Coupled with a mobile checkout app, the best credit card reader for iPhone can allow you to accept and process credit cards through Magstripe, chip, and even contactless payment.
Ultimately, the best credit card reader for your iPhone should accept all types of payment methods (touched, dipped, or swiped) and be compatible with convenient POS software and cost-effective payment processors. These iPhone-compatible credit card readers meet the criteria.
When the iPhone came out, few thought it would fuel small business growth, but that’s exactly what happened. Now even food trucks and merchants can accept cashless credit cards on iPhones.
To receive credit card reader for iPhone, you need:
- Apple device (iPhone or iPad) connected to Wi-Fi or cellular coverage
- Credit card reader by a mobile payment provider
- Credit card processing app downloaded on a mobile device
Choosing the right service is essential as monthly fees and transaction fees can get in your way. We’ve identified the six best credit card apps with the best value for money.
Square – many POS and payment tools
Card reader options:
- Reader/magnetic stripe: the first free
- Reader/contactless and SIM card: $49
- No contract, no monthly fees
- Swipe, EMV, and Touch Speed: 2.6% + 10¢
- Typed cards: 3.5% + 15¢
Square distinguishes itself with its extensive and easy-to-use free tools and back office. Traders have no obligations and do not have to sign a contract. You only pay a one-time fee of 2.6% + 10 per swipe, dip, and tap on any of Square’s card terminals or 3.5% + 15 per keyed-in transaction. Square is also one of the few mobile card reader companies that don’t require credit verification.
Square will transfer the amount the next business day if the transaction takes place before 5 pm – otherwise, you will receive it the next business day. There is also a direct transfer option for instant payments to bank accounts (1.5% fee) or you can order the free square debit card for real-time access to funds.
Square’s best credit card reader for iPhone — Contactless and Chip Reader — costs $49 and comes with a free magnetic stripe reader with a Lightning plug for newer iPhones or an audio plug for older models.
In addition to a beautiful product library with detailed product information, the free software allows you to add multiple team accounts (advanced permissions have a fee), add discounts, track inventory, and more. Square is expandable with more advanced retail and restaurant POS systems, reservation systems, marketing, customer loyalty tools, e-commerce, and many partner apps.
It is recommended to use the latest iOS app available for the best app performance. The most common complaint about Square was poor customer service, leading people to look for alternatives to Square.
SumUp – cheapest 3-in-1 card reader
- SumUp Plus Card Reader: $19
- No contract, no monthly fees
- Swipe, EMV, and touch speed: 2.75%
- Typed cards: 3.25% + 15¢
SumUp credit card reader for iPhone has no monthly fees, minimum sales requirements, or other ongoing charges. You pay just $19 for the SumUp Plus card reader (the lowest price for any credit card reader with contactless, chip, and swipe functionality), then a flat 2.75% on all payments made with it.
Every SumUp merchant has access to a virtual remote payment terminal, which can be used in the app or the web browser. Payment links and QR codes can also be sent to customers so they can pay on their phones. These keyed-in trades cost 3.25% + $0.15 each.
The SumUp Plus credit card reader for iPhone is an inexpensive, powerful terminal from SumUp.
The app is free, includes backend dashboard analytics and basic sales reports for any business. Transactions are paid to your chosen bank account within 1-2 business days.
While simple, SumUp has useful features such as a product library, the ability to create various employee user accounts, and electronic gift cards. You can also process refunds and connect the credit card reader for iPhone to compatible receipt printers if email or SMS receipts aren’t enough.
PayPal Zettle – Online Account Payments
- PayPal Zettle Card Reader: $29
- No contract, no monthly fees
- EMV and Call Rate: 2.29% + 9¢
- Key cards: 3.49% + 9¢
- Other Fees: 1.5% Cross Border Fee, 3% Currency Conversion Fee
PayPal is already popular for online payments, and with PayPal Zettle (replacing the old PayPal Here), the company also has a slice of the mobile payments market.
The PayPal Zettle app allows merchants to accept payments from most credit cards at 2.29% + 9 per swipe and 3.49% + 9 per manually entered card. Foreign cards are subject to an additional 1.5% international fee plus a 3% currency conversion fee, if applicable.
The PayPal Zettle terminal is a stylish credit card reader with a PIN code and a small display. It can be purchased in black or white for $29.
All transactions are automatically deposited into your online PayPal account and must be manually transferred to your bank account. Alternatively, you can get PayPal Business Debit Mastercard to spend money directly from your e-money account.
In addition to the ability to record cash sales in the app, PayPal Zettle merchants can accept gift cards, QR code payments, and send customers invoices and payment links. There’s also a product library with stock photos and levels, sales reports, and discount options.
Its main advantage is the ability to integrate the account with the online payment features available on the PayPal Business platform.
Payanywhere – Competitive For Low-Volume Sellers
- Card reader options:
- Swipe and SIM reader: the first free
- Swipe, chip, and touch reader: $49.95
- Swipe, EMV, and touch speed: 2.69%
- Typed cards: 3.49% + 19¢
- No monthly fee for Pay As You Go, only $3.99 monthly inactivity fee after 12 months of no transactions
- For monthly billing less than $10,000
Payanywhere’s pay-as-you-go business app costs nothing monthly and even comes with a free EMV and swipe reader (if in stock). The 3-in-1 credit card reader for iPhone that also supports contactless costs $49.95. The fee for swipe, dip, and touch payments is 2.69% for this plan, while keyed-in transactions carry a fee of 3.49% + 19¢.
