There are plenty of things that small and medium-sized businesses can do in order to improve the customer/client experience. Providing a user-friendly, fast, and seamless experience is how you not only get that all-important first sale, but it’s also how you start to build a loyal customer base. One thing that businesses simply must offer customers in today’s marketplace is the ability to pay by credit card. Without offering this form of payment, you will be losing out on all kinds of potential sales.

Of course, in order to accept those credit cards, you need a terminal that is able to do so, and that’s exactly what these card machines or a card reader can do. In order to help sway your decision to use these handy little machines, here are three facts about card readers that every SME needs to know.

Submission Doesn’t Always Take Place Right Away

The way the process works is that a customer’s card is placed in the machine allowing their information to be sent via the internet. That information is sent to the card network in order to make the request for credit. Provided the request is granted, you will see the “approved” message appear on the card machine.

Now comes the part where you, the merchant, submit the transaction in order to get the payment. While you may assume this submission takes place immediately, that’s not always the case; it can take hours or 3-5 days. Of course, this can definitely impact a company’s cash flow if they aren’t receiving payments in a timely manner.

This site has information on card machines, highlighting a variety of mobile models. The UTP Group features a number of benefits, but one is the fact they are able to process in one hour rather than the typical two to three days that merchants are often faced with waiting. This should be an important factor when choosing the right machine and company to work with. Be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide posted on the site, as it takes you through all the important information about card machines.

Not Every Card Machine is Mobile

If you’re the type of business that is on the road a lot or doesn’t necessarily have that set cash counter/check-out, then you want to be sure you are looking at card readers that are mobile. A countertop card payment machine may not be the right solution. Other options such as mobile or portable card machines could make more sense, or even a virtual terminal.

The Machines Vary Greatly in Price

Here’s another thing to be aware of – these machines aren’t all priced the same, so you’re going to need to go into the selection process with a budget in mind. The portability, features, and specifications will all help to determine the cost, which is usually a rental fee you pay monthly.

It Helps to Be Prepared

So, while you want to do the right thing and offer your customers multiple forms of accepted payment before you just choose the first card machine you find, it’s best to do your research and educate yourself on your options.