This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Credit card readers for Android phones and tablets make it easy for merchants to process sales and accept credit cards anywhere, from food trucks to trade shows. With advanced POS technology and smartphone apps, you can even use Android card readers in your brick-and-mortar store.
Based on our evaluation of over a dozen options, the best credit card readers for Android are:
- Square: Best overall, especially for those needing a POS
- Payment Depot (SwipeSimple): Best Android card reader for established businesses with steady processing volumes
- PayPal Zettle: Best credit card readers for occasional sellers and PayPal users
- Stax (formerly Fattmerchant): Best mobile invoicing and recurring billing for businesses processing over $20,000 monthly
- Shopify: Best for ecommerce businesses that also make in-person sales
- SumUp: Best for small, mobile businesses with low-volume sales
Looking for a more personal mobile payment processor?
If you prefer a peer-to-peer payment processing solution, consider Venmo. You can request payments using QR codes at no monthly cost and fees as low as 1.9% + 10 cents per transaction. Plus, there are options to create a business account.
Best Credit Card Readers for Android Compared
Mobile Card Reader Cost
Payment App Review on Google Play
First reader free
2.6% + 10 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
First reader discounted $29
2.29% + 9 cents
First reader free
Interchange + 8 cents
The calculator below will show your estimated credit card processing fees for accepting in-person payments with our recommended Android credit card readers.
Don’t have an Android?
Check out our recommended credit card readers for iPhones.
Square: Best Overall Credit Card Reader for Android
Square works with phones running Google Android 4.0 and higher. It’s a terrific card reader for the Android phone, but also 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. The mobile app itself is among the most popular and highest-ranking among our list of providers for this roundup.
With 4.75 out of 5 stars, Square ranked as our No. 1 credit card reader for Android. The price is excellent, as it does not charge monthly fees and has no minimums, making it good for the casual user. Even more, it has an excellent chargeback policy and a full-featured POS program suitable for full-time businesses. You can send invoices, handle offline transactions, and more. Users rate it highly for ease of use and features.
Square Android Card Readers
- Best feature: Square’s free online POS system is great for sellers that do the occasional weekend fair. It is also 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.
- mPOS app: 4.4 stars on Google Play, with some 140,000 users. In addition to taking payments, you can manage your inventory, issue and track invoices, and analyze trends. Users especially praise its reliability and convenience. The few one-star reviews were mostly about customer service issues or closed accounts.
- Payment types: Credit cards, touchless, online, gift cards, international cards but not cross-border (i.e., you must be in the country where you activated your Square account). E-checks are possible with an extra charge.
- Business management tools: You can make customer lists with contact information and notes, and message customers through the app. The POS system is robust enough for restaurants and service industries, with categories, photos, and appointment tools.
- 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.
What Square Is Missing
When you choose to use Square’s software, you are also locked into Square’s native payment processor, Square Payments. And while it offers very competitive transaction rates, some businesses might prefer an alternative such as Shopify (for a fee) where they can process payments with third-party processors.
Payment Depot: Best Android Card Reader for Established Businesses With Steady Processing Volumes
Payment Depot uses the SwipeSimple mobile app by CardFlight—a popular app used by several payment processors to accept in-person payments. Payment Depot offers a subscription-based pricing model where merchants pay a monthly fee for wholesale interchange-plus rates. Businesses processing anywhere between $10,500–$41,000 in sales per month will find Payment Depot’s combination of monthly and per-transaction fees the most cost-effective option.
Of all the providers in our list, only Payment Depot and Stax come with interchange-plus pricing instead of a flat-rate fee. Both are also traditional merchant accounts that usually provide greater account stability. The difference is Payment Depot’s pricing plans are based on sales volume while Stax is based on scaling payment features. You get all of Payment Depot’s available payment processing tools at every plan level.
