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  5. 8 Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone: Small but Mighty [2024]

8 Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone: Small but Mighty [2024]

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist April 05, 2024
April 05, 2024
It can be frustrating to find the right iPhone card reader for your business. Many mobile card readers use a physical headphone jack connector, so they won’t work for modern iPhones. Others are offered only by processors that charge expensive fees for mobile transactions. Even if you do find an affordable card reader, many run on outdated iOS apps, leaving you with a buggy and difficult-to-use dashboard.

Fortunately, that’s not the case for every iOS mobile card reader – it just takes some time to find the one that works best for your business. You don’t want to end up wasting your money on a device that doesn’t offer offline functionality if your field technicians work in rural areas. And, if you only take payments occasionally, you don’t want to be stuck with a payment processor that charges hefty monthly fees.

After spending months researching credit card readers for iPhone and various payment processors, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS)Stax came out on top. Not only does it offer versatile, modern iPhone card readers, but its rates are some of the lowest in the industry.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone in 2024

  1. Expert’s Choice
    LMS_Monogram Leaders Merchant Services
    Leaders Merchant Services is a popular choice with our readers
    Versatile iPhone card readers suiting various business needs and low custom rates.
  2. promerchant-logo ProMerchant A free Payanywhere reader and zero-cost processing for retail and restaurant businesses.
  3. Paysafe Lockup Off-Black RGB Paysafe A free EMV card reader and international processing capability covering 120 markets.

What We Look For in the Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone

With so many mobile credit card reader options on the market, I made sure to only include options with these key features.
  • Compatibility. Not every iPhone has a headphone jack or can be updated to the most current iOS version, which limits the apps that work on these devices. I’ve made sure every reader works for a wide range of iPhones so you won’t be forced to upgrade your phone to accept payments on the go.
  • Ease of use. With quickstart guides, every option on this list is easy to set up and use. You won’t have to worry about your field technicians (or yourself!) struggling while you’re away from the office.
  • Convenience. These recommended iOS card readers are small enough to fit into your pocket, making them suitable for all kinds of circumstances. Unlike bulky card terminals, they won’t take up too much space on your stall at external events.
  • Pricing. I looked for budget-friendly mobile credit card readers offered by payment processors with competitive rates. This will help your business save money, even if you take the majority of your payments in the field.

Mobile Credit Card Readers vs Mobile Terminals

Mobile credit card readers are wireless, compact devices that connect to a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) app to accept payments. Mobile terminals are larger devices with their own screen that you can use in the field or at your business location with or without a smartphone.

You’ll often find these two terms being used interchangeably when you’re looking for an mPOS device. However, these devices offer different features, so it’s important to understand the difference between them.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) provides two iOS mobile readers: Clover Go and the SwipeSimple Mobile Reader. Each iOS card reader supports various payment options, including digital wallets. With Clover Go, you can also process checks.

SwipeSimple offers enhanced offline functionality, storing transactions for up to 30 days, compared to Clover, which stores offline payment data for only seven days. Both devices integrate with free iOS-compatible apps, enabling you to create and send invoices, view reports, and manage your business on the go.

With an average monthly cost of $9.00 and transaction fees of ~2% + 0¢, LMS offers some of the lowest rates in the industry. It’s big on customization – an approach that guarantees you’ll pay only for what you need. If you’re processing with another provider, LMS’s meet-or-beat offer could secure you lower rates or a $200 incentive if it can’t at least match your current rates. Additionally, you may get free equipment if you sign a long-term contract with LMS.

Features and Benefits

  • Long battery life. The SwipeSimple mobile card readers can process between 600 and 1,000 transactions before they need charging again – ideal for field technicians who work away from their home base for extended periods.
  • Countertop convenience. Aside from accepting payments on the go, you can use Clover Go as a countertop POS when mounted on the Clover Go Dock. Depending on your business, this might eliminate the need for more expensive countertop POS devices.
  • Transaction management. You won’t need to call your office if you want to refund a customer or void a transaction. You can do this easily from the SwipeSimple or Clover Go app, helping you and your colleagues work more efficiently. It’s also more convenient for the customer, which helps build trust.
  • High-risk merchant accounts. With an impressive 98% acceptance rate, LMS approves merchants that are often rejected elsewhere.
See how Leaders Merchant Services can benefit your business in our comprehensive review.

