Step 1 - Open a merchant account

A merchant account works as a link between your Chip & PIN card machine and your business account. When a payment is put through your Chip & PIN terminal, it is processed through the merchant account and transfers the funds to your business or personal bank account by BACS typically within 3 working days.

Step 2 – Select card terminal

The next stage will be to choose the type of card machine that is right for your business. This decision will depend on your card payment needs. Check out our overviews below on the vast range of card terminals available and their benefits.

card payment terminal

Mobile card machine

A mobile card machine will enable your business to accept card payments and trade anywhere within the UK and abroad. With mobile credit card processing, businesses that have no fixed trading address can accept mobile card payments from their customers. Mobile Card Terminals are ideal if your business needs to accept cards on the move.

Mobile card terminal benefits:

  • Unique GPRS & GSM mobile connectivity
  • Roaming, O2, Vodafone & EE SIMs included
  • Works anywhere in the UK and abroad
  • Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use
  • In-car charger available for additional flexibility

Countertop terminal

Countertop terminal also known as a fixed terminal, are the ideal way to accept card payments from your till or over the counter.

Countertop card terminal benefits:

  • Fixed line card terminals are perfect for shops
  • Fast, easy and reliable to operate
  • Telephone or broadband line connection

Portable terminal

If your business has a fixed communication line (such as a phone or broadband connection), a portable credit card machine will give you greater flexibility when you accept payments away from a static location. It will even work through obstacles such as walls and doors. The terminal can be carried to any location within its 100-metre range and handed straight to the customers at their table.

Portable card terminal benefits:

  • Pay-at-chair functionality
  • Gratuity Optional
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 100-meter range from base unit
  • Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use

Wi-Fi card terminal

There is no need to connect these card terminals directly to an Internet router using cables, so this card terminal can be positioned anywhere in your business premises. The Wi-Fi card terminal can be removed from the base unit charger and used anywhere in reach of your Wi-Fi signal. A Wi-Fi card terminal can also be taken outside your business for events where a Wi-FI signal can be obtained.

Wi-Fi terminal benefits:

  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Works anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection
  • Ideal for restaurants, bars and cafés
  • Pay-at-table functionality
  • Gratuity Optional
  • Contactless enabled as standard

Step 3 – Understand your pricing plan

It is possible to purchase a terminal outright to avoid monthly rental costs, however for most businesses paying a monthly charge is far more cost effective. Rental costs depend on annual turnover and type of card machine.


  • Members of the NHF can download the Guide to Card Payment Processing to help you understand the benefits of card payment systems for you as a business owner.
  • Take a look at what NHF Trade Members Chip & Pin Solutions have to offer NHF members and how they could support you and your business.