Best card reader for small business
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If you run a small business, you’ll need a way to accept debit and credit card payments. Hence, the importance of card readers.  There are numerous card readers available on the market, but selecting the appropriate card reader can help your business run more efficiently. So, in this guide, we’ll show you a comprehensive list of the best card readers for your business, including the free options, as well as tips on how to get a free mobile credit card reader.

What Is A Card Reader?

A card reader is an electronic device that is used to take credit and debit card payments from customers. They are also known as POS terminals, card machines, PDQ machines, and chip and pin machines. Card readers can be wireless or wired to your cash register or PC. Paying with a credit card is becoming an increasingly common method of payment in stores, and providing more options for your customers to pay can benefit your business.

The Best Credit Card Readers For Your Business

Here are some of the best card readers for your business:

#1. Square

Square’s contactless and chip card reader lets you accept credit cards with chips as well as digital wallets including tap-and-pay credit cards and smartphone apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Instead of connecting directly to a device, it uses Bluetooth technology, allowing you to keep your phone or tablet close – but not always out.

The reader must be charged, but the charging dock can also serve as a counter or table support for the reader. You can also use a USB charger to charge it.

#2. Clover Go

Clover’s credit card reader connects to phones and tablets through Bluetooth. It also accepts all types of credit card payments, including magstripe-only cards, chip cards, and contactless payments.

It costs $49, and you can choose between a $0 monthly beginner plan and a $14.95 monthly regular package. Both offer basic payment processing as well as live help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The basic plan, on the other hand, contains additional capabilities like sales tracking, extensive reporting, inventory management, and itemized orders.

#3. Paypal Zettle

PayPal’s Zettle accepts chip and contactless payments, but not magstripes. Customers can, however, pay with QR codes on the PayPal and Venmo platforms. Its POS software provides sales data, inventory management, sales performance tracking, and other features.

Transaction fees are generally comparable to competitors, with cheaper rates available for QR code transactions. All funds are transferred to your PayPal account rather than your bank account. Before you may use the funds outside of PayPal, you must request a transfer to your company bank account.

#4. SumUp Pro

The SumUp Plus credit card reader is powerful and tiny, working through Bluetooth with Apple and Android devices and promising more than 500 transactions on a single battery. Aside from a screen that displays transaction details, the reader has a few POS software functions that allow you to manage products in your catalog, track sales, send digital receipts, and manage staff accounts. However, you may discover that the overall POS falls short when compared to more robust alternatives on the market.

SumUp simply charges for transactions and does not impose a monthly fee. Once connected to the SumUp app, you can order the reader for $35 and begin accepting card transactions in minutes.

#5. Clover Flex

The Clover Flex is a compact but strong credit card reader. It can accept all three types of credit cards, read bar codes, and even print receipts. It’s one of the few solutions in this category with its own screen, eliminating the need for your personal device and providing clients with a more professional experience while checking out on the spot.

The Clover Flex, depending on your monthly package, can help you manage inventory, analyze sales data, and set up unique logins for staff. The price is $499, but the manufacturer provides payment plans to spread the cost out. Payment processing fees are determined by your price plan.

#6. Helcim Card Reader

The card reader at Helcim allows chip and contactless payments but cannot scan magstripe cards. Because it connects via Bluetooth, it must be charged. It also offers POS software via the Helcim app, with capabilities such as customer management and inventory tracking, as well as analytics and reporting. Its self-service site, which allows users to log in and view their payment details and transaction history, is a unique feature.

#7. Toast Go 2

The Toast Go 2 allows you to take orders at tables and accept all three payment methods. It’s also spill-proof, has a 24-hour battery life, and has a 6.4-inch touchscreen for quick checkout. The free edition of Toast’s POS software includes basic functions such as point-of-sale and payment processing, but subscription plans provide more advanced functionality.

The processing cost for the free pay-as-you-go monthly plan with basic features is 2.99% + 15 cents for each in-person transaction. If you pay for your gear upfront and additionally pay a monthly software charge of $69.00, the cost reduces to 2.49% plus 15 cents. Other programs have higher monthly rates or are priced on a per-quote basis. One disadvantage is that the company demands contracts. Return to the top

#8. Square Terminal

Square Terminal supports all three credit card payment methods: chip, contactless, and magstripe. And, at $299, it is at the bottom end of the all-inclusive card reader pricing range.

The company’s regular flat-rate processing costs apply, and they vary depending on whether you run the card in person or manually enter it. There is no monthly commitment.