Free mobile card reader?
Compatibility iOS 14 or iOS 15 and above
Additional app fee?
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~2% + 0¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

Paysafe is an ideal choice for small businesses with high ticket sales at low volumes due to its low transaction fees starting at 0.99% + 25¢ (debit cards) and a subscription of $16.00. Thanks to its advanced security features, Paysafe is one of the rare processors that welcomes merchants from high-risk sectors like gaming, crypto, and forex. Operating in 120 markets and supporting multiple currencies, Paysafe is also excellent for businesses aiming to grow globally.

Paysafe offers a free EMV mobile reader that can process chip and magnetic stripe cards. However, it doesn’t support contactless payments. If this is a dealbreaker for you, don’t worry – Paysafe also offers the Clover Go.

The mobile reader pairs with the free Paysafe Mobile Pay app (formerly iPayment MobilePay), allowing you to manage sales and inventory from anywhere. You can also track and process cash transactions similarly to credit card sales.

Features and Benefits

  • 250+ payment methods. Paysafe offers more payment options than any other processor I know. Aside from the standard credit and debit cards, it lets you process ACH, EFT, digital wallets, and bank transfers. Notably, it includes Skrill and Venmo (among others), catering to a diverse range of customer preferences.
  • Fast payouts. Payouts are typically processed within 1-2 business days as standard. There’s also an option for guaranteed next-day funding at an additional cost, which can be critical for ​businesses with unstable cash flow.
  • Cash discount plan. For an affordable monthly fee, the cash discount plan allows you to pass a 1%–4% fee on credit card transactions. This feature can save you significantly, especially if you process high-ticket sales.
  • Dedicated account manager. A dedicated account manager offers personalized support, ensuring smoother operation and quicker problem resolution. This can be particularly beneficial for high-risk merchants and new businesses needing frequent, detailed guidance in managing payment processes​.
Read our expert Paysafe review to see more great features.

Free mobile card reader?
Compatibility iOS 14 and above
Additional app fee?
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.99% + 25¢ (debit cards)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $16.00
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When you sign up with Stax, you’ll get a free Chipper 2X BT mobile card reader. This pocket-sized reader accepts EMV, swiped, and contactless payments, making it ideal for field technicians. Unlike mobile terminals, these compact iOS card readers typically cost less, so you won’t need to worry about going over budget if you decide to upgrade your team.

You’ll also get an industry-leading iOS app to use in the field that allows you to manage your business on the go. You can key in payments, set up invoices and recurring payments, check your business’s financial health, and more on your iPhone. Even better, you won’t pay anything extra for this app – it’s included in your monthly fee.

High-volume businesses processing at least $8,000/month could save up to 40% versus other payment processors thanks to Stax’s low per-transaction fees of just 0% + 10¢ (in-person). However, Stax, with its relatively high monthly fee starting at $99.00, may not be the most cost-effective option for businesses processing less. You’ll see the best savings if you process around $500,000/year.

Features and Benefits

  • Great compatibility. The Stax Pay app is compatible with iOS 15 and above, so you won’t have to worry about replacing your older iPhone if you want to use Stax on the go.
  • Device flexibility. Stax Pay works with almost all other third-party Bluetooth iOS mobile card readers. So, if your team is already used to a certain device, you won’t have to spend precious time and money retraining them.
  • Additional iOS readers. If the Chipper doesn’t work for your business, don’t worry – Stax also offers the SwipeSimple B250 that’s just as compact and budget-friendly.
  • PCI- and HIPAA-compliant. Stax is Level 1 PCI compliant, which helps protect your payments by tokenization and end-to-end encryption. Healthcare businesses can rest assured their data is safe as Stax is also HIPAA compliant.
See more payment features in our expert Stax review.

