This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Not every business needs a complex point-of-sale (POS) system—credit card payment apps download to your smartphone and tablet and let you take credit card payments on the go and in-store. Most include checkout with taxes and receipts, basic inventory tracking, and a card reader. However, the best credit card payment apps can grow with you with add-ons and POS hardware.
We looked at nearly two dozen options to find the seven best credit card payment apps for 2022.
- Square: Best overall credit card payment application for solopreneurs to SMBs
- SwipeSimple: Best credit card app that works with several merchant services
- Payanywhere: Best for restaurants, bars, and food trucks
- QuickBooks GoPayment: Best for freelancers, B2B, and QuickBooks users
- Shopify POS: Best for online stores needing an integrated credit card app for processing in-person sales
- PayPal Zettle: Best for businesses processing payments on social or across borders
- SumUp: Best for solopreneurs with low-volume and low-ticket sales
Best Credit Card Payment Apps Compared
2.6% + 10 cents
3.5% + 15 cents
$49 (first swiper reader free)
iOS (Good for both)
Varies by processor
Varies by processor
3.49% + 19 cents
$29.95–$59.95 (first one free)
Fees for lack of use (after 12 months)
2.4% + 25 cents
3.4% + 25 cents
$49 or $79 with the power stand
QuickBooks Accounting Subscription
iOS (Good for both)
2.4% + 30 cents to 2.9% + 30 cents
$49; power dock is $39
Shopify Store Subscription
Shopify; others (extra charge)
2.29% + 9 cents
3.49% + 9 cents
$79 (first reader $29)
3.25% + 15 cents
Square: Best Overall Credit Card Payment Application
Square started out as a payment processor and has continued to add functionality—some free, some for extra charges. That’s why it consistently makes our lists of the top software for POS, payment processing, restaurants, salons, and more. It also tops our list for best mobile credit card processing.
It offers POS and inventory software with only payment processing fees, making it a good choice for the solopreneur or hobbyist—something several of our credit card apps can claim. However, it has enough depth of toolset for small businesses and, with its add-ons and integrations, can grow with them.
We gave Square a total score of 4.3 out of 5, the highest of those on this list, although it earned higher scores on other lists on our site. It aced our expert score and earned 4 stars or higher for pricing and features. However, its higher transaction fees cost it points, as did its limited customer support hours.
Fully Functioning Register App for Ringing Payments
While Square didn’t earn perfect scores for its features, it did better overall than most others on our list. It has a fully functioning register that works on smartphones, tablets, and POS devices and includes inventory tracking, taxes, and discounts. It also has an integrated online store. Offline mode lets you keep selling even when the internet is down. Whether you only need a few tools or the works, Square provides solutions.
What’s New in 2022:
Square now lets your customers pay in installments using Afterpay. Afterpay is free to enable, and Square has free marketing kits to promote the feature.
Highly Rated Mobile App
Square ranks number one on our lists of best free iPhone credit card readers and best mobile credit card readers. In the Apple App store, it has a 4.8 rating out of 5 based on over 318,000 reviews. For Android, it has 4.3 stars and more than 145,000 reviews. Only QuickBooks GoPayment has consistently higher ratings.
Versatile, Flexible System
While Square’s free POS and reasonable transaction rates make it great for those selling at the occasional farmers market or conference, it can also grow with the ambitious entrepreneur. Build out your POS system, add inventory, and develop customer lists. As you grow, you can add other features, from loyalty to payroll, through Square, or add third-party applications like QuickBooks, Wix, BigCommerce, Zoho, and more.
Square is unique among the credit card processors on our list because it waives up to $250 a month in chargeback fees. This should be sufficient for a small business or solopreneur. Most credit card app providers charge per unsuccessful transaction, although SumUp charges per dispute to pay the bank fees.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Square has the highest user satisfaction score of those on our list: 4.67 out of 5 on third-party software review sites. Ease of use, flexibility, and price are the most praised features.
