January 6, 2020

Credit Card Reader for Android


A reader lets you process credit card payments in seconds using your Android phone. But choosing the right one may have an even bigger impact on your business. Read more to learn more about the best credit card readers for Android.

© CreditDonkey

Depending on your equipment, you may be able to accept swipe, chip, and tap payments on your Android device. You just need an internet connection, compatible card reader, and payment processing app.

Here's how to get started:

  • Download the chosen app
  • Install the card reader via the headphone jack or Bluetooth connection
  • Set up your account
  • Accept credit card payments
  • Manage your back-office through the app

Today, there are many apps and readers available to collect credit card payments. Read on for our top choices.

Best Overall: Square

Square was one of the first credit card processors to offer a free card reader. Today, Square offers a powerful POS app alongside two powerful mobile credit card readers.

It provides many robust features for free along with the POS app. Square also lets you add certain features for a monthly fee, including:

  • Employee management: $29 per month plus $5 per employee
  • Loyalty programs: $45 per month
  • Email marketing: $15 per month

With Square's powerful POS, you can:

  • Manage customer information
  • Set up an ecommerce store
  • Manage inventory
  • Run robust reports
  • Send invoices and collect invoicing payments
  • Send text or email receipts instantly
  • Set up automated tipping
  • Manage split bills

Pricing for Android Phones

Card Reader:

  • Magstripe reader: Free (additional readers $10 each)
  • Chip/Contactless Payment reader: $49 or $17/month for 3 months

Payment Processing:

  • Swipe, chip, or tap payments: 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction
  • Invoiced payments: 2.9% plus $0.30 per invoice

Pros

  • No monthly or cancellation fees
  • Accept most major credit, debit, and gift cards
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Get instant access to a breakdown of sales right on your dashboard
  • Set up a free online store with your Square account

Cons

  • Merchants often experience frozen funds
  • High-risk businesses can lose their account even after approval
  • Lackluster customer support

Do you need a chip credit card reader?
While not required, chip or tap credit card readers decrease the risk of stolen information. They immediately encrypt information rather than broadcasting it like swipe readers do. Most credit card processing companies offer full PCI compliance. But there's still a risk of fraudulent activity with swiped cards.

Cheapest Card Reader for Android: Payanywhere

Payanywhere provides a pay-as-you-go plan as well as a free reader. It's a great way to start accepting credit cards if you don't process credit card payments often since you won't overpay for the service. If you decide you need something more robust down the road, there's no cancellation fee.

Payanywhere's mobile POS allows complete customization for merchant branding. It also offers the following features:

  • Invoicing
  • Manage employee data
  • Manage inventory
  • Access to real-time updates
  • Set up tabs or open tickets
  • Automate tipping
  • Print receipts

Pricing for Android Phones

Card reader:

  • 2-in-1 reader for both swipe and chip payments: Free (additional readers $29.95 each)
  • 3-in-1 reader for swipe, chip, and tap payments: $49.95

Payment processing:

  • Swipe, chip, or tap: 2.69% per transaction
  • Keyed-in and invoice payments: 3.49% plus $0.19

Pros

  • Accept swipe, chip, contactless, or keyed-in payments
  • Send text or email receipts instantly
  • No monthly, subscription, or ongoing fees; only pay for processed payments
  • Set up as a traditional credit card machine or as a retail POS with inventory features
  • Accept payments even when offline

Cons

  • Infrequent users may incur a $3.99 per month fee
  • Accounts may be canceled or funds frozen without warning
  • Third-party integrations can be complicated

Best for Bookkeeping: Intuit GoPayment

Transferring data from your POS to your bookkeeping system leaves room for errors. Why risk switching numbers or missing information when you can use Intuit GoPayment for both?

If you are a current QuickBooks user, integrate your bookkeeping with your mobile POS, and get the best of both worlds.

The GoPayment POS lets users:

  • Scan or photograph cards rather than swiping them
  • Integration with QuickBooks
  • Set up invoicing or recurring payments
  • Track income and expenses
  • Customized text and email receipts
  • Set up multiple users
  • Automate sales tax and tips

Pricing for Android Phones

Card reader:

  • Swipe/Chip reader: $19 (free if you use QuickBooks Payments)
  • Swipe/Chip/Tap reader: $49

Payment Processing:

  • Swipe/chip/tap payments: 2.4% plus $0.25 per transaction
  • Manual payments: 3.4% plus $0.25 per transaction
  • Invoiced payments: 2.9% plus $0.25 per transaction

Pros

  • Easy and free setup
  • Set up and send invoices, both one-time and recurring
  • Update QuickBooks and GoPayment simultaneously
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing
  • Get funds as early as the next business day

Cons

  • No inventory management
  • You must have a QuickBooks Payments account for many of the features
  • No offline payment processing

Best for Ecommerce Sellers: Shopify

If you have online and in-person sales online, you need a system that syncs all information. Anyone with a Shopify account can seamlessly integrate Shopify Payments into their business.

