7 Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone

The best iPhone credit card readers accept chip and contactless payments and are cost-effective.
Whitney Vandiver
By Whitney Vandiver 

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iPhone credit card readers pair with a mobile point-of-sale app to help small businesses accept and process credit card payments.

Ultimately, the best credit card reader for your iPhone should:

  • Accept at least chip and contactless payments.

  • Be compatible with an iPad POS system or other POS system.

  • Include cost-effective payment processor fees.

These iPhone-friendly credit card readers meet the criteria.

Clover Go

Best overall iPhone card reader

A white square Clover Go card reader

Image courtesy of Clover.

Accepts: Magstripe, chip and contactless payment methods.

Price for device:

  • $49 for chip, swipe and contactless Clover Go card reader.

  • $499 for Clover Flex mobile POS with printer.

  • $799 for Clover Mini POS.

  • $1,349 for Clover Station Solo.

  • $1,799 for Clover Station Duo.

Processing fees:

  • 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions for most plans.

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions on Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter and Professional Services Standard plans, as well as Home & Field Services Standard and Advanced plans.

  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for online or keyed-in transactions.

Pros

  • The reader processes all three types of payments.

  • Clover's transaction fees are transparent.

  • The POS software is well-developed.

Cons

  • Standard plan also requires a $14.95 monthly fee.

  • It doesn't have a screen to display transaction details.

Why we like it: The Clover Go is a compact, portable card reader that connects to comprehensive POS software. Clover offers a $14.95 monthly plan for those looking for extra features.

SumUp Plus reader

Best value

A customer holds a credit card up to the SumUp Plus reader

Image courtesy of SumUp.

Accepts: Magstripe, chip and contactless payment methods.

Price for device:

  • $35 for SumUp Plus card reader.

  • $49 for SumUp Plus cradle bundle.

  • $99 for SumUp Solo touchscreen.

Processing fees:

  • 2.75% for in-person transactions.

  • 2.90% plus 15 cents for online transactions.

  • 3.25% plus 15 cents for manually keyed or payment-linked transactions.

Pros

  • The reader processes all three payment types.

  • There is no monthly fee.

  • Fees are transparent and easy to understand.

  • It has a screen to display transaction details.

Cons

  • SumUp has less robust POS software features.

Why we like it: SumUp’s Plus reader can process more than 500 transactions on a single power charge. It has a screen to display transaction details, so you won’t have to share your personal device with the customer. SumUp charges a competitive rate of 2.75% for in-person transactions — and there are no monthly fees or contracts. Its POS software also offers nifty features like customizable smart invoicing to make business easier.

Payanywhere 3-in-1 reader

Best for small transactions

One hand on the right holds up a smartphone to the Payanywhere 3-in-1 reader on the left

Image courtesy of Payanywhere.

Accepts: Magstripe, chip and contactless payment methods.

Price for device: $59.95.

Processing fees: 2.69% for in-person transactions, 3.49% plus 19 cents for keyed transactions; volume-based discounts available.

Pros

  • Payanywhere doesn't charge a monthly fee.

  • Transaction fees are transparent.

  • The 3-in-1 reader can process all three payment types.

Cons

  • It doesn't have a screen to display transaction details.

  • Payanywhere's POS software is not as advanced as some of its competitors.

  • There's a $3.99 inactivity fee for 12 months without a transaction.

Why we like it: Payanywhere’s versatile card reader comes with low payment processing rates starting at 2.69% with no fixed fee on top. This makes it a cost-effective option for businesses with smaller transaction totals — for example, transactions of $10 or less.

Square reader for contactless and chip cards

Best for POS features

Image courtesy of Square.

Accepts: Chip and contactless payment methods.

Price for device:

  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).

  • $49 for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.

  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).

  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.

  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system.

  • $659-$1,479 for various bundles of stands, cash drawers, printers and card readers.

Processing fees:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.

  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.

Pros

  • Square fees are transparent.

  • You don't have to pay a monthly fee, but Plus plan is $29 per month.

  • Square's POS software is well-developed.

Cons

  • You can't swipe cards.

  • It doesn't have a screen to display transaction details.

Why we like it: Square’s free POS software is among the most feature-rich out there; it can give you the full range of business management capabilities, including customized digital receipts, invoicing, customer profiles for repeat buyers, inventory management and more. Square also offers Tap to Pay on iPhone, which lets merchants accept card payments using only a regular iPhone with the Square POS app. Customers hold their cards or their own iPhone wallets near the merchant's phone to pay.

Square POS

Square
NerdWallet rating 
Shop Now

on Square's website

PayPal Zettle

Best for alternative payment options

The PayPal Zettle card reader sits on a coffee shop counter

Image courtesy of PayPal.

Accepts: Chip and contactless payment methods.

Price for device:

  • $29 for first card reader; additional readers cost $79. Price includes USB cable.

  • $249 for Store Kit Mini (screen terminal with card reader).

  • $339 for Store Kit Portable kit with mobile card reader and printer.

  • $499 for Store Kit Standard (adds printer).

  • $699 for Store Kit Plus (adds barcode scanner).

Processing fees:

  • 2.29% plus 9 cents for in-person and QR code transactions.

  • 3.49% plus 9 cents for manual entry card transactions.

  • 3.49% plus 49 cents for invoicing transactions.

