February 12, 2019

Mobile Credit Card Processing

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Turning your phone into a credit card reader can be easy and even free. Read on for the best mobile credit card processing solutions.

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Mobile credit card processing is the best and most affordable option for small businesses just starting out. It's essential for your business to be able to accept credit card payments.

There are lots of mobile processing options on the market. They're all slightly different in their pricing structure, mobile card reader functionality, and mobile processing app features. We've done the research to come up with a list of the best mobile credit card processing providers.

Keep reading to see which mobile credit card processing company is right for your business.

What Is Mobile Credit Card Processing?

Mobile credit card processing gives you the ability to accept credit and debit card payments right from your phone or tablet, no matter where you are. This allows you to take your business on-the-go, giving you a lot more flexibility. And you won't have to lose out on customers who don't have cash.

This works by attaching a mobile card reader to your smartphone or tablet (via the headphone jack or bluetooth), essentially turning your device into a credit card machine. This allows you to accept payments from anywhere without having to buy expensive or cumbersome cash registers.

Many readers and apps come with extensive reporting options and the ability to integrate with your POS system or online shopping cart.

Best Mobile Credit Card Processing Companies

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There's a lot to consider when choosing the right mobile credit card processor for your business needs. The right one for you offers the services you need to operate successfully, while having a price structure that works for your business.

Read on learn about each one and their features and differences.

Square: Best Overall for Small Mobile Business

    Square
    Read ReviewVisit Site

    Square

    Pros:
    • No monthly or annual fee
    • Free swipe card reader
    • Low, predictable fixed rates
    Cons:
    • Flat-rate pricing can be expensive for larger businesses
    • Costly add-on services

    Our Review: (3.8) Square is a mobile credit card processor for small businesses. It has no monthly fees and a low flat transaction rate. Read on for the pros and cons... Read full review

    Free Chip Reader

Cost:

  • Swipe, chip, and tap: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Online transaction: 2.9% + $0.30
  • Keyed-in: 3.5% + $0.15

If there's a mobile credit card processing company everyone has heard of, it's Square. This mobile credit card processing service offers a host of services, including a POS, online storefront, and integration with your existing accounting software.

Square charges straightforward processing fees and there are no monthly fees. You get a free swipe card reader and POS mobile app. If you want to accept chip and contactless payments (like Apple Pay and Google Pay), you'd have to buy the chip reader for $49. It can also accept offline payments, so you don't even need to have an internet connection.

There is no contract or any hidden fees beyond the per-transaction flat rate fees. It works with both iOS and Android phones.

Square offers one of the most robust mobile POS systems. Functions include emailing/texting receipts, setting discounts, accept gift cards, issuing refunds, reviewing sales data reports, and managing inventory. For businesses with higher needs, you can add on services like loyalty program, employee management, and marketing.

Downside:
Square makes it easy and affordable for new small businesses to set up, though the transaction cost could become quiet high for higher volume businesses.

The customer service support hours are rather restricted and they prefer clients find their answers in their knowledge database.

Businesses don't need to go through underwriting for approval. However, this does put your funds at risk if the company thinks your transactions are fraudulent or risky.

Shopify Lite: Best for Pop Up Shops

Cost

  • $9 per month
  • 2.7% per in-person sale

Shopify, the huge e-commerce platform, also offers in-person card payment processing. This is ideal for small online merchants who also set up booths at fairs, markets, trade shows, etc.

Shopify Lite is the cheapest plan available. It gives you the ability to sell on any website (Wordpress, Tumblr, Facebook etc.) and comes with the Shopify POS app that allows you to accept payments in-person on your smartphone. In addition, you get a free chip and swipe reader.

Shopify offers several more advanced plans. These come with your own Shopify web store and more robust features. The highest tier stores have lower transaction fees. These are better for bigger businesses.

The Shopify POS seamlessly blends your in-store and online shops, keeping everything all in one place. For just $9 per month, the Shopify Lite plan gives you full access into all the features. Some functions include being able to issue store credit, manage customer profiles, implement loyal programs, and manage inventory. You can even collect shipping information to ship items from an in-person sale.

Shopify offer 24/7 customer service via live chat. This is no contract or cancellation fees.