Since our last update: Stax acquired Payment Depot
There have not been any press releases announcing this change, but Stax has quietly acquired Payment Depot. On the Payment Depot website, you can see it is now branded Payment Depot by Stax. And, when you sign up, the Terms of Service now list Stax as the merchant service provider. Aside from a few changes to pricing, there are no other changes resulting from the acquisition at the time of this writing.
In our evaluation, Payment Depot scored 4.55 out of 5 stars, securing the second top spot behind Square. It fared significantly better than Stax, primarily for pricing, but also for its more stable, user-friendly mobile features. However, while SwipeSimple’s POS app can handle the most important features and comes with an offline mode, recent reviews for the app have not been favorable. It also does not provide a free credit card reader (which you can get from Stax).
Payment Depot Android Card Readers
Contact Payment Depot sales for price
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.
Contact Payment Depot sales for price
Connects via Bluetooth and accepts payments via magstripe (swipe), EMV (chip), and NFC contactless payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay).
Payment Depot Features
- Best feature: We rarely find customers raving about a payment company’s customer service, but Payment Depot reviews on Trustpilot consistently praise its Customer Service team for responding quickly and taking time to answer questions and resolve issues.
- mPOS app (SwipeSimple): 3.3 stars on Google Play with about 850 reviews. Record cash and credit card sales, prompt for tips, track inventory, and support multiple merchant accounts. The mobile app works offline, so you can process transactions without an internet connection.
- Payment types: Credit cards, touchless, online, international, and cross-border.
- Business management tools: The SwipeSimple app has inventory and cash register functions. Payment Depot also offers business loans.
- Fraud protection: Rate protection, chargeback monitoring, and risk monitoring, plus data breach protection (Popular plan and up).
What Payment Depot Is Missing
Payment Depot lacks a native mobile POS app and instead integrates with SwipeSimple to offer a mobile payment solution to its customers. That said, SwipeSimple is highly regarded by its users as being easy to use, even as some occasional card reader pairing issues are being reported. If you prefer a solution that offers built-in mobile payment features, consider Square as an alternative. For ecommerce businesses, consider Shopify.
PayPal Zettle: Best for Occasional Sellers & PayPal Users
PayPal Zettle’s mobile card reader offers more functions compared to other readers on our list, even Square. It features a PIN pad for processing chip or tap transactions at a discounted price of $29 for your first device. Zettle’s simple POS solution and zero monthly fees make it the perfect solution for occasional sellers such as crafters who participate in trade fairs and sell in farmers markets.
PayPal Zettle comes in third on our list with a score of 4.32 out of 5 stars. It earned high marks for payment types and from our expert review, but lost points for its lack of offline payment processing and limited customer support. You will also need to look for an alternative like Square if you want a more reliable means of accepting ACH payments.
PayPal Zettle Android Card Readers
PayPal Zettle Features
- Best feature: Zettle gives you same-day deposits to PayPal so you get the fastest access to your funds with daily direct deposits to your PayPal account. Note that you can only get a same-day deposit to your bank account with Square for a 1.5% additional fee to your deposited amount.
- POS register: You can track cash receipts and accept other forms of payments like gift cards and bitcoin or even get paid through QR codes. You can also generate order tickets, allow customers to include tips, print receipts, and issue full or partial refunds.
- Mobile app: Zettle user review score has improved from a 3.9 to 4.2 out of 5 stars on Google’s Play store from over 70,000 reviews. Some customers say that the platform is easy to use while complaints include problems using the reader after a mobile app update and unscheduled updates that happen during business operations.
What PayPal Zettle Is Missing
Unfortunately, PayPal Zettle does not support offline payment processing, which can slow down your business if you sell in remote locations for trade shows and fairs. Consider Square as an alternative if you need to have this feature.
Stax (Formerly Fattmerchant): Best for Large-volume Retailers Needing Invoicing & Recurring Billing Tools
For a traditional merchant account, Stax has one of the most transparent payment processing fees. It offers subscription-based pricing in exchange for wholesale interchange-plus rates and low-cost ACH processing. Unlike Payment Depot, all Stax subscription plans are available to merchants processing at least $20,000 a month ($500,000 annually). Pricing ranges from $99 to $199 per month, depending on available payment processing features.
