Credit card readers for Android phones and tablets make it easy for merchants to make sales and accept credit cards anywhere, from food trucks to trade shows. With the advanced point-of-sale (POS) technology provided by several services and robust card readers, you can even use them in your brick-and-mortar store.
The best credit card readers for Android are:
- Square: Best overall credit card reader for Android
- Payment Depot: Best for high-volume sales
- PayPal Zettle: Best for solopreneurs and PayPal users
- QuickBooks GoPayment: Best for B2B and freelancers needing accounting tools
- Shopify POS: Best for multichannel sales and ecommerce retailers with in-person sales
Best Credit Card Readers for Android Compared
Our Rating (out of 5)
Basic card reader cost
$99 (also does NFC)
$79 (also does NFC)
$49 +$39 for charger (also does NFC)
First card reader free
✔ (swipe reader)
2.6% + 10¢
Interchange + 7¢ to 15¢
2.29% + 9¢
2.4% + 25¢
3.5% + 15¢
Interchange + 7¢ to 15¢
3.49% + 9¢
3.4% + 25¢
2.4% + 30¢
Phone support hours
Mon–Fri 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Eastern time
Mon–Fri 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Eastern time
Online contact form
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Square: Best Overall Credit Card Reader for Android
Square works with phones running Google Android 4.0 and higher, though the version may vary depending on the model of phone you have. It’s a terrific card reader for the Android phone and includes a POS system and other options that can work not only for the casual user but the complete retail store, service business, or restaurant. Square tops our list of best mobile credit card processors and best credit card apps as well.
With rates of 2.6% + 10 cents, Square’s transaction pricing is the most expensive on our list. However, it does not charge monthly fees and offers inexpensive card readers and a top-of-the-line POS system. The keyed-in rate is competitive. If pricing is more important than POS features, then consider PayPal Zettle for general use or Payment Depot for high-volume sales.
$10, first one free
Available with lightning or audio jack input. Accepts payments via magstripe (swiped).
Connects via Bluetooth. Accepts payments via EMV (chip) or NFC (Apple Pay, Google Pay).
Portable card machine. Accepts payments via EMV (chip) or NFC (Apple Pay, Google Pay).
Square also has standalone payment terminals, cash drawers, and receipt printers.
With 4.63 out of 5 stars, Square ranked as our No. 1 credit card reader for Android. The price is good, as it does not charge monthly fees and has no minimums, making it a strong choice for the casual user. Even more, it also has an excellent chargeback policy and a full-featured POS program suitable for full-time businesses as well. You can send invoices, handle offline transactions, and more. Users rate it highly for ease of use and features.
- Full-featured, free POS: Square’s free online POS system is great for the crafter who does the occasional weekend fair but is powerful enough for restaurants or brick-and-mortar stores. If you need scheduling, appointment booking, and customer management, you can get these features at an additional price. It’s by far the most feature-rich and versatile POS on our list.
- Business management tools: You can make customer lists with contact information and notes and message customers through the app. Square also offers add-ons for payroll, marketing, and banking services from checking accounts to loans. In all, it has the most tools for growing businesses than any service on our list, though PayPal comes closest.
- Fraud protection: Square offers free dispute management, active fraud prevention, and notification of suspicious activity. You can add risk management for 6 cents per transaction. Square alone on this list doesn’t charge for chargebacks (up to $250 a month.) Shopify has stronger fraud-protection (although Square is no slouch!), but charges for chargebacks.
- Mobile app: Square ranks No. 1 on our list of best free iPhone credit card readers and our list of best mobile credit card readers. Android users give it 4.4 stars with over 135,000 reviews. It’s the best-ranked mobile POS application among users as well as the most popular by an order of magnitude.
What Square Is Missing
- Confined to Square: The other credit card readers on our list offer merchant accounts that work with other POS systems (like Payment Depot) or integrate as a payment system with other payment channels (like PayPal). Square is self-contained.
- Customer support and user reviews: Phone, chat, and email support are available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time. PayPal has 24/7 support, while QuickBooks only offers an online contact form.
- Complaints of held funds: Next to PayPal, Square has the highest number of complaints about held funds among those on our list. (It’s also one of the biggest payment processors, however.) For the most reliable, consider Payment Depot.
