The Top 6 Card Readers For Android Phones & Tablets
It sometimes feels like Apple dominates the field when it comes to the availability of credit card reader apps. After all, there are plenty of iOS exclusives, but I can count on one hand the number of Android-exclusive POS apps. It hurts my Android-loving heart, in some ways.
In part, the difficulty with Android-based mobile processing apps is how fractured the Android space is — there are so many devices, and updates to the OS depend on both the device and the cellular carrier. But good Android-based mobile POS apps for credit card processing do exist. You just have to know where to look! Happily, it seems that many companies are starting to understand the importance of accepting Android, and I’ve seen several mobile POS offerings branch into the Android space recently.
Let’s talk about your best options for mobile credit card readers that will work with Android phones and tablets — which ones offer the best experience, the best hardware, and the best pricing!
Other Featured Options:
- SumUp: Best for low-volume sellers.
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
Table of Contents
Who Has The Best Credit Card Reader For Android?
The best credit card readers for Android include a POS app and a Bluetooth or plug-in mobile credit card reader. These mobile readers also have affordable processing rates, good customer support, and helpful features, such as reporting and invoicing. However, the best Android credit card reader for your business depends on your particular selling needs.
- No monthly fee
- Free headphone jack reader
- Free online store
- Affordable contactless & chip reader
- Expensive for higher-volume businesses
- Less account stability compared to a merchant account
Square features in a lot of our articles — and, honestly, that’s because it’s one of the best options out there, period. As far as features, pricing, and hardware, Square is top of the line in each category. Square’s free mobile POS app, blandly named Square Point of Sale, has more features than your standard POS app, even if it doesn’t quite reach the abilities of a full-fledged POS system. Plus, Square throws in invoicing, a customer database, intermediate inventory tools (including item counts), and a free online store, all at no additional cost.
Square runs on a broad range of Android phones and tablets, supporting virtually all Android devices on version 5.0+. However, it’s worth noting that Android tablets and smartphones don’t always support particular features and hardware. For example, Square’s $49 Bluetooth reader for contactless & chip works with Android devices, but peripheral Bluetooth hardware accessories don’t. In addition to the contactless reader, Square also has a magstripe plug-and-play swiper that comes free with every account and works with an Android phone or tablet with a headphone jack. If you want more accessories for a full register setup, you can purchase additional POS hardware from the Square website, including Android-compatible tablet stands.
Square payments process at 2.6% + $0.10 for swiped, dipped, or tapped transactions using Square POS and a mobile card reader. The type of third-party merchant account that Square offers is best for small businesses processing less than $10K/month, though larger businesses will get a better deal if they use a POS app with a first-party merchant account. Third-party processing can be prone to funding holds and account terminations, particularly for higher-risk businesses, and is less affordable for businesses with large transaction sizes.
2. Shopify Lite
- Only $9/month
- Social media selling tools
- Affordable mobile card readers
- Not as many features as Square
I feel like more people need to be aware that Shopify POS is available as a standalone payment processing option for small retail businesses that need a mobile app for selling at markets, fairs, or pop-ups, but maybe don’t want a full-fledged online store. The $9/month Shopify Lite plan gives you access to the Shopify POS app (available on Android devices with versions 5.0+) as well as a few extra tools that allow you to sell on social media — Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and more. The app also comes with invoicing and customizable “buy” buttons for your website.
Shopify Lite mobile payments process at 2.7% per swiped, dipped, or tapped transaction. Invoiced, keyed, and online transactions process for 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. You can take payments using Shopify’s mobile card reader, the Chip & Swipe Reader, which retails for $29. Shopify also has a Bluetooth Tap & Chip reader for $49.
If you want something more resembling a traditional POS setup, with staff PIN access, register shifts, and so on, you’ll need to upgrade to the higher Shopify plan tiers. However, Shopify doesn’t charge any per-device subscriptions, so $79/month for the Shopify standard plan gets you a very powerful eCommerce plan, plus a POS that runs on unlimited devices with quite a few features that bring it on par with traditional POS apps. (Oh, and discounted processing rates, too!)