Both Stax and Payment Depot are great options for merchants looking for a traditional merchant account with a mobile card processing option. Payment Depot’s highest plan at $99 offers the same sales volume limit as that of Stax with all features available in the subscription. However, Stax offers better invoicing and recurring billing tools, faster deposit speed, plus a free 3-in-1 card reader upon sign up.
That said, Stax earned a score of 4.02 out of 5 stars. It scored well in terms of mobile and account features, but lost points for pricing and payment type availability. Access to invoicing and other digital payment tools also require a plan upgrade. And, while Stax offers low transaction rates, it has a steep monthly fee that is most practical for businesses that can offset the cost with a large volume of sales.
Stax Android Card Readers
- Best feature: Stax’s in-person payment toolkit that includes a mobile POS app and Bluetooth-enabled card readers for both iOS and Android. It turns your mobile device into a terminal that allows you to accept credit cards, send digital receipts, and manage invoices to customers.
- Mobile app: The Stax Pay app on Google Play is relatively new and to date has only about 10 user reviews, earning it 2.9 stars.
- Invoicing: Aside from sending out digital receipts, you can also create and manage digital invoices straight from the Stax platform. It also allows you to schedule recurring billing (as well as automatic payment reminders) that you can send to customers via email or text messaging.
- Stored payment options: Stax includes features that let you create and save full customer profiles. This includes giving your customers the option to save their credit card or payment details for automatic payment processing. The system also integrates with third-party CRMs such as NetSuite, Salesforce, and Infusionsoft.
What Stax Is Missing
Stax stands out in our list of best credit card readers for Android for its invoicing and recurring billing features. However, these tools are only available when you upgrade to Stax’s mid-range plan, which means it can be costly for small businesses with low-volume sales. Consider Payment Depot for all-in access to payment processing tools, including invoicing.
Shopify: Best for Online Businesses With In-person Sales
Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that includes a free mobile POS system 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. This makes Shopify the best option for online businesses looking for multichannel/omnichannel sales tools.
There are a variety of mobile card readers that can be used with Shopify. However, only the proprietary 2-in-1 Shopify card reader is compatible with Android devices (3-in-1 BBPOS Chipper card reader is only for iOS). Both are available for $49 and come fully integrated with Shopify’s POS app. The Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader is best used with Android 5.0 and higher mobile devices. However, while accepting mobile payments is free, you’ll need a paid Shopify online account to access the app.
Shopify made our list with 4.0 out of 5 stars. As with Payment Depot, it lost points for not having a free or discounted mobile card reader. You also need to pay for a monthly fee although you get the benefit of Shopify’s excellent ecommerce/POS system. (If you want to avoid a monthly charge, check out Square.) The card-present transactions are straight percentage and inexpensive compared to most card readers. Deposit speed is slower than most of those on our list. However, users praise its ease of use.
Shopify Android Card Readers
Note: The Chipper 2X BT Reader is only compatible with iOS devices
- Best feature: Shopify is our choice for the best ecommerce platform. In addition to a fully featured POS system, it offers other sales avenues and processes payments from cash to bitcoin. Even though Shopify is 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.
- mPOS app: 3.5 stars on Google Play from about 1,500 reviews. In addition to running your online store (with some limitations), it lets you take payments, including cards or cash. Users loved the convenience, but some complained it looked more dated on Android than on iPhone and had connection issues.
- Payment types: Credit cards, contactless, online, gift card, international, bitcoin, and more. Shopify deposits funds into your bank account in one to three days. Shopify cannot accept card payments without an internet connection.
- Business management tools: Shipping management, inventory management, sync with Shopify POS, Facebook store, analytics, and reporting.
- Fraud protection: EMV- and PCI-certified readers, fraud analysis, and fraud prevention recommendations.
