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Is it best to get a portable card machine, or a mobile card terminal for outside events?

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Many venues are figuring out how to increase their capacity under social distancing rules by adding an outside area such as gazebos and marquee bars at the end of their gardens, or setting up more tables on the pavement. Some Oxford city centre eateries have been lucky enough to have a temporary road closure put in place so they can make use of the whole space at the front of their businesses.

Eating outside a cafe

The question is, is it better for your business to get a portable card payment machine, or a mobile one? In a brilliant twist, we’ll answer your one question, with two of our own!

Will you be taking your show on the road?

If you plan on taking your business on the go, to a pop-up market, or food festival, then mobile is the way to go. Mobile card terminals work using a SIM card, and GPRS. The terminal connects to a wireless network via the SIM and the GPRS registers the transaction with your merchant service provider.

The beauty of mobile card terminals is that other than allowing your business to be anywhere, anytime, they are also lightweight and easy to carry around all day, or slip into an apron pocket.

Is your business spreading out to make room for social distancing rules?

If, like the lucky George Street restaurants in Oxford, you are moving your tables outside to allow for additional space between your guests, then a portable card terminal is probably a better choice. Portable card machines, otherwise known as handheld card readers can be part of an integrated POS system, where the main server is located inside the building. The typical range of a portable card machine is 100m, which should be sufficient. If not, then a mobile card terminal might work better and congratulations on the huge garden!

Whatever happens during the rest of 2020, it seems clear that we will be functioning under the ‘new normal’ for quite some time. Is your business ready? Do you have questions about card payment machines? Give us a ring on 0800 0461804 or email

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