Business Tips

How Does Wireless Credit Card Processing Work?

Read Time: 4 min

Merchants and their businesses have been transformed by the advent of wireless credit card processing. In the last year, more consumers are looking to pay in contactless ways. With a wireless credit card terminal, merchants can explore the possibilities of operating a mobile business. For example, a wireless credit card reader allows restaurants to take payments straight from a customer’s table or even open a food truck. By the same token, a wireless credit card machine can help frequent trade show attendees convert interested parties on the spot. Let’s talk about what wireless credit card processing is and its benefits.

How Wireless Credit Card Processing Works

The process of wireless credit card processing is simple and straightforward. When a customer uses their credit card to pay for a purchase, you enter or swipe their information through a wireless credit card terminal. This terminal connects with your payment processor wirelessly, the same way a wired connection would. The whole process takes only seconds and can be completed anywhere with an internet connection. Wireless credit card transactions are secure and there’s no need to have a direct connection or a phone line. Here’s a look at how credit card processing works:

wireless credit card reader
  1. A cardholder presents their card or credit card information
  2. The merchant submits a request for payment authorization to the payment processor
  3. That payment processor sends the request to the Card Association
  4. The request goes from there to the issuing bank, who approves or denies the request
  5. Card Association sends the decision to the payment processor
  6. The payment processor sends the decision to the merchant, who receives an ‘Approved’ or ‘Declined’ message on their screen

The Difference Between Wireless and Mobile Credit Card Processing

Wireless credit card processing is often confused with mobile credit card processing. Both methods allow merchants to take payments on the go and don’t require a landline connection to work. The difference is for mobile credit card processing, the wireless credit card machine is actually the merchant’s smartphone.

The merchant must download their provider’s mobile app and even attach equipment to their smartphone to start processing transactions. Merchants that use a mobile credit card processing solution must enter credit card information on their smartphone manually or through an attached card reader. Data is encrypted and then sent securely for authorization. The entire process takes just seconds.

This solution is ideal for merchants who operate small businesses on the go and don’t have many staff members. Receipts go to customers via text or email because mobile credit card processing does not support printed versions. Keep in mind this solution is not ideal for merchants who run bigger operations and have larger staffs that would need to use equipment at the same time.

Wireless Credit Card Machines

To enable wireless credit card processing, a merchant must have the appropriate wireless credit card terminal. A wireless credit card machine looks very similar to the traditional terminal as far as appearance. They have a keypad, magnetic stripe reader, and typically a receipt printer. The difference is there’s no cord.

The actual wireless credit card model a merchant will use will vary. Their payment processor will often list their available equipment that works with their chosen payment solution. As such, pricing will vary and is not typically available on the processor’s website. If you’re interested in a wireless credit card reader, contact your payment processor directly.

The uses of a wireless credit card terminal

There are a variety of uses for a wireless credit card reader. If you have a mobile business or have considered expanding to offer one, a wireless credit card terminal will enable you to accept more payment options. For example, food trucks and pop-up shops are mobile businesses that use this technology. Delivery businesses are another great application of a wireless credit card machine. In these cases, going wireless or mobile allows them to expand on payment methods and avoid taking credit card information over the phone.

The benefits of a wireless credit card terminal

Above all, the freedom of not being tied down to a wired terminal is the biggest benefit of a wireless credit card processing solution. This frees up a merchant to be to take payments from non-traditional locations. Moreover, you can finalize payments directly with the customer, which increases security. In addition, there’s no need to have lines form at a traditional cash register, which will improve the customer experience and increase satisfaction.

The Cost of Wireless Credit Card Processing

wireless credit card processing

Each payment provider has a different cost structure when it comes to accepting wireless card transactions. Additionally, there is the cost of the terminal itself to consider. The terminal must adhere to the processing rules outlined by Visa and Mastercard.  It’s important to find a payment processor or merchant service provider that fits the needs of your business. Discuss your needs with your provider to calculate the fees and associated costs for a wireless credit card processing solution.

Choosing the Right Wireless Credit Card Processing Option

Different merchants have different needs. This is undoubtedly true when it comes to a wireless credit card processing solution. Ask yourself how your business could use a wireless credit card terminal. For instance, it could be so your business can meet your customers in their homes, conduct business outside of your retail location, etc. Then, consider whether or not your business requires a lot of staff to handle payment processing. A mobile credit card terminal is not ideal for merchants in these cases, because each person who handles credit card transactions must have their own equipped smartphone. However, you should still talk to a reputable payment processor to help you figure out the best wireless credit card processing solution for your business.