Choosing the right electronic payment system


July 08, 2019

Running a small business is hard work. To be the hero in your own business journey you need to manage a seemingly endless list of tasks: from inventory to employees, marketing to customer service. You don’t have time to become expert in everything. And that's why we're here to help you navigate your payment equipment and the decisions you need to make. 

Taking the time to choose the right electronic payment system for your business is a good investment. Electronic payments are changing—fast.  Whether you’re new to accepting payments or upgrading an existing system, you’ll want to understand the pros and cons of each option.

There are four major types of electronic payment systems to be used in-store: credit card terminals, smart terminals, mobile acceptance and integrated point of sale systems. Let’s take an express look at the major types of electronic payments for traditional person-to-person transactions.

As we take a look at each, think about how your business operates, who your customers are and how they want to pay both today and in the future as technology continues to move forward.

What are electronic payments?

Electronic payments describes the point of sale devices, secure technologies and payment processing services that allow businesses like yours to accept payments via debit and credit cards.

Worldpay’s 2018 Global Payments Report found that electronic payments including credit cards, debit cards and mobile wallets made up 69% of global point of sale transactions, projecting to grow to 83% by 2022. In the US, electronic payments are even more dominant, accounting for 84% of point of sale spend in 2018, projecting to 89% by 2022.

Cash isn’t going away anytime soon, but more transactions than ever take place electronically.

Why basic credit card terminals stand the test of time

Credit card readers and terminals have been doing the heavy lifting of small business retail for decades. Reliable, affordable and easy to use, simple credit card terminals allow you to quickly and easily accept credit cards, debit cards and other electronic payments like gift cards and mobile wallets.

Pros: Credit card terminals continue to offer an affordable entry point for new businesses, and a trusted tool for simple and dependable payment acceptance for businesses of all sizes. Engineered to be simple but secure, credit card terminals include the latest EMV chip card technology, accept contactless payments and digital wallets, and connect to secure payment processing services.

Cons: They’re not nearly the “dummy” terminals they’re sometimes called, but credit card terminals are limited beyond their single function of accepting electronic payments.

How smart terminals are smarter than ever

Many payment terminals may look simple on the surface. Through the magic of the software, smart terminals are now connected to the world of applications. Smart terminals help you manage your businesses more efficiently with essential tools beyond payment acceptance, like tracking employee hours, inventory management and more. Smart terminals often feature graphic interfaces both for your associates and customers.

Pros: The intelligence and flexibility of smart terminals make them perfect for a growing business. Smart terminal designs offer the same reliable and secure payment transactions as credit card terminals within a broader technology ecosystem. Smart terminals offer connectivity to a wider world of tools to help your business grow at less than the cost of an integrated point of sale system.

Cons:  While smart terminals offer more functionality, they typically cost more than simple credit card terminals. Smart terminals offer connectivity to a wider world of applications though of a more limited scope than many integrated point of sale systems.

Integration elevates electronic payments with integrated systems

Integrated point of sale (POS) systems have revolutionized the way many businesses operate. Integrated electronic payment systems open doors to sophisticated, interconnected business systems that until recently were limited to only the largest chains. POS electronic payment systems are customized for specific industries so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Integrated POS systems are available for businesses ranging from restaurants to breweries, salons to laundromats. Integration is the key, as point of sale electronic payment systems harmonize hardware and software into a seamless package. Integrated systems extend electronic payment acceptance to include capabilities to integrate tableside ordering, inventory management, loyalty programs, accounting, payroll and other essential tools to manage a small business.

Pros: Integrated point of sale systems are tailored to serve the needs of small and growing businesses. POS electronic payment systems can offer an integrated package that can run most if not all of your essential payment acceptance and business productivity needs. They are also customized by verticals meeting the specific needs of your day to day operations.

Cons: Integrated systems usually deliver sophisticated, customized or customizable software, integrated hardware and often sleek touch-screen interfaces. That sophistication and all-in-one functionality does often represent a larger expense.

How mobile payments meet the rising tide of commerce

Commerce is no longer limited to predefined spaces. A rising tide of technology is elevating commerce to fill the gaps, allowing businesses and their customers to connect in new and innovative ways. Smartphones and other mobile electronic devices have taken over so many of the functions of our daily lives that it only makes sense that they’d double as ideal mobile tools for electronic payment acceptance.

Mobile payment solutions allow you to accept payments on your mobile device, giving you the advantage of accepting sales wherever you’d like: a flea market, sidewalk café or while visiting a client. Mobile electronic payment systems are great for independent sellers, craftspeople, service people who make house calls—any kind of business on the go. Mobile payment acceptance systems include stand-alone devices, smartphones or tablets equipped with small attachments called dongles, or in some cases smartphones can be used without any attachment at all by using QR codes.

Pros: Mobile electronic payment acceptance is crafted to be easy, safe, convenient and affordable. Mobile payments are great for any business that operates not just on-the-go, but anywhere including in-store.

Cons: Accepting electronic payments via mobile devices often requires nothing more than the device almost everyone has in their pocket and internet service; there are minimal current known “cons.”

What electronic payment system is best for my business?

Only you can determine the “best” electronic payment system—it’s the one that suits the way your business works. You’ll want to think about how your customers want to pay  and how you envision your growth. This overview of electronic payment systems reviewed the major types of in-person payments; a whole world of online payments should be part of a coordinated plan for most business.

Worldpay enables virtually every type of payment your customers want to make. Connect with one of our payment experts to learn more about electronic payment systems and how your business can start accepting credit card payments today.