Mobile card readers are a great way for small businesses to accept physical sales wherever they are. These readers make it straightforward for customers to pay for a product or service and for you as a business owner to make a sale. Yet, not all mobile card readers are the same since they have different payment processes, systems, and pricing plans.
To choose the best mobile card reader for your business, you’ll need to research the options available. To help you out, this article reviews the best mobile card readers of 2022 for small businesses.
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Mobile Card Readers Comparison
We’ve analyzed the five best mobile card readers available for small businesses in 2022. Here’s a quick overview of them:
|Solution||Cost||Fees||Accepted credit cards||Contactless payment|
|ChargeStripe||Free||1% on each Stripe transaction
(which is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction)
|Credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex, Japan Credit Bureau, China Union Pay, and more||Yes|
(also offered by ChargeStripe)
|Varies||Varies||Credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex, Japan Credit Bureau, China Union Pay, and more||Yes|
|Square Reader for Magstripe||Free for first reader
($10 each thereafter)
|2.65% per credit card transaction||Credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex||With hardware upgrade|
|Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader||$29.00||2.5-2.7% per credit card transaction||Credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex||With hardware upgrade|
|PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader||$24.99||2.7% per credit card transaction||EMV chip cards and traditional magstripe credit and debit cards||No|
Mobile Card Reader Reviews
As a small business owner, you probably already know Stripe, one of the best payment processors available for all types of businesses. You can use Stripe to accept all kinds of payments – from recurring payments to online shopping – but with ChargeStripe, you turn your Stripe account into a powerful, inexpensive mobile card reader.
ChargeStripe is a Stripe verified partner app that helps you transform your phone into a credit card reader. All you have to do is create a Stripe account, if you don’t yet have one, and download ChargeStripe on your mobile device.
With ChargeStripe, it’s possible to take credit card payments from anywhere without the need for a card reader machine. You do this by simply scanning a card with your phone’s camera or adding the card’s details to the payment interface on the app, working like a contactless solution for your physical payments.
You can purchase a card reader through ChargeStripe, either the Stripe or Magtek model, and choose between two different options:
ChargeStripe accepts the same credit cards that Stripe does, making it a complete solution for all businesses and customers.
ChargeStripe’s low pricing makes the app one of the best mobile card readers of 2022 for small businesses. Since it has Stripe integration, the tool will only charge you 1% on top of each transaction (which is 2.9% + $0.30) made within the interface. There are no monthly or extra fees, and you only pay by use.
You can also purchase a Magtek card reader for the following cost:
- iOS card readers: $99 (US users) or $129 (international users)
- Android card readers: $134 (US users) or $164 (international users)
Fees for using ChargeStripe and Stripe remain the same for those businesses using a Magtek card reader.
ChargeStripe also offers the Stripe Terminal, which we’ll get into below.
- Cheapest solution to accept credit cards anywhere
- Charges just 1% above each Stripe transaction (which is 2.9% + $0.30), with no extra or monthly fees
- Fully integrates with a Stripe account
- A contactless option, with no need for a mobile card reader machine
- Easy to use – just download the app and log in
- Offers trustworthy mobile card reader machines for businesses who need them
- Customer support available 24/7
Try the Best Mobile Card Reader of 2022
Stripe Terminal is the mobile card reader solution Stripe offers its customers. You can also order it through ChargeStripe.
The card reader consists of a machine that connects a Stripe account into the offline world, making it possible for retailers and other businesses to manage online and offline shopping within a unique Stripe dashboard.
With Stripe Terminal, you’ll enjoy the following features:
- A simple, unified payment management system for offline and online purchases
- Omnichannel integration for all payment channels, including in-person and online reservations with in-store pickup
- Mobile card reader machines with contactless solutions
- Accepting all credit cards authorized on Stripe’s payment gateway
- Easy scalability with new hardware and remote reader configuration
Stripe offers pre-certified card-readers with cloud-based fleet management for the following prices:
[HAIDEN: could you please update the prices below & in table above with USD amounts? https://stripe.com/en-ca/terminal#pricing
Thanks- they won’t display the US page for me since I’m in Canada.]
- C$79 – BBPOS WisePad 3
- C$299 – BBPOS WisePOS E
If you process large payment volumes or have a unique business model, contact Stripe’s sales team for pricing.
Stripe Terminal Pros
- Stripe solution
- Integrates offline and online purchases
- Mobile reader accepts all types of credit cards and has contactless solutions
Stripe Terminal Cons
- Upgraded hardware is pricier than other readers
Square Reader for Magstripe
Square is one of the most popular payment systems available for all businesses. Like Stripe, they offer a mobile card reader solution for its customers, the Square Reader for Magstripe.
To use this solution to accept credit card payments, all you need to do is download the app (available for iOS and Android), sign up and get a free card swipe reader.
Square’s solution is simple to use and accepts all major credit cards. Once you sign in to Square, you’ll get the free card reader with no monthly fee or long-term commitment required.
