Accepting card payments offers your customers a convenient way to pay you for goods. Cards are one of the most common forms of payment in retail, particularly for higher value purchases.
Customers increasingly expect to be able to pay with card. You will need certain equipment and systems in place to accept card payments. See advantages and disadvantages of accepting payment cards for sales.
How to accept card payment
In order to start accepting card payments, you will need:
- a merchant account with an acquiring bank, see setting up a merchant account for your business
- a connected terminal, usually a chip & PIN/contactless card machine
The process will be different depending on whether the card is present for the transaction, ie in-store transactions vs online or phone orders.
There certain costs and charges relating to accepting card payments. See the costs of accepting card payments.
There are various types of card that can be used for payments. The two main kinds are:
- Credit card: this allows customers to purchase goods on credit from their issuer. You will be charged for processing these as a percentage of the transaction.
- Debit card: this allows the customer to transfer money directly from their bank account. The processing fee you incur will usually be a flat rate per transaction.
You should consider whether you will be able to accept foreign issued cards, which may not use chip & PIN. Other less common payment card types include:
- corporate cards
- gift cards
- prepaid cards
- purchasing cards
- store cards