Card readers for business: 10 Best Credit Card Readers For Small Business Of July 2023 – Forbes Advisor

Free Mobile Credit Card Reader

Square Reader for magstripe

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Accept credit cards anywhere

Square’s free credit card reader works with the free Square Point of Sale app to let everyone accept swipe payments on their smartphone or tablet.

Fast setup, no commitments

Sign up for Square and we’ll drop your free card reader in the mail—no commitments or long-term contracts.

Clear pricing, fast transfers

Pay 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Get your money as fast as the next business day.

Learn more about Square Payments

Works with iOS and Android

With two versions of Square Reader for magstripe—one for a headset jack, the other a Lightning connector—you’re covered. Just pick the credit card reader that works for you.

Get paid any way you like with the Square Point of Sale app.
Take payments at the counter or on the go, remotely through invoices, or by manually entering card numbers.

Run your business anywhere—all in one place.

Square Point of Sale is a free, easy-to-use app that gives you everything you need to manage your business.

Try it out

Serious security

Credit card information is encrypted at the moment of swipe. Square doesn’t store card data on your device after a payment has been processed.

Learn more about security

No charging necessary

Square Reader fits right in your pocket, and with no battery to keep charged, you’re ready to sell and process payments wherever business takes you.

No signal, no problem
Swipe payments without a connection in Offline Mode and pay the usual 2. 6% + 10¢ per swipe.

Send receipts digitally, or print like usual

Send receipts via email or text message, or connect a receipt printer to a tablet. Your customers can even leave you private feedback directly through their digital receipt.

Pro tip: Improve your tips
Customers tip right on the device in one easy, math-free motion—easier for them and better for your business.

Accept chip cards and Apple Pay, too

With Square Reader for contactless and chip, you connect wirelessly to your device to accept contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and chip cards, too.

Square Reader for contactless and chip
(2nd generation) $59

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Take payments and print receipts, all in one

Square Terminal is a portable credit card machine that accepts every card payment — tap, dip, and swipe. Take payments, print receipts, get paid fast.

Square Terminal $299

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at sign-up for your first card reader*


for each additional reader

2.6% + 10 cents

per swipe.

Get a free reader

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Frequently asked questions

  • What is Square Reader for magstripe?

    Square Reader for magstripe works with the free Square Point of Sale app to let you accept swiped card payments on your phone or tablet.

  • How much does Square Reader for magstripe cost?

    Your first Square Reader for magstripe is free. Additional readers are $10. Sign up for an account to receive your free Square Reader for magstripe.

    Sign up now

  • What devices can you connect to Square Reader for magstripe?

    You can connect your Square Reader for magstripe to a variety of Apple or Android phones and tablets. We offer two versions of Square Reader for magstripe depending on your device — one with a lightning connector and the other with a 3.5mm headset jack.

    Explore our full list of compatible devices and software

  • How do you connect Square Reader for magstripe?

    Square Reader for magstripe simply needs to be inserted into your compatible phone or tablet, allowing you to easily swipe payment cards.

    Learn how to swipe card payments with Square Reader for magstripe

  • Does Square Reader for magstripe need Wi-Fi for connectivity?

    Square Reader for magstripe does not need Wi-Fi to process payments. When you don’t have a Wi-Fi or internet connection, you can use Offline Mode in the Square Point of Sale app to take payments.

    Learn more about Offline Mode

  • Does Square Reader for magstripe need to be charged?

    Square Reader for magstripe does not need to be charged.

  • Does Square Reader for magstripe accept dip and tap payments?

    No, Square Reader for magstripe only accepts swiped (magstripe card) payments. To accept dip (chip card) and tap (contactless) payments, try Square Reader for contactless and chip.

Available at local retailers

See retailers

Other hardware options

Square Reader for contactless & chip

Simple, portable, and exceptionally fast

Learn more

Square Terminal

A mobile all-in-one credit card machine

Learn more

Square Stand

A powerful iPad POS for your countertop

Learn more

Start taking contactless payments with just your phone today.

Discover Tap to Pay on iPhone

Discover Tap to Pay on Android

*Offer is limited to one redemption per Square account holder.

Magstripe card reader – Technical Specifications


Headphone jack

Headphone jack

Lightning connector

Lightning connector
iPhone and iPad only


Square Reader for magstripe device compatibility

Square Reader for magstripe works with most phones and tablets.
Plug it into your phone or tablet and use any Square POS app to take payments.