The reader works with iOS and Android mobile devices. You simply connect the machine to your smartphone or tablet and open the application. There, you can manage all your purchases and get detailed information about your store’s inventory and budgets.
Square charges a flat 2.65% fee for each credit card transaction made on its terminal. No extra or monthly fees are applied, though.
However, you will be charged if additional service is required, like:
- If you need to add transaction information manually, Square charges 3.4% + $0.15 per transaction.
- To accept magstripe payments, your first reader is free and it’s $10 for each additional reader.
- To accept contactless payments, you’ll need to purchase the Reader for Contactless and Chip for $49 or the Stand for $169.
Square Reader for Magstripe Pros
- Trustworthy payment processor and services
- Free card reader with no monthly fees or long term commitment
Square Reader for Magstripe Cons
- Charges some of the higher fees on the market
- Extra services (contactless payment, manual transactions) require additional fees or equipment purchase
Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader
If you run a Shopify store, the Shopify platform itself offers a good solution for working with in-person sales: the chip and swipe card reader.
The Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader is an app and card reader that connects your Shopify online store to your offline activities, taking payments from customers wherever they are.
You need to have a store based in the US to use Shopify’s card reader. It’s available for all iOS and Android devices (including tablets), accepts payments from American Express, Discover, Visa, and Mastercard, and has 24/7 customer support.
Once the card reader is connected and paired with the device, you can log into your Shopify account using the app and start collecting in-person credit card payments.
[I can’t verify these prices as both items are out of stock & pricing doesn’t show.
Image above is old. Current on website only shows Android compatibility but we said iOS last year- not sure if they discontinued this or it isn’t available:
You’ll need to purchase the card reader for $29 to start using this Shopify solution. If you want to accept contactless payments, you must buy an extra card machine for $49.
For Shopify basic plan users, all in-person transactions will incur a 2.7% fee. But this fee can go as low as 2.5%, depending on the plan you sign up for.
Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader Pros
- Best Shopify store solution for connecting all payments into one platform
- App and card reader are easy to install and use
- 24/7 customer support
Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader Cons
- Only available for US-based Shopify stores
- Need to purchase an extra machine for contactless solutions
- Transaction fees are some of the highest on the market
PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader
PayPal is one of the most popular payment processors worldwide, and it offers a solution for businesses needing to take in-person credit card payments.
The PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader is one of the most easy-to-use and affordable mobile card readers on the market.
PayPal’s mobile card reader uses Bluetooth technology, allowing this machine to accept payments from any credit card within the range of the mobile device to which it’s connected, including an iPhone, Android, or Windows phone. Plus, with PayPal, you can manage all your income in one account, customize receipts, manage inventory, and access multiple online tools and resources.
The reader costs $24.99, and PayPal has a 2.7% flat fee for each transaction. Though there are no monthly or extra fees, you’ll incur a 3.5% + $0.15 fee per manually-entered payment.
PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader Pros
- Trusted PayPal solution
- Uses Bluetooth technology
PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader Cons
- Fee of 3.5% + $0.15 for any manually-entered payment
How to Use ChargeStripe as a Mobile Card Reader
It’s so easy to get started with ChargeStripe as a mobile card reader:
Step 1: Sign in to Stripe
Create a Stripe account and link your bank account to transfer funds.
Step 2: Download ChargeStripe
Download ChargeStripe on your smartphone for free. It’s available for iOS or Android devices.
Step 3: Log in with your Stripe account
Once ChargeStripe is installed on your phone, log in with your Stripe account.
Step 4: Use ChargeStripe as a mobile card reader
Use your contactless mobile card reader simply by logging into ChargeStripe on your smartphone.
Why Should Small Businesses Have Mobile Card Readers?
Each year, an increasing number of people rely on credit and debit cards as their preferred payment method, rather than cash or bank transfers. Don’t miss this opportunity! Make this the year you accept card payments to convert more sales into in-person purchases.
This is a simple and effective way for small businesses to increase their revenue and make it easier for their customers to choose between different payment methods.
Best Mobile Card Readers FAQ
What is the best credit card processing system?
The best credit card processing system is the one that matches your business needs in terms of security, dependability, accepted credit cards options and cost-benefit.
ChargeStripe addresses all of these things, making it one of the best and cheapest options available for all types of businesses. It uses Stripe as a payment gateway and processor and transforms your mobile device into a robust credit card payment machine.
Can I turn my phone into a card reader?
Yes. With the help of ChargeStripe, you can turn your smartphone into a complete card reader with no monthly or subscription fees. You just need to open a Stripe account, download ChargeStripe and start accepting payments through your mobile phone.
Best Mobile Card Readers of 2022 Recap
Above, we presented the best mobile card readers of 2022, which are:
- Stripe Terminal
- Square Reader for Magstripe
- Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader
- PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader
Get started with the best cost-benefit option on the market, ChargeStripe. With it, you can turn your mobile device into a complete credit card reader with just an app, and enjoy lower fees with a high level of service and security.