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Credit Card Machine

Credit Card Machine History

Credit cards were first introduced in the U.S is the 1920s mainly used to sell fuel to automobile users. The first credit cards helped those automobile users undertaking long journeys from carrying large amounts of cash to pay the fuel bills. Within a decade it became widely popular because transactions were simplified and it became possible to pay bills through any financial institution because of the common understanding between those institutions.

The concept of multiple cards and making payments to merchants using the credit card became widespread in the 1950s. Today there are countless types of credit cards, made from different materials, and using complex technologies.

The concept:

Initially credit card machines were used only for processing credit cards. But today credit card machines are available with the many-in-one function. That is, one credit card machine can effectively process all types of cards. Normally a credit card machine does the payment processing within a few seconds. It is an electronic means of exchanging information about the credit card between the financial institution that has issued the card and the payment-processing machine. When a customer makes purchases and decides to pay via credit card, the data regarding the payment is encrypted for security purposes in Secure Socket Layers (SSL) for security purposes and then sent to a payment gateway server. The payment gateway forwards this data to the financial institution for validating the requested transaction. The details of the customers credit details are analysed and an authorization message to either accept or reject the transaction is sent to the shopper at the storefront through the gateway. Thus real time payment processing takes place and the money is transferred into the merchants account according to the terms of agreement laid down by the credit card issuing agency for transactions involving their credit cards.

Different models:

credit card machines are classified into 4 categories namely,

1) All-in-one credit card machine

2) Stand alone credit card machine

3) Handheld credit card terminal

4) Wireless credit card terminal

The all-in-one credit card machine is ideal for new businesses. It includes a built-in-printer and supports all major payment types like credit cards, debit card and check guarantees. The Standalone credit card machine is the right solution for phone and mail orders. It is very easy to use and does not need special software or internet connection. Most Stand-alone credit card machines have built-in-printers making it easy to provide receipts quickly. The handheld credit card terminal is ideal for merchants and busy businessmen. It gives information about availability of money in the customers account within seconds. Widely used in the food-service industry, the handheld credit card is a boon to the hotel staff who are constantly on the move for taking new orders from customers. The use of the handheld credit card terminal eliminates frequent trips to and from a fixed terminal to check the amount available in the customers credit card. The wireless credit card terminal is widely used by sales executives who spend little time in their offices. Using this terminal they will be able to make sales without the help of a telephone line. For such users who conduct a majority of their businesses outside the office, this terminal helps them to enjoy sales without wires.

Credit card machine parts:

The main parts of a typical credit card machine are the printer, printer paper, display, keypad, soft keys, magnetic card reader, smart card reader, ports, power plug and the phone jack. The Printer used to print the transaction and batch receipts may be a thermal, impact or an ink printer. Specially made printer papers suited for the printer used in a credit card machine uses heat to produce the receipt image on the thermal paper. The impact paper uses carbon to create the receipt image. The ink printer uses ink ribbons or cartridges as in a computer printer.

The display shows details of the transaction or function currently in operation. The keypad is used to enter transaction details manually and also manage the functions currently in operation. The soft keys are pre-programmed keys to perform specific functions like programming, batching, returning, voiding etc. The magnetic card reader magnetically captures information contained in the credit card. Cards of type 1,2 and 3 are in wide use and each card reader reads different portions of the magnetic strip embedded in a credit card. The smart card reader facility helps to process cards enabled with the smart card embedded credit function. RS232 is the commonly used port in a credit card machine. But ports of different other sizes are also used to attach printers, pin pads, smart card readers and other peripherals. Power plugs provide power to the terminal via an AC adapter. Some terminals have dual options i.e., it will take power from an AC terminal and it can be operated using power from batteries in case of a power failure. Portable credit card machines operate on battery power. The phone jack is used to connect the terminal to a phone line helping the terminal to dial the processing network and process a transaction.

Proper maintenance of the machine:

All electronic equipments give better output for a long time through proper care and timely maintenance. All operators in a business firm must be properly trained to operate the machine with care. A recurring problem facing most electronic equipments is the reduction in efficiency through dust and foreign particle accumulation in the circuit boards. Using protective dust-proof covers will address the problem to some extent. Even then dust and dirt may enter in, especially in offices that are not air-conditioned. Machines must be sent to service personnel to analyse the functioning of the various parts and also to ensure that there is no defect in the components.

Credit card machine manufacturers:

The popular credit card machine manufactures are Verifone (5 models), Hypercom (2 models), Lipman Nurit (6 models), Way Systems Inc (1 model), Thales, (1 model), LinkPoint (3 models), PC Charge (1 model), Authorize. Net (1 model), ChargeMax PC (1 model) and Icverify (1 model). A buyer has more than a dozen options to choose from when choosing a new credit card machine. Verifone and Liman Nurit offering 5 and 6 models respectively have models with the widest range of products in which different functions are rolled into one machine. A customer can choose from terminals with or without printers, wireless terminals and terminals with electronic checks.

Related topics:

• Wireless credit card terminals

• Analysing IC embedded cards

• Smart card readers

• Blink card

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