Downside:
A Shopify store is not included with the Shopify Lite plan. You can only put Buy Buttons on an existing website. If you want to build a full ecommerce store, look into one of the more advanced plans.

Quickbooks GoPayment: Best for Businesses Using QuickBooks

Cost:

  • Card swiped: 2.4% + $0.25
  • Online transaction: 2.9% + $0.25
  • Keyed in: 3.4% + $0.25

If your business is already using QuickBooks accounting software, consider Intuit GoPayment. It integrates the POS system with your QuickBooks account so your transactions are automatically synced.

You need to be an existing user of QuickBooks Online (which does have a monthly fee) to sign up for the GoPayment service. Quickbooks GoPayment has no monthly fee. You also get a free card reader for chip and magstripe. If you want to accept contactless payments, you'll have to purchase the All-in-One mobile card reader.

The Quickbooks POS app is basic. The main functions include being able to customize a discount, add tax and tip, and email receipts. Even without the reader, you can take card payments by keying in the transaction. In addition, you can also accept ACH payments and record cash transactions.

For larger businesses, a major upside is the ability to add unlimited users to your mobile payments account. There is no contract so you can cancel at any time.

Downside:
The per transaction fee is not the cheapest. It's best for more established businesses with a larger average ticket size. Newer businesses (or those with small average ticket size) may want to look to Square, as it also integrates with Quickbooks.

FattMerchant: Best for High-Volume Busineses

Cost:

  • $99 per month
  • $0.08 per transaction + interchange fees

FattMerchant offers a unique subscription pricing structure that works well for high-volume businesses. The starter tier plan costs $99 per month and charges just 8 cents plus the required interchange fee for each mobile transaction. This pricing model is best for mid to high-volume and/or high-ticket size businesses processing at least $10,000 in transactions per month.

The Fattmerchant mobile POS allows you to split tender, accept tips, apply discounts, and issue refunds. You can also add customers and manage their contact and payment information. It also supports in-app invoicing and basic inventory management.

Customers can enjoy next day funding and 24/7 technical support. Fattmerchant generally has very high customer satisfaction for its account stability. It operates on month-to-month billing with no termination fees.

Downside:
This pricing model is not good for new or very small businesses. There are monthly fees of $99 for each acceptance method. This means if you also sell online, that costs another $99/month. And if you want the virtual terminal to take phone orders, that's $99/month too. This makes it more expensive for businesses with multiple sales channels.

If you have a small business, you're better off going with a flat rate provider like Square, which includes these things for free.

Fattmerchant does not provide a free card reader. You'd have to speak to a representative for the cost.

PayPal Here: Best for Flexible Payment Options

Cost:

  • Swipe, chip, and tap (US cards): 2.7%
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
  • Invoice: 2.9% + $0.30

If you already use PayPal's merchant services, it makes sense to also use PayPal Here, PayPal's mobile payment solution. It accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as the ability to accept PayPal payments in person, which could come in handy for customers who aren't carrying cards. Or you have the option of sending an invoice. Overall, PayHere offers more payment flexibility to customers.

PayPal Here charges a flat 2.7% fee for in-person card payments, which works best for small low-volume businesses. You could be eligible for a free swipe mobile credit card reader. Chip and contactless readers will have to be purchased for a one-time fee.

Funds from transactions are instantly available in your online PayPal account. If you want access to your funds the same day, you can get the PayPal Business Debit Mastercard, which will allow you to access your available balance at ATMs.

The PayPal Here mobile POS allows you to add multiple users, manage sales history, do basic inventory management, accept custom tips, and apply discounts.

PayPal Here doesn't have a contract, charge any inactivity fees, or have account processing minimums.

Downside:
If you use the free mobile card reader, there's a reserve policy where if you process over $500 in payments in 7 days, the funds over $500 will be held for 30 days (for fraud protection reasons). So if your business processes more than that in a week, you'd want to purchase the EMV or contactless reader.

The mobile POS is also not as feature-rich as Square's.

There is no guarantee of approval, even if you already have a PayPal merchant account.

PayAnywhere: Best on a Budget

Cost:

  • Swiped, dip, and tap: 2.69%
  • Keyed in: 3.49% + $0.19

Small business owners looking for the most affordable way to process credit cards may want to consider PayAnywhere. They have the lowest per swipe fees in the industry at just 2.69% per transaction (for processing up to $10,000 per month).

