How to take card payments in a taxi

Published: 02/ 10/ 2019

With less and less people carrying money, more and more competitors accepting cards and the likes of Uber and Lyft around, cash-only cabs are becoming a thing of the past. And let’s be honest, turning a fare down’s every taxi driver’s worst nightmare.

The truth of the matter

Cash payments are on a downward slope and if industry predictions are anything to go by, they’ll be somewhat of a dying breed in less than 10 years’ time:

Year

Cash as a % of all payments

2008

60%

2018

28%

2028

9%

So, how do you stay competitive without a bottomless bank account to finance a fancy new app? You get a mobile card machine, that’s how.

What’s a mobile card machine?

It’s a type of handheld card reader you can take here, there and everywhere to process payments and to work, all they need is a connection to a mobile phone network.

Other than that, they work exactly the same as standard card machines (through a merchant account) and accept different payment types too, like:

How to pick the right card machine

You don’t just want any old mobile card machine, you need one that fulfils all your needs. To make sure you get the most out of your investment here’s a checklist of what to look out for:

  • Does it accept all the major credit and debit cards, like Visa, Mastercard and American Express? 
  • How easy is it to set-up and use? No-one wants to endure lengthy teething periods before they settle in with a new gadget, and with most mobile card machines that won’t be the case. In fact, with ours, you can start taking payments the day it arrives.
  • How long does the battery last for? After all, the last thing you want is for it to run out mid-shift.
  • How good is the connection? Our mobile card machines come with a built-in GPRS SIM card that connects to the strongest network, so you don’t have to worry about going offline.

  • Do you need receipts? Some taxis offer them, others don’t. If you fall into the former though, you’ll need a machine that prints receipts on the spot.

Spoiler: all this comes as standard with us. You can find out more about takepayments mobile card machines here.

How do mobile card machines work in a taxi?

Don’t worry, they’re incredibly easy to set-up and use - even if you don’t rate your technology skills! All you have to do is switch it on, follow the on-screen instructions and it’s ready to take on your next fare with you.

All the ways to pay

Most mobile card machines come with two ways to pay: contactless or chip and PIN, and there are just a couple of differences between the two.

1. Chip and PIN

Your ride will have to physically insert their credit or debit card and enter their four-digit PIN code. Then, the card’s provider will run a quick verification check to make sure the details are right before authorising the transaction.

Assuming all’s gone well and the payment is legitimate, the funds will be transferred from the customer’s bank account into yours and remember, this can take up to three to five days to show.

Providing you’ve got a mobile card machine that’s capable of printing receipts, you’ll then be given the option to offer the customer one.

2. Contactless

With contactless, all your ride has to do is tap your machine with their card. If it’s successful a green light will pop up while the payment’s processed and if it’s declined a message will show to let you know.

After that, everything works the same as chip and PIN payments.

After your shift…

All you need to do is charge your terminal up so it’s full of life for your next shift, use the supervisor card you were sent to run reconciliations, and then you’re free to go off on the rest of your day (or catch up on some sleep!).

Benefits of mobile card machines for taxi drivers

  1. Take more fares. If you only take cash payments as it stands, odds are, you’ve had to turn people away who only have a card, right? Well, with a mobile card machine that’ll never have to happen again; you’ll be ready to accept whatever payment type they prefer.
  2. Boost your reputation. If you’re competing against local taxi firms that don’t yet offer payment by card, you could give yourself a competitive advantage and lure new business in.
  3. Improve your safety measures. Carrying wads of cash around is never all that safe and with people able to pay on their plastic, you’ll inevitably be left with less lying around your taxi.

Can I still receive tips?

Absolutely. All you need to do is enable the tipping function when you’re setting up your card machine - don’t worry, if you forget, you can go back and change your settings at a later date. We can help you do all of this.

Will my taxi fares be capped?

Nope. You can still pick up big-ticket fares, your customer just won’t be able to pay with contactless because the limit for those is £30. All contactless cards have chip and PIN too though, so they can still pay with their four-digit code.

How much will a mobile card machine cost me?

With us, there’s no such thing as one flat answer for this. Unlike most providers, we base our fees on your circumstances, so the number of transactions your taxi turns over each month will determine how much you pay.

As with all card terminals though, the general rule is the more your turnover the lower your rate is likely to be.

Confused? Ready to buy? Just want an informal chat? Then grab your phone and give our experts a call on 0808 274 2017.

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