If you haven’t made a single transaction in the past 12 months, you’ll pay a $3.99 monthly inactivity fee. This fee no longer applies once you make the first payment again.
The pay-as-you-go plan is only suitable for businesses with monthly card bills less than $10,000. If you reach that limit, Payanywhere is known to automatically put you in another trade agreement with new rates and terms.
Transactions processed before 5 pm will be deposited into your bank account the next business day free of charge; Processed after 5 pm may arrive in your bank account the next business day. There is also a same-day transfer option at an additional cost of 1%.
The Payanywhere app has great reporting features that let you customize analytics to focus on sales, payment methods, and employee performance. You also get open tickets and tabs, billing, inventory features, and more. Overall, Payanywhere offers good value for money.
CloverGo – comes with a seller account
- Payments ($0/month) and Essentials ($9.95/month): 2.6% + 10¢ per card reader payment
- Register: $39.95/month, 2.3% + 10 per card reader payment
- All cards with key: 3.5% + 10¢
- Swipe, Chip, and Clover Touch Reader: $99
Clover credit card reader for iPhone offers a full range of point-of-sale (POS) products that adapt to most POS systems, from an iPhone credit card reader (Clover Go) to full-featured POS hardware and software. All Clover products come with a merchant account for stable mobile credit card processing.
The rates have been simplified somewhat in recent years. It used to be that you had to get a contract through partner banks like Bank of America. You can now subscribe to the Clover website at no cost (payment plan) for payments only, $9.95 per month for basic inventory features (Essentials plan), or $39.95 per month for advanced inventory management.
Essentials and Payments have higher transaction costs of 2.6% + 10¢. Register subscription has more POS features and a lower card fee of 2.3% + 10¢ for EMV, Swipe, and NFC (contactless) payments. The card reader costs $99 regardless of the plan. All plans charge 3.5% + 10¢ for key-in card payments.
You can also get an offer with a monthly (cancellable) subscription from Payline, where the cost is based on the specific payment card accepted. The payline requires a monthly minimum of $25 in card processing fees, so this option is best suited for those with consistent sales volume.
Essentials offer useful features such as workforce management (e.g. payroll, shifts, permissions), benefits, and dashboard reporting. The Register app can process exchanges, send coupons in response to customer feedback, add tips to checks, and more.
QuickBooks GoPayment – Good Accounting Integration
- QuickBooks Card Reader: $49
- QuickBooks Users:
- Pay as you go, 2.4% + 25¢ per crane/dive, 3.4% + 25¢ with key
- + $9.95/month PCI compliance
- QuickBooks Desktop Users:
- No monthly fee: 2.4% + 30 cents per touch/dive, 3.5% + 30 cents with key, $9.95/month PCI compliant
- $20/month: 1.6% + 30¢ per crane/dive, 3.3% + 30¢ with key
QuickBooks GoPayment (formerly Intuit GoPayment) was one of the first players to target small businesses with the ability to accept payments anytime, anywhere.
The credit card payment application can be used without a monthly subscription as long as you are subscribed to a QuickBooks Online or Desktop accounting package.
QuickBooks Online subscribers can use the GoPayment app on a pay-as-you-go basis, in which case card reader payments will be 2.4% + 25¢ and keyed-in transactions will be 3.4% + 25.
With a QuickBooks Desktop subscription, you can opt for a $20 monthly subscription, which reduces contactless and EMV transaction fees to 1.6% + 30¢, while keyed-in transactions are 3.3% + 30 each. There’s also a pay-as-you-go option for desktop users, with higher rates of 2.4% + 30¢ for EMV and contactless, or 3.5% + 30 for typed card payments.
PCI compliance costs $9.95 per month for each usage-based subscription but is included in the monthly subscription for desktop subscribers.
POS capabilities include personalized digital receipts and up to 50 user accounts, meaning all your employees can accept payments on the go.
Since Intuit is the maker of QuickBooks accounting software for small businesses, one of its standout features is automatic syncing with QuickBooks, although it requires an additional subscription.
Helcim card reader: best for high sales volumes
It accepts magnetic stripe, chip, and contactless payment methods.
Fees: Vary by card type and average monthly transaction total.
- No monthly fees.
- It processes all three payment types.
- It has a screen to display transaction details.
- Helcim has a good range of POS software features.
- Transaction costs are not easy to understand and can be difficult to estimate.
Why we like it: Helcim charges transaction fees based on card networks’ interchange fees, which are determined by several factors, including the individual card a customer uses, such as Mastercard or Visa. This Helcim credit card reader for iPhone can be a more cost-effective option for businesses with high sales volume — typically businesses that have $10,000 or more in card processing per month. It also offers volume-based discounts, which apply a fee discount based on your average monthly transactions. Basically, the bigger your transaction total, the bigger your discount.
iPhone credit card readers comparison
|Reader||Price||Types of Payments||Fees|
|Clover Go||$99.||Chip, contactless and magstripe.||2.3% plus 10 cents and up.|
|SumUp Plus||$19.||Chip, contactless and magstripe.||2.75% plus 10 cents and up.|
|Payanywhere 3-in-1||$49.95.||Chip, contactless and magstripe.||2.69% and up.|
|Square Contactless and Chip||$49.||Chip and contactless.||2.6% plus 10 cents and up.|
|PayPal Zettle||$79 ($29 for new customers).||Chip and contactless.||1.9% plus 10 cents and up.|
|QuickBooks||$49.||Chip and contactless.||2.4% plus 25 cents and up.|
|Helcim||$199.||Chip, contactless and magstripe.||Varies by card type.|