Payment Depot: Best for High-Volume Sales
Payment Depot uses the SwipeSimple mobile app by CardFlight for processing cards. SwipeSimple is a highly rated app used by several payment processors. Payment Depot charges a monthly fee in exchange for lower, interchange-plus transaction charges. If you’re processing over $10,000 monthly, you may find this credit card processor more cost-effective, even with the monthly fee. Traditional merchant accounts like Payment Depot’s provide greater account stability as well. It’s best with Android 5.0 and up.
Payment Depot Pricing
Payment Depot offers three plans, all with the same features, but different processing limits and rates:
- Starter (up to $50,000 per month in sales): $79 per month, with interchange +15 cents
- Membership (up to $150,000 per month in sales): $99 per month, with interchange +10 cents
- Enterprise ($300,000 + per month in sales): $199 per month, with interchange +7 cents
If you do high-volume or high-ticket sales, interchange-plus pricing can save you money over most of the flat-rate processors on our list, which fold the interchange rate into their higher transaction rates. In general, you should consider this option if you process over $10,000 a month.
Payment Depot Hardware
Connects via Bluetooth and accepts payments via magstripe (swipe), EMV (chip), and NFC contactless payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay). It can also be used with a Windows computer using Authorize.Net’s vPOS solution.
Connects via Bluetooth and accepts payments via magstripe (swipe), EMV (chip), and NFC contactless payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay).
Payment Depot offers Clover, Dejavoo, and Ingenico readers and POS systems.
Payment Depot Features
Payment Depot scored 4.26 out of 5 stars. It topped our rubric for mobile features and payment types but lost a few points here and there for being good, but not great in account features and pricing. For example, the chargeback fee of $15 is reasonable, but Square’s is excellent.
- Interchange-plus pricing: High-volume, high-transaction sellers can save hundreds to thousands of dollars a month with interchange-plus pricing, even with the monthly fees. The other apps on our list charge a flat rate that is higher than interchange. That percentage adds up quickly. Payment Depot can analyze your monthly transactions and tell you how much you can save.
- Excellent customer service: We rarely find customers raving about a payment company’s customer support, but Payment Depot reviews on Trustpilot consistently praise Customer Service people for responding quickly and taking time to answer questions and resolve issues. SwipeSimple has similar praise for the app.
- Additional business services: Payment Depot gives you access to business funding, free POS equipment, chargeback risk monitoring, and a free payment gateway for online transactions. The other services on our list offer some of these, but not all. (Benefits vary by plan.) Square and PayPal, for example, also have business funding, but not free POS hardware.
- Mobile app: As of this writing, SwipeSimple has 4.3 out of 5 stars with more than 800 ratings. The highest ratings came in 2019/2020 but fell in 2021 after an update, which we often see with apps. Unlike the other apps on our list, many merchant services use SwipeSimple, and there are complaints about some of them that brought the score down. Most people praised the app and said it was easy to use.
What Payment Depot Is Missing
- Chargeback policy: Unlike Square, Payment Depot charges a nonrefundable $15 chargeback fee.
- Not good for low-volume merchants: If you process less than $10,000 a month in transactions, the monthly fees make this more expensive than the free, flat-rate options like PayPal Zettle or Square.
PayPal Zettle: Best for Solopreneurs and Crafters
Zettle requires Android 5.0 and higher. Zettle is a simple but powerful POS app that is great for solopreneurs and works well for stores with simple inventory needs. Combined with the convenience of PayPal and no monthly obligations, it’s a superior choice for the solopreneur or craftsman who sells their wares at conventions, craft fairs, and other part-time venues. Like Square, it’s on our lists of best credit card apps, best credit card reader for iPhone, and best mobile credit card processors.
See how PayPal compares to Square in our Square vs PayPal breakdown.
PayPal Zettle Pricing
Zettle’s POS system is free, and unlike Square, it does have a premium paid plan. PayPal Zettle rates are the lowest for flat-rate processors on our list: 2.29% + 9 cents for card-present transactions and 3.49% + 9 cents for keyed-in transactions. Payment Depot offers better rates with interchange-plus pricing but charges a monthly fee. Chargeback fees are $20, which is about par for those that charge.
PayPal Zettle Hardware
PayPal also offers complete POS systems.
PayPal Zettle Features
PayPal earned 4.21 out of 5 on our rubric, which is lower than PayPal’s former app, Here, had earned. Zettle is more basic and its lack of an offline mode for payment processing brought down its score. Nonetheless, it is easy to use and has been well-regarded in Europe, where it had already developed a strong following before its 2018 purchase by PayPal.
