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The Best Mobile Credit Card Readers For iPhone & iPad Credit Card Processing

Need an iPhone credit card reader that’s friendly to small business? Check out our guide to the best iOS credit card readers, including pricing and key features.

    Jason Vissers
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Credit card reader for iPhone

Whether you’ve just started accepting credit cards or you need a more mobile option, an iPhone-based credit card reader can be an affordable and convenient option. For those who want a bit more screen real estate, an iPad credit card reader can offer much of the same flexibility, too.

However, the tricky part about finding the right iOS-compatible mobile card acceptance solution is that it’s not just about the card reader. You have to consider the features that accompany it, and even more importantly, the credit card processing costs and services behind it.

In this post, we’re going to show you some of the best options that we’ve tested so that you can determine what iPhone and iPad card readers and credit card processing apps are best for your small business, whatever your needs are. Read on for the full story!

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanySummaryNext StepsSummary
Square

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  • Readers cost $0-$49
  • Chip, contactless, & magstripe payments supported
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Readers cost $0-$49
  • Chip, contactless, & magstripe payments supported
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction

Visit Site

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National Processing

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  • The cost of the Clover Go reader isn't disclosed
  • Chip, contactless & magstripe payments supported
  • Interchange + 0.18% + $0.10 per transaction (retail package)
  • The cost of the Clover Go reader isn't disclosed
  • Chip, contactless & magstripe payments supported
  • Interchange + 0.18% + $0.10 per transaction (retail package)

Visit Site

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Payment Depot Mobile

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  • Readers go for $0-$25 for Merchant Maverick readers
  • Chip, contactless, & magstripe payments supported
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for Merchant Maverick readers
  • Readers go for $0-$25 for Merchant Maverick readers
  • Chip, contactless, & magstripe payments supported
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for Merchant Maverick readers

Visit Site

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Shopify Lite

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  • Readers cost $49
  • Chip, contactless & magstripe payments supported
  • 2.7% per transaction
  • Readers cost $49
  • Chip, contactless & magstripe payments supported
  • 2.7% per transaction

Visit Site

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PayPal Zettle

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  • The reader costs $29 for the first device, $79 for all subsequent devices
  • Chip, contactless, and PIN payments supported
  • 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction
  • The reader costs $29 for the first device, $79 for all subsequent devices
  • Chip, contactless, and PIN payments supported
  • 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

How To Find The Best iPad Or iPhone Credit Card Reader

Are you looking for the best credit card readers for your iPhone or iPad? You’re in the right place. With businesses having to adjust to new social distancing measures, you may now have to offer curbside pickup or delivery options when that wasn’t part of your original plan. That means mobile payment apps are becoming crucial to adapt and succeed in many industries.

The best mobile POS providers offer iPhone and iPad credit card readers that accept chip, contactless, and sometimes even old-fashioned magstripe payments. When building our list of the best iPhone credit card apps and processing options, we took into consideration several other factors, including:

  • Compatibility of the credit card reader with the iPhone
  • Initial and recurring costs
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Hardware options
  • Credit card processing app features
  • Your business type
  • Your sales volume
  • The credit card processor’s reputation

Let’s dig into each of our top picks and show you what iPhone or iPad credit card processing platform is best for your small business. Bear in mind that the processing rate given for each vendor is for swiped/dipped/tapped transactions — keyed-in transactions will always cost more.

The Best Credit Card Readers For iPhone & iPad

With a credit card reader for your iPhone or iPad, you can take payments anywhere. A great iPhone card reader is affordable and set up for magstripe, chip card, and even contactless payments. The mobile app will also have essential features for running your business smoothly.

1. Square: Best All-Around

Square



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Pros

  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • No monthly fees
  • Robust feature set
  • No cancellation fees

Cons

  • Some account stability issues inherent with third-party processing
  • Not for high-risk industries

Square is best for businesses that process less than $5,000/month or can’t get a traditional merchant account due to lack of business history. Square’s mobile point of sale app, simply called Square Point of Sale, gets a lot of love, and rightfully so. The app carries no monthly or annual fees, and you’ll find a lot of business tools waiting for you at your dashboard, such as reporting, customer engagement tools, employee management, invoicing, and more.

