Updated August 31, 2023

Best Mobile Credit Card Processing of 2024

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Starting a small business? See the top mobile credit card processors for an affordable, easy payment solution.

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

Who are the best mobile credit card processors?
The best mobile credit card processors are:

  1. Square for Small Business
  2. Shopify POS Lite for Online Merchants with Pop-Up Shops
  3. QuickBooks GoPayment for Businesses Using QuickBooks
  4. Stax for High-Volume Businesses
  5. PayPal Zettle for Flexible Payment Options
  6. PayAnywhere for Businesses on a Budget

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

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 to learn about each one and their features and differences.

Square: Best Overall for Small Mobile Business

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, an 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.

Also, Square offers one of the most robust mobile POS systems. Functions include emailing/texting receipts, setting discounts, accepting gift cards, issuing refunds, reviewing sales data reports, and managing inventory.

For businesses with higher needs, you can add on services like a loyalty program, employee management, and marketing.

Why We Like It:
It's easy to get started with Square. You don't need to worry about underwriting if you're a new or small business. And if you don't quite have a budget, the free card reader makes it even more accessible to start.

The flat rate also makes it predictable for your business. That way, you can plan your payments and avoid surprise fees.

The many features are also useful for your business's day-to-day operations. Not to mention, you don't have to stick with using mPOS alone. Square is an all-in-one POS platform, after all.

Where It Fell Short:
Square makes it easy and affordable for new small businesses to set up, though the transaction cost could become quite high for higher volume businesses.

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

Keep in mind that not going through underwriting for approval puts your funds at risk. Especially if the company thinks your transactions are fraudulent or risky.

When Should You Make The Switch From Square
Square is ideal for new and small businesses. But as you scale, you will end up outgrowing the software since:

  • With a higher sales volume, you could save more on processing fees with other merchant service providers
  • With a growing number of transactions, you become considered as a high-risk business which Square does not support[1]
  • You're better off not risking your funds to freezes or account closures
  • As a growing business, you'll need better customer support

If you process more than $10,000/mo, you can check out Dharma Merchant Services. Or if you go over $25,000/mo, check out Stax. Read about the best credit card processors to choose from when you shop around.

Shopify POS Lite: Best for Online Merchants with Pop-Up Shops

Cost:

  • Free with all Shopify plans
  • In-person credit card rates: starts at 0% + $0[2]
  • Actual transaction fees depend on your Shopify plan
  • Shopify monthly fee: starts at $29/mo

Shopify doesn't just let you create an online store. This huge e-commerce platform also offers in-person card payment processing. It's ideal for small online merchants who also set up booths at fairs, markets, trade shows, etc.

There are two POS plans to choose from which are POS Lite and POS Pro. But the POS Pro will cost you an additional $89/mo per location.

With the POS Lite, you get simple features like order and product management and customer profiles. And just like other mPOS, you only need your smartphone or tablet to start.

Why We Like It:
You don't have any additional fees to access their mPOS. Subscribe to any Shopify plan according to your budget, and you'll be taking payments on the go in no time.

There are three ways to take card payments. POS Go is a complete mobile POS device with a barcode scanner, card reader, WiFi, etc. The mobile credit card readers, on the other hand, let you take tap and chip card payments.

And if you have an iPhone? You don't even need additional hardware. You can accept contactless payments with just that through Tap to Pay.

Where It Fell Short:
There's no way to access the mPOS without subscribing to a Shopify plan. It can get pricey if you're on a budget. And if you want more POS features, an additional $89/mo isn't exactly cheap.

Not to mention, you can only scale, get unlimited staff, and have smart inventory management features through the Pro plan.

Quickbooks GoPayment: Best for Businesses Using QuickBooks

Cost:[3]

  • 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 their 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.

Why We Like It:
No additional monthly fees and a free card reader? There's nothing to hate about that. And unlike other competitors on this list, you get to take tap, dip, and digital wallet payments in one card reader. It's more convenient that way.

If you choose to purchase more readers, it will cost you $49 to $79. This depends on whether you need the power stand. But the good news is that you don't even need a card reader to start.

