The Best Mobile Credit Card Readers For iPhone & iPad
Whether you’ve been in business many years or you are just opening up shop for the very first time, finding a credit card swiper for your iPhone is no light decision.
The tricky part is finding the right option for your specific type of business. That’s because it’s not just about the card reader; you have to consider the features that accompany it, not to mention the company behind it.
Read on! We are going to show you some of the best options that we’ve tested so you can choose what’s best for your small business, whatever stage you’re in.
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
How To Find The Best iPad or iPhone Credit Card Reader
Now, more than ever, customers expect that they’ll have more options to pay. If you haven’t made the plunge, now is the perfect time to start offering your customers more ways to pay with mobile credit card payments. You’ve got a myriad of choices, but which card reader is best for iPhone credit card processing?
When we built this list, we took into consideration several factors, including:
- Compatibility of credit card reader with iPhone
- Initial and recurring costs
- Bluetooth connection
- Hardware options
- Credit card processing app features
- Business type
Let’s dig into each of our top picks and show you what they’ve got!
The Best Credit Card Readers For iPad & iPhone Users
We looked at compatibility to find card readers for iPads and iPhones, of course, but we also looked at account fees and processing fees, ease of use, and the business tools you might find on the backend (like reporting and other free tools and features). If you want to really understand what’s behind each company, be sure to click to read the full review so that you can get a clearer idea of what each solution offers and make the best decision for your business.
Without further ado, here’s a list of our favorite card swipers and mobile apps for iPhones and iPads, as well as why we like them.
1. Payment Depot (Swipe Simple)
Payment Depot Mobile
- Pro: Free and low-cost readers, robust business tools
- Con: Not suitable for high-risk industries
- Pricing: Merchant Maverick readers can get special pricing at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction with a $10 monthly account fee and a free reader (or $25 to upgrade to a contactless reader).
Payment Depot (read our review) offers a subscription-based pricing model for its merchant accounts, with a host of software options for businesses to choose from (including Clover). Standard pricing plans for Payment Depot start at $49/month, with transactions processing at interchange + $0.15. However, if you’re looking for a mobile solution that runs on an iPad or iPhone, Payment Depot offers the Swipe Simple app, and Merchant Maverick readers can get access to special pricing that’s competitive even for low-volume merchants.
Swipe Simple is a very functional credit card processing app. It runs on iPhone and iPad devices, as well as Android hardware. It even comes with a demo mode so you can test out the app before you sign up, which is always nice to see. There’s limited inventory management, but you can track stock counts. There’s even an offline mode. Check out our Payment Depot Mobile/Swipe Simple review for a closer look at the software.
In addition to the app, Payment Depot offers a choice of two readers with Swipe Simple. The Swift B200, a Bluetooth-enabled reader that supports magstripe and chip card transactions, is the free option for merchants. If you’d like to add contactless payments, you can get the Swift B250 for just $25, and we think that’s a fantastic price for an all-in-one card reader.
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- Pro: Predictable flat-rate pricing, no monthly fees, and robust feature set
- Con: Some account stability issues inherent with third party processing, not suitable for high-risk industries
- Pricing: Tapped, dipped, and swiped payments accepted at the POS app are 2.6% + $0.10. Your fee is 3.5% + $0.15 for card on file transactions and manually entered payments. For invoices and online payments, you’ll pay 2.9% + $0.30.
Square’s mobile point-of-sale app, simply called Square Point of Sale, gets a lot of love, and rightfully so. The app is completely free to use and you’ll find a lot of business tools waiting for you at your dashboard like reporting, customer engagement tools, employee management, invoicing, and more.
The Square Point of Sale app supports both iOS and Android devices, but certain features are not universally supported. An iPad gives you access to the vast majority of these features, but the iPhone supports all of the core features and many of the secondary, non-universal features. Check out our in-depth Square POS review for a comprehensive look at the free POS app and its features. For a closer look at the rest of Square’s products, check out our complete Square review.
Square’s pricing makes it very attractive for low-volume and startup businesses, and there is also an assortment of hardware options available to make it easy to scale.
When you sign up for your free Square account, you can choose which model of reader you need. Square offers a free magstripe swipe readers but after the first one, you’ll pay $10 per reader. However, we strongly recommend the EMV chip reader over the free magstripe options, especially if you’re doing a consistent volume of business or large transactions. Square’s Contactless + Chip Reader supports both EMV and contactless NFC payments, which gives your customers more ways to pay while offering the best security and fraud protection for you as a business owner.
The Contactless + Chip Reader sells for $49, but Square does offer financing for any hardware $49 and up. Need more options in hardware? Square also offers the Square Stand for contactless and chip, the Square Terminal, and Square Register. You can also purchase cash drawers and receipt printers directly from Square. For more hardware options, you can check out A Guide to Square Credit Card Readers & POS Bundles for an in-depth look at your options.
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3. Shopify Lite
- Pro: Flexible buy buttons and pricing options, many inventory tools such as bulk-upload products, creating collections, and great sales channel management tools with Facebook and Instagram.