Square POS Hardware

The Square Reader for contactless and chip

Square offers two credit card readers for iPhones: the free Square Reader for magstripe and the Square Reader for contactless and chip. The magstripe-only free Square reader should suffice for very small-time sellers. However, most businesses will want the increased capabilities and payment security of the contactless + chip reader — especially as NFC payments become more commonplace and magstripe technology approaches obsolescence. Let’s go through the details:

  • Pricing: The Square Reader for magstripe is free, while the Square Reader for contactless and chip goes for $49. Processing card payments costs 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction.
  • Payment Acceptance: No mysteries here! The Square Reader for magstripe only accepts magstripe payments, while the Square Reader for contactless and chip accepts contactless and chip payments.

For more hardware options, check out The Complete Guide To Choosing Square POS Credit Card Readers & Cash Register Bundles for an in-depth look at your choices.

Get Started with Square

Read our in-depth review

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2. National Processing (Clover Go): Best For Retail Merchants

National Processing



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Pros

  • Low-cost echeck and ACH processing
  • Excellent online reputation
  • Month-to-month billing

Cons

  • Contract needed for the free terminal (not for the Clover Go)
  • Early termination fee charged in some cases

National Processing is a traditional merchant account provider. The company is best for small businesses that anticipate growth because of its clear, transparent pricing, with no processing volume limits. With a National Processing credit card processing agreement, you’ll also get the Clover Go reader and mPOS app, which offers payment flexibility and covers all the basic features you’ll need.

National Processing Hardware

credit card reader for iphone

Clover Go Reader, iPhone compatible. Web capture of Clover.com 2020

While the Clover Go iPhone credit card reader may be relatively basic in its feature set, Clover Go (which other resellers also offer) now supports variable pricing and pricing per unit, customizable tips, and customizable tax. You can issue full or partial refunds in the app as well. It doesn’t have robust inventory counts, though. As it happens, National Processing has several other mobile processing options for you, including SwipeSimple, which works great on an iPad, iPhone, or Android. You also have several countertop terminal options.

  • Pricing: Pricing for the Clover Go reader isn’t disclosed on National Processing’s website (though it used to be free). For processing, you’ll pay the interchange rate + 0.18% + $0.10 per transaction if you get the retail package and interchange + 0.14% + $0.07 with the restaurant package. There’s also a $9.95 monthly fee.
  • Payment Acceptance: The Clover Go mobile card reader accepts magstripe, chip, and contactless payments.

Get Started with National Processing

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3. Payment Depot (SwipeSimple): Best For Established Businesses

Payment Depot Mobile



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Pros

  • Glowing customer reviews
  • Free reader for Merchant Maverick readers
  • Robust business tools
  • No cancellation fees

Cons

  • Not for high-risk industries
  • Not ideal for low-volume businesses

Payment Depot offers mobile processing in the form of SwipeSimple, a very functional credit card processing app compatible with iPhones, iPads, and most Android hardware. Backed by the stability of a traditional merchant account, SwipeSimple comes with a demo mode, so you can test out the app before you sign up. There’s limited inventory management, but you can track stock counts. It even has an offline mode, which can be important for merchants on the go. Check out our Payment Depot Mobile/SwipeSimple review for a closer look at the software.

SwipeSimple Hardware

The SwipeSimple B250 reader

SwipeSimple offers two iOS-compatible mobile card readers: the SwipeSimple B200 and the SwipeSimple B250. Let’s go through the key facts regarding SwipeSimple’s card reader options:

  • Pricing: Merchant Maverick readers can get the B200 for free and the B250 for $25. For processing, our readers can get special pricing at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction with a $10 monthly fee.
  • Payment Acceptance: The B200 accepts chip and magstripe payments, while the B250 accepts contactless, chip, and magstripe payments.

