If you are an outside sales rep and have ever had to forgo a sale because you weren’t near a processing terminal, this is a simple question to answer in the affirmative. Clearly, if you’re doing business “in the field” and “on the road,” you need to be able to process credit card payments.
There many other reasons to go wireless than just capturing business. Confirming the sales you are making is a good reason, too. If you have been getting chargebacks on cards processed off-location – without the cardholder or card being present – the title question gets a resounding “yes” again.
Everyone Needs Wireless Now
If you have a mobile business of any kind – towing service, direct sales, limousine, contracting, delivery, etc. – a wireless credit card terminal is a necessity, not a newfangled option. The benefits are many and the drawbacks are few. With a wireless terminal, you will:
- leverage your mobility – you no longer have to plan trips back to the office or spend time on the phone calling in the sale;
- increase your efficiency – your travel time pays off in more business, so you are getting more “dollars per mile”;
- capture additional sales – you can process orders on the sidewalk, in a housing tract mobile office, at a highway rest stop or anywhere else; and
- simplify your business life – no more multiple sales-entry procedures that depend upon where you are, what time it is or whether your home office is open or closed.
There is practically no downside whatever, unless you count the cost of the wireless terminal. Of course, that is just another small cost of doing business, and it will pay for itself quite rapidly.
The proliferation and continuing improvement of wireless networks virtually guarantee that you will be “connected” wherever you go, at least in what we call the “civilized world.” Wireless terminals are empowering devices, to be sure, allowing you to process credit card payments wherever you are, from whomever you want, at any time you choose.
Even if you are caught in a low- or no-coverage area, or need to complete a sale from an underground garage, all of the full-featured wireless terminals have some form of feature to enable “offline capture.” Commonly called “store and forward,” this feature allows for delayed forwarding of card transactions. You can also save the information in the terminal until you confirm later that the sale went through.
Convenience, Efficiency, Low Risk
With wireless technology and computerized operations being measured in nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds, the slowest part of the entire “processing chain” is the human component. There is no reason to hurry through a sale when checkouts and transaction verification can take place in an amazingly brief period of just a few seconds.
Convenience obtains for everyone involved in the transaction, too. Being able to process customers’ orders as they watch is an incredibly impressive thing. In addition, the compactness, light weight and straightforward operation of these marvels of technology make them unobtrusive to carry, simple to operate and easy to troubleshoot.
When you are accepting payments in real time, you can avoid losing sales to processing error, declines, bad checks and other human error. Further risk reduction is realized because you no longer need to carry cash as you go out and about to do business.
There are various manufacturers making these units, and many types are available at various price points. Every basic terminal will include a “swipe” slot stripe reader, a keypad for entering both alpha and numeric information, and some sort of small display screen. Some units have built-in printers, but all can easily connect to a separate unit.
The choice between a built-in printer and a separate units may come down to which is easier to deal with, a single piece of equipment or two. However, technology being what it is (that is, occasionally mysterious), it may be that a certain manufacturer’s terminal will work better with certain peripherals as opposed to others. Make sure to confirm that the separate pieces you are getting will “make nice” and work together well. It is your business that depends on that, after all.
Terminals have various kinds of displays, and it is simple common sense that the larger displays will give you more information at once. You will have to determine how important the display is, but remember that they are usually described in lines and columns. For example, an “8 x 20 display” provides 8 text lines that are 20 characters and spaces wide. Most displays now feature “backlighting” for use in low-and no-light situations. Some still lack this feature, so if it’s a necessary one for your “style” of business, confirm that the unit you are considering has it.
Finally, keypads will vary in size, orientation, number of keys and key sensitivity. If the unit has more keys, including “programmable” ones, you can assign common functions to a designated key. And, generally speaking, larger keypads with larger keys can make the terminals easier to use, especially for people with large hands.
Low Cost of Operation
Wireless processing is affordable, efficient and a complete “no brainer” for just about every kind of merchant with any level of offsite sales. Processing costs will also be lower, since errors attributable to manually-entered card information are minimized with the use of these terminals.
Clearly, wireless credit card terminals offer merchants a simple, dependable and efficient processing system that will fit in the palm of your hand – or two palms, at any rate. The capabilities of a wireless card terminal are available at relatively low cost, especially when measured against the business you could lose by not having one. Every business should have one, because just having one available may spur you to create new ways of capturing additional sales, no matter what your business. And in these challenging times, you need all the creativity you can muster!