Check your specific device

Using the headphone jack you can also plug Square Reader into your MacBook and Chromebook computer and take payments with Square Virtual Terminal.


Square Reader for magstripe dimensions and measurements

Square Reader for magstripe dimensions (Lightning):

  • Height: 1. 58 in. (40 mm)
  • Width: 1.06 in. (27 mm)
  • Depth: 0.3 in. (8 mm)

Square Reader for magstripe dimensions (headset jack):

  • Height: 1.76 in. (45 mm)
  • Width: 1.06 in. (27 mm)
  • Depth: .3 in. (8 mm)

In the box

In the box

Square Reader for magstripe


Square Reader payment types accepted

Magnetic-stripe cards

Processing fees

Square Reader for magstripe processing fees

2.6% + 10 cents
Per swipe.

No monthly fees or long-term commitments.
Custom rates available for businesses that process $250k+ annually.

Contact sales to talk about custom rates
Learn more about payments


Square reader for magstripe software compatibility

Free, powerful software to run any business.
Square has a variety of POS options to best support you and your unique business needs. Reader supports all Square point of sale solutions.

Learn about Square point of sale options

Power modes

No charging needed





.23 oz. (7g)


Square Reader is compatible with a wide range of third-party hardware accessories, like receipt printers, scales, and bar code scanners.

Shop accessories for Square Reader
See all accessories you can connect to Square hardware


Square Reader is covered by a six months limited warranty. Plus, you can get free help from our customer support team during business hours. Access the Square Reader guide for handy tutorial videos and common troubleshooting steps, or get in touch with our product specialists.

* Offer expires October 7, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. PST or while supplies last, whichever comes first. Offer for 20% off cost of one Square Terminal, Square Register, Square Stand, Square Stand Mount, Square Reader for contactless and chip, excluding applicable taxes. Each code is limited to one redemption per New-to-Square Hardware account holder. Valid for Square customers located in the US only with a U.S. bank account. Offer not valid with guest checkout. Square reserves the right to modify, revoke or cancel the offer at any time. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Void where prohibited, not redeemable for cash, and non-transferable.


If you’re a small business, you’ll need a way to accept debit and credit card payments. Hence the importance of card readers. There are many card readers available on the market, but choosing the right card reader can help your business run more efficiently. So, in this guide, we will show you a complete list of the best card readers for your business, including free options, as well as tips on how to get a free mobile credit card reader.

What is a card reader?

A card reader is an electronic device that is used to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. They are also known as POS machines, card machines, PDQ machines, and chip and pin machines. Card readers can be wireless or connected to a cash register or PC. Paying with a credit card is becoming an increasingly common payment method in stores, and giving shoppers more payment options can benefit your business.

The best credit card readers for your business

Here are some of the best card readers for your business: click-to-pay cards and smartphone apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Instead of connecting directly to the device, Bluetooth technology is used, which allows you to keep your phone or tablet near, but not always away from home.

The reader must be charged, but the charging dock can also serve as a stand or tabletop for the reader. You can also use a USB charger to charge.

No. 2. Clover Go

Clover credit card reader connects to phones and tablets via Bluetooth. It also accepts all types of credit card payments, including magnetic stripe-only cards, chip cards, and contactless payments.

It costs $49 and you can choose between $0 Starter Monthly Plan and $14.9 Regular Monthly Plan5 dollars. Both offer basic payment processing as well as real-time assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On the other hand, the basic plan contains additional features such as sales tracking, extensive reporting, inventory management, and itemized orders.

#3. Paypal Zettle

Zettle by PayPal accepts chip and contactless payments, but not magnetic stripes. However, customers can pay using QR codes on the PayPal and Venmo platforms. Its POS software provides sales data, inventory management, sales performance tracking, and other features.

Transaction fees are generally comparable to competitors, with lower fees available for QR code transactions. All funds are transferred to your PayPal account and not to your bank account. Before you can use funds outside of PayPal, you must request a transfer to your company’s bank account.

No. 4. SumUp Pro

The SumUp Plus credit card reader is powerful and tiny, works via Bluetooth with Apple and Android devices and promises more than 500 transactions on a single battery. In addition to the screen that displays transaction details, the reader has several POS software features that allow you to manage products in your catalog, track sales, send digital receipts, and manage staff accounts. However, you may find that the generic POS does not match the more trusted alternatives on the market.

SumUp simply charges transaction fees and does not charge monthly fees. By connecting to the SumUp app, you can order a reader for $35 and start accepting card transactions in minutes.