What Shopify Is Missing
If your business regularly accepts credit card payments on-the-go, not having access to a reliable internet connection can become a problem. Shopify can only process cash and digital wallet transactions while offline. If you need full offline payment functionality, consider Square or Payment Depot.
SumUp: Best for Small, Remote Businesses With Low-volume Sales
SumUp is an end-to-end mobile payment processing solution, with invoicing, virtual terminal, and basic point-of-sale tools. There are no monthly fees or long-term contracts—only flat-rate transaction fees every time you accept payments with your SumUp card reader. You can accept credit and debit card payments, gift cards, and invoice payments in person and on-the-go which works great for home cleaning, pet grooming, gardening, and other kinds of service-type businesses. It’s also great for retailers that sell in-person with or without a storefront.
However, SumUp’s in-person transaction fee of 2.75% (followed by Shopify at 2.7%) is the most expensive in our list of payment providers. It also does not support ecommerce integrations, which makes it impossible to use SumUp’s card readers as an extension of your online sales. For these reasons, we recommend SumUp for low-volume businesses. If your sales volume is more than $5,000 a month, you will save more on transaction fees with Square.
SumUp earned a respectable 4.0 out of 5 based on our evaluation. It now offers a better range of credit card readers, which improved its score since our last update. SumUp scored well for its mobile app features, not to mention zero monthly fees and low price points for its card readers. However, lack of integration tools and offline processing, multichannel features, low mobile app user rating, and account stability issues prevented SumUp from earning a better score.
SumUp Android Card Readers
Note: You can only order SumUp card readers while signing up for a merchant account.
- Best feature: SumUp stands out as a mobile-first payment processing provider in the market. Available features are determined based on the type of mobile card reader you choose during signup.
- Easy setup: Like Square, it’s easy to sign up for a SumUp merchant account. You can use the SumUp dashboard to process payments while waiting for your card reader to arrive.
- Virtual terminal: SumUp’s virtual terminal can be accessed on your mobile device which lets you accept keyed-in credit card payments if a card reader is unavailable. It is also available on the SumUp dashboard.
- Inventory management: SumUp’s mobile app features a product catalog tool for basic inventory management. It lets you add products, categories ,and variants, and assign sales tax rates.
- Invoicing: SumUp’s invoicing feature can be accessed from the mobile app and on your SumUp dashboard. It allows you to create, manage, and track invoices from a single platform. You can also add a payment link before sending out invoices for a frictionless payment solution.
- Application programming interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) integrations: Access SumUp’s variety of APIs and SDKs for customizing payment features, which is particularly useful when you accept international payments and streamlining user interface screens for customers of different business models.
What SumUp Is Missing
Apart from not having an offline processing feature, the major downside of SumUp is its lack of ecommerce integration options. While it does offer invoicing solutions, you won’t be able to connect SumUp’s mobile payment processing service to your online store which you can readily find in the other providers in our list. If you require multichannel sales look for alternatives offering built-in ecommerce tools like Square or Shopify.
How We Evaluated 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, too. 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.
As with the best card readers for iOS, Square ranked as our No. 1 for Android systems. It has great rates and a fantastic POS system for mobile, tablets, and the web that can grow with you.
Click through the box below for our full evaluation criteria:
25% of Overall Score
We favored payment processors that don’t require contracts, have monthly or cancellation fees, or require a monthly fee. We also gave premium points to those that offer free or discounted mobile credit card readers.
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.
25% of Overall Score
We gave points to readers with an offline mode and the ability to save credit card data and send invoices. Also, we wanted to highlight providers that offer the most affordable and easiest access to a complete range of card reader payment processing methods (Swipe, chip, and NFC).
20% of Overall Score
We looked for 24/7 support, quick deposit times, omnichannel features, and mobile card readers that included chip as well as swipe options.
10% 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.
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To find a great mobile credit card reader, first look at the best payment processors such as Square Payments, Payment Depot, and PayPal Zettle. 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, check that the credit card reader you prefer is compatible with your device.