Reasons Not to Consider Square
- Payment processing is exclusive to Square: You’re locked into Square for payment processing on its POS system and online store—there’s no option to connect an outside merchant account to Square’s software. Also, if you want other POS hardware than what Square provides, you need a different payment processor. For more choices, check out Payanywhere and SwipeSimple.
- Limited support: Square is very easy to use, but if you run into trouble, you can reach support only during extended business hours on weekdays. Only Shopify has 24/7 live support.
SwipeSimple: Best Credit Card App for Many Merchant Services
SwipeSimple, created by CardFlight, is a mobile credit card application used by dozens of merchant services to process payment transactions. Over 95,000 merchants use the app. According to CardFlight, 10 of the 30 top merchant acquirers and Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) use SwipeSimple.
The app can only be used with a separate merchant account, so many scores in our evaluation—like pricing, payout time, chargeback policies, and integrations—depend on what payment processor you go with. In these cases, we assigned a good but not perfect score. As such, SwipeSimple earned 4.01 out of 5 on our rubric. It had high marks for items under SwipeSimple’s control, such as POS features, payment functions, and user reviews.
Choice of Merchant Services
SwipeSimple was created by CardFlight, which works through partners for payment processing. This can mean a variety of options—and a variation in quality. For example, Payment Depot, which is on our list of top merchant services, uses SwipeSimple, and so does Worldpay (formerly Vantiv), which is not one we recommend. The variety, however, means you can find the best payment processor for your needs while being assured of a top-quality credit card reader for mobile.
POS App With Offline Mode
You can create an inventory that includes images, manages taxes, handles tips, and prompts for signatures. The offline mode means you can still take payments even when you have a spotty or no connection. It also lets you void transactions or issue partial refunds as needed. With the exception of the offline mode, you should find most of these tools in all the credit card apps on our list.
Desktop Access & Online Sales
Like the other applications on our list, you can access SwipeSimple on your computer as well, which means you can use it for in-store payments. It lets you send invoices for free and has a simple dashboard with transaction history and reports on sales and products.
SwipeSimple also allows you to create payment links to accept payments on your website or social media. Several do this, and many SumUp users said it was a reliable alternative to using a card reader.
Free Virtual Terminal
You can purchase a handheld terminal or access a virtual terminal for free. (PayPal charges extra for this feature.) The virtual terminal also keeps customer card data on file, so you can quickly pull up information or use it for recurring bills.
Highly Rated Mobile App for iOS
SwipeSimple’s recent updates have caused many problems for Android users, bringing its rating from 4.3 at our last report to 3.3 at the time of this writing. However, It is doing extremely well on iOS, with 4.8 out of 5. It’s important to note that some customers went to the app store to complain about the merchant service rather than the app itself. SwipeSimple is not responsible for the merchant services.
Where To Be Cautious About SwipeSimple
- Merchant service quality: CardFlight, which makes SwipeSimple, works with many payment providers, and it does not list them. Therefore, you will need to do your homework. Some may require contracts, so be sure that you understand any contract and check for hidden fees.
- Limited support hours: Like Square, nearly all users find SwipeSimple intuitive to use; however, if you need help, you can only reach support from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday.
Payanywhere: Best Credit Card Payments App for Restaurants, Bars & Food Trucks
While Square has a restaurant system, Payanywhere’s POS system offers great tools for food services—from food trucks and hot dog stands to sit-down restaurants—like split payments and integrations to delivery services. Its card processing fee is competitive, especially for small-ticket items. Even better, it offers employee scheduling and time tracking free.
We gave Payanywhere 3.99 out of 5, just falling behind SwipeSimple. Payanywhere has a robust and easy-to-use POS system. It offers free same-day payout, something other processors on our list don’t do. It takes hits in user reviews, partly because of surprise fees, but overall, people are satisfied with the service.