No. 5. Clover Flex

Clover Flex is a compact yet rugged credit card reader. It can accept all three types of credit cards, read barcodes, and even print receipts. It is one of the few native screen solutions in this category, eliminating the need for a personal device and providing customers with a more professional experience when ordering on the spot.

Clover Flex, depending on your monthly package, can help you manage inventory, analyze sales data and set up unique employee logins. The price is $499, but the manufacturer provides payment plans to share the cost. Payment processing fees are determined by your pricing plan.

No. 6. Helcim card reader

The Helcim card reader allows chip and contactless payments, but cannot scan magnetic stripe cards. Because it connects via Bluetooth, it needs to be charged. It also offers POS software through the Helcim app, with capabilities such as customer management and inventory tracking, as well as analytics and reporting. Its self-service site, which allows users to log in and view their payment details and transaction history, is a unique feature.

No. 7. Toast Go 2

Toast Go 2 allows you to take orders at tables and accept all three payment methods. It’s also water resistant, has a 24-hour battery life, and features a 6.4-inch touchscreen for quick checkout. The free version of the Toast POS software includes basic features such as point of sale and payment processing, but subscription plans provide more advanced features.

Processing cost for free monthly pay-as-you-go plan with basic features is 2.99% + 15 cents for each transaction in person. If you pay for your hardware upfront and pay an additional $69.00 monthly software fee, the cost drops to 2.49% plus 15 cents. Other programs have higher monthly rates or are calculated based on quotes. One disadvantage is that the company requires contracts. Return to the top

#8. Square terminal


Square Terminal supports all three credit card payment methods: chip, contactless and magnetic stripe. And at a price of 29At $9, it sits at the bottom of the price range for universal card readers.

Regular company fixed processing charges apply and vary depending on whether you launch the card in person or enter it manually. There are no monthly obligations.

No. 9. Square stand

The square stand is designed for one smart device: the iPad, although it is only compatible with select iPad devices. Insert your iPad into the square stand and use it as a desktop POS. With this setup, you can provide a larger screen for transaction data, and the rotate option allows customers to sign in on an iPad without handing over the device. It can accept chip and contactless payments, but not magnetic stripe payments unless you’ve purchased a Square Reader.

The typical company charge for credit cards is 2. 6% plus 10 cents, with prices increasing to 3.5% plus 15 cents for methods other than swipe, chip or contactless.

No. 10. Clover Mini

Clover Mini is a desktop configuration that does not require a tablet. This allows your company to accept multiple types of payments, generate receipts, and scan barcodes. With premium monthly plans, you also get some cool POS features like inventory, customer and staff management.

This item costs $749. Payment processing fees are determined by your Clover plan.

No. 11. Clover Station Solo

Clover Station Solo is a checkout type system that provides merchants with a 14″ HD screen and receipt printer to complete the checkout process. The system integrates with Clover retail outlet to provide payment processing, inventory and personnel management, reporting and other functions. For restaurants, Station Solo is perfect for personalizing and tracking orders, managing table maps, and more.

No. 12. Square Register

Square Register is Square’s first fully integrated credit card scanner and comprehensive desktop POS system that accepts magnetic cards, chip cards and contactless payment methods. It has two screens – one for the employee and one for the consumer – to simplify the work. It also has a very long wire that allows businesses to detach the registry from the client’s screen to cause social sharing. Its program offers inventory, personnel, and customer relationship management features, as well as a reporting suite for viewing sales data.

This small business credit card reader will set you back $799, though there are payment plans available. It accepts transactions at regular Square rates.

No. 13 Clover Station Duo

With a 14″ screen for you and a 7″ screen for your customers, the Clover Station Duo raises the bar. Now customers can confirm orders and pay for them in any way they want, including credit cards, debit cards and contactless payment methods. Station Duo is designed for retail outlets, restaurants and service organizations and has more power than Station Solo.

Although the most expensive option, Station Duo is currently sold with a cash drawer and receipt printer, giving you a complete set of payment options.

Choosing the best free mobile credit card reader for your business

There is no single source that can provide the lowest prices for every merchant. What may be a relatively inexpensive answer for you may not be for someone else. Paying the least amount of money for processing is also pointless if you have to worry about your account being frozen or closed unexpectedly, or if customer assistance is inadequate to fix technical issues when they occur.

