Do Credit Card Machines and POS Systems Differ?

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Whether your business processes hundreds or thousands of transactions in a day, week, or month, having the right system to accept payments can make all the difference. Today, we’ll explore the differences between credit card machines and POS systems and offer advice on choosing the right one for your business.

What Is a Credit Card Machine?

The first credit card machines contained metal plates onto which a customer’s credit card would be placed. The cashier would slide the imprinter over the card, transferring the information onto a slip of carbon paper.

Today’s credit card terminals only require the customer to insert, tap, wave, or swipe. In seconds, their credit card information is instantly read and verified, the information sent to the business, and the funds transferred to its bank account.

What Is a POS Machine?

What does “POS system” stand for? Point of sale. This system is like a credit card machine because it is also a means of payment where information from a customer’s card is transmitted electronically. However, this is where the similarity between the two systems ends. A modern POS system accepts credit cards, as well as:

  • Debit cards
  • Payments from bank accounts using mobile device apps
  • Prepaid cards
  • Payments from other online accounts
  • Bank transfers
  • Text payments
  • QR code payments
  • Store credits
  • Gift cards
  • Rewards
  • Coupons

This is only the beginning of what POS systems can do; they also help businesses manage many other important tasks.

Inventory Management

One of a POS system’s most important functions is its ability to help businesses manage their inventories. In fact, many systems can take care of the following and much more:

  • Digital counting and scanning of products
  • Consolidating orders and purchases
  • Assigning and identifying items using unique serial numbers
  • Tracking stock levels in several locations
  • Creating product variations

Employee Management

Your employees are essential  to the success of your business. POS systems can help you manage some or all of the employee management tasks below so that you can increase your sales:

  • Tracking of hours worked
  • Adding new employees
  • Sending work schedules via email
  • Employee performance analysis
  • Settling of sales targets
  • Employee reporting

Customer Relationship Management

Customers are the lifeblood of every business. Point of sale systems help businesses track customer data and allow businesses to maintain a high level of customer service with features that include:

  • Capturing of email address, phone number, and other customer information
  • Creation of loyalty programs
  • Email marketing
  • Purchase history tracking
  • Adding customer identifiers to transactions

Detailed Sales Reporting

Being able to look at your sales is useful, but, with a POS system, you can view several details of each sale for a complete picture of your business’s health. You may be able to generate:

  • Long-term sales performance charts
  • Instant snapshots of sales over the shorter term
  • Reports based on net and gross profit, product, total item cost, and more

Fraud Protection

Businesses must deal with a number of payment processing challenges, including fraud. Regardless whether triangulation, clean, account takeover, or another kind of fraud is occurring, a  POS system should offer your business the following types of protection:

  • Tokenization
  • Around-the-clock, live support
  • Monitoring and delivery confirmation
  • Encryption
  • Cardholder verification
  • Transaction authorization

Of course, any system you choose should also have achieved PCI compliance so that your business can meet required global security standards like security process and systems testing and cardholder data protection.

What Components Are Required for a POS System?

POS terminals include components that the customer can and cannot see. These front and backend components can include items like:

  • Cash register with cash drawer
  • Internet connection
  • POS software
  • POS hardware like barcode scanners
  • Data storage on or off-site
  • Receipt printer

Different point of sale or POS systems will have different hardware and software, depending on what a retail business has determined they need in order to process transactions.

Types of Credit Card Terminals

There is more than one type of credit card terminal. A business may choose to accept card payments from a static terminal that’s located at a checkout counter. Examples of business types of businesses that would benefit from a static terminal include a retail or grocery store.

There are also mobile POS transaction terminals. Typically small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, these mobile units rely on a cloud-based POS system and allow businesses to accept payments virtually anywhere in or outside of their location.

A mobile-style card terminal is ideal for businesses like restaurants, as well as those businesses that operate from kiosks set up at malls and festivals.

What Is the Right Solution for My Business?

Now that you know what a POS means to your business, it’s time to figure out which one will work best for your business type. This can be a difficult question to answer. The best way to reach a conclusion about which system to choose is to make a list of what you want the system to help you accomplish.

Doing this will eliminate a lot of confusion once you start shopping. However, in order to ensure you get the exact POS system you need, it’s important to find a payment processor who understands what you’re looking for, and then be there for you when you have questions.

Complete Physical Retail POS Systems for Every Business

Your point-of-sale system should be as unique as you are and capable of accomplishing exactly what you need it to. At Adept Payments, we don’t believe there’s one solution for everyone; instead, we know from experience that tailored solutions for each business are key.

Our company is built on the principles of honesty, transparency, and integrity. We take the time to listen to your needs, and then we exceed your expectations with a solution that’s completely customized to your specific requirements.

To learn more about our industry-leading, state-of-the-art systems including NCR Silver and Clover, as well the other powerful products we offer, visit us online or call 888-732-3838.

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