Mobile credit card processing allows merchants to sell products and accept card payments from almost anywhere with a smartphone or tablet. The best mobile credit card processor should be reliable, have affordable transaction fees, come with a free business management app, and function offline.
The best mobile credit card processors are:
- Square: Best all-around mobile credit card processor
- PayPal: Best for occasional sales
- Clover: Best for existing merchant account holders
- Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for growing businesses
- Payment Depot: Best cheap option for established businesses
Not sure which credit card processor is best for you? Take this four-question quiz to find out. You’ll get a recommendation without being redirected to another page.
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Square Offers the Best All-Around Payment Solution
In general, we recommend Square as the best all-around mobile payment processor for its free iPhone and Android processing solutions, affordable and high-tech mobile card readers, and feature-rich payment app.
PayPal Is a Close Runner-up
While Square earned the top spot in all of our mobile payment processing evaluations, it’s not the only good solution on the market. In fact, PayPal was a close runner-up to Square in almost every scenario.
Learn more: See our comparison of Square vs PayPal
When You’ll Grow Out of Square
Square and PayPal are both geared toward small businesses and individuals. Once your business grows and is consistently processing over $10,000 monthly, you can get lower fees and a better overall value by switching to a solution like Payment Depot or Stax by Fattmerchant, which offer interchange-plus pricing.
If You Already Have a Merchant Account
How We Evaluated Mobile Credit Card Processing Solutions
The best mobile credit card processor is convenient and flexible with no or low upfront costs and competitive processing rates. It also has to be reliable—you need to depend on it in many different environments, even with an unstable internet connection.
We evaluated 11 mobile credit card processors based on price, ease of use, the POS app, reliability, and account features, then narrowed the list down to the five best solutions. Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
15% of Overall Score
To receive a perfect score, mobile processors need to offer month-to-month billing with no contracts, zero cancellation fees, chargeback fees, monthly minimums, or strict application processes.
25% of Overall Score
We awarded points for each type of payment each mobile processor can handle, including point-of-sale, invoice, virtual terminal, and contactless payments. We also awarded points for mobile apps with split tender options and flexible tipping solutions.
20% of Overall Score
The best mobile processors can accept payments offline, operate on iOS and Android devices, issue SMS and email receipts, and be used to manage a product catalog. The best systems also have a free POS app with business management functions like reporting.
20% of Overall Score
We prioritized mobile processors with free 24/7 customer support, fast deposit times (next day or sooner), multiple card reader options, and robust sales tax management.
20% of Overall Score
We judged each system based on its overall pricing transparency and value, ease of use, (including account stability and user interface), popularity (including user reviews and business owner testimonials), and its ability to connect to other popular business tools (like accounting software).
Square: Best All-purpose Mobile Credit Card Processing
Square is the best credit mobile credit card processor for small businesses. The mobile payment processing option has no monthly or startup fees, and the application is easy—there is none. You can get up and running in no time with the free POS app while you wait for the free credit card reader to arrive. The app works offline, is compatible with Android and iOS, and has competitive processing rates. Plus, the POS software includes free business management tools.
PayPal: Best for Occasional Payments
PayPal used to be an online-only platform, but it has since added in-person payments, including a mobile credit card processor branded as PayPal Here. PayPal has a more straightforward and competitive pricing model—it’s just a flat percentage, which typically works out well for lower transaction values. PayPal integrates with a variety of platforms and accepts a range of payment methods. It’s also known for its robust security features.
Clover: Best for Existing Merchant Account Holders
Clover offers everything a standard mobile processor does, including payment processing, inventory management, and analytics reporting. However, after Square, Clover has the most feature-packed point-of-sale app on this list. Specific plans include credit card pre-authorization, next-day deposits, detailed item library, exchanges, and a weight-scale integration.
Learn more: See our comparison of Clover vs Square
What makes Clover interesting is that it does require a traditional merchant account. You can either set up your account through First Data (Fiserv), which owns Clover, or one of its authorized resellers. The pricing and support you receive can vary greatly depending on which merchant account provider you choose.
Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for Growing Businesses
Stax by Fattmerchant has a small business plan for merchants processing under $80,000 annually, but you get the best value once you’re processing over $15,000 monthly and fall under Stax by Fattmerchant’s interchange-plus pricing. At that point, you’ll pay $99 each month and interchange plus 8 to 15 cents per transaction.
Like Clover and Payment Depot, Stax by Fattmerchant is also a traditional merchant account, meaning you’ll need to apply. The trade-off is a very secure merchant account (in other words, no frozen funds) with excellent customer support.
Payment Depot: Established Businesses Needing a Cheap Option
Payment Depot uses a subscription-based model, which means businesses pay a monthly fee to access wholesale mobile credit card processing fees. Unlike most other processors on this list, Payment Depot is a dedicated payment processor. Therefore, its security, reliability, setup, and fees are attractive for merchants of all sizes, especially established ones.
Payment Depot partners with SwipeSimple for mobile payments, and the app works offline like Square and PayPal. With the SwipeSimple mobile payments app, you can add tips, save payment information, use a product catalog, and process returns. You can also view analytics reports.
Whether you’re a brand-new business that is starting out with mobile credit card processing or an established store looking to take your business on the go, you need a solution that is cost-effective, reliable, and easy to use. The best providers also do not have a monthly transaction minimum, fees, or contracts.
Square is a great mobile credit card processing company for small businesses. Its plug-and-play solution makes it super-easy for anyone to accept payments anywhere, even offline. No applications, startup fees, or hardware costs mean it’s a risk-free investment. Plus, the Square app comes with the point-of-sale features you need to manage a business on the go. Visit Square to get started with a free account and mobile card reader.