Cheaper for Low-ticket Sales
Payanywhere charges 2.69% for card-present transactions, with no extra cents. (Square, for example, adds 10 cents per transaction.) While this percentage is higher than other card processors on our list, when you add the flat cents fees, Payanywhere may be cheaper. If your transactions are generally around or below $110, Payanywhere is cheaper than Square. Compared to Zettle’s current rates, Payanywhere is cheaper for transactions under $22.50.
Payanywhere offers open tabs, split payments, and tip functions that make it a good choice for restaurants—and a good alternative to Square for Restaurants. It also integrates with self-ordering kiosks like GRUBBRR. If your tickets are smaller, like in food trucks, you may save money with Payanywhere. Offline mode means that your restaurant doesn’t shut down if the internet does and that you can take your food stand anywhere.
Unlike most of the credit card applications on our list, Payanywhere includes employee management tools through Homebase at no extra charge. This includes hiring tools, time clocks, scheduling, and tracking employee sales. It’s a great asset for a small business or a restaurant that deals with high staff turnover.
Payanywhere has next-day funding with a 10 p.m. cutoff time. However, if you have later hours, you can get a “same-day” funding option with a 10:30 a.m. cutoff time, so your transactions from overnight will be deposited later that day. (Saturday and Sunday deposits will appear on Mondays.) This is the fastest turnaround of the systems on our list and, even better, comes with no added fees. Compare this to Square, which charges an additional 1.5% of the transaction for same-day funding.
Average reviews for mobile app
Payanywhere on Android has 3.8 out of 5 stars with almost 4,400 votes. In the App Store, it has a POS app with 4.3 stars and 1,100 ratings. There haven’t been a lot of new reviews since our last review of this product. However, those we say ran hot or cold, and there continue to be complaints about surprise fees.
Reasons To Not Consider Payanywhere
- Inactivity fee: Payanywhere charges $3.99 monthly for accounts that are not active for 12 months. Thus, occasional sellers will do better with Square, Zettle, or SumUp.
- Potential surprise fees: While Payanywhere says it has no hidden fees, there have been complaints of fees “showing up” on bills or being taken from accounts without notice. It has a second plan for $12.95 a month, and it could be that some users are put on this plan instead. According to mobiletransactions.org, Payanywhere will put you on its monthly plan if you process over $10,000 per month. Watch your transactions.
Learn more about Payanywhere’s great features in our Payanywhere review.
QuickBooks GoPayment: Best for Freelancers, B2B & QuickBooks Users
QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software for individuals and businesses. It has a payment processor, GoPayment, that you can download to your smartphone and use on your desktop—note that you need a QuickBooks account to use GoPayment. This is also a good choice for freelancers, especially artists, writers, and those who may work for a business and produce items to sell themselves. Invoicing and accounting tools make it easy to reconcile both sides of your freelance career.
GoPayment earned 3.96 out of 5 on our list. It’s a good system overall. Through QuickBooks, you have a lot of functions, especially invoicing and accounting. However, like Square or Zettle, the GoPayment app does not work with any other payment processors, even though QuickBooks is eminently integratable. It also takes a big hit on ease of use because its help section is complex, and contacting support is difficult.
QuickBooks GoPayment Pricing
QuickBooks GoPayment Features
Dedicated Checking Account, Instant Payout
If you open a checking account with QuickBooks, then you can get instant payout of funds from GoPayment and invoices and other payments accepted through QuickBooks. QuickBooks checking also pays 1% APY interest, is free to open, and has no monthly fees or minimums.
Top-rated Accounting Software
QuickBooks tops our list of best accounting software, and with the freelancer plan at $30 per month, it’s highly affordable. Plus, it is a good accounting system that integrates into a lot of programs, including most of those on our list.
Artists or writers who work on commissions or contracts and sell their physical creations in person will appreciate the ability to send invoices or set up recurring payments. You’ll get notified when the invoice is viewed and paid. Square and Shopify also have an invoicing capability.