Take payments through your mobile device with the GoPayment App. You can manually enter the card details of your customers. You can even keep cards on file for your regulars to save some time.

Where It Fell Short:
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.

Stax: Best for High-Volume Businesses

Cost[4]:

  • Starts at $99 per month
  • Card-present Transactions: Interchange + $0.08 per transaction
  • Keyed and Online Transactions: Interchange + $0.18 per transaction

Stax offers a unique subscription pricing structure that works well for high-volume businesses. The starter tier plan costs $99 per month and charges just a small per-transaction fee plus the required interchange fee with no additional markup.

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 Stax 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. And it supports in-app invoicing and basic inventory management.

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

Why We Like It:
You can accept swipe, dip, and contactless payments. It's more convenient for your customers having these choices.

Plus, you can monitor your business in real time through the mobile app. View reports and track statuses. Don't miss out on any transactions wherever you go.

And if you happen to forget your mobile reader, you can use the app to accept credit card payments. Just use your smartphone camera to scan your customer's credit card. This way, you get to accept keyed-in payments from the dashboard.

Where It Fell Short:
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.

PayPal Zettle: Best for Flexible Payment Options

Cost[5]:

  • Swipe, chip, and tap (US cards): 2.29% + $0.09
  • QR code transactions $10.01 and above: 1.90% + $0.10
  • QR code transactions $10 and under: 2.40% + $0.05
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.49% + $0.09
  • Invoice: 3.49% + $0.49

If you already use PayPal's merchant services, it makes sense to also use PayPal Zettle, PayPal's mobile payment solution.

It accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as the ability to accept PayPal and Venmo 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, PayPal Zettle offers more payment flexibility to customers.

PayPal Here charges a flat 2.29% + $0.09 fee for in-person card payments, which works best for small low-volume businesses. Payments via PayPal or Venmo QR code can even get a lower processing rate.

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

The PayPal Zettle 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.

Why We Like It:
Use the card reader to take payments. Have it with you on the go, or place it on your counter. They have a dock for that.

Also, the first card reader will cost you $29 while additional readers cost $79. The good news though? The POS app is completely free.

Through the app, you get to accept QR code payments through your smartphone or tablet - no readers required. But your customers will have to have their PayPal app.[6]

Where It Fell Short:
There is no free mobile reader. And additional readers are pricey.

If you're a busy restaurant or food truck, take note that you'll have to charge your reader every 8 hours (or after 100 transactions). A good battery life is around 12 hours. You might consider purchasing another reader for backup.

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:[7]

  • 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).

You can accept offline payments even if you don't have an internet connection. Next-day funding is also 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.

Why We Like It:
PayAnywhere has a 3-in-1 mobile card reader. It lets you accept magstripe payments, EMV chip cards, and contactless payments such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. More options mean your customers can pay however they'd like.

For more security, you can even ask them to sign on payments through your phone. Or have them tip you with preset tip amounts.

And if you have multiple mobile readers? You can label each to know where it's at. You can also see how much sales you make from them and their precise locations.

We haven't told you the best part. What's great about Payanywhere is you can test the app if it works for you — no account needed. You'll find the test drive option once you download the app.

Where It Fell Short:
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 2.75% per in-person transaction pricing[8].

  • 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.

References

  1. ^ Square. Prohibited Goods and Services, Retrieved 03/23/23
  2. ^ Shopify. Pricing, Retrieved 03/23/23
  3. ^ Intuit QuickBooks. QuickBooks GoPayment Transaction Fees, Retrieved 09/09/2022
  4. ^ Stax. Stax Fees, Retrieved 09/09/2022
  5. ^ Paypal. Paypal Zettle Transaction Fees, Retrieved 09/09/2022
  6. ^ PayPal. PayPal QR Code Payments, Retrieved 03/23/23
  7. ^ Payanywhere. Payanywhere Transaction Fees, Retrieved 09/09/2022
  8. ^ SumUp. SumUp Processing Fees, Retrieved 09/09/2022

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