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The 8 Best Mobile Card Readers For Android Phones & Tablets

More companies are starting to understand the importance of accepting Android, including Square, PayPal, Clover, and more.

    Jason Vissers
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Mobile card reader for Android phones & tablets

Apple seems to dominate the field when it comes to 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’s enough to hurt my Android-loving heart.

In part, the difficulty with credit card apps for Android is the fractured nature of the Android space — there are so many devices, and updates to the OS depend on both the device and the cellular carrier. However, good mobile POS apps for Android credit card processing do exist so long as you know where to look. Fortunately, many companies are coming to understand the importance of accepting Android, and I’ve recently seen several mobile POS offerings branch into the Android space.

We want to highlight your best options for mobile credit card readers that are compatible with Android phones and tablets. Which ones offer the best experience? The best hardware? The best pricing? Keep reading and find out!

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square

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Best overall for most small businesses.
Best overall for most small businesses.

Visit Site

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SumUp

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Best for low-volume sellers.
Best for low-volume sellers.

Visit Site

Read More

Clover Go

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Best for Clover POS sellers.
Best for Clover POS sellers.

Visit Site

Read More

Shopify Lite

Read More

Best for occasional mobile sellers and businesses that sell on social media.
Best for occasional mobile sellers and businesses that sell on social media.

Visit Site

Read More

Payment Depot Mobile

Read More

Best for sellers seeking their own stable merchant account.
Best for sellers seeking their own stable merchant account.

Visit Site

Read More

Other Featured Options:

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

What Makes A Great Credit Card Reader For Android Phones & Tablets?

The same qualities that make for a good mobile card reader for Android phones and tablets make for good card readers in general. Let’s go through what you’ll want from your Android-based card reader.

Bluetooth

If your mobile card reader is Bluetooth-enabled, you’ll be able to connect to your phone or tablet wirelessly, making mobile processing more convenient. Of course, this means you’ll need to keep your device charged.

EMV Support

Early mobile card readers were typically magstripe-only (Square still offers a free magstripe-only reader), but in today’s fraud-conscious world, being able to accept chip card (EMV) transactions is a must. Your customers are likely to be increasingly wary of swiped transactions, given the security issues such transactions present.

NFC Support

With consumers increasingly using their smartphones to make purchases via mobile wallet apps such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, being able to accept NFC transactions will position you well for the future.

The 8 Best Credit Card Readers For Android

The best credit card readers for Android connect to a POS app on your mobile device. The best mobile readers also offer affordable processing rates, good customer support, and helpful features, such as reporting and invoicing. However, the best Android credit card reader for you depends on your particular selling needs.

1. Square

Square



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Best overall for most small businesses.

square contactless & chip reader

Square features in a lot of our articles, as it is one of the best mobile processing options out there. Square ranks near the top when it comes to features, pricing, hardware — you name it. As for Square Point of Sale, this free app (yes, it’s free) has more features than your standard POS app, even if it doesn’t quite match the abilities of a full-fledged POS system. What’s more, Square throws in invoicing, a customer database, intermediate inventory tools (including item counts), and a free online store, all at no additional cost.

Square readers run on a broad range of Android phones and tablets. However, Android tablets and smartphones don’t always support particular features and hardware. For example, Square’s $49 Bluetooth reader for contactless and 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 device 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. 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.

Pros

  • No monthly fee
  • Free headphone jack reader
  • Free online store
  • Affordable contactless and chip reader

Cons

  • Expensive for higher-volume businesses
  • Less account stability compared to a merchant account

Get Started with Square

Read our in-depth review

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2. SumUp

SumUp



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Best for low-volume sellers.

sumup lite and sumup plus mobile credit card readersSuppose 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 Zettle, delivering 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, as that extra $0.10 really adds up when you have a lot of sales under $10. Having said that, SumUp doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles Square offers. See our Square vs. SumUp comparison for a closer look at how SumUp stacks up with Square in terms of features and execution.

