If you’re going to accept credit cards online, you might as well do it right, and that means taking advantage of a credit card reader. Also known as a credit card swiper or magnetic card reader, the benefits of using a credit card reader clearly outweigh the costs. Whether you’re processing cards at a retail store, online or even on your mobile phone, it’s easy to integrate a card reader and take advantage of the many benefits. Here are 10 reasons you should use a credit card reader:
Credit Card Readers are More Secure
Probably the best reason to use credit card swipers is because they are more secure. By swiping the credit card you avoid writing it down or imprinting it on a piece of paper that you have to shred later. Credit card readers let you take advantage of AVS (address verification service) and CVV2 (card verification value code), the three or four-digit security code printed on the back of the card. With credit card swipers you get all the security of card-present transactions without asking the customer for their address and typing everything in.
Some magnetic card readers are even equipped with additional security that encrypts the card number immediately.
Credit Card Swipers are Faster
This one’s a no-brainer, but swiping a credit card is infinitely quicker than manually typing in the number. Whether you’re a small business processing two cards a day or an enterprise swiping thousands of cards every hour, your time is money. Adding credit cards to your list of accepted payments is the first step, but for full convenience you should obviously use a credit card reader.
Credit Card Readers are Foolproof
Not only are credit card swipers faster, they’re pretty much foolproof. Credit card numbers are 16 digits long, which means there are 16 chances to screw up on every transaction if you’re typing them in by hand. Technically there are 20,922,789,888,000 unique credit card combinations. There are 1.5 billion credit cards in the United States alone. Getting the exact card number shouldn’t be left in the fate of an employee’s frail fingers.
Perhaps a personal experience will be useful. As a manager overseeing seven employees whose primary job was to swipe student ID cards and hand out appropriate college exams, the week we were without card scanners was ridiculous. I got pretty good with the 10-key, and still periodically catch myself ghost-fingering when I see numbers. But let’s just say the whole university was relieved when our card readers were back in order. I can only imagine how painful it would have been if we had been dealing with people’s money.
Keep Your Employees Happy with Credit Card Readers
You may be able to overlook a few instances of manually typing in credit card numbers to process a transaction, but your employees who do it more often won’t. Whether you’re working with 100 cashiers or just one, the benefits of credit card swipers can’t be overlooked.
Credit Card Readers are Professional
To speak nothing of security, your customers may be a bit uneasy about you manually typing in their credit card number, and understandably so. Manually typing in the credit card number is far less professional than using a credit card swiper. More than just looking old-fashioned and amateur, it can lead consumers to question why you’re not investing in their security or convenience.
Save Your Knuckles
While the sound of old manual imprinters remains endearingly iconic, they aren’t universally known as “knuckle busters” for nothing. Every problem with these archaic credit card imprinters points to the benefits of credit card swipers: speed, convenience and security.
Credit Card Readers are Cheaper than a Full Terminal
Full-fledged point of sale credit card terminals and wireless terminals have their place, but it’s overkill when you’re simply going to accept credit cards online. Countertop terminals are bulky compared to credit card swipers, and they cost significantly more. Furthermore, credit card terminals often require an additional wireless service fee and have to be reprogrammed for each processor (which costs money). Most point of sale terminals also involve some sort of contract. For accepting credit cards online, a low-key credit card reader is a much better way to go.
Credit Card Swipers are Easy to Integrate
Whereas credit card terminals often require reprogramming and a walkthrough on how to use them, credit card readers are inherently intuitive. Most USB credit card swipers include plug-and-play technology so all you have to do is plug them in and you’re ready to go. No programming, no additional setup and no need for hands-on training. In fact, software updates are often delivered automatically online.
Credit Card Readers are Compact
Typical credit card readers are about 1.2 inches high and wide, 4 inches long and weigh about half a pound. They work from any angle and can be easily stabilized to a workstation or even on the side of a monitor with a bit of Velcro. For mobile credit card processing, Bluetooth card readers can be carried in your pocket.
Get Lower Credit Card Processing Rates with Credit Card Readers
Arguably the best reason to implement magnetic card readers is because they’ll save you money. Credit card swipers are relatively cheap and can quickly pay for themselves because they help you save money on each transaction.
Every credit card transaction involves a couple of per-transaction fees that go to the numerous service providers and merchant services involved with a transaction. One of these is the discount rate (don’t ask us why paying a middleman is called a “discount”), which is usually categorized in one of three types: qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified. Qualified transactions are when you physically swipe the card. Mid-qualified transactions are for manually keyed-in transactions that use AVS (address verification service) authorization, and non-qualified transactions are manually keyed in without AVS. Qualified discount rates are the lowest because they are more secure. Both customer and merchant are more protected from fraud and security risks if the card is swiped because the funds and card can be digitally verified.
Per-transaction rates are usually pretty small (1.5% - 1.9% for qualified, 2.1% - to 3% for mid-qualified), but they add up. If you have the choice between a 1.6% rate or a 2.2% discount rate, a $50 credit card swiper will have paid for itself after processing $8,333.
Whether you’re running a few cards each day or processing multiple transactions every hour, the benefits of a card reader for credit card processing are pretty clear. For security, flexibility and convenience, integrating a swiper is a no-brainer.
Find more articles and tips on credit card processing, or find the best services to help you accept credit cards online, with our comprehensive reviews.