By Erica Houskeeper on April 26, 2019
Accepting credit card and digital wallet payments on the go is easier than ever. Thanks to mobile credit card readers, the opportunity to sell products or services is now possible for food trucks, festival vendors, pop-up shops, and other remote retailers.
Mobile payment readers process credit card payments through a smartphone or tablet, allowing businesses to process card payments wirelessly and on the go.
Here are the top five top mobile payments to choose from, all of which offer low startup costs, a host of features, and easy-to-use devices for your business.
Square’s Contactless and Chip Reader can help businesses of all shapes and sizes with mobile payments. Its compact modern card reader lets you quickly and easily accept payments using credit or debit cards, EMV chip cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay. Square’s innovative design allows you to go cord-free as the reader connects wirelessly to iOS or Android devices with Bluetooth LE or with a USB.
Square gets high marks for customer service. However, unlike many other mobile card readers, Square doesn’t have an integrated card reader. If you want to accept magnetic stripe payments, then you will need to use the included free basic magnetic stripe reader.
- Financing available
- Supports contactless (NFC) and chip card transactions
- No integrated magnetic stripe reader
Shopify offers an impressive set of features for on-the-go sales and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. If you’re looking to get started with a mobile processing app that has a free reader, Shopify’s Lite plan would be perfect for you. If you’re already selling online with Shopify and looking to branch into in-person sales, Shopify’s free card reader is worth considering.
Shopify users can add products, edit them, fulfill orders, refund orders, manage tags, view sales daily, weekly, and monthly and communicate with staff within the app. Shopify’s card reader accepts magnetic stripe and EMV chip card payments. There’s no NFC/contactless support, so merchants can’t accept payments from Apple Pay and similar mobile wallets.
- Free reader
- Easy to use
- No contactless support
Cost: Free Chip & Swipe Reader to its new merchants. If you need more than one, they sell for $29
PayPal Here offers well-designed card readers with an intuitive, proficient app for iOS and Android users. While it’s not the most dynamic mPOS system on the market, it has the basics you need to process payments efficiently on the go.
If you’re only accepting mobile sales, there’s no monthly charge for PayPal Here (There is a monthly fee of $30 if you want to use a virtual terminal). As far as reviews go, PayPal has a mix of good and bad. Customers complain about inconsistent customer service and less stable accounts than what you would get with a merchant account. However, PayPal Here does earn high marks though for reliability and transparency.
- Easy to use
- No monthly fees
- Inconsistent customer service
Intuit GoPayment, which is part of QuickBooks, functions as a standalone app. While you don’t need to be a QuickBooks user, you’ll still have to open a merchant account through Intuit to use GoPayment. On the upside, this adds stability to your account, and decreases holds and freezes. However, it could be more challenging to get approved for an account than you would with something like Square.
GoPayments offers a high level of transparency, with no hidden fees. However, GoPayment isn’t suitable for merchants with tiny sales. If you process mostly very small transactions (less than $75), you might want to look at Square instead.
- Predictable flat-rate pricing
- QuickBooks Online integration
- Inconsistent customer support
- High per-transaction fees
- Not suitable for very small businesses
Cost: $19 (free to new users)
PayAnywhere is a free, all-in-one mobile credit card reader for magnetic stripe, chip, or contactless payments. Features include split tender, custom discounts, tips, email and print receipts, and tax by location. It’s also one of the only mobile credit card processors with pre-authorization, allowing you to hold a customer’s funds for up to 7 days. This is good for appointment-based businesses or inns, and neither Square nor PayPal offer this feature.
PayAnywhere can be a good choice if you don’t need online eCommerce solutions. If your business does a lot of key-entered transactions, it can be more expensive, but if most of your transactions are swiped, you’ll save money in the long run.
- Free all-in-one mobile card reader
- Impressive features
- Comes with pre-authorization
- No options for eCommerce
Remember, there are many factors to consider when choosing a mobile payment system. Monthly sales volume, the size of your business, and the amount of your average sale are among them. Be sure you have all of the information you need before deciding which mobile card payment set up is right for you.