- Great for small-scale or infrequent sales: Zettle is so simple, you can set it up and learn it in minutes. There are no monthly fees or minimums and no contracts. Square is like this, too, but Zettle’s rates are superior to Square’s, making it the best choice for occasional users.
- Same-day deposits to PayPal: Zettle deposits directly into PayPal each day. The other credit card readers on our list may get you your money as early as the next day or two. Square charges extra for expedited deposits.
- Mobile: Zettle has about 39,000 reviews on Android, with a score of 3.9. The main complaints concern connectivity issues with the card reader (try SwipeSimple for a more reliable connection) and poor customer service.
What PayPal Zettle Is Missing
- Offline mode: Zettle needs a connection to a 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi network to process transactions. Most of the other mobile card readers on our list have at least a limited offline mode.
- Limited integrations: PayPal itself integrates with just about anything you can imagine. However, Zettle is limited to BigCommerce, QuickBooks Online, Shopify, and WooCommerce. For more variety, consider Square.
- Reputation for held funds: PayPal ranks among the highest for payment processors for complaints about held funds or canceled accounts. Its customer service is often not helpful with this kind of issue, either. Square also has a lot, especially in 2020. Payment Depot, by contrast, has very few complaints.
QuickBooks GoPayment: Best for Freelancers and B2B Sales
QuickBooks GoPayment works on Android 4.1 JellyBean and higher. It is a great choice for QuickBooks users, especially those who process large payments and want ACH transfer capabilities as well. With Level 2 and 3 processing and invoicing functions, it’s the best for freelancers and B2B sales. While it promises quick deposits, many customers said it took several days for payments to go into their accounts.
QuickBooks GoPayment Pricing
You have to have QuickBooks to use QuickBooks GoPayment. The cheapest plan is $15 a month. Of course, you get accounting software for this. If you want a free app with POS, consider Square or Zettle.
While the percentage rate is fair, the additional 25 cents per transaction adds up, especially if you do a lot of small-ticket transactions—another reason it’s better for B2B. If you charge more than $7,500 per month, QuickBooks can offer you a discount. Other processors on this list offer discounts but at a much higher volume.
$49 + $39 for power stand
Connects via Bluetooth. Accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay, EMV chip, and debit and credit cards.
QuickBooks is compatible with several POS systems. You can find a list of compatible hardware on the support site.
QuickBooks GoPayment Features
QuickBooks Go earned 4.08 out of 5 stars. It lost some points because of the chargeback fee of $25 and the monthly fee. It also lost points for its help features, which are online only, and the deposit times, which can be three or more days. Nonetheless, it scored high in nearly every other category.
- B2B tools: QuickBooks is on our list of best B2B payment solutions, with GoPayment making it easy to accept payments on location. Invoicing is easy and tied to QuickBooks. Level 2 and 3 processing lets you accept corporate credit cards and B2B payments more cheaply. Finally, it accepts ACH payments with excellent rates—Square, by comparison, charges a minimum of $1 and no maximum, while QuickBooks has no minimum and a $10 maximum.
- Freelancer tools: Artists or writers who work on commission or contract as well as sell their physical creations in person can send invoices or set up recurring payments. Square and Shopify also have invoice capability, but QuickBooks feeds directly to the accounting software and lets you know when it’s been paid.
- Syncs with QuickBooks: GoPayment data syncs naturally with QuickBooks and works with other Intuit products including QuickBooks’ POS system (extra purchase). Other apps on our list would require you to purchase accounting software and arrange integration. QuickBooks also works with TurboTax and Mint.
- Mobile app: The QuickBooks GoPayment app on Android has 4.2 out of 5 stars with about 7,300 votes. GoPayment has card photo capability for accepting payments without a reader, something few apps offer.
What QuickBooks GoPayment Is Missing
- POS system: While the app has a simple POS system, if you want a countertop version, you need to purchase QuickBooks POS separately. If you want a free system that integrates with your countertop POS, Square is your best bet.
- Free version: To use this app, you need to purchase QuickBooks. If you want free, flat-rate credit card processing for Android, look to Square or PayPal.
- Online store: QuickBooks integrates with many ecommerce solutions, but it does not offer an online store like most of the services on our list. Shopify is your best bet for ecommerce.
