFone VX520

Generally, I believe this is a great product: easy to use, portable, readable, capable to process both magstripe and nick charge cards. The VeriFone VX520 appears like an excellent card readers, seems like an excellent card readers, and &#8211 typically &#8211  operates just like a great card readers. I counsel you to definitely continue but be careful, though, particularly if you&#8217re searching for something which can process contactless or NFC payments. The only real tip I’m able to provide you with with that front will be smart. Research your options before purchasing. It&#8217s really about research, in the end. Speak with the vendor, and also to your credit card merchant account provider, to make certain the VX520 can definitely perform all of the functions your company requires.

Are you currently considering obtaining a VeriFone VX520? Do you have one? We&#8217d like to hear your ideas concerning the product within the comments section below.

The publish VeriFone VX520 Charge Card Readers Unboxing and Review made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Ingenico iCT220 Unboxing and Review

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Ingenico is really a French-based company with one goal:

&#8220to provide retailers having a comprehensive and innovative selection of services and methods to eliminate payment complexity making the customer purchasing experience seamless and secure, regardless of the sales funnel or payment method.&#8221

To that particular finish, Ingenico offers a variety of POS and mobile hardware products, such as the more and more popular iCT220 card readers. This lightweight, portable countertop readers gives retailers &#8220the freedom to simply accept electronic card payments, without or with an interface having a check out or POS system.&#8221 However the most compelling feature from the iCT220 is the fact that all you need to do, from payment processing to settlement reporting to receipt printing, can be achieved rapidly and seamlessly about this one device.

The iCT220 is EMV compliant and PCI PTS V3 certified. Additionally, it seems to support all of the most leading edge modern worldwide security algorithms, that is hugely vital that you any store, however big or small their business. Simplicity of use, portability, and security make the iCT220 largely effective with retailers and restaurateurs recently &#8211 actually, the Ingenico Tellium II terminal series (including the iCT220 along with the iCT250, iWL220, and iWL250) are presently typically the most popular nick and PIN terminals on the planet. But at Merchant Maverick, we&#8217re not happy to simply recommend an item because numerous others did so. You want to understand how something works best for ourselves! (We&#8217re just nosy this way). That&#8217s why we lately purchased an Ingenico iCT220 and gave it an intensive inspection.

Need to know how this handy little device really compares physically and visually? Wondering whether it helps make the grade when it comes to ease-of-use and sturdiness? Continue reading!

Packaging

Ingenico iCT220 unboxing

We purchased our Ingenico iCT220 through Helcim, a very rated merchant services provider. It required some time to finally ship (due to popular and various back-orders from retailers scrambling to purchase EMV compliant hardware considering the current liability shift), but when it shipped it showed up in wonderful time and excellent condition.

Every item within the box was positioned for optimum protection throughout the shipping process, there was literally no wasted space. The contents have been packed carefully to reduce jostling and bumping, and also the readers itself was wrapped tightly in bubble-wrap. Not really a single item was nicked or broken, and absolutely nothing have been forgotten or overlooked throughout the packing process. To date so great.

What&#8217s Within the Box?

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  • Ingenico iCT220 charge card readers
  • Power cod
  • 2 rolls receipt paper
  • 3 receipt pads
  • American Express ledger book
  • Ethernet cable

Specs

Prices around the Ingenico iCT220 vary greatly based on the vendor. Helcim (from whom we’ve got our model) provides the readers for $199/unit, but it was online for everything from $182 on eBay to $109 (on purchase) at Amazon . com to $433 at Staples. Look around, quite simply, to get the best deal, but make certain you&#8217re purchasing from a dependable vendor.

Physical specs for that iCT220 are listed below:

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Should you&#8217re interested, browse the official product data page too.

Set-Up

It doesn&#8217t have a degree in advanced physics or brain surgery to setup an Ingenico iCT220. If you’re able to read some simple instructions- heck, if you’re able to consider a diagram &#8211 then you definitely will be able to learn how to have this little readers ready to go in 15-twenty minutes. There are only a couple of simple methods to keep in mind:

  1. Place the terminal with an even surface and position it therefore the display screen could be read effortlessly and also the card swipe is instantly accessible.
  2. Plug the phone cable in to the telephone wall plug before switching on power.
  3. Make certain you’ve your Merchant ID number handy &#8211 you’ll find it within the Welcome Letter you ought to have received.
  4. Turn on the ability and also the installation process will start! You’ll be motivated how to proceed next through the readers.