Get Started with Payment Depot Mobile

Read our in-depth review

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4. Shopify Lite: Best For Multi-Channel Sellers

Shopify Lite



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Read our Review

Pros

  • Pricing is good for small-ticket sellers
  • Flexible buy buttons for online selling
  • Month-to-month pricing
  • No cancellation fees

Cons

  • Some account stability issues inherent with third-party processing
  • Not for high-risk businesses

Shopify is mostly known for its eCommerce platform, but it has also developed a powerful credit card processing app that integrates with its online shopping tools. All standard Shopify eCommerce plans include Shopify POS for free. If you don’t need a full eCommerce shop and focus instead on social selling, we recommend Shopify Lite, which lets you create “buy” buttons, run a Facebook store for online sales, and create shoppable Instagram posts.

The POS app runs on both Android and iOS, but it is the best credit card reader for an iPad, as it offers the best user experience and access to the most features. However, the Lite plan is still limited, even with an iPad. You’ll need the Shopify Basic plan ($29/month) to get support for a cash drawer, barcode scanner, or receipt printer.

Shopify Hardware

As far as iPhone card readers go, Shopify offers three options: the Chip & Swipe Reader (now Android only), the Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader, and the iOS-exclusive Chipper 2X BT reader. Unfortunately, the Tap & Chip reader is currently out of stock and Shopify estimates they won’t have more until late 2022. The Chipper reader is functionally the only option then. Read our Shopify hardware guide for more on your options, including printers, barcode scanners, and more.

  • Pricing: The Chipper 2X BT reader goes for $49 (the same price as the Tap & Chip reader). As for payment processing, you’ll pay 2.7% per transaction. A Shopify Lite subscription costs $9/month, but if you also want a full online store, you’ll need at least a Shopify Basic subscription ($29/month).
  • Payment Acceptance: The Tap & Chip Card Reader takes contactless and chip payments. The Chipper 2X BT reader takes all three: magstripe, chip, and contactless.

For merchants with small average tickets, the 2.7% in-person processing rate is actually quite good. With the 2.6% + $0.10 rate offered by processors such as Square and Payment Depot/SwipeSimple, that extra 10 cents really adds up when you’re processing lots of small transactions.

Get Started with Shopify Lite

Read our in-depth review

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5. PayPal Zettle: Best For New Sellers

PayPal Zettle



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Read our Review

Pros

  • Transparent pricing structure
  • Customer trust with name recognition
  • Magstripe + chip + contactless + PIN

Cons

  • Spotty customer service
  • Account stability issues

PayPal Zettle is PayPal’s new mobile processing solution. Along with the capable mPOS, you’ll get access to PayPal’s comprehensive ecosystem of merchant tools. As a third-party processor, PayPal offers a welcoming platform for the new or lower-volume businesses, though, of course, you’ll have to deal with the risk of account holds/terminations.

PayPal Zettle Hardware

paypal zettle

The Zettle Reader 2 is unique in that it accepts chip and contactless payments (there is no magstripe support) while sporting a PIN pad as well. This setup is commonplace for iPhone card readers in Europe, where Zettle originated before being bought by PayPal. It’s a very handy device for the price, and the app offers inventory features, reporting, refunds (full and partial), and support for register setups. Zettle integrates with the rest of PayPal’s services so that you can sell online and in-person seamlessly, much as with Square. While it doesn’t offer as many features as Square, it’s still a very functional mobile app. Read our PayPal Zettle review for a closer look.

  • Pricing: The Zettle Reader 2 costs $29 for the first device and $79 for any subsequent ones. For processing, you’ll pay 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction. There are no monthly fees for a standard PayPal account (which is all you need to sell with Zettle).
  • Payment Acceptance: The Zettle Reader 2 accepts magstripe, contactless, and chip payments. Its PIN pad lets you process debit charges in the most secure way possible.

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

iPhone Credit Card Readers To Avoid

If you’re looking for one of the companies below, read on to find out why they didn’t make our list of best credit card readers for the iPad and iPhone.

