Entrepreneurs and small business owners often need an efficient way to accept mobile credit and debit card payments. Using your iPhone as a mobile POS system — where your phone transmits data instead of a traditional terminal — is an excellent way to start accepting card payments securely and easily.
We’ll showcase the best credit card processors to consider with an iPhone POS system and how iPhone-based credit card processing works.
Many credit card processors work well with iPhones. The processor you work with should be able to handle your business volume efficiently and affordably. Here’s a look at our top picks for iPhone credit card processors and the credit card processing costs and fees you can expect.
2.6% + $0.10
Card terminals included
Varies by volume
2.6% + $0.10
2.29% + $0.09
Square is our choice for the best credit card processor for small businesses. It has a flat-rate pricing model, no monthly fees and free POS software. Square is suitable for any business type and allows you to accept in-person, mobile and online payments. Its Square Reader is a mobile credit card swiper that plugs into your iPhone; all you need to do is open the Square POS app and swipe the card for payment. (You can also set up contactless payments.)
Some benefits of Square include the following:
Some of the downsides of using Square are as follows:
For more information, check out our in-depth Square review.
Payment Depot is our top pick for a low-fee credit card processor. It charges a flat monthly fee instead of a percentage of sales, giving small businesses a lower-cost option. Clients can pay via mobile credit card readers or email.
Payment Depot’s pros include the following:
These are some of the cons of using Payment Depot:
Clover is our choice for the best credit card processor for new businesses. It’s a cost-effective option if you’re just getting started with POS payment acceptance, offering flat-rate pricing, month-to-month contracts, and affordable POS software and hardware.
Some benefits of Clover include the following:
Some of Clover’s downsides are listed below:
For more information, check out our complete review of Clover.
PayPal’s mobile credit card processing solution is called PayPal Zettle, which offers a full suite of POS hardware, free POS software and reasonable fees. (PayPal Here was PayPal’s previous solution. It’s no longer available for new merchants, but existing merchants can still use its services, software and hardware.)
The pros of PayPal Zettle include the following:
Here are some downsides of using PayPal Zettle:
To help you better understand your iPhone credit card processing options, here’s an overview of the two primary types of credit card processors for iPhone and how they work.
The app-and-reader combo is the most popular mobile credit card processing solution for iPhones. It’s also one of the easiest to use. Businesses sign up for a merchant account with the provider of their choice and then download the provider’s app to their iPhone.
Most app-and-reader companies send their merchants a free or affordable credit card reader that plugs directly into the iPhone. With the reader in place, you can start accepting payments everywhere you bring your iPhone from customers using magstripe cards, EMV chip cards, contactless cards or mobile wallets.
If you go with an app and reader for mobile credit card processing, providers will likely charge you a nominal flat fee per transaction and a percentage of the sale.
If you’re looking for a more robust mobile credit card processing solution, the app-and-terminal option may be what you need. While it still relies on an app, this setup looks like a more traditional POS system.
Mobile credit card terminals can be used anywhere you have your iPhone. They come with additional POS features to help you streamline your business, maximize profits, and better leverage your existing customer base, such as the following:
For businesses with a fixed location, multiple staff members or consistent inventory, the app and terminal setup is an easy-to-use option that offers additional functionality and reliability.
The terminals often come with a complete set of equipment, including the following items:
Many companies, like Square, offer a basic app-and-reader setup with an upgrade path to an app-and-terminal solution. This flexibility allows your credit card payment solution to grow with your business. Some app-and-terminal solutions come with a monthly fee, so you’ll need to determine whether the added functionality is worth the price.
Using your PayPal account or Venmo for Business to accept credit card payments may be your simplest option, requiring no hardware and minimal fees. You can also ask customers to pay you via Zelle, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
You have several excellent options when using your iPhone for credit card processing. The one that’s right for you will depend on your business, its products and services, and your customers’ needs. Making an informed choice can help you maximize your budget and optimize customer experience.
Linda Pophal contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.