POS Crash Course: The Basic Parts Of A Credit Card Reader

There’s a lot floating around on the internet (and even on this blog) about the virtues of getting the right POS system in place. However, we’ve started to realize that not all business owners are familiar with even the basic parts of a credit card reader.

If you are new to credit card readers, or are thinking about upgrading to the latest model, you should definitely take a moment to get to know what you are buying. Not only will it give you a greater appreciation of the systems used in card payments, but it will give you a basis from which you can compare various POS service providers. And as we all know – knowledge is power. So read on!

While card readers come in a variety of types, shapes and sizes, there are just 6 fundamental parts that underlie every card reader. Here is a quick guide to the basic parts of a credit card reader:

Magnetic Card Reader: This will read the magnetic strip at the back of the credit card and send the information to your credit card processing services company. Just about every type of card reader has some form of magnetic strip. This technology has been around for awhile and is what most basic POS and credit card machines use. But because of credit card fraud many business are now switching over to the EMV chip readers and doing away with magnetic strip readers.

Chip Reader: Nowadays, many credit and debit cards will have a EMV chip to help protect customers from fraud. While Europe has almost completely incorporated chipped cards into their systems, the United States is still somewhere in the middle of the transition. If you are shopping for a new credit card machine, it is definitely wise to make sure that the machine has a chip reader – also sometimes called a smart card reader.

When it comes to dealing with credit card fraud, chip readers protect the merchant where magnetic strip protect the credit card company. This is because if credit card fraud occurs with a magnetic strip the merchant is held responsible for the fraud. If credit card fraud occurs with a chip then the credit card company is held responsible.

POS System: Almost every credit card processing machine will have one of the currently available point of sale terminal systems to record and protect the data that travels through your card reader. This is basically the computer programmed portion of your card reader.

Display: Most card readers have a display or will link a display to a computer. The display lets you see all of the information about the transaction. The display also includes a way for customers to sign in to newer models.

Soft Keys: These will allow for the completion of credit and debit card transaction.

Printer: This will print receipts for the customer and will run on specialized ink and printer paper.

Finding a good reader can take a bit of work, but with the new technology available and the growing prevalence of credit transactions, getting a good, high tech reader is simply a good investment. Be sure you contact Merchant Account Solutions for more option about credit card readers and what they can do for your business.