B2B Payment Options
While we like QuickBooks for freelancers, it’s also on our list of best B2B payment solutions. Invoicing that ties directly to QuickBooks, pricing that favors large-ticket items, and excellent rates for ACH transfers make it a strong choice here. (Square, for example, also takes ACH payments—but it charges a minimum of $1 and no maximum; QuickBooks has no minimum and a $10 maximum.)
Connect Multiple Deposit Accounts
If you use multiple accounts to keep your finances straight, you can designate the accounts where specific payments go. No other payment system on our list has this kind of versatility.
Highly Rated Mobile App
The QuickBooks GoPayment app on Android has 4.2 out of 5 stars with about 7,500 votes. In the Apple store, users gave it 4.8 stars and nearly 6,000 ratings. It’s not the top-rated app on our list, but it’s second only to Square for user approval.
What QuickBooks GoPayment Is Lacking
- Customer support: While there are a lot of articles and tutorials for QuickBooks, its help section is befuddling. I usually find it easier to Google the question, then follow the link to the appropriate article on QuickBooks’ support page. Customer support is not product-specific, so it may not have a good answer on hand. It’s one thing users consistently complain about.
- Free plan: While $30 per month for accounting software and payment processing is a pretty good deal, occasional sellers might find it cost-prohibitive. Square, PayPal Zettle, and SumUp all offer payment processing with no monthly fees for anything.
- Online store: QuickBooks integrates with many ecommerce solutions, but that does not mean you can use GoPayment as your payment processor on the store. Further, it does not offer an online store like most of the services on our list. Certainly, Shopify is your best bet for an ecommerce platform.
Read our QuickBooks GoPayment review for more details.
Shopify POS: Best Ecommerce Payment App
If you do more selling online than in person and need a fully featured online store to go with your credit card processing, check out Shopify. It is one of the best ecommerce solutions today and made our list of the best POS systems, great for multichannel retailers. The app is great if you need occasional in-person sales, but even better, it can rent full POS systems for special occasions, something none of the others on our list do.
However, if you’re not ready to give up your existing online store or just need a simple system, look at Square and Zettle, which offer their own store, or integrate with other ecommerce software and have a free POS for in-person sales.
Shopify earned 3.91 out of 5 on our evaluation. We love its checkout features and multichannel sales tools. However, it took hits for charging to use a third-party merchant account (something SwipeSimple and Payanywhere do not do), lacking a free card reader (like Square and Payanywhere), and charging for chargebacks. It also has a low user rating for Android, which affected its score here.
Shopify POS Pricing
Shopify POS Features
Rent POS Hardware
Most of the apps on our list also have the option for full POS systems, which you can purchase or rent by the month. Shopify alone, however, allows you to rent a system by the day. This is a great tool for those times when you may need to up your game, such as for a big convention with high-traffic sales.
Multichannel Sales, Including Social Media & Online Marketplaces
The more places you can sell your wares, the more opportunities for sales and loyal customers. Shopify makes it easy to integrate with channels like eBay, Facebook, and other social or online venues. Several of the apps on our list, like PayPal, let you add a buy button, but Square allows full integration like Shopify.
Want to add a new source of income or expand your inventory? Shopify integrates with hundreds of dropshipping companies.
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. No other credit card processor on our list offers this, and depending on your volume, you may pay for the software in your savings.
Small businesses are actually at greater risk for friendly and criminal credit card fraud than large corporations. 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 does charge for chargebacks, however. If that’s a concern, look at Square, which waives up to $250 in chargeback fees.
Highly Rated iOS Mobile App
The Shopify POS app on iOS earned 4.5 out of 5 based on around 7,200 reviews. For Android, it only earned 3.6 stars and about 1,600 reviews, but this is a significant improvement since our last time reviewing this app. There is also a mobile app for running your Shopify online store, and it has more consistent and better reviews in both app stores.