3. Payment Depot Mobile (SwipeSimple)
Payment Depot Mobile
- Affordable plans for low-volume and high-volume businesses
- Comes with your own merchant account
- Great customer support
- Monthly fee
- Pricey card reader
Payment Depot has mostly operated as a wholesale merchant account provider, offering a whole range of merchant services, from eCommerce to mobile processing. However, we’re happy to say that Payment Depot is now offering an exclusive mobile processing plan to Merchant Maverick readers, one that’s targeted at even low-volume businesses. You can check out our Payment Depot Mobile review for more information.
Payment Depot’s mobile plan includes access to the SwipeSimple app, made by a company called CardFlight. CardFlight actually licenses its solutions to several providers, so pricing and terms vary according to which company you sign up with. Payment Depot is offering its mobile plan for $10/month, with payments processing at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. There are no monthly minimums and no other fees involved. And again, this is a Merchant Maverick exclusive, so you need to use our link to sign up for this plan! Also, high-volume businesses can still access PD’s standard interchange-plus pricing, which may be more cost-effective for them.
The card reader Payment Depot/SwipeSimple uses is the SwipeSimple B250. This powerful and portable $99 Bluetooth reader can accept contactless, EMV, and magstripe cards, using any Android phone or tablet (or iOS device).
The SwipeSimple app and mobile credit card readers are an all-around solid offering with the essential mobile POS app features, plus a customer database, intermediate inventory (including item counts), and a virtual terminal available for no additional cost. You can accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, or any other type of payment, all with the stability of your own merchant account. While it won’t come close to replacing a full-fledged POS app, mobile businesses that need a reliable app and a stable merchant account will enjoy the flexibility that Payment Depot (and SwipeSimple) offer. Payment Depot is also known for its excellent customer support.
4. PayPal Here
- No monthly fee
- Same-day funding to your PayPal account
- Free Chip & Swipe reader
- Accept in-person PayPal payments via a QR code
- Account stability issues
- Not as robust as Square
PayPal is a juggernaut of commerce, and if you want to sell online, accepting PayPal is an easy solution. If you want to accept payments in person, PayPal’s free mobile POS app, PayPal Here, offers a solid range of features. It includes the ability to send invoices from the app or in the dashboard and accept all payment types, from credit cards to Google Pay to PayPal. If you’re already a PayPal seller, you also get the benefit of same-day funding to your PayPal account. The PayPal Here app and readers work with most Android smartphones (version 5 and higher) and most Samsung tablets.
PayPal processes in-person transactions at 2.7% per swipe, dip, or tap. This will come out to be cheaper than Square’s 2.6% + $0.10 if you have a lot of small transactions. PayPal invoices process at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Note that PayPal is a third-party payment processor like Square, so your account could experience the same account stability issues that plague Square — for example, withheld funds on large or suspicious transactions.
New PayPal Here customers can get a free Chip & Swipe Reader or upgrade to the all-in-one Chip & Tap Reader for $59.99 (a bundled charger set is available for $79.99) through which you can accept NFC and EMV chip card payments. PayPal Here also now offers contactless QR code payments. With this feature, customers scan a QR code on your PayPal Here app with their PayPal app and pay right from their phone. PayPal QR codes are only 2.2% per transaction in the PayPal Here app through December 31, 2020, after which the standard rate of 2.7% per PayPal QR code transaction will apply. Note that your customer will have to have the PayPal app on their phone to pay with this method.
PayPal Here is not as robust as Square, and PayPal generally recommends integrating with one of its POS partners if you need more advanced software features. Are you wondering how PayPal Here compares to Square? Check out our Square vs. PayPal article for a direct comparison!
5. Clover Go
- Comes with your own merchant account
- Available from numerous Clover resellers
- Affordable processing rates available
- Syncs with sales from your other Clover devices
- Not all Clover sellers offer fair rates and fees
- Not the best standalone processing solution if you don’t use other Clover POS devices
Clover Go is the mobile app linked to the Clover suite of POS products, owned by merchant account provider Fiserv (formerly First Data). Clover is Fiserv’s flagship software, and accordingly, all Clover devices are sold with a Fiserv merchant account. If you’re already a Clover user — that is, you use a countertop Clover solution such as Clover Station or Clover Mini — and you want to go mobile with your POS, the Android-friendly Clover Go app is the obvious answer because it’s built to be an extension of the full Clover POS app.
