Payment machines, also known as payment terminals, have been around since about 1960. Before they were actual machines, they were card imprinters and then they moved to magnetic stripes in the 1970s. They’ve evolved significantly over the past 60+ years and have become very common and reliable for payments. Payment machines now accept debit, credit cards, and other forms of payments like gift cards. Payment terminals are used by millions of businesses around the world.
History on the Debit Card
A debit card, also known as a check card or bank card, is a payment card that can be used in place of cash to make purchases. These are similar to a credit card, but unlike a credit card, the money for the purchase must be in the cardholder’s bank account at the time of a purchase. Funds are immediately transferred from the cardholder’s account to pay for the purchase.
In Canada, debit payments are handled by Interac. Since 1984, Interac has played an important role in developing Canada’s digital payment infrastructure. They helped make it possible to withdraw cash from anywhere in the country, send money in an instant, and pay with your bank account through the tap of a phone.
Difference Between Debit and Credit Card Machines
In today’s world, a credit card machine and a debit card machine are the same thing. You can process both on the same payment terminal. Some merchants may choose to not enable either debit or credit on their payment machine, but this is rare.
There are some payment machines in the market that only accept credit cards. For example, the magnetic stripe swiper you can plug into a phone will only accept credit cards. The scope of this article is on the payment terminals you see at storefronts or in offices and restaurants.
The Way Debit Machines Accept Payments
There are numerous ways that debit machines take payments. Figuring out the best debit machine for you depends on the types of payments you want to take.
- Swiping is one of the main ways to take payments with debit card machines. However, swiping is quickly losing favour over more secure methods such as chip-and-pin and tap. Magnetic stripes on debit cards are used to store cardholder data, and the magstripe would be read by swiping the card with a debit card machine.
- Chip-and-Pin is an EMV (Eurocard, Mastercard, and Visa) compliant method. EMV is a newer standard that provides higher levels of fraud protection. Chip-and-pin is the method where a debit card holder inserts their card into the machine and enters a pin. The chip in a debit card stores additional data and offers more security against fraud. Most new debit card machines on the market today include both chip-and-pin and magstripe capability.
- Contactless (tap-and-go) is a technology where you can tap your debit card or mobile phone against the debit card machine. For these types of transactions, a debit card, smartphone, or smartwatch with an NFC (near field communication) transmitter sends the card holder data to the debit card machine wirelessly. This supports transactions such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Contactless methods are also EMV compatible. One thing to keep in mind is that contactless payments frequently have transaction size limits, commonly $100 or $250, depending on the debit card used.
Pricing of Debit Machines
You can purchase, rent, or lease debit card machines. Our recommendation is you rent them. If you rent one and it breaks or you want to upgrade, a new debit machine is sent to you. If you own it or lease it, you will have to deal with fixes and upgrades yourself. Owning it could make sense if you’re certain you’ll be happy with the debit machine for 4 or more years.
We’ve seen debit card machines rented for up to $100 per month. That’s ridiculous. You should be paying anywhere from $12 to $40 per month, depending on the debit card machine, your options, and most importantly the markup from your credit card processor. Overall, if you are paying below $30 per month for a debit card machine that supports all the payment methods above, you’re doing alright.
Our goal is to offer the lowest cost payment processing and debit machines. That has been our mission from the beginning. We’d be happy to walk you through your existing statement to see how much you can save. Get in contact with us now for that.
Avoid leasing a debit machine
Debit machine leasing has been around for a long time, but it’s no longer practical to lease equipment. Hardware prices have dropped significantly due to increased competition and online payments. Most payment processors who offer leasing will sign you with a long term contract. This locks you in as a merchant. If your needs ever change, you will have to pay to get out of your lease. This has been a difficult situation for many merchants. This is one reason why Clearly Payments doesn’t offer leases: it locks merchants into contracts.
The Best Debit Machines in Canada
There are numerous debit card machines available on the market. The debit card machines that we recommend are from Ingenico or Clover. They are secure, reliable, flexible, and simply work. When it comes down to it, there are two particular models that we recommend:
Ingenico Move 5000
The Ingenico Move 5000 provides complete mobility to take payments wherever your customers are. Featuring an ergonomic design and superior 4G wireless connection, this device turns the point of sale into a point of service capable of running interactive business apps, such as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), on its vivid 3.5-inch touchscreen. The Ingenico Move 5000 supports all forms of payment processing including EMV chip & PIN, chip & sign, magstripe, signature capture, and NFC/contactless.
Clover Flex is a flexible, mobile-optimized, smart payment and business management device with robust built in capabilities to meet the full range of payment and point of sale needs. Clover Flex can be used with the Clover Station Duo or Clover Mini.
With its small footprint and unique shape, Clover Flex is highly adaptable and equally effective at the counter, in line, at the table, or on the go. It’s easy to hold and easy to hand over to customers to dip, swipe, or enter a pin. Clover Flex delivers the ultimate in versatility and simplicity in a single device, so you can free your hands and mind for the things that matter.
Where to get debit machines in Canada
There is no shortage of providers that will sell you a debit machine. However, finding a provider that will give you fair pricing with great customer service is a different story. Many merchant services providers will try to lease you a debit payment machine. If they try to convince you on that, it’s best to find other providers.
Clearly Payments is on a mission to lower the cost of payments for merchants. We’ll set you up with the best debit machine at the lowest rates with world-class customer service.
Get the best debit machine in Canada with Clearly Payments
- Lowest cost debit machine in the industry
- Fund transfers in less than one day
- World-class customer service
- Accept debit cards or any other payment