When deciding which free card reader is right for your small business, keep the following points in mind:

  • What features are included with the reader?
  • How much does processing cost?
  • Do you work on a monthly basis or will you have a long term contract?
  • Is there a penalty for early departure?
  • What are the reader connection options?
  • What is the battery life?

These questions will help you track the fundamentals of your business and determine the most important details for you when choosing the best free mobile credit card reader.

What is the best free mobile credit card reader for your business?

Your options for a free mobile credit card reader for your business include:

#1. Square

If you run a small business with low volumes, Square is a good credit card processing alternative. There are no monthly fees or long-term obligations, and you can open an account online rather than go through the lengthy underwriting process required for a full-service merchant account. Each personal transaction costs a flat 2.6% + $0.10, making it easy to predict your processing costs.

Square is not available to most high-risk businesses and, if you have a high monthly processing volume, may be more expensive than a normal trading account.

No. 2. Go to Clover

National Processing provides clear exchange prices plus retail transactions at exchange + 0.18% + 0.10 USD per transaction. If you need to close your account, it offers monthly pricing with no early termination costs. You’ll also get more account stability with this classic merchant account than with payment service providers (PSPs) like Square and PayPal.

It’s worth noting that National Processing provides a wide range of options tailored to specific industries and businesses. Not all of these plans have a free Clover Go card reader (they have a SwipeSimple reader instead). Monthly rates range from $9.95 to $199 with additional charges for additional features such as ACH processing.

The Clover Go battery can process up to 160 card or chip card transactions.

No. 3. National Processing

National Processing is one of the few processing companies that specializes in meeting the needs of small business owners. Products and services include powerful support for both low cost mobile processing systems and more traditional credit card terminals. The Clover Go and SwipeSimple B250 mobile card readers described elsewhere in this article can be purchased from the company.


Payment Terminal

Payment Depot is one of the few merchant service providers that offer membership pricing where you pay a flat monthly subscription price in exchange for not having to pay a 10% surcharge on transaction fees. Of course, you will still be charged exchange fees, but this type of pricing can save some firms hundreds of dollars a month. Payment Depot has a variety of pricing plans with varying monthly subscription fees and processing limits.

No. 5. Stax by Fattmerchant

Stax by Fattmerchant was one of the first to introduce membership pricing that bundles all of your monthly recurring payments into a single subscription fee and eliminates the percentage markup on your transactions. This type of pricing can save some businesses a significant amount of money in overall processing costs, but it works best for businesses with high volumes (at least $10,000 per month). Stax provides real monthly billing without early termination penalties and long-term contracts.

Which company card reader is better?


Square is considered the company’s best card reader.

Is Square Card Reader free?

Square provides a free magnetic stripe reader to all new sellers and the full price is only $10 if you need more.

How much does a card reader cost?

A card reader can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000, depending on the features you want and the company you buy them from.

Do I need a merchant account to use a card reader for my small business?

Not always. Some card readers, such as Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle, allow users to process transactions using their personal accounts without the need for a merchant account. However, other card readers may require a merchant account in order for you to use their services. To make sure you have all the required accounts set up, it’s best to contact your card reader vendor before making a purchase.

How do I issue a refund or void a transaction using a card reader?

Depending on the card reader you are using, there are several steps to return or cancel your purchase. Some card readers offer a built-in void or refund feature that is accessed either by the hardware or the accompanying software. In some cases, you may be required to sign in to an online account in order to process a return or cancellation. For further instructions, it is best to refer to the card reader supplier’s literature or contact customer support.

Can I use my card reader to receive payments from customers remotely?

Your card reader will determine this. Sending a payment link to consumers via email or text message allows you to accept payments remotely using select card readers, including Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle. Others may require the customer to be there to make a purchase. It is important to ask your card reader provider about remote payment options.

Will my card reader work with all types of credit and debit cards?

Major credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover, are supported by most card readers. To make sure your gadget is compatible with the cards you expect it to accept, it’s best to check with your card reader supplier. Some card types, such as those issued by certain banks or from other countries, may not be supported by all card readers.

Are there any additional costs associated with using a card reader for my small business?

Using a card reader will cost you differently depending on the device and service provider. Some card readers require only one upfront payment and do not charge any additional monthly or transaction fees. Others may charge a flat monthly fee or a portion of each transaction as a fee. Some card readers may also charge extra for things like refunds or refunds. To find out about all the costs associated with using their gadget, it is best to ask the supplier of the card reader.

