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4 Best Smartphone Card Readers for 2017

This article will explain how credit card machines for iPhone and Android models work. It will also take a look at the best iPhone card readers and Android card readers available in the UK.

Credit Card Machines For iPhone And Android

Technology is moving forward quickly. Today, most businesses accept chip & pin and contactless card payments. Meanwhile others are moving ahead with more innovative methods of payments.

A number of payment providers are now offering credit card machines for smartphones like iPhone and Android. These card readers can be attached to the phone or tablet and can handle most credit card transactions.

Credit card machines for smartphones are popular with sellers who don’t necessarily have a permanent ‘base’ from where they can process cards. These are often smaller businesses and sole traders. Ideal for processing payments on the move, credit card machines for Android and iPhones are a low cost solution for small businesses and individuals.

smartphone card reader

How Credit Card Machines for iPhones Work

There are a few different options available for iPhone users and Android users who want to accept credit card transactions. They are usually made up of a combination of an app and a card reader, which will connect to your phone by Bluetooth or plug in to the headphone jack.

Both Android devices and iPhones can connect to mobile card readers this way.


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Best Smartphone Card Reader In The UK

There are many options for merchants looking to take card payments with an Android device or iPhone in the UK. Below we have detailed some of the most popular solutions.

Some of the provider names will be familiar, as they have already been offering the same service in the US. In the UK, these companies provide chip & pin readers, while in the US swipe readers are more common.

PayPal, for example, offers PayPal Here as a Bluetooth chip & pin reader in the UK, and as a swipe reader that connects to the phone via the headphone jack in the US.

ProviderCard ReaderFeatures
PayPalPayPal Here• Accepts debit cards, credit cards and PayPal payments
• Card reader costs £62.50 + VAT
• Accepts contactless payments
• Connects via Bluetooth
SquareSquare Reader• Accepts debit, credit and contactless cards
• Compact and portable
• Reader costs £39 + VAT
• Connects wirelessly
iZettleiZettle Card Reader • Accepts all major credit and debit cards
• Card machine costs £59 + VAT
• Smallest smartphone card reader & longest battery life
• Connects via cable to the phone's headphone jack
SumUpSumUp Air Reader• Accepts credit and debit cards
• Card reader costs £59 + VAT
• Connects via Bluetooth

PayPal Here

paypal here card reader for android card reader reviewPaypal Here is a reader and app option that is a reliable and discreet payment processor that can be used anywhere and offers chip and pin capability.

PayPal’s mobile card processing tool is a handy and reliable asset for businesses, particularly those who already use PayPal for their business.

PayPal’s system is easy to set up, with a quick app download, and then an initial payment of £75 including VAT to order a card reader, which will connect via Bluetooth to enable you to take the payments.

Very user-friendly, it can be used by multiple users, making it ideal for shops, restaurants, conferences and events. A transaction fee of 2.75% applies, which drops to 1.5% dependent on transaction volume.

Square Reader

Square card reader

One of the most aesthetically pleasing card readers on the market, Square's card reader is small, compact and looks great on any counter-top or on the go.

It charges no monthly fees and has a simple flat rate charge of 1.75% per transaction that is processed through the reader's technology.

Another advantage of Square is that your money is transferred back to you within 1-2 business days, the quickest of all the mobile app card readers we've reviewed.

Also consider investing in some of Square's excellent add-ons and integrations. You can purchase a neat looking charging dock for the card reader, as well as a gift card feature and online appointment management systems.

iZettle Card Reader

izettle card reader reviewiZettle recently abandoned it's Card Reader Lite and Card Reader Pro Contactless offering and combined the products to make one, powerful iZettle Card Reader.

iZettle's card reader accepts the largest selection of credit card types on the market, making it increasingly easy for your customers to pay.

At £59 for the card reader, iZettle's no hidden fees pricing model has helped boost its popularity in the UK. There are no monthly fees and you do not have to sign up to a long-term contract, unlike other merchant providers.

iZettle has a sliding fee scale, which means that their fees go down the more transactions you process per month. The standard transaction fee is 2.75%, which is the rate every transaction will be billed at. If you hit the next tier up, and the transaction fee goes down, you will get a refund on the excess transaction fees at the end of the month.

The first tier at which fees start going down is a spend of £2000. iZettle doesn't charge any contract fees.

In our opinion, iZettle's card reader is an excellent option for small businesses just getting started, or for those who are on the move day-to-day. For more established businesses, it might be better to consider a more substantial merchant services provider who offer better support and more integrated POS solutions.

SumUp/Payleven

Sumupcard card reader for smartphone

Last year, two complementary mobile payment companies - SumUp and Payleven - merged to form a leading partnership in the mobile payment industry. They now trade under the SumUp brand.

SumUp's Air card reader costs £59 and can connect to your device via Bluetooth.

SumUp have one of the most affordable transaction fees at a fixed 1.95% of the transaction cost. Like many of its competitors, there are no set monthly fees or fixed costs. All you need to do is purchase the card reader and you're ready to go!

Note that SumUp's fixed 1.95% transaction fee will benefit small business owners and sole traders whose monthly revenues are less than about £5000. For companies who turnover higher amounts, it is worth considering a different mobile payment provider whose transaction fees work on a sliding scale, like iZettle.

Next Steps

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