A Guide to Wireless Credit Card Payment Processing

February 4, 2022

Wireless Credit Card Processing

A Guide to Wireless Credit Card Payment Processing

Portable card machines are designed to operate via built-in Bluetooth capability, and connect wirelessly through the internet. Once a customer's payment is read by one of these terminals it will then contact their bank in order verify if there are enough funds available for purchase before complete transaction processing.

As more and more businesses explore operations outside of fixed locations, wireless payment processing has gained popularity in recent years.  

Wireless processing is exactly as it sounds; it allows the payment terminal to wirelessly connect to the payment processor each time a card is swiped. Wireless processing uses a Wi-Fi connection or cellular data connection to process payments. This means the merchant doesn't need a landline connection to complete a transaction.  

A secure transaction is complete within a matter of seconds (depending on WiFi speed or wireless coverage) because a wireless terminal communicates between the business, the payment processor, cardholder issuing bank, and the business’ acquiring bank. A secure internet connection from Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection is required instead of a phone line or network. 

How Wireless Credit Card Processing Works

Wireless processing works in much the same way as a traditional fixed-location terminal. 

  1. The merchant slides a customer’s card through a wireless machine and enters the sale amount. Both the card and sale information are securely sent to the merchant services provider. 
  2. The merchant services provider then sends the sale information and credit or debit card details to the customer’s issuing bank where the card is verified. The issuing bank also confirms if funds are available. 
  3. The issuing bank either approves or declines a purchase and communicates with the merchant services provider appropriately. 
  4. Usually in a matter of seconds, the machine then receives transaction information back from the issuing bank. 
  5. The retailer or merchant settles the batches of transactions made from the terminal at the end of the day. After “settling,” the funds are transferred from the issuing bank to the merchant’s account.  

The Differences between Mobile and Wireless Credit Card Processing

Business owners should be cautioned not to confuse mobile processing with wireless capabilities. Both mobile and wireless credit card processing provide a business with location flexibility, but there are differences between wireless and mobile. With either of these options a business essentially has a portable credit card machine; the payment and checkout experience is no longer tied to a fixed location. This is an attractive feature for business owners and consumers alike. While the credit card machine technology sounds similar there are distinct differences. 

Mobile credit card processing utilizes a business owner or employee's mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet, and an app from the payment processor. A mobile credit card machine accepts mobile payments and sends customer receipts via email or text. A piece of hardware can even attach to a smart phone or mobile device so a retail business can accommodate a wide variety of credit card processing types including chip cards or credit or debit card transactions with a magstripe card reader.  

Wireless processing, on the other hand, involves more. It has the same features as a traditional processor, only it isn't connected with cords. A wireless terminal can also print receipts, and often comes with a credit card reader with a keypad or display screen. Wireless processing is ideal for many business types that do not have fixed locations, but need a credit card reader, like delivery or repair services. These wireless terminals still allow mobile merchants to accept a wide range of payment types, including traditional credit or debit card payments.  

Benefits of Wireless Processing

Without the constraints of cords, payment processing can truly go anywhere. Wireless credit card processing lets small businesses operate anywhere there is cellular coverage with a handheld wireless device so they can meet the needs of their customers who increasingly prefer credit or debit card transactions over cash. The obvious benefit for a mobile merchant with this method of processing is the ability to collect payment immediately with a wireless credit card machine, rather than waiting several business days or weeks after sending an invoice. 

Wireless payment technology maintains security standards, so merchants can safely process transactions on the go. Additionally, this type of technology results in faster processing times. A mobile merchant customer base and staff appreciate a quicker checkout process, and the convenience of the receipt printer, which results in a better overall customer experience. Businesses who spend much of their hours outside of a physical location, even larger businesses, benefit from an affordable device that truly facilitates operating as a mobile credit card terminal with all the capabilities of a brick-and-mortar shop.  

In addition to providing customers with the payment options they prefer, the efficiencies and convenience offered by wireless capabilities can be subtle differentiators for businesses in today's highly competitive retail environment.  

Choosing a Wireless Credit Card Processing Machine 

Due to the variety of credit card machine options and payment processing providers, merchants should closely evaluate the differences, pros and cons of each. Business merchants should consider several factors, including price, customer service expectations, hardware, contracts and more, to gauge if wireless processing will benefit their mobile business: 

  • Do modern devices accept cards from all major credit card networks? 
  • What is the cost of an additional card reader? 
  • Is a long term contract required for processing? 
  • Will my business be able to accept payment via gift cards or contactless payments? 
  • How and when is customer support available for my business in the event we have issues with wireless processing? 

    BNG Payments 

    BNG Payments is known for its excellent customer service, whether your business needs mobile or wireless processing, online credit card processing, or a traditional countertop credit card terminal. We'll work with you to understand your specific business needs before making recommendations for credit card processors. Contact BNG Payments to learn how wireless processing could benefit your business.  


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