What Is a Card Machine And How Does It Work?

an illustration of what a card machine is

A card machine, often known as a point of sale (POS) terminal, plays a crucial role in efficiently processing customer payments for businesses. These devices establish a connection with a bank or credit card processor through a phone line or the internet. The primary purpose of a card machine is to make cashless transactions straightforward by reading the information encoded on a customer’s credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe.

Overall, card machines simplify the process of accepting debit and credit card payments, providing a seamless experience for both businesses and their customers. These devices have become an integral part of modern commerce, allowing businesses to embrace cashless transactions, enhance customer convenience, and streamline their financial operations.

To learn more about NPI’s card machines and other payment solutions, give us a call at 01 44 75299 or fill out the free contact form. 


What Is A Card Machine?

A card machine, also known as a point of sale (POS) terminal, is a device designed to process customer payments. Typically, these machines are connected to an electrical outlet and communicate with a bank or credit card processor through a phone line or an Internet connection.

To complete a payment, the customer will swipe or tap their credit or debit card  at the card reader, which reads the information from the card’s magnetic stripe. Next, this information is then transmitted to the processor, who verifies the account’s validity and the availability of sufficient funds. Once the transaction is approved, the funds are transferred from the customer’s account to the merchant’s account, and a receipt is printed.

Needless to say, card machines are a crucial part of doing business in 2023. In 2022, the value of card payments exceeded those of cash, with contactless card payments accounting for 62% of all card payments. 

How Card Machines Work

Debit and credit card machines, often referred to as point of sale (POS) terminals, are the backbone of cashless transactions for businesses. These devices are designed to efficiently process customer payments. Here’s how they work:

1. Card Reading

When a customer makes a payment using their credit or debit card, they swipe or insert the card into the card machine. The machine’s card reader then decodes the information stored on the card’s magnetic stripe.

2. Data Transmission

Once the card reader captures the card’s data, it securely transmits this information to a connected bank or credit card processor. This communication can happen through various means, such as a phone line or an internet connection.

3. Verification

The bank or processor that receives the card data performs a series of checks. It verifies whether the card is valid and if the customer has sufficient funds to cover the transaction.

4. Transaction Approval

If the checks are successful and the transaction is approved, the bank or processor gives the green light. This means the customer’s account will be debited, and the funds will be transferred to the merchant’s account.

5. Receipt Generation

Once the transaction is approved, the card machine typically prints a receipt for the customer. This receipt serves as proof of the transaction and includes essential details like the transaction amount, date, and merchant information.

What are the Card Machine Types?

There are many different types of card machines, each with its own features and benefits.  

The most common type of card machine is the wired point-of-sale (POS) terminal, which can be used to process in-person transactions.  This type of card machine stays in one place, like a grocery checkout lane or a bar counter.

Wireless portable card machines connect via WiFi and are smaller devices. This allows merchants to take payments from anywhere onsite. Mobile card machines from NPI connect with a built-in 4G sim card, so you can take payments anywhere. This is perfect for food trucks, traveling dog groomers, taxi drivers, and other merchants who sell on the go. 

Each type of card machine has its own set of features and benefits, so it’s important to choose the right one for your business. 

How to Find the Best Card Machine for Your Small Business

If you’re looking for a card machine for your small business, there are a few things to keep in mind.  

First, you’ll want to make sure that the machine accepts the type of cards that your customers use. This will facilitate easy and convenient payments for better customer retention

Take time to investigate any associated fees that come with the card machine. Specifically, check out transaction fees and rental/purchase fees. (Hint: NPI has the lowest transaction fees in Ireland).   

Don’t underestimate the importance of good customer service when you’re looking for a card machine. Ideally, you’ll get 24/7 support so that any issues that arise can be fixed immediately. 

New Payment Innovation’s Approach to Merchant Services

NPI’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity means we’re not just another payment provider – we’re your partner on the path to seamless payments – and success. Whether you’re a business looking for diverse payment methods, integration with your existing systems, or real-time insights, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how we do merchant services:  

Face to Face 

For businesses that rely on the stability and familiarity of traditional card transactions, NPI offers seamless wired payment options. These methods ensure that you can accept payments securely through trusted and established channels.   

In an era where speed and convenience are paramount, NPI embraces wireless technology for your face-to-face transactions. Our wireless solutions, including contactless payments, enable quick and secure transactions. Customers can simply tap their cards or mobile devices for swift and hassle-free payments, whether they’re shopping in a store or at a vendor’s stall.  

Recognizing the growing importance of mobile payments, NPI empowers businesses to tap into the mobile-centric world. With our support for mobile transactions, you can offer customers the flexibility to pay with their smartphones and digital wallets, making the payment process both efficient and user-friendly.  


NPI understands the importance of streamlining safe online payments for businesses and ensuring a secure and convenient experience for customers.   

Our integrated solutions are designed to seamlessly connect with a wide range of e-commerce platforms and payment gateways. This means that whether you’re a business looking to accept payments online or a customer making a purchase, the process is straightforward and secure.  

For businesses, NPI’s integration with e-commerce platforms allows for a hassle-free setup, enabling you to accept payments on your website or digital storefront. Our system effortlessly manages the flow of transactions, ensuring a smooth experience for your customers.  

Over the Phone 

Our virtual terminals are at the heart of over-the-phone payments. Notably they provide a secure platform where businesses can process transactions remotely. This is especially useful for businesses that offer services or sell products over the phone, through catalogs, or via email. By using virtual terminals, you can efficiently handle card transactions from anywhere, thereby enhancing convenience and accessibility for your customers.  

Furthermore, security is paramount in over-the-phone transactions, and NPI takes this responsibility seriously. Our systems are designed to ensure the utmost security for both businesses and customers. Card data is handled with care, and our virtual terminals adhere to industry standards for secure payments.  

Contact NPI Today 

Explore the NPI difference by getting in touch with our expert team. We’re here to provide guidance, valuable insights, and tailored solutions that align with your unique needs and goals. Reach out to us at 014475299 or fill out the contact form and one of our payment gurus will get back to you. 

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