December 19, 2019

Credit Card Processing Apps

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You can accept credit card payments with just your smartphone and a credit card reader. But the right payment processing app can help you manage your back-office and successfully run a business on the go. Read on for the top choices.

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Credit card payment processing apps do more than just take payments. After downloading the app and signing up for an account, you can even manage your back-office.

Most processing apps turn your phone into a swipe, chip, and/or tap credit card reader. Many mobile POS apps also include a virtual terminal for manual credit card entry right away.

How do you know which processing app is right for your business? Keep reading to find out.

Best Overall: Square

Square was one of the first apps available for small businesses to accept credit cards on the go. Today, it's a powerful POS app and credit card processor available for both Apple and Android phones.

Square's mobile app, called Point of Sale, offers the following features:

  • Process orders
  • Inventory management
  • Invoicing
  • Accept keyed-in transactions
  • Accept offline payments
  • Conduct real-time reporting
  • Set up customer profiles
  • Manage employees
  • Email receipts
  • Add sales tax
  • Allow tipping
  • Accept swipe, chip, and contactless payments

Cost

  • App: Free
  • Payment processing: 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction

Pros

  • Start accepting payments immediately upon approval
  • No fees if you don't process credit card payments
  • Track other forms of payment, including checks and cash
  • Open up a free online store if you have multi-channel sales
  • Accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX, and debit, prepaid, and gift cards

Cons

  • High risk for frozen funds or canceled accounts
  • Mainly online support versus a phone call with a live agent
  • Processing costs are high for large transactions or high sales

Can you avoid credit card processing fees?
It's impossible to avoid credit card processing fees since many companies work together to process a transaction. However, you can negotiate the costs or shop around to find the company with the most attractive fees.

Best for Multi-Channel Sellers: Shopify

The Shopify app turns your smartphone into a powerful POS that integrates with your online Shopify POS. With one dashboard, you can track your business stands in real-time. Shopify POS is available for both Apple and Android phones.

With the Shopify POS app, you can:

  • Manage product description and pricing
  • Process orders
  • Manage inventory
  • Offer discounts
  • Email receipts
  • Manage customer information
  • Manage employees
  • Print shipping labels

Cost
The app is free, but you must have a Shopify plan for ecommerce. Your choices are:

  • Basic Shopify: $29/month
  • Shopify: $79/month
  • Advanced Shopify $299/month

Payment Processing

  • Basic Shopify: 2.7% per transaction
  • Shopify: 2.5% per transaction
  • Advanced Shopify: 2.4% per transaction

Pros

  • Free 14-day trial
  • Seamlessly integrates with your online store
  • All inventory and product updates automatically sync on both platforms
  • No early cancellation fee
  • Accept all major credit cards as well as Apple and Android Pay

Cons

  • Monthly plan fee
  • Only beneficial if you already have a Shopify eCommerce store
  • No offline payments option

Cheapest Credit Card Payment Processing App: EMS+

For businesses on a budget, the EMS+ app offers plenty of features at a low cost. You can download the free app and get a free swipe reader if you only want swiping capabilities. You'll only pay for processed payments.

The EMS+ app turns your Apple or Android phone into your mobile office with the following features:

  • Inventory management
  • Customer management
  • Pairs with bluetooth scanners and printers
  • Emailed receipts
  • Add tips
  • Email invoices

Cost

  • The app is free

Payment Processing

  • Swipe: 2.25% per transaction
  • Manual: 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction

Pros

  • Pay-as-you-go with no cancellation penalties
  • No startup or monthly fees
  • 24/7 live customer support
  • Free swipe reader
  • Accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express cards

Cons

  • Costly upgrade for chip reader ($149)
  • EMS isn't transparent about when you'll receive funds from transactions
  • Unreliable swipe reader

Simplest Credit Card Processing App: SumUp

SumUp offers a simple way to collect credit card payments. Like Square, you get approved for SumUp within a matter of minutes. The platform accepts swipe, chip, or tap payments for transparent, flat-rate pricing.

SumUp is available for both Apple and Android. Their POS app offers only a few features:

  • Track sales
  • Manage inventory
  • Track payouts

Cost

  • App: Free
  • Payment processing: 2.65% per transaction

Pros

  • No monthly or hidden Fees
  • Accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Google Pay, and Apple Pay
  • Fast, easy set up
  • 30-day money back guarantee on card reader
  • No monthly minimums

Cons

  • No Keyed-In Transactions
  • Simple POS features aren't suitable for established businesses
  • No invoicing features

Best for PayPal Funds: PayPal Here

Few companies accept PayPal funds, so you might benefit from offering the option to your customers. You can choose whether to use just the mPOS or the full ecommerce program.

The PayPal Here credit card processing app offers the following features:

  • Manage sales
  • Send/accept invoices and payments
  • Accept keyed-in transactions
  • Receive funds in Paypal account instantly
  • Set up multiple users
  • Allow tipping
  • Send emailed receipts
  • Manage sales tax
  • Accept swipe, chip, and contactless payments

Cost

  • App: Free

Processing Payments

  • 2.7% per swipe, dip, or contactless per in-person payment
  • 3.5% Plus $0.15 per keyed-in transaction

Pros

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing with no monthly fees
  • Same processing rate for all credit cards
  • No monthly minimum sales requirements
  • Accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express debit/credit cards and PayPal Payments
  • Live customer support

Cons

  • No offline sales processing
  • No inventory tracking
  • Need third-party apps for advanced POS features

Other Apps to Consider

© CreditDonkey

Read on for a few more payment processing apps worth checking out.

