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Credit Card Checkout Options

Some of today’s large retailers are turning to handheld credit card scanners that tie together inventory management, customer service and point-of-sale (POS) systems for their businesses. But you don’t need to be a big brand to benefit from advanced credit card readers. If you’re looking for flexible credit card checkout options for your retail small business, here are three choices to consider:

1. Mobile Readers for Smartphones

Mobile readers are compact, easy to attach to smartphones and tablets, and offer encrypted security, multiple payment types, quick access to funds and fast account setup. These hardware systems can also be paired with small wireless printers for printing paper receipts.

At Crafty Planet, a fabric store in Minneapolis, MN, owner Trish Hoskins relies on a Square mobile credit card processing system both in the store and at craft fairs. "Initially, we were only using the reader at shows and a traditional credit card processing system in our shop," she says. "Then we ended up switching to the reader for both because it was easier to use that way."

Hoskins says mobile processing service includes a flat monthly rate for transactions, providing significant cost savings. "Once we did the math, we found it was far cheaper with flat-rate pricing than what we’d been doing before." The Square reader also offers an optional business service for more robust POS features, like inventory tracking.

2. Desktop Registers

For many small retailers, the centralized checkout station is still a top option. Even with this traditional system, however, improvements in encryption and terminal size can provide a simple and secure checkout strategy.

For a desktop system, many retailers gravitate to devices that integrate a terminal with a thermal printer, making receipt printing fast and seamless. These systems often integrate with POS technology and have lockable cash drawers. A refund mode can be used for recording returned goods, and then the change is marked in inventory levels.

3. Wireless Credit Card Terminals

If a retailer doesn’t need extensive mobility but still wants the freedom of making sales from anywhere in the store, a wireless credit card terminal is a great solution.

Wireless credit card terminals don’t require external devices like smartphones or tablets, and they’re small enough to be carried. A built-in credit card interface lets a cashier swipe a card quickly and then have a customer sign directly on the terminal. A thermal printer delivers a receipt, making it an all-in-one option.

Once you understand your needs and budget, think about what type of system would be right for your store — mobile, desktop or wireless. Whichever option you choose will make checkout and credit card processing a great experience for you and your customers.

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