As a business person, you are always looking for ways to make things easier. This includes offering your customers a better buying experience while they are in your store. Additionally, you should always be thinking about new ways in which they can checkout and pay for their purchases.
The technology in this area has improved tremendously in recently years, especially with the emergence of point of sale (POS) technology. One of the key features of any POS system is the card reader, which makes fast payment possible. Here are some interesting suggestions for ways to use your card reader.
How Card Readers Work
The simplest way to describe how card readers work is that they scan and identify the magnetic stripe of the credit that is used to make the purchase. There is a ton of data stored on this magnetic stripe and this can be identified in one of two ways, according to the eHow site. The first of these methods is when a touchless reader identifies the card based on universal specifications and formats, which are applicable to all cards.
The other method is actually more common. This is the typical swipe. In such a case, the magnetic stripe information comes in contact with the reader and is identified and then processed electronically. This is also what the non-swipe method does, only it uses a slightly higher tech method to pull it off.
Card Reader Compatibility
When you are choosing your POS system, it is always important to think about software and (especially) hardware compatibility. Not every type of card reader will work with every type of POS system software, so always check on compatibility ahead of time. Of course, buying the entire system at once or from the same manufacturer can ensure that all the components will play together nicely.
Use the Card Reader to Go Mobile
One of the most interesting and exciting options and ways to use a card reader is to attach it to your smartphone. This makes it possible to accept orders and payments even while on the go. Many business owners have used this to great effect. You could establish an outside sales force and literally expand your sales volume to more than you had ever imagined.
This can also be used to increase the size of orders that are accepted and the speed at which you receive payment. Many business models in the past had relied upon taking a smaller deposit and then delivering the goods and receiving the remaining amount due. With Shopify credit card reader, you could easily accept payments for the full amount and have your money transferred to your bank account much faster than before.
Easy Setup and Use
As with most technical things these days, setting up your card reader is basically plug and play. You simply attach it to your computer using the USB cable supplied with the card reader. That is pretty much it for setup, since installation happens automatically. It is a true plug and play environment. Any device drivers is not required, either. Once it is ready for use the light should turn to either green or simply display ‘on’ or ‘ready.’
Using the card reader is also very simple. The specific procedures might vary slightly depending on your exact POS system. However, you will normally open the system to display the order taking page, or to display the actual order if it has already been entered. Then, click or touch the credit/debit section on the order screen and swipe the card. You might need to also enter the three-digit CVV number on the back of the card and maybe the customer’s ZIP code.
Changes Coming to Card Readers
So far, smart cards are only available in Europe. These are basically credit cards that have a chip inside of them and the ability to very securely hold a massive amount of data. This new technology actually allows them to hold a lot more than simple financial data including complex security codes, blood type, allergy information, and really anything else that you could imagine.
This is new technology and it will most likely demand new types of card readers in order to process transactions effectively. These types of cards are reportedly coming to Canada very soon and the U.S. within the next couple of years.
Using a card reader is the perfect way to complement an already existing POS system. In fact, a card reader even has the potential for completely transforming your business. This might mean adding sales reps and starting to develop a mobile or outside sales force equipped with card readers attached to their smart phones. You might also consider dumping the clunky old cash register and manual card processing devices in favor of a new POS system equipped with a high-tech card reader.
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