Also&#8230

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There’s also a couple of simple things you shouldn’t do at any time:

  1. Do not let water to obtain within the casing from the iCT220. If you want to fix it, achieve this having a moist (not wet) cloth. You are able to dip it in mild water and soap, if required.
  2. Don’t use solvents, cleaning fluids or abrasives at any time over time, or else you will risk damaging the plastic housing from the iCT220.
  3. Never use exterior cables and/or cable lengths apart from those specified and/or provided through the manufacturer.

First Impressions

Firstly. This can be a decent searching little card readers, folks. It&#8217s solid, it&#8217s visually appealing, also it boasts vibrant, prominent buttons and nice clean lines. Yes, it&#8217s simply designed, but may austerity is more suitable to clutter, glitz, and glam. You don&#8217t purchase a readers to thrill customers together with your aesthetic sensibilities. You purchase a readers to be able to take payments, period. And also the Ingenico iCT220 is made for maximum useability and minimum confusion for the client.

Furthermore, this card readers in some way seems to feel lightweight and sturdy. It&#8217s and not the lightest terminal we&#8217ve ever held, however it fits nicely in the users hand of the hands and isn’t overweight to hold around easily. The casing is great and thick, and doesn’t appear vulnerable to cracking or breaking. We don&#8217t recommend shedding the iCT220, obviously, but it appears as though it might handle a couple of tumbles out of your countertop and then function.

The iCT220 has among the largest screens around, which is very readable. The screen is backlit, that is nice, also it&#8217s also high contrast, making for simple studying. More to the point, however, the iCT220 includes a backlit keypad with wonderfully large buttons. So we do mean LARGE buttons.

Ingenico iCT220 review

Many people have dainty fingers, however for individuals people who don&#8217t, it&#8217s nice to locate a card readers that enables you to definitely push individual figures without in some way mashing all of them simultaneously. Pointless to state, this protects time by reduction of PIN entry errors.

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The iCT220 permits retailers to simply accept all kinds of electronic payment, including EMV nick &amp PIN, magstripe, and NFC/contactless. Easily, additionally, it instantly determines regardless of whether you&#8217re processing a debit or credit card. In a nutshell, you don’t need to consider time throughout a transaction and bother your customer with this annoying &#8220credit or debit?&#8221 question.

Once you slide the client&#8217s charge card or insert it into EMV readers, the transaction will start, and also the iCT220 asks for the quantity of transaction without having to be motivated. Once you input the transaction amount striking &#8220ENTER,&#8221 it starts to process after which prints an invoice for that customer to sign (or requests a Flag if you’re established to accept debit).

The Ingenico iCT220 has &#8216multi-merchant capacity,&#8217 meaning one terminal could be shared by as much as 12 different users. This is especially relevant inside a salon or health spa where each beautician or masseuse is running their very own business. In times like this, each individual might have their code and process transactions under their very own account.

Compared to other similar charge card terminals, the iCT220 can connect to the web via Ethernet. Understandably, this enables for considerably faster speeds than the usual standard reference to a mobile phone line.

The iCT220 prints at 18 lines/second and uses standard 2 1/4 inch thermal receipt paper. This sort of paper is typical, cheap, and simple to purchase &#8211 you will get it at Staples and Office Depot (really any office supply store), or simply order it in large quantities from Amazon . com if you would like. Some customers have were not impressed with the receipt paper, wishing the terminal could accommodate a larger size, however that appears just like a fairly minor gripe overall.

Final Thoughts on the Ingenico iCT220

The decision is within around the Ingenico iCT220, which is searching very good. After our detailed inspection, we’ve figured that this handy little card readers is eminently worth its great status and worldwide recognition. The iCT220 is sensible, durable, and durable, and &#8211 possibly more to the point &#8211 made with the consumer in your mind. Sure, there’ll always be the odd, myopic customer who are able to&#8217t evaluate which buttons to push or can&#8217t begin to see the screen unless of course they&#8217re 2 ” from it, however this terminal appears to walk out its method to provide users most abundant in simple, comfortable, apparent experience possible. The fight cry from the iCT220 ought to be &#8220Ease-of-Use!&#8221

We like the truth that it’s multi-merchant abilities. Cheap it&#8217s quick. Cheap it uses an Ethernet connection more than a traditional line. Let&#8217s face the facts, there&#8217s just a great deal to like here.

Should you&#8217re searching for any reliable, NFC/contactless-ready terminal to process secure EMV transactions, and wish something fast and never-too-flashy, we completely recommend the Ingenico iCT220.

Are you currently considering through an Ingenico iCT220? Would you love your own house? Inform us about it within the comments. We&#8217d love some feedback from individuals within the retail trenches!

The publish Ingenico iCT220 Unboxing and Review made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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