How to get a credit card machine for your small business

Whether you want to start taking card payments for the first time, or you’re ready to upgrade your existing machine, read on for our guide to choosing the right card payment solution for you and your business.

How to accept card payments for your small business

How to accept card payments for your small business

Before you can start accepting debit and credit card transactions, there are some key elements you need to have in place.

Merchant account

First, you’ll need to set up a merchant account if you want to take any type of card payment. This is an account where the money from your customers’ payments ‘sits’ until the transactions are authorised. Your merchant bank or payment service provider – also known as PSP – will set one up for you.

Card machine

Finally, you need the card machine itself. There’s a wide range of options out there to choose from, and which one is right for your business will depend on your budget and what features you need it to have.

How to select the right credit card machine for your small business

Read on to find out more about the different card machines currently available and the types of businesses they’re typically suited to.

Card Countertop

As the name suggests, countertop card machines are static models that traditionally sit at a point of sale. They’re often seen as the ‘traditional’ face-to-face card machine option and, because they don’t take up much room, they’re great if space is tight. By nature, they’re best-suited to a fixed premise or single location businesses, where all card payments will be taken in one place. This can include convenience stores, dry cleaners, opticians and clothes shops.


In contrast to countertop machines, portable terminals are perfect for businesses with more than one point of sale in a fixed location, or those who want to bring their card machine to the customer, rather than ask them to come to the till to pay. They’re particularly useful for restaurants and cafe owners, as staff can accept payments ‘on the go’ as they multitask and serve other customers. Portable card machines are also great for other business types, such as takeaways and florists.


If you’re constantly on the move, mobile card machines are ideal. They allow you to take payment from your customers virtually anywhere. From tradespeople and salespeople to driving instructors and photographers – there are many businesses who can benefit from this type of card payment solution.


All the card machines featured so far have the functionality to take contactless payments. Contactless card machines make it quick and easy for you to take payments of up to £45 using Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay (which has no monetary limit) and all major credit and debit cards. Customers simply place their card or device over the screen of the card reader and that’s it. This is a great option if you want to reduce queue times.

Virtual terminal

If you only want to accept card payments remotely by phone or via email (also known as MOTO transactions), you’ll need a virtual terminal. (If you accept payments face to face as well, you can use your existing terminal to perform this action). As the merchant, you simply enter your customer’s card details into the terminal and it’ll keep the payment details secure while the bank authorises the transaction.

How to get a credit card machine


Step 1: Understand your credit card machine options

First, you need to decide which type of card machine is right for you and your business. Do you want to be able to take payments over the phone, face-to-face, via email, online or a combination of these methods? Think carefully about the practicalities of your business, such as whether or not you’ll need multiple machines, a portable terminal and/or the option to receive incoming orders while you also serve customers in-person.

Step 2: Choose your merchant services provider

Decided how and where you want to accept card payments? Now it’s time to choose a payment provider. Consider customer service – how quickly the provider will respond if you have a problem – as well as cost, speed, trust in the brand and how good their technology is.

Step 3: Select the option that will suit your business

It’s time to make your choice. Keep in mind all the factors discussed above and you should be able to identify the right solution. Don’t forget to review the contract of the terminal provider before you sign. It’s also worth considering whether you want to commit to a contract, or would prefer to Pay as You Go.

Step 4: Start accepting card payments

Once you’ve worked out the logistics and everything is set up, you’re good to go. Remember to let your customers know what type of card payments you can now accept – particularly if you were cash-only before.

What are the benefits of card machines for small businesses?


  1. A faster payment process – which will benefit both you and your customers
  2. More sales – the ability to take non-cash payments makes your business accessible to an ever-growing customer base who want to pay by card
  3. Improved credibility as a business – not being able to take card payments can damage your brand reputation
  4. A better customer experience – you’re much more convenient to transact with and buy from
  5. Improved security – handling large amounts of cash can be riskier than taking card payments, which have built-in security features

What are the benefits of card machines for small businesses?

How much does a card machine cost?

How much does a card machine cost?

What you pay will depend on the solution you choose and whether you decide to Pay as You Go or opt for a contract. Bear in mind that you’ll also need to factor in merchant fees, credit/debit card charges and other monthly or one-off costs. Read our guide to card machine costs for more information.

How to get a card machine for your business

Get in touch with Handepay today to find out more about getting a card machine for your small business.


Date Published: 28/01/2021