Various entities sell Clover, and pricing for the Clover Go app, payment processing, and hardware will vary by the reseller you choose. If you buy from Clover directly, you’ll pay $69 for the reader itself and then $9.95/month on top of your existing Clover software fee, plus 2.7% + $0.10 for processing on the Register Lite plan. Clover also has a $39.95/month plan with cheaper processing, but the features this plan includes can’t be accessed on the Clover Go; you’ll need to use Station, Flex, or Mini. As you can see, these plans aren’t that affordable if all you need is mobile processing. However, Clover Go is a good mobile reader for Androids if you use Clover already and want to add mobile processing that syncs up with your Clover POS sales.
You can also buy Clover Go from other vendors, including Sam’s Club and the Apple Store. Not all Clover Go sellers offer fair rates and fees, however. One Clover reseller we recommend for businesses of all sizes is National Processing. If you sign up for National Processing, you’ll get a free Clover Go, and you’ll pay a $10 monthly fee and interchange plus a 0.2% + $0.10 markup per transaction. (National Processing also sells other Clover POS hardware.)
Curious how Clover Go stacks up with other Android credit card readers? Check out our Square vs. Clover Go comparison! You can also check out our review of Clover Go for a better look at its features.
- No monthly fee
- The card reader has a screen and a PIN pad
- The card reader is only $19
- The 2.75% processing is cheaper than Square for small transactions
- Not as many features as Square
- Third-party processor (less account stability than a merchant account)
Suppose you don’t process credit cards regularly, but you need a simple, straightforward mobile processing option with an Android-compatible credit card reader. In that case, SumUp should be at the top of your list. SumUp is a third-party payment processor similar to Square and PayPal Here. I’ve previously described SumUp as Square’s sophisticated, minimalist European cousin because it delivers all of the essentials with a sleek, simple approach.
SumUp payments process at 2.75% per swiped, dipped, or tapped transaction, with no monthly fee. While you’re not going to save boatloads over the alternatives, low-volume sellers with small transaction sizes may save a modest amount if they use SumUp instead of Square (because that extra $0.10 can really add up if you have a lot of $5-$10 sales). With that said, SumUp doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles as Square. You can check out our Square vs. SumUp comparison for a better look at how SumUp stacks up in terms of features and execution.
SumUp also offers two Bluetooth credit card readers, SumUp Lite and SumUp Plus, each for just $19 apiece. The SumUp Plus is especially impressive because it includes a PIN pad and even a small screen. Most up-to-date Android devices should work with SumUp Plus, including devices by Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Huawei, and others. You can use the SumUp reader to accept magstripe, debit, EMV, and NFC payments on your Android phone. The free SumUp app also includes a product catalog, revenue reports, employee management, and digital receipts. SumUp additionally features some nifty COVID-19 remote payment options, including QR code payments, payment links you can send via text, email, etc., digital gift cards, and a virtual terminal.
How To Find The Best Android Credit Card Reader
If you need a mobile POS app that’s compatible with your Android device, or you’re debating between an Android or iOS device, there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of great Android-based credit card reader apps to choose from, with great pricing and great hardware. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which service is right for you — consider the features you get as well as the pricing.
When choosing a mobile credit card solution, you’ll also need to consider business particulars, such as your monthly sales volume, your average transaction size, and which other sales channels you sell on or want to sell on — whether that’s social media, PayPal, your business website, your countertop POS register, or cash sales. For example, most higher-volume mobile sellers processing more than $10K/month will get lower rates with a merchant account than by using a third-party processor such as Square. Businesses that process a lot of cash sales in addition to credit cards may want to make sure that their Android POS app lets them record cash transactions as well. And if you make a lot of online sales through a platform such as Shopify or PayPal, you’ll want to consider those companies’ respective credit card readers.
Finally, here’s some further reading to help you expand to a countertop Android POS hardware solution when the time comes, accept Google Pay from other Android phones, find out more about mobile credit card readers in general, learn how Square compares to a merchant account, or see what mobile POS options are available for iOS:
- The Best Android POS Options For Small Business
- How To Accept Android Pay
- How To Accept Credit Card Payments On Your Phone: The Complete Guide To Mobile Credit Card Readers
- The Best Mobile Credit Card Readers For iPhone & iPad
- Square VS Merchant Account: How Does Square’s Credit Card Processing Compare To A Good Merchant Account?