With so many customers going cashless, it’s essential for small businesses to have a way to accept credit and debit card payments to avoid missing out on sales. With many businesses not operating out of brick-and-mortar stores, businesses need a more flexible solution than the traditional point-of-sale system. That’s where mobile card readers come in. Mobile card readers allow you to accept payments both in-person and online and can even be used in addition to credit card terminals to reduce customer wait times.

When looking to install a mobile card reader, each business needs to have card readers with the ability to conduct transactions for mobile wallets, chipcards, traditional magnetic strips and contactless payments. Having these features will ensure each customer can purchase goods through a variety of payment methods.

Here’s an in-depth look at our picks for the best mobile credit card readers:

Square

Square gains high marks for ease of use and affordability. It features a small card reader and a free point-of-sale app integrated with many different operating systems. There are no hidden fees, and business owners pay 2.6% plus 10 cents per card reader swipe. Many of Square’s features are free when you sign up, including inventory control, sales analytics, invoicing and customer directories. Where Square falls short is that you have to pay for a contactless reader and a chip card reader.

Shopify

Shopify has tap-and-chip and chip-and-swipe card readers integrated with its point-of-sale software. It offers many of the same features as Square, including inventory management, invoicing tools and customer directories. However, one advantage of going with Shopify is its lower starting fees. You’ll pay fees as low as 2.4% on all transactions and will be able to accept a wide range of payment methods, including Google Pay, Apple Pay and physical credit cards from Visa and American Express.

Shopify also allows businesses to sell to new markets online and on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. You’ll be able to collect payments when you’re offline at the same low fee, allowing you to set up shop wherever you want regardless of reception quality.

Payanywhere

Payanywhere offers small mobile card readers attached to your devices and allow you to accept contactless, magstripe and chip card payments. Payanywhere also has a specialized point of sale software with many features helping to streamline your business operations, including custom reports and integrations with accounting software like QuickBooks. You’ll be able to create product libraries for easy inventory management and process offline transactions, so you never miss a sale.

Payanywhere charges businesses that process $10,000 per month or less a 2.69% fee on most transactions. You’ll pay a slightly higher fee of 3.49% plus 19 cents whenever you key in a credit card. It also creates custom solutions for businesses, which have higher sales volumes over $10,000.

PayPal Here

PayPal Here has a few different mobile card reader options. You can get a small reader plugged into your phone’s audio jack, which allows you to process magstripe payments. However, if you want to accept contactless payments and chip cards, you can get the chip-and-tap card reader, which connects to your devices wirelessly.

No matter which card reader you choose, you’ll pay a simple flat fee of 2.7% on most transactions, with no hidden fees or startup costs. If you key in or scan a credit card, however, you’ll have to pay a slightly higher fee of 3.5% plus 15 cents.

PayPal Here doesn’t offer as many features as a point of sale software like Square and Shopify. However, it does have advanced security features to protect your customers, including round-the-clock fraud monitoring. And if you get the PayPal Business Debit Mastercard, you’ll be able to access your funds almost immediately.

Things to consider when choosing a mobile credit card reader

There are many advantages to investing in mobile card readers for your business, including increased cash flow and improved customer satisfaction. Many card reader companies allow you to access funds quickly and eliminate the risk of nonpayment, which comes with other payment methods like checks.

Mobile card readers also improve customer experience and satisfaction because the devices make checking out quick and easy. If you can reduce friction in the sales process, you’ll be able to increase your revenue and keep customers coming back.

One of the main disadvantages of using mobile card readers are fees, which can cut into your profits. However, for many businesses, the cost of missing out on sales is far greater than the transaction fees associated with card readers.

Another concern is security. Some customers may be worried about fraud when using a mobile card reader. When you’re shopping around and comparing providers, consider how each card reader encrypts data. Try to look for a company not storing credit card data, while offering advanced security measures like account monitoring, which will protect both you and your customers.

How to find the best mobile credit card reader for your business

One of the major concerns with mobile card readers is the costs. Before you choose a card reader company, you should consider the fee structure and how it will affect your margins. Businesses having low average transaction values, for example, maybe especially hard-hit by a fee structure like the one Square offers.

The 10 cents fee that Square adds to each transaction will eat up a much larger percentage of the profits from a small $5 sale than from a big purchase. So before you choose a mobile card reader, compare fee structures and run the numbers to see how many sales the card reader will need to generate to be worth it for your business.

Here are some other factors you should consider when choosing a mobile card reader:

  • Ease of use
  • Quality of customer service
  • How quickly funds will be deposited to your bank account
  • Additional features, such as integrations with accounting software
  • Security measures like account monitoring and data encryption

Mobile card readers can be an asset to your business and provide you with more financial stability and flexibility. However, it’s important to weigh your options carefully. Some card reader companies may have a fee structure not compatible with your business, which will hurt your bottom line. Make sure you do the math and figure out which option will be most affordable for, while still offering features important to you.