Mobile Card Readers | Everything Your Business Needs to Know

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Mobile payments are on the rise, with more and more consumers choosing to make cashless payments for everyday transactions. For small businesses that want to take advantage of mobile devices in face-to-face environments, the ability to process payment transactions keeps getting easier. Mobile payment devices quickly connect to a smartphone or a tablet, allowing any business to accept credit card payments. Mobile card readers include products such as iZettle, Square, PayPal Here, Worldpay Zinc, SumUp and Barclaycard Anywhere.

Mobile Card Readers vs. Standard Card Terminals

There are several advantages mobile card readers have over traditional credit card terminals, including:

  • No monthly rental fee (if there is, it is small)
  • They work from anywhere you have WiFi or a 3G/4G data connection
  • You do not have to have a separate card reader device powered up
  • No monthly contracts
  • You only pay per card transaction

The few disadvantages include:

  • Transaction fees tend to be higher than your own merchant account or a traditional card machine.
  • The devices may not be as robust as standard card machines
  • The reader does require a phone or tablet with a mobile connection to work.

How Does a Mobile Card Reader Work?

The mobile card reader attaches directly to the mobile device or, if it is a separate device, it connects wirelessly using a Bluetooth connection. Typically, the card reader will have a special slot where the payment card can be inserted, allowing the payment card’s chip to be read. The customer then confirms the transaction to complete the sale by entering their PIN into the device’s keypad. Depending on the device, it might also support contactless payments.

Compare Mobile Payment Devices

The following list includes 4 of the top mobile card readers in the UK. With these particular devices, merchants are not required to sign contract, and they are allowed to use them for as long or short a period as they like. In addition, these card readers allow merchants to send receipts via email or SMS. Keep in mind if you want to be able to print receipts, the receipt printers are extra.


This device accepts chip and pin, contactless and magnetic swipe payments, including: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. It also features a sophisticated accompanying point of sale app, an extensive range of add ons and an eight-hour battery life.

PayPal Here

This card reader also accepts chip and pin, contactless and magnetic swipe payments (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay). It also enables payments even if the card is not present (e.g. over the phone transactions). In addition to the point of sale app and other add ons, payments can be deposited in business’ PayPal account within seconds, and customers can add a tip directly on the card reader.


Square also features an accompanying point of sale app and a good range of add ons. It enables card not present payments, accepts chip and pin and contactless and magnetic swipe payments. Users can easily make around 500 payments before the battery is depleted. Quick deposits allow funds to be transferred to the merchant’s bank account within one or two businesses days.

SumUp Air

SumUp Air involves a competitive 1.69 per cent transaction fee and also enables card not present payments. Businesses can create separate SumUp accounts for its employees, and the device notifies the user before the battery is going to die (at around 500 transactions). Like the other device listed above, SumUp Air enables card not present payments, accepts chip and pin and contactless and magnetic swipe payments.

Would you like to further compare mobile payment readers? Checkout the other reviews and information Best Payment Providers has available to merchants searching for the very best payment processing options.

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