How do I make sure my card reader is PCI compliant?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) set by major credit card companies to ensure that merchants securely process and send cardholder data is referred to as PCI compliance. If you want to make sure your card reader is PCI compliant, you should contact the card reader vendor to determine if the device is PCI compliant. You should also adhere to standard cardholder data protection practices, such as creating secure passwords and frequently updating device software.

Can I use my card reader to receive payments from other countries?

The use of a card reader matters. Some card readers, including Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle, can accept payments from other countries. It is best to check with your card reader supplier to ensure that the device can be used for international transactions and to inquire about any additional costs that may be associated with this.

Can I track my sales and transactions with a card reader?

Yes, most card readers provide built-in reporting and analytics tools to track your sales and transactions, including Square, PayPal Here and iZettle. Some card readers also have additional features, including accounting integration, customer relationship management, and inventory management. It is important to inquire about sales and transaction tracking alternatives with your card reader supplier.

In conclusion

The best small business card reader is the one that best suits your needs and fits your budget. Before making a decision, evaluate the processing fee, features, ease of use, and customer reviews.

All of the options mentioned above can provide you with a high quality reader and mobile app that will allow you to start accepting credit cards. While each organization has its own set of limitations, they all offer outstanding services to small businesses like yours. Some, however, are better suited to specific industries than others, so do your homework before choosing the best service for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

How do card machines make money?

They make money by charging a transaction fee and providing additional services associated with a card reader account, thus minimizing the initial cost.

How much does it cost for a small business to accept credit cards?

Credit card processing fees typically range from 1.5% to 3.5% of the entire transaction amount.

Can I use my phone as a card reader?

You can use your phone as a card reader. However, your mobile device must be running an NFC-enabled Android operating system. In addition, in order to continue and receive payments, you must download the Tap On Phone compliant Viva Wallet POS application and register a business account.

They make money by charging a transaction fee and providing add-on services linked to the card reader account, which keeps the start-up cost minimal.

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Credit card processing fees normally range from 1.5% to 3.5% of the entire transaction amount.

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“@type”: “Question”,
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You can use your phone as a card reader. However, your mobile device must have an Android operating system that supports NFC. Furthermore, in order to proceed and receive payments, you must download the Tap On Phone qualified Viva Wallet POS app and register a business account.


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Card reader with MobileMate Duo 9 adapter0001
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USB 2.0 and SD adapter for mobile devices

Points of sale for card readers with SanDisk adapter

  • Overview
  • Features
  • Features
  • Warranty
  • Where to buy

Transfer files between your computer and mobile device faster than ever before

The SanDisk MobileMate Duo Card Reader makes it easy to transfer files between your computer and any other microSD card-enabled device. Multifunctional compact card reader for smartphones and tablets comes with an SD™ adapter that allows you to use microSD™ cards in devices that use SD cards.

Plug-and-play installation on connection, no software required

MobileMate Duo is automatically configured upon connection and does not require additional drivers or software. To transfer files, simply insert a microSD card into the card reader and plug it into your computer’s USB port.

USB 2.0 for high-speed file transfer

The card reader is fully USB 2.0 compatible and copies files quickly and efficiently. Even large files, such as high-definition videos, will be transferred in minutes.

Compact and ergonomic design

With a compact, pocket-sized design, the MobileMate Duo is easy to carry when copying photos to and from a microSD card. You can use the USB card reader to transfer files to your computer, and use the included SD adapter to connect the memory card to printers and cameras.

SD adapter for maximum flexibility

The card reader comes with a convenient SD adapter that allows you to use the microSD card with any device that has an SD slot. This adapter is compatible with microSD, microSDHC™ and microSDXC™ memory cards.


The SanDisk MobileMate Duo Card Reader has a two-year warranty 1 .



  • version: Works with microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, card formats

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SanDisk Ultra USB Flash Drive

® Dual 3.0

High Capacity and High Speed ​​for Android™ Phones

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  • Features

version Works with microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, card formats
SD 9 adapter0383


Where to Buy Sellers Unavailable

  • High Speed ​​USB 2. 0
  • Maximum convenience: just plug the card reader into the
  • port

  • Compatible with Windows Vista ® , Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X version 10.5+
  • Reads microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC 9 cards0094

What’s in the box

  • MobileMate USB 2.0 card reader
  • microSD™ adapter
Americas SDDRK-121-A46
Australia SDDRK-121-BQ35N
Canada SDDRK-121-B35S
Worldwide SDDRK-121-B35


Two-year limited warranty. For more information, see the Warranty and User Guide page.

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