Shopify POS: Best for Multichannel Sales
Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that includes a free mobile POS app with each account. Its credit card processing fees are competitive, but what truly makes Shopify stand out is the convenience. All online and in-person sales sync to your Shopify dashboard so your revenue, inventory, and customer data are always up-to-date—perfect for brick-and-mortar retailers that also sell online. It’s best with Android 5.0 and higher.
Shopify POS Pricing
You need to purchase its ecommerce software to use the app. Shopify’s plans run from $29 to $299 per month, depending on the features you want. If this is more than you need, consider Square, which also has multichannel processing with the best integrations.
Transaction fees vary by the plan—the more expensive plans have lower rates. One nice thing about Shopify is that it only has a percentage rate for in-person transactions, which can save you money if you do a large number of low-ticket transactions.
If you want to use a different payment processor, Shopify adds a fee, which could negate the advantage. Only Shopify offers discounts in shipping, however. This chart explains the pricing:
Fee for non-Shopify Payments
2.9% + 30¢
Up to 77%
2.6% + 30¢
Up to 88%
2.4% + 30¢
Up to 88%
Shopify also has full payment terminal kits, cash drawers, and receipt printers.
Shopify POS Features
- Top-of-the-line ecommerce solution: Shopify is among the best platforms for ecommerce. In addition to a fully-featured POS system, it offers other sales avenues and processes payments from cash to bitcoin. Even though Shopify is best known for ecommerce, it has a robust POS platform for mobile and in-store sales, making it an ideal solution for multichannel sellers. Shopify integrates with over 2,000 different apps and programs.
- Dropshipping: In addition to ecommerce, Shopify makes it easy to add dropshipping to your income stream. It integrates with hundreds of dropshipping companies and has its own, Oberlo.
- Shipping discounts: If you process mail orders, sell on eBay, or ship a lot of your products, then Shopify is worth considering for the shipping discounts alone. Your Savings could pay the software fees. No other credit card processor on our list offers this advantage.
- Fraud protection: Shopify’s machine learning tools analyze transactions for suspicious charges and bring them to your attention. It’s one of the best fraud prevention tools for POS. It charges $15 for chargebacks, which is as good as Payment Depot, but it also refunds that if you win the dispute. The only better offer is Square, which waives up to $250 in chargeback fees regardless.
- Mobile app: Shopify has 2.6 stars and about 1,300+ reviews. It’s the lowest ranking for user reviews of the apps on our list. It earned hot or cold reviews. Many people could not get it to work, but those that could loved the app.
- Offline mode: If you will be selling where connections are spotty, then Square or QuickBooks are better options. Shopify’s app lets you take cash payments but not credit card transactions when offline.
- Must purchase Shopify: The only way to use the Shopify POS app is with a Shopify account. This is great if you need an ecommerce site, but otherwise, look at Square or PayPal.
How We Chose the Credit Card Readers for Android
Most people think of iPads when they think of mobile POS systems, but many payment processors offer great options for Android as well. Some also have their own merchant accounts. We chose reputable payment processors that also have apps that rank highly in the Google’s Play store. Then we looked at pricing, features, and how quickly you could get your payments to determine the best options.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
20% of Overall Score
We favored payment processors that did not require contracts or a monthly minimum charge, or have monthly or cancellation fees. Square is the only processor with a perfect score, though all scored high.
20% of Overall Score
All processors should take swipe payments and have the ability to handle NFC (touchless) payments, even if you need to purchase a different reader. We also considered invoice capability, virtual terminals, e-checks, and stored payments for repeat customers. Square and Payment Depot both earned 5 out of 5.
20% of Overall Score
We gave points to readers with an offline mode and the ability to save credit card data and send invoices. QuickBooks and Payment Depot get top ratings here.
20% of Overall Score
We looked for 24/7 support, quick deposit times, and mobile card readers that included chip as well as swipe options. This was the lowest-scoring section, with PayPal taking first at 4.13 out of 5, and QuickBooks last at 2.25 out of 5.
20% of Overall Score
This score combines our overall judgment of price and ease of use with ratings from real-world users on trusted third-party review sites. Square earned a perfect score, with Zettle close behind.
To find a great mobile credit card reader, first look at the best payment processors such as Square Payments, PayPal, and Payment Depot. Each has strengths and pricing structures that make it better for specific business types and sizes. Because there is such a wide variety of Android devices, however, check that the credit card reader you prefer is compatible with your device.
Square, our top pick, works for Google Android 4.0 and higher. It’s a cost-effective payment processor with terrific features for sales using the phone app as well as in store, online, and more. Get started with Square today.