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Chip Card Readers. How Do You Like Yours So Far?

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I have now been using my Square Chip Card Reader since February. I have the smaller plug-in reader (not the wireless bluetooth reader).

 

I find it unsatisfactory. It is unreliable and slow. It needs to be fully charged before the Square app can connect to it, and it also requires a strong internet connection. If I am missing one of these conditions, the app and the reader do not see each other. If I get the app and the reader to connect, sometimes it will work fine for 10 hours, and sometimes it will stop working unexpectedly. There is no pattern or correlation to when it stops working. When it stops working, I switch back to a mag-stripe reader, which means liability for fraudulent charges is mine. This doesn't concern me too much, since it's very rare for pottery fans to be fraudsters. But still, I'd rather not have this liability.

 

Even when it is working fine, it is painfully slow. Whenever I launch the app to take a payment, it takes at least 5 seconds for the app and reader to connect. When I insert the chip card, it takes about 10 seconds for the payment to be approved. Not a huge deal, but when you have customers waiting in line, seconds count. The old mag-stripe reader connects instantly and processes a payment in about 2 seconds. I miss the speed!

 

I just received my Intuit Chip Card reader. Intuit is 9 months late with issuing their chip card reader. Not sure if that means their development is rocky, or if they took the time to work out all of their bugs before releasing it. I do remember that in the early days of internet-based processing, the Intuit reader was much better built that the Square reader. So far, the Intuit app and its reader connect to each other in about 2 seconds. I haven't processed a payment yet so I don't know how long that takes. I will use the Intuit reader at my next show (2.5 weeks) and report back.

 

I'd prefer to use the Square system, because of its simpler and slightly cheaper fees. But if the Intuit reader is faster and more reliable, I rather not take my chances with the liability.

 

I'd like to hear others' experiences, good and bad, with the various chip card readers available now. How's it going for everyone else?

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I never have had a credit card...I have a debit card since I no longer have checks to write...I use the debit card a couple of times every other year. I'm kind of a cash only person!

See ya,

Alabama

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I have the wireless Square reader that works with chip cards.  I haven't had but a couple of shows using it, but use it with my tablet (Samung) since it is not compatible with my phone (Droid Turbo)  It connects immediately, and does not seem to be slower than the old plug into the phone reader.    However, I have to switch from chip reader to mag stripe reader depending on which sort of card a customer has.  The transition is rather a pain.  

I am involved with a small gallery that has an ipad with a Payanywhere reader.  It seems to be fairly fast and so far, reliable.  I abandoned Payanywhere last year because it had become cumbersome.  I guess they are all changing right now. 

 

Roberta

Marcia Selsor likes this

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Some of the slowness may just be the chip technology in general. Few people in Canada carry cash, opting to use their debit cards for many purchases. The debit cards always used to take a few seconds longer to process than credit cards (and it wasn't just the pin entry slowing things down). When everything went chip, the credit card transactions all slowed down too, and the transaction times are nearly identical. Some machines and providers are better than others.

 

I wonder if the Bluetooth device, having a dedicated function of card reading, would work more efficiently?

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I notice that Moneris has finally caught up to the mobile payment world. I have a few friends that do shows that got their Bluetooth card reader because it'll take said debit cards (square hasn't released their chip reader outside the US). They've said it functions comparably to the Square swiper. Their credit card rate is posted at 2.65%, with a monthly fee of $20 if you need the debit capability. If you just want to take credit cards, they just charge the per transaction fee, and the hardware and app are free.

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When everything went chip, the credit card transactions all slowed down too, and the transaction times are nearly identical.

This is true, when I use a chip card in a retailer like Target or Home Depot, it takes longer to process than a swiped card. Maybe I shouldn't blame that on Square.

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I find chip readers to be slow compared to swiped cards. I have all the square readers the small both chip and swipe the swipe only and the wireless chip. MY iPhone 6 will not do both kinds only chip or swipe not both . Square says it my phone (not i phone 6 but my phone some nonsense about certain phones)I use my i-pad for swipe my phone for chip its a pain in the----..I miss my amazon reader bad.

Another new technology that is suppose top make us better gone south time wise.

Some of remember when phone service meant no dropped calls

when stereo music at home was hi-fidelity with crisp sound not I tunes on a phone speaker or computer speakers.

Ok cars got way more dependable but harder to fix yourself.

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Our cooperative art gallery has been using the plug in, not wireless, chip reader since they released it. We've had no problem with it. We use the Square Register and swipe non chip cards and use the chip reader for chip cards. We like the whole Square set up. It's so easy to use. We can all check our sales from home, easily tally the income for our quarterly sales tax, provide other reports. I wish they had a more robust report function, but that's probably because I spent my career doing financial modeling...

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Humboldt and Roberta,

 

When using a chip card reader in a gallery setting, do you have a wired or wifi internet signal? I'm starting to think the shortcoming lies in the need for a strong and stable internet connection. Using cellular data at a show is the problem. The worst issues I had with the chip card reader were at an outdoor show with bad cellular coverage. It was worse than just getting the app and the reader to connect. The app was doing all kinds of buggy things.

 

The mag stripe readers only need a teeny bandwidth to work. The chip card readers apparently need a lot.

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(The mag stripe readers only need a teeny bandwidth to work. The chip card readers apparently need a lot.)

​Think this is the key point on these readers-all dependent on signal strength.

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(The mag stripe readers only need a teeny bandwidth to work. The chip card readers apparently need a lot.)

​Think this is the key point on these readers-all dependent on signal strength.