SumUp also offers two Bluetooth credit card readers: SumUp Plus ($19) and SumUp Pro ($59). Each reader 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 Plus reader to accept magstripe, debit, EMV, and NFC payments on your Android phone, while the SumUp Pro is a standalone device and doesn’t even need to be paired with your phone or tablet. The free SumUp app also includes a product catalog, revenue reports, employee management, and digital receipts, along with some pandemic-friendly remote payment options, including QR code payments, payment links you can send via text, email, etc., digital gift cards, and a virtual terminal.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Not as many features as Square
  • Third-party processor (less account stability than a merchant account)

Get Started with SumUp

Read our in-depth review

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3. Clover Go

Clover Go



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Best for Clover POS sellers.

clover go hardware

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 POS service, 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. Therefore, pricing for the Clover Go app, payment processing, and hardware will vary depending on the reseller. 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 this plan’s features can’t be accessed on the Clover Go; you’ll need to use Station, Flex, or Mini. While these plans aren’t that affordable if all you need is mobile processing, Clover Go is a good Android credit card reader for existing Clover users who want to add mobile processing that syncs up with their Clover POS sales.

Be aware that not all Clover Go sellers offer fair rates and fees. 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. Check out our Square vs. Clover Go comparison to see how it measures up to Square.

Pros

  • It comes with your own merchant account
  • Available from numerous Clover resellers
  • Affordable processing rates are available
  • Syncs with sales from your other Clover devices

Cons

  • Not all Clover sellers offer fair rates and fees
  • Not the best standalone processing solution if you don’t use other Clover POS devices

Get Started with Clover Go

Read our in-depth review

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4. Shopify Lite

Shopify Lite



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Best for occasional mobile sellers.shopify lite review

People know Shopify as an eCommerce giant, but not everyone is 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 don’t need 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, etc. 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 while also offering the Chipper 2X BT reader, also for $49. Unfortunately, the Tap & Chip Reader is currently on backorder, and the Chip & Swipe Reader shows as “Sold Out” — you may have to wait a bit to get your hands on either reader.

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, discounted processing rates, plus a POS that runs on unlimited devices with quite a few features that bring it on par with traditional POS apps.

Pros

  • Only $9/month
  • Social media selling tools
  • Affordable mobile card readers

Cons

  • Not as many features as Square

Get Started with Shopify Lite

Read our in-depth review

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5. Payment Depot Mobile (SwipeSimple)

Payment Depot Mobile



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Best for sellers seeking their own stable merchant account.

swipesimple bluetooth card readers

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. 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, combining essential mobile POS app features with a customer database, intermediate inventory (including item counts), and a virtual terminal, 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.

Pros

  • Affordable plans for low-volume and high-volume businesses
  • It comes with your own merchant account
  • Great customer support

Cons

  • Monthly fee
  • Pricey card reader

Get Started with Payment Depot Mobile

Read our in-depth review

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6. PayPal Zettle

PayPal Zettle



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Best for PayPal sellers.

paypal zettle

PayPal is a juggernaut of commerce, and if you want to sell online, accepting PayPal Zettle is an easy solution. If you want to accept payments in person, PayPal’s free mobile POS app, PayPal Zettle, 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 Zettle app and readers work with most Android smartphones (version 5+) and most Samsung tablets.

PayPal Zettle processes in-person transactions at 2.29% + $0.09 per swipe, dip, or tap — cheaper than Square’s in-person transaction rate of 2.6% + $0.10. 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.

PayPal Zettle users can get their first Zettle Reader 2 for $29 (each subsequent one will be $79). It’s an all-in-one device that accepts NFC and EMV payments and includes a PIN pad (owing to its European heritage). PayPal Zettle also now offers contactless QR code payments. With this feature, customers scan a QR code on your Zettle app with their PayPal app and pay right from their phone, with the payment processing at the same rate as ordinary Zettle transactions. Note that your customers will need to have the PayPal app on their phones to pay with this method.

