Knowledge Centre - Card Acceptance

We pride ourselves on knowing the ins and outs of what we provide, not only giving expert advice and guidance but having a vast range of product knowledge to give you the best possible experience in payment solutions.

We have created our centre to share some of our knowledge across a range of our products to help with any questions you may have. This may also assist you in helping you choose a suitable product from our catalogue.

What makes the acceptance of credit cards (card acceptance) different from other payment devices is that there are so many parts to the jigsaw, all are necessary but all are different, to help understand this world better we have put together a glossary of terms;

  • Card schemes – VISA, Mastercard, American Express etc.
  • Acquirer – the bank that process the transaction, e.g. Globalpay, Worldpay, Elavon etc.
  • Merchant – the customer who accepts the payment from the customer, e.g. a car park operator.
  • Payment gateway – the link between the merchant and the acquirer, they will accredit their solution with one or more acquirers.
  • Hardware manufacturers – Ingenico, Verifone etc.
  • PCI – Payment card Industry security standards council – responsible for setting common standards for the payment card industry.

What factors do I consider to accept credit card payment in an unattended environment?

Acquirer / Gateway

When planning for Card Acceptance we recommend you first consider the Acquirer, are you set on using a particular acquirer? If so we can advise who has a solution with that acquirer, it is not the case that every payment gateway will have a solution with every acquirer. If the acquirer is not pre-set then select a payment gateway, they will have a list of supported hardware devices. The payment gateway will provide their software that interfaces between the payment hardware device and their processing centre, this reduces the requirement to develop your own software from scratch, it’s not plug n play but saves a massive amount of work.


Hardware devices are designed for two environments, indoor and outdoor, the hardware you choose should be suitable for the card acceptance environment it will be used in, unattended devices are built to a different standard than indoor devices, they are designed to withstand moisture ingress, temperature extremes and impact attacks along with other abuse, they have in built tamper switches which activate if an attempt to open the device is detected and have a password controlled activation mechanism. All new devices will conform to PCI PTS 3.x or above which is the security standard for hardware devices as defined by the PCI.

There are different combinations of hardware available; you will need to consider the devices that suit your application best. Devices available are;

  • Pinpad – this allows the entry of PIN’s.
  • Card reader – reads the credit card usually by the chip but also has the capability of reading the magnetic stripe if the card is non EMV.
  • Contactless reader – reads contactless cards or other contactless enabled products (e.g. wristbands) as well as Near Field Communication (NFC) devices such as Apple pay.

Having all three devices will cover all possible options for card payment, but not all transactions require a PIN entry as the transaction value may be under the limit where a PIN is necessary, in this situation you could not have a Pinpad and thereby have a lower hardware cost.

Some manufacturers have a modular product, i.e. each device is separate and connected via cables and some solutions are all in one’s, i.e. a card & contactless reader in one device. You can see the different form factors on our website under products.