PayAnywhere

While PayAnywhere offers a tempting deal, including a nice magstripe and chip iPad credit card reader, we can’t recommend it as a top choice. We don’t like the non-transparent, tiered pricing plans that can leave merchants paying more than they should with little accountability. We also found numerous public complaints that pointed to poor customer support. Another red flag we found: potentially deceptive sales tactics.

While this option may work for some merchants, we found too many potential issues to recommend this company at the moment. For more details, check out our full PayAnywhere review.

QuickBooks GoPayment

QuickBooks GoPayment is a solid iPhone credit card reader + mPOS if you’re a user of QuickBooks accounting software. However, as a standalone product, there are better options. QuickBooks GoPayment charges a $0.25 per-transaction fee (plus 1.6% or 2.4% depending on whether you’re on the no-fee plan or the $20/month plan), making smaller transactions more expensive to process. What’s more, the app’s limited features don’t justify the expense.

SumUp

Based in the UK, SumUp now offers its mPOS + credit card reader for iPhones and iPads to businesses in the US. On the bright side, it provides a stylish magstripe +chip + contactless + PIN card reader, much like the Zettle Reader 2 (only this one is just $19). It processes transactions at a 2.75% rate, which is only slightly higher than Shopify’s rate and benefits small-ticket merchants as it is a flat percentage without a fixed fee.

However, the SumUp app doesn’t offer enough features to include it as one of our top choices here. If SumUp beefs up its feature offerings to match what it offers in the UK, though, we’ll revisit this decision, as we really love the device itself.

Can You Take Credit Card Payments Without A Card Swiper?

The short answer to this question is that you absolutely can take credit card payments without a mobile card reader. QR code payments — payments in which the customer scans a funky square barcode with their iPhone or Android cameras and then completes the payment on their own device — are becoming increasingly common (and understood by consumers) during the COVID era.

Likewise, many processors now support payment links. With payment links, you directly invoice a customer by sending them a text or email with a URL or QR code that launches the transaction process. It’s great for freelancers, professional service workers, and others who need an easy way to bill clients and can even be used by occasional in-person vendors.

However, for most businesses, these payment methods are best offered in conjunction with an actual physical credit card reader, not as a replacement for such readers.

Which Card Reader For iPhone/iPad Is Best For You?

When considering the best credit card reader for iPhone users, our research into mobile credit card processing went way beyond just the card readers, as should yours. Your business size, preferences in aesthetics, and your current business model, along with your goals for growth, should be a part of your overall decision-making process.

Each iPhone credit card reader we’ve shared has its pros and cons, but there’s likely one or two that hit your sweet spot in terms of pricing and features. You may also want to check out our post, 11 Credit Card Processors With The Lowest Fees & The Cheapest Ways To Accept Credit Card Payments. While there is no one-size-fits-all choice, we hope that these lists can help you get a picture of the strongest and most reputable options.

In Summary: The Best Credit Card Readers For iPhone & iPad

  1. Square:
    • Readers cost $0-$49
    • Chip, contactless, & magstripe payments supported
    • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  2. National Processing:
    • The cost of the Clover Go reader isn't disclosed
    • Chip, contactless & magstripe payments supported
    • Interchange + 0.18% + $0.10 per transaction (retail package)
  3. Payment Depot Mobile:
    • Readers go for $0-$25 for Merchant Maverick readers
    • Chip, contactless, & magstripe payments supported
    • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for Merchant Maverick readers
  4. Shopify Lite:
    • Readers cost $49
    • Chip, contactless & magstripe payments supported
    • 2.7% per transaction
  5. PayPal Zettle:
    • The reader costs $29 for the first device, $79 for all subsequent devices
    • Chip, contactless, and PIN payments supported
    • 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction
Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Jason Vissers has been researching, analyzing, and writing about small business software and finance since 2015. His financial expertise has been cited in numerous publications, including The Ladders. Jason graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001.
Jason Vissers
View Jason Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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