#9. Square Stand

The Square Stand is intended for a single smart device: the iPad – albeit it is only compatible with certain iPad devices. Insert an iPad into the Square Stand and use it as a desktop POS. You can provide a larger screen for transaction data with this setup, and the swivel capability allows customers to sign on to the iPad without having to pass the device around. It can accept chip and contactless payments, but not magstripe payments unless you purchase a Square Reader.

The company’s typical costs for credit cards are 2.6% plus 10 cents, with prices increasing to 3.5% plus 15 cents for methods other than a swipe, chip, or contactless payment.

#10. Clover Mini

The Clover Mini is a countertop configuration that does not require a tablet. It enables your company to accept several sorts of payments, create receipts, and scan barcodes. With premium monthly plans, you also get some cool POS capabilities like inventory, customer, and personnel management.

This item costs $749. Payment processing fees are determined by your Clover pricing plan.

#11. Clover Station Solo

The Clover Station Solo is a register-style system that provides merchants with a 14-inch high-definition screen and a receipt printer to complete the checkout process. The system integrates with Clover’s retail POS to provide payment processing, inventory and staff management, reporting, and other features. For restaurants, the Station Solo is ideal for personalizing and tracking orders, managing table mapping, and much more.

#12. Square Register

The Square Register is Square’s first fully integrated credit card scanning device, as well as a comprehensive countertop POS system that accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless payment methods. It features two screens — one for the employee and one for the consumer — to provide a streamlined experience. It also has an extra-long wire that allows businesses to detach the Register from the customer’s screen in order to induce social separation. Its program offers inventory, staff, and customer relationship management functions, as well as a reporting package for viewing sales data.

This small-business credit card reader will set you back $799, although there are payment plans available. It accepts transactions at Square’s normal rates.

#13. Clover Station Duo

With a 14-inch screen for you and a 7-inch screen for your clients, the Clover Station Duo ups the ante. Customers can now confirm orders and pay using whatever method they like, including credit cards, debit cards, and contactless payment methods. The Station Duo is designed for retail outlets, restaurant venues, and service organizations, and it has greater power than the Station Solo.

While this is the most expensive option, the Station Duo is currently sold with a cash drawer and a receipt printer, giving you the full range of checkout features.

Selecting The Best Free Mobile Credit Card Reader for Your Business

There is no single source that can deliver the lowest prices to every merchant. What may be a relatively inexpensive answer for you may not be so for someone else. Paying the least amount of money for processing is also pointless if you have to worry about your account being frozen or shut down unexpectedly, or if customer assistance is inadequate to fix technical problems when they emerge.

When deciding which free card reader is suitable for your small business, bear the following points in mind:

  • What features are included with the reader?
  • How much does the processing cost?
  • Are you on a month-to-month basis, or will you be locked into a long-term contract?
  • Is there a penalty for leaving early?
  • What are the reader’s connectivity options?
  • What is the battery life?

These questions will assist you in keeping track of the fundamentals in your business and identifying the most crucial details for you while selecting the best free mobile credit card reader.

What Is The Best Free Mobile Credit Card Reader For Your Business?

Your options for a free mobile credit card reader for your business include:

#1. Square

If you run a small, low-volume business, Square is a good alternative for credit card processing. There are no monthly fees or long-term obligations, and you may open an account online rather than going through the lengthy underwriting process required for a full-service merchant account. Each in-person transaction costs a flat 2.6% + $0.10, making it simple to forecast your processing costs.

Square is not available to most high-risk firms and, if you have a high monthly processing volume, can actually be more expensive than a typical merchant account.

#2. Go Clover

National Processing provides clear, interchange-plus pricing for retail transactions at interchange + 0.18% + $0.10 per transaction. If you need to end your account, it offers month-to-month pricing with no early termination cost. You’ll also obtain more account stability with this classic merchant account than with payment service providers (PSPs) like Square and PayPal.

It is worth noting that National Processing provides a wide range of options geared to certain industries and business types. Not all of these plans feature a complimentary Clover Go card reader (some include a SwipeSimple reader instead). Monthly rates range from $9.95 to $199, with additional fees for optional features like ACH processing.

The Clover Go’s rechargeable battery can handle up to 160 swipe or chip card transactions.

#3. National Processing

National Processing is one of the few processing companies that specialize in meeting the needs of small business owners. Products and services include strong support for both low-cost mobile processing systems and more traditional credit card terminals. The Clover Go and SwipeSimple B250 mobile card readers, both of which are described elsewhere in this article, are available from the company.

