If your business is constantly on the move, you are going to need a card payment solution that is as mobile as you are. A mobile card reader gives your business the convenience of making payments on the go, whether you are selling at a fair or on a truck.
Find out everything you need to know about mobile card readers and what it could bring to your business with the best 5 card readers of 2021.
What is a mobile card reader?
A mobile card reader is an electronic device that connects to a Point-of-sale system to accept credit/debit cards. It is a payment solution designed to enable retailers to process card payments on the go for customers.
A basic mobile card reader allows you to swipe cards to make payments. A higher-functioning mobile card reader could also do that and more, such as accept EMV (chip card) and NFC (contactless) payments.
The model comes pre-installed with a SIM card which lets them connect wirelessly with the mobile network (wifi if available). When the device has read the data of the card, it will use GPRS technology and contact the issuing bank of that card for authorisation to process the payment. Once the payment is authorised and the sale is completed, the printer would then generate a receipt.
Why do businesses need mobile card readers?
Mobile card readers are extremely popular these days as they could come in handy in situations such as occasional events that require mobile sales (pop-up stores, fairs, farmers markets) or even regularly businesses (food trucks, personal trainers, mobile flower shops). It could also act as a mobile invoicing solution for businesses that perform services on the road such as contractors, plumbers, exterminators, etc.
With mobile card readers, retailers could directly sell/checkout on-the-spot for customers so they would not have to wait in line at the counter. Moreover, a mobile card reader that could perform contactless payment is a must-have during COVID since it offers a hygienic safety code.
For small businesses that want a simple and lightweight system, mobile card readers are the perfect option.
Best card readers for 2021
Launched in 2009, Square was the first mobile card reader on the market. Square devices are small, roughly around the size of a hand, making them portable and convenient for any business. Newly signed retailers would receive the Square card reader for free, which makes an outstanding marketing move.
- Device compatibility: Square mobile card readers could work on any device, whether if it is iOS or Android. With 2 versions - one for the headset jack and the other for the lightning connector, businesses would not have to worry about switching devices.
- Top security: Credit card information is encrypted from the moment it is swiped. Square does not store any data of swiped cards on the device, so customers could be assured about their information after the payment process.
- Short charge time: Square mobile card readers take only 2-3 hours to fully charged so businesses are ready to sell whenever and wherever they desire without having to worry about running out of energy. Moreover, businesses could even be able to perform payment without the need for an internet connection by using the built-in offline mode.
- Contactless support: Businesses could accept contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay, or even chip cards by connecting devices wirelessly to Square contactless and chip reader.
- Additional features: Square could send receipts to customers via email or text message. Customers could leave feedback through their digital receipts. It could also print receipts by connecting to a printer.
- High transaction fees
- Square Reader for magstripe: free for new account ($10 for each additional one)
- Square Reader for contactless and chip: $49
PayPal Here is the best-known mobile card reader on the market. It is not as powerful as Square, but it still has all the essential features that a retailer needs. PayPal Here works great for small businesses with a low volume.
- Affordable plan: PayPal Here is entirely a pay-as-you-go model. It offers flat-rate pricing with no long term commitment (no monthly fees, setup fees, cancellation fees). All the transactions like swiped payments, dipped payments, or tapped payments process from 1.9% to 2.9% each.
- Instant transfer: PayPal Here has an option to transfer money instantly to the retailer's account (with fee) so it could be used immediately.
- Various payment options: PayPal accepts major credit and debit cards, in person or on-the-go
- Various choices: PayPal Here offers several options like the Magstripe reader which has a limited number of transactions that businesses could process per week without incurring holds, or businesses could go for the Chip & Swipe reader which is offered for free on new accounts.
- Contactless payment: If retailers want to add NFC payments from mobile wallets, PayPal Here also offers a Chip & Tap reader (dock included) for a safe, quick, and touch-free payment for customers.
- Does not have as many features as Square
- Hardware price is higher than other brands
- PayPal chip and swipe reader: free for new account ($24.99 for each additional one)
- PayPal chip and tap reader: $59.99
Launched in 2012, SumUp offers the most affordable card reader and payment processing fees in the market. SumUp is an excellent choice for microbusinesses, small businesses, and pop-up stores.
- Low price: SumUp card reader starts from only $19 without any contract or monthly fee, makes it extremely affordable for small-sized businesses. Swipe, chip, and contactless payments are charged 2.75% per transaction. Other remote payments like gift cards, mobile payments are charged 3.25% + $0.15 per transaction.
- Sleek design: The sleek and lightweight design of SumUp makes it ideal to display on the counter or keep in the pocket for on-the-go payments.
- Superior technology: Small but mighty, SumUp could process over 500 transactions on just a single charge.
- Does not produce invoices
- SumUp Air card reader: £29
- SumUp 3G card reader: £99
While most card readers gear toward small-sized businesses, Fattmerchant chooses to focus on larger businesses.
- Omnichannel payment: Fattmerchant has a whole suite of integrated omnichannel payment options which includes a virtual terminal and text payments. Multichannel retailers or not, Fattmerchant could support them all.
- Competitive interchange-plus: Fattmerchant offers a monthly fee starting at $99 with a rate of 0% interchange-plus $0.15. Although this fee is high compared to other card readers, it is an excellent rate for high-volume businesses.
- Diverse payment options: Fattmerchant offers a few different mobile card readers that are pocket-sized, convenient, and flexible. The mobile card readers are capable of accepting different types of payment such as credit/debit cards, contactless cards, Apple Pay, etc.
- Additional features: By using the Fattmerchant App, retailers could email receipts to customers, add tips, send invoices, and so much more. Additionally, businesses have the option to text customers a payment link so that customers could pay remotely, which is the ideal choice during COVID.
- Expensive for low-volume and small-sized businesses
- Cannot connect to hardware (cash drawer, barcode scanner)
- For businesses processing up to $500,000 annually: $99
- For businesses processing over $500,000 annually: $199
- For businesses processing over $5,000,000 annually: request a quote to customize
iZettle has won over thousands of merchants with its custom-built card reader which was first introduced in 2016. The card reader of iZettle is robust and flexible for the vast majority of small businesses.
- Low fee: The iZettle card reader only costs £29 (roughly $40) with no hidden fees, no lock-in contract, and no monthly fees. Moreover, the transaction fee for all cards is only 1.75% - a plus for small businesses.
- Device compatibility: iZettle card readers are able to operate on iOS 10 or higher and Android 5.0 or higher, so retailers could make sales regardless of devices.
- Diverse payment options: iZettle offers a bundle of payment options, customers could pay with credit cards or debit cards from Visa, Amex, Mastercard, etc.
- Contactless payment: Besides traditional payment options, iZettle also offers contactless payment. Customers could pay with Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay.
- Low transaction limits for private accounts
- iZettle card reader 2: £29
Why should you integrate your POS system with a mobile card reader?
By combining both the POS system and a mobile card reader, businesses could save hours of bookkeeping and profit analysis. A POS system usually makes an immediate record of every card transaction when checkout. It also keeps track of cash, check, and mobile payments so that retailers could see all the money that goes into the store. Therefore, it is essential for every business to integrate their POS systems with mobile card readers.
What is your choice?
Mobile card readers are a must-have for every type of business, best if it integrates with a POS system. We do believe that this article would help you to have a better understanding of mobile card readers and their important role to businesses. So have you already had a POS system that could connect with the mobile card reader of your choice? Contact ConnectPOS to have the best POS solution that integrates with various payment processors.