For decades, consumers have been pulling out their credit cards to make everyday and major purchases alike. The typical process involves swiping the magnetic stripe on the back of the credit card through a reader, but this process has known and frustrating flaws. A look at the pros and cons of a credit card swiper versus a chip reader will tell you everything you need to know to make your payment processing system selection.

What You Need to Know About Magnetic Strip Swipers

Most consumers have had the stressful experience of standing at a cash register with a long line of customers waiting behind you as the salesperson swipes your credit card repeatedly with no success. Magnetic strips wear out, and terminals can be finicky. As a consumer, you may have wondered if the salesperson was placing multiple charges on your account by swiping the card so many times. This classic frustration is combined with the modern concern about credit card skimming. Thieves have special devices that can copy credit card data via this magnetic strip. With that data, they can make charges to your account. From a business’s perspective, the difficulty processing transactions via a magnetic strip can result in poor customer experience and even in lost sales in some instances. Nonetheless, credit card swiping terminals continue to be commonplace.

A Look at Chip Readers

All credit cards and debit cards have security chips embedded in them now. Many retailers and other businesses have chip readers and require consumers to insert the credit card chip into the reader to process a transaction. Chips use EMV technology, which cannot be skimmed or cloned by the average criminal. The data on the chips changes constantly, which dramatically reduces the chance of fraud. All businesses in the U.S. However, chip readers can only be used with in-person transactions using dedicated terminals. Many terminals have a swiper as well as a chip reader, and consumers may be permitted to choose their preferred method.

A Modern Alternative

A credit card swiper and a chip reader are no longer the only options. Many businesses are upgrading to virtual terminals, which take the terminal entirely out of the equation. The merchant securely inputs credit card details directly into software accessible through the Internet.

Keep in mind that your POS system may facilitate inventory tracking, report generation, invoicing and many other related tasks. Regardless of whether you use an older credit card swiper, a modern chip reader or a virtual terminal, you can find solutions that are available with a wide range of exceptional features that can dramatically simplify your operations and processes. There is no single system that is ideal for all businesses, so you should assess your needs as a first step before deciding how to proceed.