It’s probably fair to assume that you have bought and paid for something in the last few days. Did you, at any stage during the process, stop to think about how you were paying for the item? Probably not. You buy something; you pay for it, right?
Yes, that is correct. But, take a moment to think about the payment method you have just used and taken for granted. The chances are, you used a card. You may also have just held the card close to a payment terminal. That was a contactless payment.
Going even further, perhaps you were at an outdoor market or open-air restaurant. Then you probably made the payment using a small hand-held wireless terminal. You gave it no second thought. It’s just the way to pay nowadays. Well, that piece of convenience was a mobile card machine
What is a mobile card machine?
A recent innovation in fast, simple and secure payment. Mobile card machines for small businesses. They are portable terminals, usually small enough to hold in one hand. They have all the functionality that we had in the older, wired card machines. The only real difference is that they’re portable and a whole lot more convenient.
Mobile card machines are also relatively inexpensive. Being wireless, they can be used anywhere at any time. All you need is an internet connection. The huge benefit here is that any number of customer payments can be processed simultaneously. You’re limited only by the number of machines you have. This is a big boost to customer service levels.
How does the mobile card machine work?
Mobile card machines use an internet connection established either through a Wi-Fi signal or through a built-in SIM card. Communication via the SIM card occurs through normal GPRS on a 3G or 4G connection. This means that they’re eminently suitable for businesses on the move such as taxi operators or service providers doing home visits or the like.
Certain mobile card machines employ Bluetooth. These devices connect to the internet through a base station that can be located in a central point within the establishment. The mobile terminals can be used anywhere within a radius of up to about 30 m. Although slightly less flexible in portability, Bluetooth offers a slightly more secure connection.
Mobile card machines for small businesses can accept payments using any currently available payment method. They are equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and are therefore able to process contactless payments as well. In the current social environment, with the risks associated with Covid-19, this is a very useful feature.
Which sectors in the U.K. are using mobile card machines the most?
According to UK Finance, a leading financial body in the United Kingdom, card payments became the most used form of payment in 2020, standing at 52% of all payments made. They also report that around 27% of all payments were contactless.
As the title suggests, mobile card machines have been somewhat of a shot in the arm for small businesses. The ability to take payments wherever, whenever gives tradesmen and mobile service providers the very welcome assurance of being paid for their efforts.
The retail and hospitality sectors are the biggest users of mobile card machines, They’re especially popular and beneficial in restaurants and pubs where payments can be processed at a table. The consumer takeaway here is that they remain in control of the card, thus eliminating the risk of skimming.
There is also increasing adoption of mobile card machines among tradesmen such as plumbers and electricians who do all their work on customer sites. Both supplier and customer benefit. Gone are the times when the work has been completed and the customer doesn’t have sufficient cash on the premises.
New business opportunities have arisen for people in the personal care space. Hairdressers, nail technicians and massage therapists, among others, can now offer house calls. This is something that will become more and more popular, particularly as the client no longer has to come into contact with strangers in a salon environment.
What types of mobile payment methods are currently available on the market?
Firstly, let’s look at card reading technology. There are three different ways to encode data onto a payment card. These are magnetic stripe, EMV chip and NFC technology.
The magnetic stripe dates back to the 1960s when IBM affixed magnetic tape onto plastic cards for the US government. It became widely adopted by credit card companies only in the 1980s. Magnetic stripe use is on the decline now since the introduction of more secure chip and NFC technologies.
The EMV chip, named after Europay, Mastercard and Visa who jointly founded the standard in 1994, offers a far more secure way to read the data. The chip encrypts the card data dynamically. This means that the encryption and decryption algorithms change each time the card is used. It’s almost impossible to use the data should you be able to intercept it.
Contactless payment uses NFC which allows to enabled devices to communicate when placed within a certain distance of each other. Encryption is also dynamic so data is secure against fraudulent decryption attempts. In addition, the fact that the card does not actually come into contact with the receiving device makes skimming impossible.
The devices currently available in the UK offer all three card reader technologies. Whilst magnetic stripe technology is on the decline in the UK, there is likely still a place for it on a payment device. This technology will still be with us for some time to come.
Meet Elly – A mobile card machine in your pocket
Mobile card machines for small businesses are a game-changer. But, for the most flexible solution yet, you should look into what Elly offers. Elly offers point of sale solution that caters for all payment methods on a single device. Elly also offers payment options in a basket of cryptocurrencies.
Using highly secure NFC technology, transactions are totally secure and are processed instantly. Elly is constantly adding new and emerging payment methods and cryptocurrencies, so you will always be a step ahead. Meet Elly, the only mobile card machine you will ever need.