4. Payment Depot

Payment Depot is one of a few merchant service providers that offer membership pricing, in which you pay a single monthly subscription price in exchange for not having to pay a 10% markup on your transaction fees. Of course, you’ll still be charged interchange fees, but this type of pricing can save some firms hundreds of dollars per month. Payment Depot has a variety of pricing plans with various monthly subscription prices and processing limits.

#5. Stax by Fattmerchant

Stax by Fattmerchant was an early adopter of membership pricing, which combines all of your monthly recurring payments into a single subscription charge and eliminates the percentage-based markup on your transactions. This type of pricing can save certain businesses a significant amount of money on overall processing expenses, but it is best suited for high-volume (at least $10,000/month) enterprises. Stax provides real month-to-month billing with no early termination penalties and no long-term contracts.

Which Company Card Reader Is The Best?

Square ranks as the best company card reader.

Is Square Card Reader Free?

Square provides a free magstripe reader to all new merchants, and the full price is only $10 if you need more.

How Much Does A Card Reader Cost?

A card reader can cost anywhere from $200-$1000, depending on the features you want, and the company you purchase them from.

Do I need a merchant account to use a card reader for my small business?

Not always. Some card readers, such as Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle, allow users to process transactions using their personal accounts without the need for a merchant account. Other card readers, however, might need a merchant account in order for you to use their service. In order to make sure you have all the required accounts set up, it is best to contact the card reader provider before making a purchase.

How do I process a refund or void a transaction using a card reader?

Depending on the card reader you are using, there are several steps for refunding or canceling a purchase. Some card readers offer an integrated void or refund feature that is accessed by either the hardware or companion software. For some, processing the refund or void may require you to log into an online account. For further instructions, it is best to refer to the card reader provider’s literature or customer assistance.

Can I use my card reader to accept payments from customers remotely?

Your card reader will determine this. Sending consumers a payment link through email or text message allows you to accept payments remotely with some card readers, including Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle. Others can demand that the customer be there in order to make a purchase. It is important to inquire about the possibilities for remote payments with the card reader provider.

Will my card reader work for all types of credit and debit cards?

Major credit and debit cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are supported by the majority of card readers. To make sure that the gadget is compatible with the cards you anticipate it to accept, it is best to check with the card reader provider. Certain card kinds, such as those issued by specific banks or from other countries, may not be supported by all card readers.

Are there any additional costs associated with using a card reader for my small business?

Using a card reader will cost you different things depending on the device and service provider. Some card readers only require a single upfront payment and don’t charge extra monthly or transaction fees. Others might impose a flat monthly fee or a portion of each transaction as a fee. Some card readers may also tack on extra charges for things like chargebacks or refunds. To learn about all the expenses related to using their gadget, it is best to inquire with the card reader provider.

How do I ensure my card reader is PCI compliant?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), established by the major credit card companies to guarantee that merchants handle and send cardholder data securely, are referred to as PCI compliance. You should verify with the card reader vendor to determine if the device has been certified as PCI compliant if you want to make sure your card reader is PCI compliant. You should also adhere to standard practices for protecting cardholder data, such as creating secure passwords and often updating the software on the device.

Can I use my card reader to accept payments from other countries?

Using a card reader makes a difference. Some card readers, including Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle, can accept payments from other nations. It is best to check with the card reader provider to make sure the device can be used for international transactions and to learn about any additional costs that could be involved.

Can I track my sales and transactions using my card reader?

Yes, the majority of card readers provide built-in reporting and analytics tools that let you keep track of your sales and transactions, including Square, PayPal Here, and iZettle. Some card readers also come with extra functionality including accounting integration, customer relationship management, and inventory management. It is essential to inquire about the alternatives for tracking sales and transactions with the card reader provider.

In Conclusion

The best card reader for a small business is the one that best meets your requirements and matches your budget. Before making a decision, evaluate processing fees, features, simplicity of usage, and customer feedback.

All of the options mentioned above can provide you with a high-quality reader and a mobile app that will allow you to begin accepting credit cards. While each organization has its own set of constraints, they all offer outstanding service to small businesses like yours. Some, however, are better suited to specific industries than others, so do your homework before settling on the finest service for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do card machines make money?

They make money by charging a transaction fee and providing add-on services linked to the card reader account, which keeps the start-up cost minimal.

How much does it cost a small business to accept credit cards?

Credit card processing fees normally range from 1.5% to 3.5% of the entire transaction amount.

Can I use my phone as a card reader?

You can use your phone as a card reader. However, your mobile device must have an Android operating system that supports NFC. Furthermore, in order to proceed and receive payments, you must download the Tap On Phone qualified Viva Wallet POS app and register a business account.

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