Intuit GoPayment

If you have QuickBooks for bookkeeping, GoPayment is the obvious solution for mobile credit card processing. The swipe and chip reader is free for QuickBooks Payments users.

GoPayment has no monthly fees and is a pay-as-you-go system. The GoPayment app is available on both Apple and Android. You can accept in-person payments on your mobile phone, keyed-in payments over the phone, and invoiced payments.

Costs

  • The app is free

Processing Payments

  • 2.4% plus $0.25 per swipe, dip, or tap payment
  • 3.4 plus $0.25 for keyed-in transactions

Pros

  • No setup or monthly fees
  • Accept all major credit cards, ACH payments, Google Pay, and Apple Pay
  • Send invoices
  • Set up recurring payments
  • QuickBooks automatically updates in real-time with each sale
  • Get paid as quickly as next business day

Cons

  • Only benefits current Quickbooks users
  • Monthly fee for QuickBooks subscription
  • Non-transparent pricing beyond the processing fees

PayAnywhere

If you don't want to invest in a credit card reader, PayAnywhere has a solution. With a free 2-in-1 reader (magstripe and chip), you only pay for the payments you process.

PayAnywhere offers a powerful POS app for back-office management. The platform also has an upgraded reader for $49.95 if you want to accept Google and Apple Pay. The app works on Apple, Android, and PCs.

PayAnywhere also offers developers the option to customize their own app and sync it with PayAnywhere for payment processing.

Costs

  • App: Free

Processing Payments:

  • 2.69% per swipe, chip, or tap payments
  • 3.49% plus $0.19 per keyed-in transaction

Pros

  • Accept offline payments
  • Manually enter transactions in virtual terminal or send invoices
  • Accept all credit and debit cards
  • Immediately email or text receipts
  • Customize preset tip amounts for customer convenience

Cons

  • $3.99 inactivity fee
  • Instant approval is provisional, which may lead to canceled account
  • No list of third-party apps for seamless integration

FattMerchant

FattMerchant is one of the original subscription-based pricing processors. It offers a powerful card payment processing app, but you must subscribe to one of their monthly plans starting at $99.

The FattMerchant app makes it easy to:

  • Accept in-person payments
  • Track cash payments
  • Send and track invoices
  • Manage inventory
  • Run reports

You can purchase a card reader or manually enter payment information (for a higher processing fee). FattMerchant works on both Apple and Android devices.

Cost

  • App: Free

Payment Processing:

  • Interchange plus $0.15 per transaction

Pros

  • No cancellation fees
  • Around-the-clock technical support
  • Track cash payments within App
  • Transparent pricing
  • Accept major credit cards and contactless payments

Cons

  • Non-transparent pricing on mobile credit card readers
  • Only for U.S.-based businesses
  • Expensive if you process infrequent credit card payments

Credit Card Payment Processing Apps Pricing

Even with free apps, you may face fees. Read on for a breakdown of the possible costs.

Monthly Fee
Some apps are completely free. That means no fee to use the app for back-office management—they don't even have minimum credit card sales requirements.

Others charge a monthly fee whether you process credit cards during that period or not. Whether you should pay a monthly fee depends what you want out of your app. Will you use it often to manage your business? Or do you accept credit cards seldom and won't use the app much otherwise?

Payment Processing Costs
All payment apps charge to process the payment. You may pay one flat percentage for each transaction or pay cost plus a wholesale markup. Be sure you understand the pricing structure and how it will affect your costs.

What is interchange-plus pricing?
Interchange-plus pricing is the card network's fee plus the markup. It's the most transparent model available.

All card networks, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and AMEX, charge a fee to process payments. On top of those fees, card processors charge a fee, called the markup.

Hardware Costs
Unless you plan to key in each transaction, you'll need a credit card reader. Some companies offer a free basic reader. But they usually charge for upgrades. Know the upfront cost and monthly cost (if applicable).

What to Look For

Every business has unique credit card payment processing app needs. Consider the following factors before deciding the best one for your company.

Platform
Pay close attention to the platform the apps operate on. Most—but not all—work on both Apple and Android. You should also read up on the features and check out user reviews before you decide.

Features
Do you need a basic POS that collects and tracks payments or do you need something more powerful? Don't assume that all systems offer robust features or virtual terminals.

Look at what each POS offers and see if your business needs will be met in these areas:

  • Inventory tracking
  • Employee management
  • Customer management
  • Accepting over-the-phone or offline payments

Fees
Read all the fine print and consider any costs and fees related to:

  • Processing transactions
  • Hardware
  • Cancellation
  • Inactivity

Consider how often you will process credit card payments on the go to determine if a monthly fee is worth it. If you only process occasional payments, you should look for a pay-as-you go system instead.

Multi-Channel Abilities
With two separate systems, you must update two systems and constantly cross-reference, which could lead to mistakes and inaccurate reporting.

If you sell online and in-person, you want a system that seamlessly integrates. If you operate solely in-person, this won't be a big deal. But if you have thoughts of expanding online in the future, keep this in mind.

Merchant Account
Know whether the processor provides a group merchant or individual account.

Most companies that provide instant approval, like Square, provide group merchant accounts. That means you'll share an account with hundreds of other merchants. The risk of frozen funds and canceled accounts is higher, but approval is instant and often easier for new businesses.

Individual merchant accounts have tougher underwriting requirements. But you get your own merchant ID. Established businesses that have a credit card processing history often fare better with their own account. They can negotiate the fees and have more account stability.

Bottom Line

Do your research to find the best credit card processing app for your needs. Be sure to research the features, as well as the app and processing costs, to see what kind of impact they'll have on your business.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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