Reasons To Not Consider Shopify POS
- Charges to use other merchant accounts: Unlike Square and PayPal, you can use other merchant accounts with Shopify—but you will pay extra.
- Lacks offline mode: You cannot use Shopify to process card payments without an internet connection. For that, consider Square and Payanywhere.
Read our Shopify POS review for more details.
PayPal Zettle: Best Social & Cross-border Payment App
PayPal is a powerhouse for payment processing around the world for businesses of all sizes, including international businesses. You can add a PayPal button almost anywhere and have PayPal payments alongside other payment types. If you need a system for casual in-person sales, PayPal Zettle, the replacement for PayPal Here, works well for businesses worldwide. The POS is simpler than Square, but like Square, easy to use and free. Plus, the processing rates are cheaper.
We gave Zettle a score of 3.78 out of 5. Its lack of offline processing hurt its score, as did the cost of card readers and the customer service. Since PayPal purchased Zettle, its user ratings have gone down, but this could be growing pains as PayPal works out the kinks in its new acquisition. Some users have said they prefer Here, even though Zettle has a more modern UX. It earned a perfect score for card-specific app features.
PayPal Zettle Pricing
PayPal Zettle Features
PayPal works just about anywhere for accepting payments, and your customer does not need a PayPal account to use it. And of course, PayPal payment processing works for credit cards, ACH transfers, and more. Thus, you can accept payments from your online store to an online chat with a customer. Zettle itself, however, only integrates with a few ecommerce solutions for syncing online sales. For greater connectivity between in-person and online sales, consider Square, Shopify, and Payanywhere.
International Payment Processing
PayPal works in over 200 markets and 100 currencies, and Zettle got its start in Europe. With it, you can easily process sales in-store, across borders, and in different currencies. PayPal allows cross-border payments. On our list, Shopify is the next best choice for international payments.
Versatility & Scalability
Like Square, Zettle serves a wide range of use cases. Hobbyists and large corporations use the PayPal app, although Zettle is more suited for small businesses and solopreneurs.
Like SwipeSimple and others on our list, PayPal lets you include links for social selling. PayPal, however, has the best reputation and name recognition among consumers. Adding a PayPal option to your sales increases your chance of making a sale.
Recent User Approval is High
In the past, we’ve noted a lot of complaints about Zettle since PayPal took it over. However, it seems to be past its growing pains. Reviews of the past six months on third-party sites like Capterra show people are overall very pleased with the app, giving it four and five stars. The lifetime average is 4.59 out of 5 measured from several third-party review sites.
Why Zettle Might Not Be Your Best Choice
- Mediocre app ratings: PayPal’s Zettle mobile app works for both Android and iOS. On Android, it has over 40,000 reviews and a score of 4 out of 5. In iOS, it has nearly 260 reviews and a score of 3.3 out of 5. The scores are the lowest on our list aside from SumUp. One thing to note is that it requires iOS 10 and Android 5.0 or higher.
- Offline processing: Zettle does not handle sales offline. Check Square and Payanywhere if you want a free POS with offline capabilities.
SumUp: Best Credit Card App for Solopreneurs & Low-volume/Low-ticket Merchants
If you need a simple payment processor with just the basics, then SumUp may be perfect for your business. It’s a reliable, straightforward credit card processor that takes stripe, chip, and contactless payments. The inventory is easy to set up if you wish, or you can simply process charges manually with notes. The price is competitive, especially for low-volume and low-ticket sales.
As such, it’s good for solopreneurs like hobbyists that sell on the side at farmers markets or convention sales or those who sell in small, low-volume kiosks.
We gave SumUp 3.39 out of 5. Unlike most of the credit card apps on our list, SumUp is focused on individuals. Its user scores are on the lower end of those on our list, which hurt its ranking, as did the fact that users have to purchase their first card reader.
Accept Many Payment Types
In addition to card processing with a basic POS system, you can send links, create QR codes, set up an online store for free (Shopify charges for this), and even create digital gift cards.