The app turns your Android phone into a powerful POS that syncs instantly with your online store. As a bonus, you don't pay extra payment processing fees.

Shopify Payments offers:

  • Product description and pricing management
  • Employee management
  • Inventory management
  • Customer database management
  • Robust reporting options
  • Discounted shipping through Shopify Shipping
  • Emailed receipts

Pricing for Android Phones

Card Reader:

  • Chip & Swipe Reader: $29
  • Shopify Tap & Chip Reader: $24

Payment Processing:

  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month plus 2.7% per transaction
  • Shopify: $79 per month plus 2.5% per transaction
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month plus 2.4% per transaction

You must have a monthly subscription with Shopify to use Shopify Payments.

Pros

  • Sync your online and in-person sales in real-time
  • Free 2-week trial before committing to a monthly plan
  • Cancel at any time without penalty
  • Sell identical or different items online and in store
  • Avoid payment processing charges you would pay with other payment processors

Cons

  • You must have a Shopify ecommerce plan
  • You can't take offline payments
  • Flat rate pricing isn't transparent

Best for Accepting PayPal Payments: PayPal Here

PayPal is one of the most established payment processors available. PayPal Here makes it an even more attractive processor, especially if you have customers who prefer to pay using PayPal funds.

It offers a mobile POS along with its payment processing services. It's a good option for businesses that already use PayPal or need the flexibility of accepting PayPal funds.

PayPal Here's mPOS has features that allow you to:

  • Manage products with photos and descriptions
  • Track sales by employee, product, or period
  • Manage employees' roles and permissions
  • Invoice management (sending and receiving payments)
  • Accept in-person or over-the-phone credit card payments
  • Receive payments instantly in your PayPal account
  • Send branded email receipts
  • Automate tipping and tax
  • Limited reporting options

Pricing for Androids

Card Readers:

  • Chip and Swipe Reader: $24.99
  • Chip and Tap Reader: $59.99
  • Chip Card Reader with Pin Pad: $99.99

Payment Processing:

  • Card swipe transactions: 2.7% per transaction
  • Manual transactions: 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction
  • Invoice payments: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction

Pros

  • No cancellation fees
  • Only pay when you process payments
  • Pay one fee for any type of payment or credit card
  • No inactivity fees or monthly minimum sales requirements
  • Get help from a live customer service agent

Cons

  • Processing fees are high
  • Lackluster POS features
  • No offline sales feature

Other Credit Card Readers for Android to Consider

© CreditDonkey

These readers didn't make our top list. But they offer features and benefits that may suit some businesses.

FattMerchant

If you want your own merchant account, consider FattMerchant. Established businesses with a history of credit card sales do well with FattMerchant because of its interchange-plus pricing. You get your own merchant account and decrease the risk of canceled accounts or frozen funds.

FattMerchant offers an Android app that makes it easy to accept credit card and cash payments. You can also manage inventory, invoices, and reporting. Plus, its online dashboard provides a lot more and is included with your monthly subscription.

Pricing for Android Phones

  • Card Reader: Not disclosed online—you must call FattMerchant when you sign up for pricing

  • Payment Processing: Interchange plus $0.15 per transaction

Pros

  • Transparent interchange-plus pricing
  • Track all payment types in the app, not just credit cards
  • Customer service is available around-the-clock
  • No cancellation fees
  • Accept all types of credit card payments including swipe, chip, or tap payments

Cons

  • Underwriting requirements are tougher
  • You must pay the monthly costs even if you don't process any payments
  • The mPOS has limited features

SwipeSimple

SwipeSimple lets you accept credit card payments and manage your back-office. It isn't a payment processor, though. You'll need your own merchant account that syncs with SwipeSimple in order to use its system.

With SwipeSimple, you can:

  • Accept swipe, chip, or tap payments with the SwipeSimple card reader and interface
  • Store customer information for fast processing
  • Set up an item catalog
  • Preset discounts
  • Accept tips
  • Set up quick payments
  • Send receipts via text or email
  • Get robust reporting options and insights
  • Process voids and refunds

SwipeSimple doesn't disclose the cost of its readers for Android phones online.