They also provide a free magstripe and chip reader and POS app, allowing you to instantly accept credit cards with no start-up fees. You can also accept offline payments even if you don't have internet connection. Next day funding is available.

The PayAnywhere app offers useful tools to stay on top of things. You can manage inventory, manage your employees, track customer purchases, and generate reports.

PayAnywhere also offers a Standard plan for larger businesses processing over $10k a month. It costs $12.95 a month for the basic service fee, but offers lower 1.69% per-swipe fees. For this plan, if your monthly credit card sales fall below $5,000, there will be a minimum volume fee of $79/month.

Downside:
One thing to be careful with is their inactivity fee. If you are inactive for 12 months, you will be charged $3.99/month for each month you're inactive thereafter.

For businesses that need a POS terminal or other hardware, there will be a monthly software fee ranging from $10-$30/month (depending on the devices you have). This could be pricey for smaller businesses, especially since there are other providers that don't charge this fee.

There are also frequent poor reviews on the quality of PayAnywhere's customer support.

Other Mobile Credit Card Processing Companies to Consider

Besides the ones in our above list, here are some other providers to consider.

  • Cayan: If you are a busy merchant, you can accept swipe, chip, and NFC payments right on your iPhone or Android device with Cayan. Watch out for their $25 monthly minimum and hidden fees, such as the $7.95 statement fee, though. If you are good at negotiating, this is a tech-forward company that offers a solution for almost any type of sales, whether mobile, online, or in-store.

  • SumUp: This European mobile processing app/reader brings new features to the US. With receipt printing options, multiple tax rates, and refunds, it may be the product you need for your business. You'll pay a one-time fee for the reader, but processing rates are extremely competitive at just 2.6% per transaction pricing.

  • CloverGo: An add-on to its already large suite of credit card processing devices, CloverGo brings similar features to the above products. CloverGo does offer more account stability, though, as it's a merchant account provider, not just a payment processor.

What to Look for in a Mobile Credit Card Processing Company

A quick search online will deliver a whole host of mobile credit card processing companies. Knowing the important features you need/want will help you choose the right one.

Pricing structure:
Credit card processors charge many fees, including per-transaction fees, monthly subscription fees, and PCI compliance fees, to name a few.

Business owners just starting out will be best off with a simple flat rate fee structure. Larger volume businesses will find better processing rates with a subscription model pricing, in most cases. Despite the monthly subscription fee, you won't be paying so much per-transaction.

Contract:
A provider with no contract allows you some fluidity should you decide to change to something else in the future. Look for one with no cancellation fees.

Simple setup:
Not only do you want a reader you can plug in and start accepting payments, but you need one that will work well with your situation. If you are a new business, chances are a company that underwrites each potential client won't work well as you don't have a history of collecting payments. A company that automates the approval system may work better.

Accepted payment types:
Will you accept swiped cards only? What about EMV (chip cards) or contactless transactions? Some mobile card readers can only accept swiped cards, so you'd need a separate chip reader.

Software integration:
Integrating your card processor with your accounting software can cut down on a lot of back and forth, not to mention mistakes.

Point-of-sale system:
If you plan to expand into online selling or a brick-and-mortar shop, you'll need a provider that can grow with you. Look into an all-in-one system that keeps track of payments, inventory, billing, labor hours, and more.

Customer support:
It's important to be able to reach help or get your questions answered. Look into what kind of customer support the provider offers. Is it 24/7 and has phone and live chat support? Or only email? Read up on reviews from other users on how responsive or helpful the provider is.

The Bottom Line

Accepting credit card payments is a must for any business nowadays. A big part of that is choosing the right mobile processing company. Don't make your choice based on cost alone. Do your research carefully.

Make sure you understand the features the programs offer to see if they fit in with what you need. If you already have a POS or payment processor for in-store transactions, make sure the mobile processor integrates with it for ease of bookkeeping and taxes.

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.

More from CreditDonkey:


Credit Card Processing Fees


How to Accept Credit Card Payments


Online Credit Card Processing


Payment Processing

Accepting credit cards involves a lot more than swiping a card and receiving payment. What goes on behind the scenes is called payment processing. Learn how it works and how to choose the right vendor in our guide.

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