Basic POS System
Not everyone needs a complex POS system. SumUp lets you input an inventory with categories and variants, program in taxes, and create customized receipts, but it doesn’t include a lot of bells and whistles that take memory on your device and time to learn. It has a few sales reports with the most important information for gauging profits and losses.
Digital Gift Cards
The free SumUp accounts and app allow you to create and sell digital gift cards. When you sell a gift card, there is just a 3.25% + 15 cents transaction fee. You can view all of your sold gift cards right from the app for easy tracking and lookup.
Basic In-app Invoicing
SumUp also offers a free invoicing tool with customizable invoices, embedded payment links, and automatic reconciliation between payments and open invoices. You can create and monitor invoices right from the app, including re-sending overdue invoices. When customers pay their invoice online, it’s just a 2.90% + 15 cent transaction fee. Though not as advanced as what you would find with QuickBooks or Square, SumUp’s invoicing tools would be sufficient for a small operation.
Cheaper for Low-ticket Sales
Like Payanywhere, SumUp offers good rates for low-ticket sales. Compared to Square, your transactions are cheaper with SumUp if the total is less than about $67. And, compared to Zettle’s current rates, SumUp is cheaper for transactions under $20.
Reasons Not To Consider SumUp
- Below-average mobile app ratings: SumUp’s mobile app is on Android and iOS, and it earned 2.8 out of 5 stars (around 51,000 reviews) and 3.1 out of 5 stars (roughly 450 reviews), respectively. These were some of the lowest scores on our list. Connectivity and lag seemed to be the main issues. The app itself looks great and is easy to use—if you can get the payment processed.
- Virtual terminal restricted: The virtual terminal is limited to qualifying merchants. You’ll need to contact sales to see if you qualify. The rate for virtual terminal transactions is 3.25% + 15 cents. If you need this function, consider Square, which makes our list of the best virtual terminals.
- No integrations: If you want to integrate SumUp, you’ll need to use the developer API; it does not offer an app store for integrations with common third-party software. All the other credit card apps on our list do.
To learn more about whether this app is right for you, read our full SumUp review.
How We Evaluated Credit Card Payment Apps
Our researchers have not only read about these systems but have used many of them. We took that expertise and combined it with reviews from real-world businesses to find the easiest to use, then looked at other important factors for small businesses: price, versatility, and primary functions.
Square topped our list because of its ease of use and free POS. It’s also on our lists of best mobile POS apps and best payment processors in general. It’s a highly flexible program that works for the hobbyist or the full-time retailer with a store and ecommerce website.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
20% of Overall Score
The best credit card payment applications have low transaction fees with no monthly subscriptions, either for use or for a POS system. They also supply a free reader, even if only a dongle for your smartphone. Square and Payanywhere had the highest scores here, with 4 out of 5.
25% of Overall Score
This criterion considered platform, transparency, simplicity of fees, and accepted payment types. All our products did well here, but SwipeSimple earned a perfect score.
20% of Overall Score
We considered how fast you get paid, the chargeback policy and fees, integrations, and business functions related to payment and sales. Payanywhere earned a perfect score, followed by Square with 4.63.
15% of Overall Score
20% of Overall Score
This is a value score that considers features, pricing, popularity, and criteria like stability, options, and UX. Square took the lead with 5 out of 5, and Payanywhere had the lowest score with 3.75 out of 5.
Whether you are a brick-and-mortar business with an online store or an artist who sells their creations at the local flea market, credit card apps can make taking payments easy while helping you keep track of your sales. Some, like SumUp, offer simple POS systems for the smartphone, while others are more complex, like Square, which has extra programs for employee management, reservations, and even payroll.
Square is our choice for the best credit card payment app because while it can handle a multitude of business functions beyond credit card processing, it is also simple enough for the hobbyist or solopreneur. The system is free, and you’re only charged for processing transactions, so sign up for Square today.