The credit card merchant processor has become a major part of the American business marketplace and continues to grow in importance as electronic transactions become increasingly common. With the use of a credit card merchant processor, a business can complete a transaction and know that it has been properly paid for within a matter of seconds.
Credit card processing equipment began to appear in the 1990s, as the ability to send large quantities of data over telephone lines became commercially available. A credit card merchant processor allows a vendor to swipe a customer’s credit or debit card (or have the customer swipe it themselves), then sends the information to the customer’s credit card company. Within a matter of seconds, the proposed transaction is approved or denied, with the vendor knowing exactly which outcome occurred and why.
The first credit card merchant processor used to send information over slow routers using telephone lines, which could cause the process to take as much as a minute or more. Now, as high-speed connections have become more common, the process can take as little as 10 seconds from when the credit card is swiped to when the receipt is printed.
A credit card merchant processor can be connected to computers or cash registers and are simple to use. The credit card is swiped through a slot, the customer or vendor enters the amount of the transaction and a pin number (if needed), and the machine connects to the card database for approval. Once the approval is received, the credit card processing equipment prints out a receipt for the vendor and the customer.
Credit card processing equipment can be purchased through a number of different companies, but vendors must also pay an access for their use. The fee can be paid per transaction, weekly, monthly or yearly. The fee is usually small, though it could come on top of the fee charged by the credit card companies as well. While the fee is noticed in some cases in the company’s bottom line, the efficiency and convenience of the machines more than makes up for the trouble.