And encryption . . . the real bandwidth killer.

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The Gallery is using wifi.  But the Payanywhere reader is a swipe thing.  Not the chip technology.  I work down there next week.  I am going to ask more questions.    I live in an area where we are all delighted if we have cell signal. There are so many places that do not.  So for local shows, most customers know to bring cash, checks, or we do a delayed CC processing.  Most of the vendors I know are pretty unhappy with the chip readers/technology.  The general feeling is that the CC companies and processing companies were not ready for chip cards. 

 

Roberta

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probably a stupid question because i am totally stupid about this subject.  i do not have a cell phone.  i live in one of the areas shown on the map of the usa that cell phone service does not exist.  so i do not offer any sales using credit cards whether or not they have a chip.  so i know nothing about using a reader. 

 

comes the question: i am going to be in a show in the metro DC area this fall.  should i try to borrow something and learn its use for that one day or just tell people that i cannot handle credit card sales? :wacko:

 

there is the possibility of a second show in the same area that i might apply for.  that location was always a poor one years ago, do not know if it would be good now.

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Since you are only doing one show and do not own a cell phone your learning curve will be large. Either just take cash and checks and accept a few less sales.

I would suggest borrowing one and getting set up with the square on that phone-after the show delete the square software on the borrowed phone.

Credit card sales are from 1/3 to 1/2 my sales at shows depending on location-my guess its more in a Metro area.Since I avoid those areas I'm no expert in metro.

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oldlady, 80% of my sales are paid by credit card. At some shows, it's 90%. When a receipt totals about $20 or less, I can see the customer making a decision whether to use cash or a card. Anything higher than that, it's very rare to get cash. Checks are practically extinct.

 

It depends on what you are planning to sell. If you think your receipts will total say $40 or less, it's reasonable to expect customers to have enough cash. If you regularly write receipts that are higher than that, customers will expect you to take cards.

 

You have over two months, plenty of time to learn it. It's not hard, but make sure you are comfortable with it before you get out here.

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Old Lady, Like Mea and Mark said, it really can make the difference in sales.  Yes, if you borrow a phone, and you have signed up Square, you could do that!!  It is rather straight forward.  My only complaint are the issues we are all having with the newest technology.  But I am certain that Square and others know that.  They want our 2.75%!  They will work out the bugs!

 

Roberta

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so suggesting that there are ATM machines on the next corner is a no-no.  i guess i will have to figure out all this stuff soon.  dhpotter, stop laughing. (it only took 4 hours for him to teach me to post photos.)  i have several months to work on this mess.   wonder why my potters' guild never lets me work the cash table?

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so suggesting that there are ATM machines on the next corner is a no-no.

At Art on the Avenue, a person will run into a half dozen potters taking debit/credit cards before they find that ATM . . . and do their shopping at one of them.

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Mea, yes we have strong internet, wired and wireless, at the gallery. Perhaps my chip reader works better because it is NOT the wireless one, but is attached to the Square hub via cable, just like the other machines... Register, printer, etc.

Perhaps a wireless or a cell signal is less effective. I do a local show each December here and last year many vendors couldn't get their credit card payment systems to work with the wifi at the venue. We figured it was a bandwidth issue - too many people trying to use it at the same time. My tablet can use both wifi and cellular, so I turned off wifi and used the cell network instead, but this was before chip readers. I'll bet with chip readers it will be a problem now that everyone uses these systems .

 

Old Lady, most (70-80%) of my sales are via credit card. Even small sales.

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I use the Clover card reader, and have had no problems with it. Chip cards run a little slower than swiped, but I can do either without having to change anything in the system. Their app has a really nice interface, and I can put cash and check transactions into it as well, so I don't have to deal with paper receipts at all.

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Thanks Neil, I never heard of Clover before, but it looks promising. What are their rates like? And do you have any problems when your internet service is weak?

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If the transactions are excessively slow, what happens if you put it in offline mode, and process the transactions when you get back to an area with wifi? (How many clients have their transactions not approved in a given sale day?)

 

I will say that people do become accustomed to a few extra seconds on the transactions, but there is an adjustment period. Also, the transactions do get faster as they work out the bugs in the overall technology.

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I've found that my Clover reader still works with a weak 4G signal, or even a decent 3G signal. Basically, if I can make a phone call it seems to work. I couldn't use it in Spring Green, WI a few weeks ago, but there's little to no cell service there. Couldn't even get through a phone call without it dropping every minute or two. That is a cash show for most vendors. This weekend's show had a splotchy signal, dropping in and out and switching from 4G to 3G, but everything still worked fine. People know that chip cards take longer to process than swipes. It's the same at the grocery store or Target, so people don't get upset about it.

 

As far as I know, my Clover does not have an offline mode that stores information to run later. It either works or it doesn't. In my experience, if the cell signal is so bad that it won't work, then most of the other vendors are having the same problem and the customers are aware of it and they get cash. Spring Green is the only show I've ever had a problem with, and it's always been a problem so it's not really a problem!

 

You'll see Clover systems in a lot of small businesses where they run everything through tablets, whether their own or the Clover system. Everything is touch screens and paperless receipts. I set mine up through my bank, and they set the rates. I think Clover is just the hardware/software part of it. My rates vary from 2.3-3% depending on the month and what I'm selling. A couple big kilns on a crappy rate card can bump it up to the high end. In the end I think most major processing options have about the same rates, and it's not worth switching to gain .25% unless you're unhappy with the service, or if you're running $200,000 every year.

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