What is the Difference Between Card Machines and Card Readers?

What is the Difference Between Card Machines and Card Readers

Both card readers and card machines facilitate electronic transfers of funds from the customer’s credit/debit account to the merchant’s account using credit/debit cards. Their basic features are the same, which is why they are often misunderstood as one. There are significant differences, however, as you’ll discover next.

In the past and present, we have all used card machines to swipe our credit/debit cards at offline counters. It works with the help of hardware with built-in technology that allows it to collect the necessary information from a payment card to accept payment or provide cash funds.

In addition to a screen, card machines include a number pad for entering a PIN and a slot for swiping debit and credit cards. These come in fixed (for use behind a till), portable (for table service), and mobile-integrated (for traveling businesses e.g. private hairdressers). On the other hand, card readers are a very recent addition to the segment.

Many names to describe card readers

There are many names to describe card readers these days and some call them POS terminals, card machines, payment terminals, and more. At the end of the day, we’re talking about technology that allows merchants to accept debit, credit cards, prepaid cards, and gift cards through the same payment acceptance process as card machines.

Card readers and card machine for business play a vital role in helping merchants accept payments as cashless payments have become more prevalent on a global scale. If you’re new to the world of seamless payments and you’d like to find out what is a card reader and a card machine and their differences, you are about to get in-depth informative knowledge about both card readers and card machines from this following article.

So, How Do They Differ?

Even though card readers and card machines are used for the same purpose; They differ in various factors. From their shapes to operations, noticeable changes are there. We all are familiar with traditional card machines as we do see them almost everywhere such as shops, hospitals, government offices, parks etc. They have been an integral part of our daily life since 1960.

In card machines, classic chip, and PIN card machines, most of us are used to seeing. Card machines have a screen, a pad for the customer to type in the PIN, and a slot for swiping credit and debit cards. They come in fixed (for use behind a till), portable (for table service), and mobile-integrated (for travelling businesses e.g. private hairdressers). Card machines are also known as physical terminals, and they help to save both time and money.

Usually, card machines come in 3 variants: countertop/fixed, portable, and mobile card machine.

Card machines do not need mobile

Card machines do not need mobile or computer software to function, hence they can work both offline and online which makes them more portable and self-sufficient compared to card readers. Availability of the internet won’t be an issue when you rely on card machines for your transactions which is its main advantage.

On the other hand, as the newest addition to payment solutions, card readers come with features that make them more invulnerable than traditional payment solutions. Card readers are significantly smaller than card machines; most are about the size of a compact feature-phone, or even a credit/debit card itself.

Because of its size, a card reader is much more mobile than a card machine. Secondly, card machines are rectangular, and have a much smaller screen than keypads, as compared to card machines.

A card reader generally requires a mobile or computer application to function, which makes it more secure and accounts-friendly than traditional card machines, as they use a customised system to operate. They do however require an internet connection to operate which makes them less portable compared to card machines.

In a card reader, there is a card slot where the card isn’t swiped, but kept in, during the time of the transaction. Card readers are best suitable for merchants who use the phone, internet, fax, and others, to conduct their day-to-day business operations. Traditional credit card terminals are not the right solution for these merchants and business owners.

How do they change the world?

How do they change the world

With card readers and card machines playing an integral role in the business world, making a transaction is less time-consuming and difficult. Merchants and their customers can do sales and purchases at ease by keeping all matters on good terms.

With the rise of epidemic Coronavirus disease in 2019, we came to be aware that we must keep hygiene and social distance in our day-to-day life. Using money as a prominent way of transactions citizens do come in contact with a substance that is touched by an infinite number of individuals and acts as a pathogen for germs.

But when people started using card payment solutions such as card machines and card readers, contactless payments are no longer a dream. Some payment methods aren’t even demanding the presence of the person who is making the payment on the premises.

With the help of card payment solutions, people made the world more secure and convenient. By avoiding usage of a physical substance such as money, and by relying completely on card payment solutions, the world will be much more hygienic, and transactions can be seamless and limitless.

Now people are reducing the added weight of their wallets by only bringing a small card in their pockets. They aren’t bothered about loss or theft as with card payment solutions their transaction is secured by their own private personal identification numbers.

A businessperson no longer needs a vault to keep his earnings as all his payments are directly going to his accounts. Accounting expenses and earning are much easier with the use of card payment solutions such as card readers and card machines.


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