What is the best card machine for small businesses? Is it a 3g card machine? Is it an XEPOS card machine? Can I link a card machine to my cash plus account? Different businesses have different requirements, which necessitate different card terminals. This applies when comparing a large corporation to a start-up company but also amongst the various types of small businesses themselves. What is right for one, won’t be suitable for another. Some will aspire to have the best credit card machine for a small business, whereas others will be happy with the cheapest card payment machine. It all depends on the footfall of customers, the physical structure and layout of your premises and how and when you will be processing transactions. We will break down the thinking behind such decisions and the factors leading up to a decision whilst examining an array of both the best card machine choices and some free card machine options.


Contrasting Business Needs


 Let's look at two separate businesses and how their requirements alter;


Company A: Busy Restaurant. The restaurant isn’t big but is compact. The manager has squeezed in as many tables as possible. 

  • Payment is taken at tables not a counter due to size restrictions
  • Averages 150-200 transactions per day

Verdict: The restaurant needs a portable device and a terminal with a strong battery life. It could benefit from having more than one machine so customers do not have to wait for others to be served before they pay their bill.



Company B: Car Showroom. The showroom is spacious but has a single checkout area allocated for sales. It is part of the customer’s journey around the premises and how the sales team makes their client feel comfortable.

  • Fixed payment area the customer can approach with staff 
  • Only process a handful of transactions per day, but are high value

Verdict: The showroom would be fine with a countertop terminal that does not need to be mobile. Unlikely to need more than one machine on the shop floor but could be handy in back offices for telephone payments.


Simply analysing the basic business needs of each company on a typical day's trading, we immediately spot significant differences between the two examples. This highlights the original point, the ideal card machine for the restaurant isn’t automatically the right option for the car showroom It doesn’t make any sense to try to generalise card machine choices in this fashion. You need to be specific to get the best results. 


This leads us nicely onto....


Where Will The Terminal Be Used?


The location and operation of a card machine should play a vital part in your card machine selection process. Sticking with the two previous examples as reference points, the restaurant requires a card reader their service staff can use on the move. In contrast, the car showroom is able to accommodate a fixed countertop terminal as sales staff there only need to take payments in the allocated checkout area. 


So once you have established the functionality required you are in a position to consider the specific model or type or card machine your business needs dictate. The three main categories are predominantly: countertop, portable and mobile. Any reputable card machine manufacturer like XEPAY, will provide each of these categories and are highly likely to have different versions of each one. When several models perform near-identical roles, it is crucial to research the specifications of each provider’s touch on the specific model to see what suits you best. Their desirability is often determined by the various pro’s and con’s of each model as they are individually designed for specific purposes. To assist your thought process, some of the benefits of each explained briefly in the summary below;


Countertop: Countertop card readers are best for traditional business environments where payment is taken at one fixed location like most retail stores and supermarkets. They are physically secured to your countertop and are typically mains powered whilst being physically linked via USB or Ethernet. 


Portable: Portable card readers are ideal for businesses that need to take payment in different spots on their premises. These are perfect for restaurants, cafes and bars. They are battery-powered devices that communicate with a base station via Bluetooth or WiFi and often have an in-built receipt printer.


Mobile: Mobile card readers are designed for businesses operating remotely without a POS like locksmiths in a van or market traders. They are also battery-powered but communicate directly with your merchant bank via GPRS or WiFi.


Is An EPOS System Suitable For My Small Business?


You can’t accurately address this without company specifications. If you are a market trader then it would probably be too high-tech and unnecessary. On the other hand, an EPOS system from an established company like XEPAY could tie in all your stock management, customer loyalty, marketing, accounting and staff management software. So it comes down to the scale and power of your technical software alongside the small businesses man-power to execute these elements effectively and efficiently. You don’t want to invest in the latest technology unless you have the demand and requirements to utilise it to its fullest. An XEPAY EPOS system can do wonders for a company but underusing it or operating it to its full capacity would be a waste.



We have endeavoured in this article to demonstrate that the foundation in choosing the right card terminal for your small business isn’t actually selecting the terminal itself. To choose the right card terminal for your small business, it’s imperative to weigh up each of the core elements of a machine that experienced experts like XEPAY can provide you. Do not neglect or underestimate the importance of key terminal features like Bluetooth or wi-fi, size and weight, robustness and of course battery life. Thes in accordance with the aspects discussed earlier in the article should enable you to make an educated decision and see your business prosper.