PayPal Zettle isn’t quite as robust as Square, and PayPal generally recommends integrating with one of its POS partners if you need more advanced software features. If you’re curious about how PayPal Zettle compares to Square, see our Square vs. PayPal article.

Pros

  • No monthly fee
  • Same-day funding to your PayPal account
  • Zettle Reader 2 is inexpensive and has a PIN pad
  • Accept in-person PayPal payments via a QR code

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Not as robust as Square

Read our in-depth review

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7. QuickBooks GoPayment

Intuit GoPayment



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Best for existing QuickBooks users.

QuickBooks GoPayment (formerly Intuit GoPayment) is a mobile payment app and card reader that works with Android phones and tablets. Feature-wise, GoPayment doesn’t quite stack up with the likes of Square. However, if you’re already a happy QuickBooks user, you’ll be able to integrate with the QuickBooks platform, giving you a solid mobile processing solution.

The Bluetooth-enabled QuickBooks Card Reader currently goes for $49 and accepts both EMV (chip) and NFC (mobile wallet) transactions. What you pay per transaction will depend on your payments plan. Under the non-monthly plan, you’ll pay no monthly fees and 2.4% + $0.25 per transaction. With the monthly plan, you’ll pay $20/month and 1.6% + $0.25 per transaction.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive card reader
  • Discounted processing for merchants who pay $20/month
  • No setup or application fee

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • Limited features

Get Started with Intuit GoPayment

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8. Helcim

Helcim



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Best for higher-volume sellers.

With interchange-plus pricing and a strong feature lineup, Helcim provides a solid mobile processing option for businesses processing upward of $5K-$10K/month. It’s also a scalable option — you can use it either for mobile processing only or on a tablet or desktop. Features include customer management, inventory tracking, and foodservice management.

At $109, the Helcim Card Reader is a bit pricier than other options, though this represents a price cut compared to a short time ago when the reader was going for $199. It is fully mobile, includes a PIN pad, and works with Android devices. All in all, Helcim is a great option for higher-volume sellers seeking the stability of a traditional merchant account.

Pros

  • Excellent customer support
  • Exclusive interchange-plus processing rates
  • Accepts international payments
  • Processing costs decrease with business growth

Cons

  • The card reader is a bit pricey
  • Processing costs decrease with business growth

Get Started with Helcim

Read our in-depth review

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Android Credit Card Processing Options Without A Card Swiper

As it happens, new technology provides merchants with several ways to accept payments without even requiring a card swiper. Let’s explore a few of these payment methods.

  • QR Codes: With QR code payments, your customer scans a two-dimensional barcode with their phone’s camera and is then prompted to open a website or app through which the payment is completed, using either a credit card or a mobile wallet, such as PayPal or Apple Pay.
  • Payment Links: With payment links, you can directly invoice your customers by sending them a URL (or a QR code as described above) via text, email, or messaging app. When clicked, the link launches the online transaction process.
  • Virtual Terminal: A virtual terminal allows you to manually enter your customer’s credit card information via an internet browser and submit the transaction for processing. A virtual terminal lets you accept payments remotely or in person from your computer.

How To Find The Best Android Credit Card Reader For Your Business

If you need a mobile POS app that’s compatible with your Android device, or you’re debating between an Android or iOS device, don’t fret. 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 need as well as the pricing.

When choosing a mobile credit card solution, you’ll also need to consider business particulars. These include 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.

Here’s some further reading to help you expand to a countertop Android POS hardware solution when the time comes, 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:

In Summary: The 8 Best Credit Card Readers For Android

  1. Square: Best overall for most small businesses.
  2. SumUp: Best for low-volume sellers.
  3. Clover Go: Best for Clover POS sellers.
  4. Shopify Lite: Best for occasional mobile sellers and businesses that sell on social media.
  5. Payment Depot Mobile: Best for sellers seeking their own stable merchant account.
  6. PayPal Zettle: Best for PayPal sellers.
  7. Intuit GoPayment: Best for existing QuickBooks users.
  8. Helcim: Best for higher-volume sellers.
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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