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Which card machine is best for my business?

Posted by Sureswipe on 16 March 2020


Whether you run a boutique clothing store, a food stall, a pizzeria or you’re a plumber, chances are your customers expect to be able to pay for your goods or services by card. It’s both safer and far more convenient for them. 

Given the current spread of Covid-19, customers are also becoming increasingly careful about what they handle - including cash. Paying with cards through contactless (tap and go) transactions is both safe and efficient. 

This means that the question is no longer whether you need a card payment solution, but rather, which card payment machine is best for your business. 

In our experience, there two key factors you need to consider: Portability and reliability.

Fixed machines versus portable machines


In most retail environments where people will only pay for goods at the tills, fixed machines make sense. In other cases however, a degree of portability is critical if you want to be agile and flexible enough to cater to all of your customers’ needs.

Portable card payment machines don’t only deliver in-store mobility, they allow you to take your store to potential customers.

“We’ve found portable machines to be really handy in our stores, but they’re also an incredibly convenient way for us to exhibit at expos and flea markets using our normal payment system,” says Divan Smit, co-founder of Vaper’s Corner, a vaping business with two stores. “It’s a major advantage for us. We can literally take our mobile machines anywhere with us.”

For plumbers, carpenters, food trucks, mobile massage parlours and other businesses that go to their customers, another option is a mobile card payment solution. These small mobile card machines connect directly to your smart device or tablet and allow you to accept card payments anywhere, at any time.

Choosing the right card machine comes down to where you operate, how you operate, and how flexible and mobile your customers need you to be. The good news is that no matter what business you’re in or what your customer expectations are, there’s a card payment solution for you.


Is reliability an issue with different card payment solutions?


There are many different factors that impact the reliability of payment solutions, from whether your POS can connect with your bank, to load shedding as well as Cellphone back up towers losing battery power that may impact connectivity. 

Modern day payment solutions are based on technology, which means that sometimes things don’t work exactly as they should. For example, if your bank’s servers are being updated – as they must be – you won’t be able to connect during that period. This means you won’t be able to  accept payments during their system upgrade window period. This can sometimes last from as little as 5 minutes up to 6 hours, usually in the evening. 

Similarly, if you have a portable machine running off WiFi but you’re in a low signal area, you’ll struggle to process card payments.

And what impact does load shedding have? If your area is affected and the power goes out, your fixed and portable card machines won’t work if their batteries run out – but there are connectivity issues as well. Prolonged and regular load shedding means back-up batteries at cell towers die and often aren’t fully recharged when the next stage begins. The result? Poor coverage, just when you need it most.

The challenge is that most of your customers aren’t walking around with wallets and purses full of cash in anticipation of these challenges – they’re relying on you to be able to accept card payments, no matter what.


So, what’s the solution? 

“We’ve evaluated our risk,” says Divan Smit from Vaper’s Corner. “We have two POS systems in each of our stores. One is a land cable machine, and the other is a portable machine with a SIM card. This means that we always have one machine running, no matter what.”

Some card machines have dual sim cards, which means that they don’t need to be reliant on a single service provider.  

OTG Bar and Kitchen have needed to find a similar solution. “Due to load shedding and cell towers going down, we needed to find another way of ensuring our machines were always working,” says Darren Walsh. “Because we always have access to our Sureswipe team, we reached out, and they came back to us with a WiFi-enabled machine that ensures we are always able to use our Fibre connection at those times when conventional machines are out of order.”

For the founders of Sticky Waffles, the reliability issue was solved in a slightly different way. “We found that the signal we needed to process payments wasn’t always reliable,” says co-founder Naren Moodley. “When Sureswipe came out to evaluate why, they realized that the problem was our WiFi signal. It wasn’t very good. As soon as we switched to GPRS the problem stopped.”

Reliability is critical, and this often involves more than one solution. Since payment solutions and POS systems can be integrated, a solution can be found that suits your specific operating environment.



Talk to Sureswipe about a cost-effective Loyalty programme. We can assist in customer retention through a platform that helps you communicate directly with customers through email and SMS. Call 0860 200 111 or fill in your details here and we’ll call you.

Topics: restaurants, retail, strategy, tips, Growing Your Retail Business

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