Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone in 2022

The best iPhone credit card readers accept all types of card transactions: swiped, dipped or tapped.
Sep 22, 2021

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When paired with a mobile point-of-sale app, iPhone credit card readers can allow you to accept and process credit cards via Magstripe, chip and even contactless payment.

Ultimately, the best credit card reader for your iPhone should take all types of payment methods (tapped, dipped or swiped) and be compatible with useful POS software and cost-effective payment processors. These iPhone-friendly credit card readers meet the criteria.

A white square Clover Go card reader

Image courtesy of Clover.

Clover Go: Best overall

Accepts: Magstripe, chip and contactless payment methods. Price: $49. Fees: 2.6% plus 10 cents for basic plans. 2.3% plus 10 cents for advanced plans.

Pros

  • The reader processes all three types of payments.

  • Clover's transaction fees are transparent.

  • The POS software is well-developed.

Cons

  • Most plans require a 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 just the basic features. Plans with higher monthly fees come with highly competitive transaction rates that start at 2.3% plus 10 cents.

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

Image courtesy of SumUp.

SumUp Plus reader: Best value

Accepts: Magstripe, chip and contactless payment methods. Price: $19. Fees: 2.75% and up depending on method.

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.

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

Image courtesy of Payanywhere.

Payanywhere 3-in-1 reader: Best for small transactions

Accepts: Magstripe, chip and contactless payment methods. Price: $49.95. Fees: 2.69% and up depending on method; 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. Customers who process more than $10,000 a month in transactions can qualify for lower rates.

Image courtesy of Square.

Square reader for contactless and chip cards: Best for POS features

Accepts: Chip and contactless payment methods. Price: $49. Fees: 2.6% plus 10 cents and up depending on method.

Pros

  • Square fees are transparent.

  • You don't have to pay a monthly fee.

  • 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. The company has standard processing fees across the board, and there’s no monthly fee.

Square POS

Square
Shop Now

on Square's website

The PayPal Zettle card reader sits on a coffee shop counter

Image courtesy of PayPal.

PayPal Zettle: Best for alternative payment options

Accepts: Chip and contactless payment methods. Price: $29 for new customers, $79 for additional readers. Fees: 1.9% plus 10 cents (for QR code payments under $10) and up depending on method.

Pros

  • PayPal doesn't charge a monthly fee.

  • Fees are transparent and easy to understand.

  • It has a screen to display transaction details.

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

Cons

  • The Zettle doesn't process all payment types.

Why we like it: Unlike competitors, PayPal Zettle works with PayPal and Venmo. Lower transaction fees apply when customers pay with PayPal or Venmo QR codes. All transactions made with Zettle go straight into your PayPal account and can be transferred to your bank.

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

Image courtesy of Intuit.

QuickBooks card reader: Best for accounting integration

Accepts: Chip and contactless payment methods. Price: $49. Fees: 2.4% plus 25 cents and up.

Pros

  • There's no monthly fee unless you choose that option for lower processing rates.

  • Processing fees are transparent.

  • It has a screen to display transaction details.

Cons

  • It doesn't process all payment types.

  • POS software options are limited without a QuickBooks Online account.

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. The sleek design and flat rates make it a smart option for businesses already working with QuickBooks.

Image courtesy of Helcim

Helcim card reader: Best for high-volume sales

Style: Connects via Bluetooth.

Price: $109 for the reader Fees: Vary by card type and monthly average transaction total.

Pros

  • 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 and connects via Bluetooth, meaning it needs to be charged. It also provides POS software with well-developed features, including customer management and inventory tracking that notifies you when your supply gets low. 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. It also offers volume-based discounts based on transaction tiers. The more you average in transactions per month, the higher your discount. The processor doesn’t require you to sign a contract, choose a monthly fee or pay to cancel your service.

Helcim

Helcim
Shop Now

on Helcim's website

iPhone credit card readers comparison

Reader

Price

Types of Payments

Fees

Clover Go

$99.

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.3% plus 10 cents and up.

SumUp Plus

$19.

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.75% plus 10 cents and up.

Payanywhere 3-in-1

$49.95.

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

2.69% and up.

Square Contactless and Chip

$49.

Chip and contactless.

2.6% plus 10 cents and up.

PayPal Zettle

$79 ($29 for new customers).

Chip and contactless.

1.9% plus 10 cents and up.

QuickBooks

$49.

Chip and contactless.

2.4% plus 25 cents and up.

Helcim

$199.

Chip, contactless and magstripe.

Varies by card type.

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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.