This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
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 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, especially for those needing a robust POS
- PayPal Zettle: Best for occasional sales, such as crafters who sell at fairs
- Payment Depot (SwipeSimple): Cheapest credit card processor for businesses that process $10,000+ in sales each month
- Stax by Fattmerchant: Best mobile invoicing and recurring billing for businesses processing over $20,000 monthly
- Shopify: Best for online businesses that also make in-person 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
Swipe, First is free
First is discounted
First is free
Card-Present Processing Fee
2.6% + 10 cents
2.29% + 9 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Keyed Processing Fee
3.5% + 15 cents
3.49% + 9 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
2.4%–2.9% + 30 cents
(Basic Ecommerce Plan)
Phone Support Hours
9 a.m.–9 p.m. EST
Not sure which reader is best for you? Take this three-question quiz to see which products best meet your specific needs:
Answer a few questions about your business, and we'll give you a personalized product match.
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 4.65 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 as well. You can send invoices, handle offline transactions, and more. Users rate it highly for ease of use and features.
In addition to being our recommended credit card reader for Android, Square is also our top overall choice for mobile credit card processing.
Square Android Reader Costs
Chip + Contactless Reader
First free, additional $10
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).
Square also has standalone payment terminals, cash drawers, and receipt printers.
- 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: 4.6 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.
PayPal Zettle: Best for Occasional Sales
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, tap, or swipe 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 second in our list with a score of 4.18 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 Reader Costs
- 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 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 has 3.9 out of 5 stars on Google’s Play store from over 39,000 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.
Payment Depot by Stax: Best Cheap Credit Card Processor for High-Volume Sales
Payment Depot by Stax 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.
This payment processor is unique on this list in that it uses an interchange-plus pricing model instead of a flat-rate fee. So, instead of paying the same exact rate for every transaction, Payment Depot passes along the direct interchange rate. This is the fee credit and debit card issuers charge. Then, Payment Depot adds on a small 8 cent–15 cent fee to each transaction. This model typically offers very competitive rates.
In our evaluation, Payment Depot scored 4.15 out of 5 stars, and while it tied with Stax by Fattmerchant (another subscription-based pricing payment processor), both are good for different reasons. Payment Depot has more stable mobile features and provides use of virtual terminals at no extra charge, but is not considered as user-friendly. SwipeSimple’s POS app handles the most important features and has an offline mode as well. It’s best with Android 5.0 and up.
Payment Depot Android Reader Costs
Authorize.net BBPOS Chipper 2x
Contact Payment Depot sales for price
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.
Connects via Bluetooth and accepts payments via magstripe (swipe), EMV (chip), and NFC contactless payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay).
Payment Depot also has standalone payment terminals, cash drawers, and receipt printers.
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 Customer Service people for responding quickly and taking time to answer questions and resolve issues.
- mPOS app (SwipeSimple): 4.3 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 being 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.
Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for Large-Volume Retailers Needing Invoicing & Recurring Billing Tools
Stax by Fattmerchant has one of the most transparent payment processing fees in the market today. Like Payment Depot, it offers subscription-based pricing in exchange for wholesale interchange-plus pricing rates and low-cost ACH processing. It’s priced slightly higher than Payment Depot, with plans ranging from $99 to $199 per month, depending on your business needs.
For this roundup, we recommend Stax by Fattmerchant for businesses, processing at least $20,000 in monthly sales volume, that need access to invoicing and recurring billing tools from their mobile app. It provides customers with strong invoicing and billing software tools, including recurring and stored payment options, ideal for midsize retailers and professional service businesses. While Stax offers low transaction rates, it has a steep monthly fee that is most practical for established, growing businesses that can offset the cost with a steady volume of sales.
Overall, Stax by Fattmerchant earned a score of 4.15 out of 5 stars, tying in third spot with Payment Depot. It scored better in terms of mobile features, but lost points for its poor access to quality customer support, and payment type flexibility, where Payment Depot earned a perfect score.
Stax by Fattmerchant Android Reader Costs
BBPOS Chipper 2X
One free, additional $75
Contact Stax by Fattmerchant Sales
Supports magstripe (swipe), contactless, and EMV (chip) payments.
Connects via Bluetooth and supports all magstripe and EMV payment functions.
Stax by Fattmerchant Features
- Best feature: Stax Pay is Fattmerchant’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 2.8 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 by Fattmerchant Is Missing
Stax by Fattmerchant 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 by Fattmerchant’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. It’s best with Android 5.0 and higher.
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 Reader Costs
Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader*
Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader*
Connects via Bluetooth and accepts magstripe (swipe) and EMV (chip) payments.
Connects via Bluetooth. Accepts EMV (chip), or NFC payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay).
*Shopify’s Chip & Swipe and Tap & Chip card readers are currently sold out and will be out of stock until 2022. Contact Shopify for alternative Android-compatible hardware.
Shopify also has full payment terminal kits, cash drawers, and receipt printers.
- Best feature: Shopify is among the best 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.
- mPOS app: 2.8 stars on Google Play from about 1,400 reviews. In addition to running your online store (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 (Shopify Plan and higher).
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.
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 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 box below for our full evaluation criteria:
20% of Overall Score
We favored payment processors that don’t require contracts, have monthly or cancellation fees, or require a monthly minimum charge. Furthermore, we 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.
20% of Overall Score
We gave points to readers with an offline mode and the ability to save credit card data and send invoices.
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.
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.
To find a great mobile credit card reader, first look at the best payment processors such as Square Payments, PayPal Zettle, 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, 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.