- Con: Some account stability issues inherent with third party processing
- Pricing: You have a few options in readers, starting at $29 for the Chip & Swipe Reader (read our review) with a risk-free trial period. Shopify Lite will run you $9/month and 2.7% per transaction.
Shopify is mostly known for its eCommerce platform, but it has also developed a notably powerful POS app that integrates with its online shopping tools. Shopify POS is included for free in all standard Shopify eCommerce plans, but if you don’t need a full eCommerce shop and focus instead on social selling, we suggest considering another option that may be perfect for you: Shopify Lite (read our review), 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 an iPad offers the best user experience and access to the most features. However, keep in mind that the Lite plan is still limited even with an iPad; specifically, there’s no support for a cash drawer, barcode scanner, or receipt printer. Those features are only accessible with the Shopify Basic plan, which costs $29/month and includes a full web store with unlimited products.
Overall, Shopify is a wonderful option for those of you wanting to take the leap into online selling, while still getting a credit card swiper for your iPhone to take in-person payments as well. And when you’d like to expand and feature a full eCommerce shop, you have several ways to do that through Shopify’s tiered monthly packages.
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- Pro: Predictable and transparent pricing, no cancellation fees
- Con: Missing some features from Enterprise Plan such as data breach protection
- Pricing: $99 /month and $0.15 plus interchange fees (no percentage markup) per transaction. Hardware costs are disclosed with a salesperson at sign up.
Fattmerchant operates on a subscription pricing model. For businesses processing less than $500,000 annually, the Fattmerchant Starter Platform has been designed for you to accept payments with their mobile device card reader.
Fattmerchant offers choice in card readers for BlueTooth connectivity via the BBPOS Chipper BT and the BBPOS Chipper 2X BT. The Chipper BT model supports both magstripe and chip card transactions and connects to your device via Bluetooth. The Chipper X2 adds contactless payment support to the magstripe and chip card readers and also connects via Bluetooth. Fattmerchant now offers even more mobile card reader options so that you can connect for 3G and wifi with the Dejavoo Z1 and Z9, both wireless readers. With the Z1, you can email customers their receipt, while the Dejavoo Z9 has a built-in printer.
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5. PayPal Here
- Pro: Transparent pricing, customer trust, great selection of BlueTooth readers
- Con: More expensive compared to other options, expect some account stability issues
- Pricing: 2.7% when you swipe, dip or tap or 3.5% plus $0.15 for manually entered transactions
PayPal Here integrates with the rest of PayPal’s services so that you can sell online and in-person seamlessly, much like Square. While it doesn’t offer quite as many features as Square, it’s still a very functional mobile app. Check out our PayPal Here review for a closer look at all the features.
PayPal does occasionally run promotions for free readers; you can get the PayPal Chip & Swipe reader for free through June 30, 2020 (regularly $24.99).
PayPal offers several other options, including the PayPal Chip and Tap reader for $59.99 (or the bundle with dock for $79.99), the PayPal Chip Card Reader with pin pad for $99.99, and the PayPal Mobile Card Reader for $19.99. We strongly caution against the magstripe reader as your account will have limits to processing, and the security features are limited.
However, there’s yet another option for iPad users who want a more robust software option: Vend (read our review) with a PayPal integration. You’ll get PayPal’s 2.7% rate for payment processing with no monthly fee from PayPal. If you process more than $10K, you likely qualify for a lower rate. Of course, you’ll have to choose your Vend plan and get the appropriate hardware. You’ll need the PayPal Chip Card Reader, which goes for $99.
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Which iPhone Credit Card Reader Is Best For You?
Finding the best credit card readers for iPhone users goes way beyond the reader itself. 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 of the options in iPhone readers has pros and cons, but there’s likely one or two that hit the sweet spot in price and features. Not quite sure yet? Check out our post on the Best Credit Card Readers For Your Small Business for a deeper dive to help you make the best decision for your small business. Or if free is more your speed, check out The Best Free Credit Card Readers For Small Business and find out how to spot a good option — and when to pass.
In Summary: The Best Credit Card Readers For iPad & iPhone Users
- Payment Depot Mobile: Payment Depot tops the list for its predictable pricing and free starter reader (or competitively priced contactless option), and it offers excellent account stability overall.
- Square: With a free POS with tons of features to explore, low-cost readers, and no binding contracts, Square offers one of the best bangs for your buck in the industry.
- Shopify Lite: Shopify Lite is ideal for anyone who sells on social platforms and supplements with in-person sales. With predictable pricing and lots of room for growth, the Shopify platform is our top pick for eCommerce plus in-person selling.
- Fattmerchant: Fatthmerchant offers account stability and a very transparent pricing model with zero cancellation fees. We like their Enterprise plan for mobile users who want options in hardware to process payments on their iPhone.
- PayPal Here: PayPal inherently instills trust with customers, as it's one of the most recognizable brands in the mobile payment processing industry. We like the transparent pricing and robust options in payment readers for iPhones.