How mobile card machines function
Mobile card machines communicate wirelessly over 3G or 4G mobile networks via a SIM card, while some support wireless internet access. This sets them apart from traditional wired card terminals, allowing them to connect virtually to the payment processing system. This key distinction differentiates them from portable card machines, as they do not require a tethered base unit and boast the capability to operate wirelessly across various locations, unrestricted by the 100-meter limit of portable machines. Additionally, mobile card machines feature extended battery life, ensuring seamless wireless operation.
For instance, some mobile card machines necessitate the use of a mobile phone in conjunction with the reader. Mobile applications can be downloaded to the user's smartphone, establishing a connection with the card reader for transaction input, receipt generation, and transaction tracking. Some of these machines may not employ SIM cards and instead rely on Bluetooth connections to mobile devices, functioning exclusively with designated apps.
Most mobile card machines include a slot for chip and PIN cards and the capacity to accept contactless payments from contactless bank cards or digital wallets like Apple Pay. Upon receiving payment, the mobile card reader securely transmits transaction data over the mobile network to the payment gateway or processor. Subsequently, the payment processor verifies the transaction and communicates with the client's bank for payment authorisation. Depending on configuration, customers may receive receipts via text message, email, or printed copies.