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How to use a card reader for Chip&PIN, magstripe, contactless & other payment methods

You already know how important a card machine is for taking payments at your business. And this is especially the case with the rise in card payments in Europe. If you’ve just purchased your very own card reader and you’ve gone through the exciting process of unboxing it, you might now wonder about the nitty-gritty details such as “how to use a card reader?”

This post is for you if you’re wondering how to accept Chip&PIN, magstripe, and contactless payments on your card machine, as well as payments made with a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay or Google pay. Let’s take a closer look.

How to use a card reader to accept payments

Your card machine will most likely work with multiple payment systems, such as Chip&PIN, magstripe, and contactless, among others. Let’s see how to handle each of those.

Accepting Chip&PIN payments

Chip&PIN payments, much like the name implies, involve the insertion of the client’s card in the bottom slot of your card machine so that the chip on the card can be read, which will be followed by, in most cases, a request for the customer to enter their four-digit secret Personal Identification Number or PIN.

So, if you’re wondering how to use a credit card reader to accept Chip&PIN payments, follow the steps below:

  1. Enter the payment amount on your card reader, which will be displayed on the screen
  2. Enter the customer’s card in the bottom slot of the card machine, chip first, and facing up
  3. The customer may or may not be prompted to enter their PIN after which they need to press the “enter” button
  4. The transaction will be processed and it will either be approved or declined depending on the availability of funds in the customer’s account
  5. If the transaction is processed successfully and depending on whether your card reader can print receipts, two receipts will be printed. One is a copy for the customer and the other is the copy for you, the merchant.
  6. Success! The transaction has been processed!

Accepting magstripe payments

If you’re wondering how to use a card machine for magstripe or magnetic stripe payments, we provide the steps for this below. Magstripe payments are a more outdated form of accepting payments and they involve a swiping action of the card’s magnetic stripe, which contains the cardholder data, along the strip on your card machine specifically designed for swiping.

However, It’s important to keep in mind that if you swipe a Chip&PIN card, the terminal will not accept it and you will have to insert the chip into the machine and follow the steps described above. 

So, without further ado, here’s how to accept magstripe payments with a card machine:

  1. Enter the payment amount on your card reader, so that the screen displays the cost
  2. Swipe the magnetic strip of your client’s card in the slot where the magnetic stripe reader is located
  3. The card details will be sent to the relevant parties approving the transaction and will either be approved or declined
  4. If the transaction is approved, your card reader will issue two sets of receipts.

Accepting contactless payments

Contactless payments are becoming some of the most common ways of paying with a card or an NFC wearable. They are quick and easy to make. Before proceeding to accept contactless payment, make sure that the card displays the contactless logo. 

Here is how to use a credit card machine to accept contactless payments:  

  1. Enter the payment amount on your card reader using the touchpad
  2. Hover or tap the contactless card about 3 cm above the payment terminal
  3. The transaction will be processed with the relevant communication taking place between the customer’s issuing bank and the merchant’s acquiring bank
  4. Sometimes, depending on the purchase amount, your card reader may require PIN entry
  5. You can either issue a digital or paper receipt for your customers, depending on the type of your credit card machine
  6. And voila! The transaction has been processed!

Accepting payments with a mobile wallet

Accepting payments with a mobile wallet takes place very much like contactless payment. Here are the steps for doing so:

  1. Open the app which contains your wallet and account information on your phone
  2. Enter the payment amount on the card reader and it will display the amount on the screen
  3. The customer needs to hover their phone over the payment terminal, enabling it to read it through an NFC tag on the phone
  4. The payment will be processed by first determining whether there are sufficient funds in the customer’s account
  5. Payment will either be approved or declined
  6. Depending on your card reader, you will be able to either print out a paper receipt to hand to your customer or send them a digital one via SMS or email.

Conclusion

And there you have it! This is how you use a card reader to take payments! Essentially, the payment method will dictate the steps you need to take – whether swiping a magstripe card, entering a chip, or accepting contactless payment. Irrespective of the payment method used, your card machine is your best friend when it comes to payment acceptance.

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