Pros

  • Accept payments in offline mode
  • Works on most Android models
  • Send and manage invoices
  • Customize the interface settings for your business
  • Check your business' dashboard from any device

Cons

  • Having a separate merchant account can get confusing
  • Non-transparent pricing
  • Customer support comes directly from your merchant provider, not SwipeSimple

Payline Data

Payline Data is a membership-based company that provides a viable mobile solution for Android users. They partner with CloverGo for credit card readers.

The platform is great for new businesses. It lets users:

  • Accept swipe, chip, and tap payments
  • Ability to email or text receipts instantly
  • Set your tax and tip rates
  • Robust reporting options
  • CloverGo is ready to use right out of the box

Pricing for Androids

Card Reader:

  • $70 plus $11/month

Payment Processing:

  • Swipe, chip, and tap payments: Interchange plus 0.2% plus $0.10 per transaction

Pros

  • Month-to-month contract
  • No cancellation fees
  • Transparent pricing
  • Accept all payment types including swipe, chip, and contactless (Samsung Pay and Apple Pay)
  • Top notch security

Cons

  • No offline payment option
  • You pay a $10 monthly fee even if you don't process payments
  • High-risk merchants may have a tough time getting approved

What to Look for in Credit Card Readers

© CreditDonkey

Searching for the right credit card reader for Android leaves you with many choices. How do you know which one is right for you? Consider the following factors.

Pricing

Start by asking yourself:

  • Is there a monthly fee?
  • Is the reader free? If not, what's the cost?
  • What's the payment processing structure?
  • Are there miscellaneous costs or monthly minimum sales requirements?

If you don't process many payments, paying a monthly subscription fee may not make sense. Think about how each aspect of pricing affects your bottom line.

Fee Structures
Android phone credit card readers range in price from free to up to $100 or more. The price you pay depends on the features you require. This includes more than just the cost of the reader.

You need a service to transmit the data to the appropriate parties for processing. This may require some or all the following fees:

  • Subscription or Membership Fee
    Some companies charge a monthly fee. You'll pay regardless of whether or not you processed any payments that month. Only companies that frequently accept credit card payments benefit from this model. If you infrequently accept credit card payments, stick with a pay-as-you-go model.

  • Pay As-You-Go
    These companies only charge you for the payments you process. That means no monthly fees or monthly minimum requirements. You can typically cancel the account at any time or leave the account unused, coming back when you need it. Be careful, though, because some companies do charge an inactivity fee.

  • Processing Fees
    All processing companies charge processing fees. Some charge a flat rate for all transactions while others charge interchange-plus pricing. Either way, you pay a percentage of the transaction amount for each credit card payment you process.

    Flat-Rate Pricing vs Interchange-Plus Pricing
    Flat-rate pricing is a flat percentage for every transaction. It doesn't matter the type of credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX) or the type of payment (swipe, chip, or tap)—you pay the same fee.

    Interchange-plus pricing, on the other hand, varies. You pay the card network's cost (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express), plus the processor's markup. You'll see interchange-plus pricing as interchange plus $0.15 for example. You pay the posted card network's fee plus the flat $0.15 for every transaction.

  • Other Processing Fees
    Most credit card companies include other fees that they don't readily advertise. Ask the processing company for full disclosure of all possible charges.

    In particular, look for these types of fees:

    • PCI Compliance
    • Inactivity
    • Chargeback
    • Refund Fees

Features

Consider what features your business requires:

  • Will you accept more than swiped credit card payments?

  • Do you want to manage inventory, employees, and customer data?

  • What type of reporting do you need?

  • Are tipping or tax rates important for your business?

  • Do you want to integrate services like bookkeeping or marketing?

Your credit card reader does more than accept card payments, it can serve as your back-office assistant.

Payments

Each company has different payout schedules. Do you want immediate funding or can you wait a few business days?

Card reader companies also have their own definition of high risk. Find out if your company qualifies. If so, you may have to wait up to 30 days for payouts. Knowing this information upfront may help you decide.

Offline Payments
If you'll accept payments anywhere except in your store, you may want offline payment options. Without it, you can't accept payments with a weak or non-existent signal, which could hurt your business.

Bottom Line

You have plenty of credit card reader options for your Android credit card reader options, so don't rush into choosing one. Ask questions about the features and pricing.

It may be best to start small when accepting credit card payments. You can always upgrade to a more sophisticated (and likely, more expensive) option later.

More from CreditDonkey:


Mobile Credit Card Processing


Square Review


Square vs PayPal


Merchant

How Much Does Square Charge

Square's mobile card reader lets small businesses accept credit card payments. But how much does Square cost? Read this review to see if it is good for your business.

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Credit Card Reader

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

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