Pros

  • Fees are transparent and easy to understand.

  • Card reader has a screen to display transaction details.

  • PayPal Zettle's POS app offers a variety of features.

Cons

  • Zettle doesn't process swipe payments.

Why we like it: Unlike some competitors, PayPal Zettle works with PayPal and Venmo. All transactions made with Zettle go straight into your PayPal account and can be transferred to your bank.

QuickBooks card reader

Best for accounting integration

A customer holds a credit card up to the QuickBooks Card Reader

Image courtesy of Intuit.

Accepts: Chip and contactless payment methods.

Price:

  • $49 for QuickBooks card reader.

  • $79 for QuickBooks card reader with charging stand.

  • $389 for black pin pad card reader.

  • $900 for black or white hardware bundle (cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, pin pad card reader).

  • Other printer, stand and scanner accessories available.

Processing fees:

For QuickBooks Online users

  • 2.4% plus 25 cents for in-person payments.

  • 2.9% plus 25 cents for online and invoiced payments.

  • 3.4% plus 25 cents for manually keyed payments.

  • 1% for ACH transactions.

For QuickBooks Desktop users

Pay as you go plan (no monthly fee):

  • 2.4% plus 30 cents per swiped transaction.

  • 3.5% plus 30 cents per keyed-in transaction.

  • 3.5% plus 30 cents per invoiced transaction.

Pay monthly plan (monthly fee):

  • 1.6% plus 30 cents per swiped transaction.

  • 3.3% plus 30 cents per keyed-in transaction.

  • 3.3% plus 30 cents per invoiced transaction.

Pros

  • There's no monthly fee.

  • Processing fees are transparent.

  • It has a screen to display transaction details.

Cons

Why we like it: If you have a QuickBooks Online account, you can use this card reader to automatically record your transactions in the accounting software.

Helcim card reader

Best for high-volume sales

Image courtesy of Helcim.

Accepts: Chip, swipe and contactless payment methods.

Price:

  • $109 for a mobile card reader (with stand).

  • $79 for a mobile thermal printer.

Processing fees:

  • Interchange plus 0.3% and 8 cents per in-person transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per online transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per manually keyed transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • 0.5% plus 25 cents for ACH payments.

Pros

  • No monthly fees.

  • Has volume discounts available.

  • Has robust POS software features.

Cons

  • May be difficult to estimate monthly cost in advance.

Why we like it: Helcim’s card reader processes all three types of payments. A standout feature is its self-service portal, which allows customers to log in to see their payment information and purchase history. Helcim’s processing fees can be difficult to calculate because it bases its fees on the type of card and interchange fees, which are set by card networks. The processor doesn’t require you to sign a contract, choose a monthly fee or pay to cancel your service.

Helcim

Helcim
NerdWallet rating 
Shop Now

on Helcim's website

iPhone credit card readers comparison

Reader

Price

Fees

Clover Go

  • $49 for chip, swipe and contactless Clover Go card reader.

  • $499 for Clover Flex mobile POS with printer.

  • $799 for Clover Mini POS.

  • $1,349 for Clover Station Solo.

  • $1,799 for Clover Station Duo.

  • 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions for most plans.

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions on Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter and Professional Services Standard plans, as well as Home & Field Services Standard and Advanced plans.

  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for online or keyed-in transactions.

SumUp

  • $35 for SumUp Plus card reader.

  • $49 for SumUp Plus cradle bundle.

  • $99 for SumUp Solo touchscreen.

  • 2.75% for in-person transactions.

  • 2.90% plus 15 cents for online transactions.

  • 3.25% plus 15 cents for manually keyed or payment-linked transactions.

Payanywhere

$54.95.

2.69% for in-person transactions; 3.49% plus 19 cents for keyed transactions; volume-based discounts available.

Square

  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).

  • $49 for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.

  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).

  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.

  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system.

  • $659-$1,479 for various bundles of stands, cash drawers, printers and card readers.

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.

  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.

PayPal Zettle

  • $29 for first card reader; additional readers cost $79. Price includes USB cable.

  • $249 for Store Kit Mini (screen terminal with card reader).

  • $339 for Store Kit Portable kit with mobile card reader and printer.

  • $499 for Store Kit Standard (adds printer).

  • $699 for Store Kit Plus (adds barcode scanner).

  • 2.29% plus 9 cents for in-person and QR code transactions.

  • 3.49% plus 9 cents for manual entry card transactions.

  • 3.49% plus 49 cents for invoicing transactions.

QuickBooks

  • $49 for QuickBooks card reader.

  • $79 for QuickBooks card reader with charging stand.

  • $389 for black pin pad card reader.

  • $900 for black or white hardware bundle (cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, pin pad card reader).

  • Other printer, stand and scanner accessories available.

  • 2.4% plus 25 cents for in-person payments.

  • 2.9% plus 25 cents for online and invoiced payments.

  • 3.4% plus 25 cents for manually keyed payments.

  • 1% for ACH transactions.

Helcim

  • $109 for a mobile card reader (with stand).

  • $79 for a mobile thermal printer.

  • Interchange plus 0.3% and 8 cents per in-person transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per online transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per manually keyed transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • 0.5% plus 25 cents for ACH payments.

Accept payments without worry
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Randa Kriss, a small-business writer, contributed to this article.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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