Free mobile card reader?
Compatibility iOS 153 and above
Additional app fee?
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $99.00

Chase’s iOS card reader is a simple, compact card reader that accepts contactless payments. You’ll pair this with Chase’s easy-to-use and intuitive iOS app so you can accept payments in under a minute.

Chase’s mPOS reader is limited by the fact that it can only accept contactless payments. This makes the reader better suited to craft fair sellers and smaller businesses with a lower ticket amount. However, if your business can handle this limitation, you’ll be rewarded with no monthly fees and next-day payouts as standard.

Need even quicker access to your money? You can get same-day payments at no extra cost if you deposit your funds into a Chase Business Banking account. Just be aware that these accounts come with a monthly fee – but you can waive it by accepting payments on your iPhone through Chase Payment Services. In this case, you’ll only pay 2.6% + 10¢3.5% + 10¢ per transaction.

Features and Benefits

  • Quickstart guide. The Chase Mobile iOS app will guide you through pairing and setting up your mobile card reader. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you can set up your iPhone to take payments in just a few minutes.
  • Budget-friendly. Chase’s iOS card reader costs just under $50, making it a great option for budget-conscious small businesses.
  • Multi-purpose app. Chase Mobile allows you to manage your banking and mobile transactions, so you don’t have to hunt for your financial data across separate apps.
  • Additional payment methods. If your customer doesn’t have a contactless-enabled card, don’t worry. You can key in card information in the Chase Pay mobile app or send payment links to their smartphone.
Read our expert Chase Payment Solutions review for more details.

Free mobile card reader?
Compatibility iOS 11 and above
Additional app fee?
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 2.6% + 10¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan N/A

5. ProMerchant: Best iOS Mobile Reader for Restaurants & Retail

ProMerchant offers a free Payanywhere Bluetooth card reader that accommodates EMV-chip, magstripe, and contactless payments. The reader works with the free Payanywhere app, which is available in two themes: Terminal and Retail. The Terminal theme enables you to enter custom amounts, while the Retail theme allows you to select from existing inventory. The app’s offline functionality ensures you can get paid without internet access.

As a certified Clover reseller, ProMerchant also offers the Clover Go as a more feature-rich option. You can accept EMV, swiped, and contactless payments through the Clover Go reader and register check and cash payments in the Clover Go app. It’s a versatile mPOS solution for small pop-up shops and medium-sized field service franchises.

Regarding pricing, ProMerchant provides interchange plus fixed rate and zero-cost processing options. For a small monthly fee of around $7.95, the zero-cost processing model shifts the transaction fee, typically 4%, to the customer. This payment model is available for retail stores and restaurants. The zero-cost processing program, combined with the free iPhone credit card reader, makes ProMerchant a cost-effective solution for businesses on a budget.

Features and Benefits

  • Free POS Hardware. You can get the Ingenico Desk 3500, which offers quick and efficient service and is ideal for self-service, fast-paced restaurants, and retail stores. The PAX A920, also available for free, suits more complex restaurants with waitstaff and sophisticated retail stores, especially if you want to process gift cards.
  • Payments Hub merchant portal. You can access the Payments Hub with the same credentials as your Payanywhere app. It is a business management platform with comprehensive reporting and analytics.
  • Loyalty programs. For an optional extra monthly fee, the Clover Go iOS app will allow you to run loyalty programs. These incentives can make your retail or restaurant business boom. According to Clover, loyalty programs, on average, lead to 60% higher spending per transaction and 90% more frequent purchases.
  • Optional charging stand. You can get a Clover Go charging stand to charge your device and turn it into a tabletop reader without taking up too much space on your table. It’s particularly convenient if you sell at fairs or other external events.
See what else ProMerchant has to offer in our in-depth review.

Free mobile card reader?
Compatibility iOS 14.7 or iOS 14 and above
Additional app fee?
Transaction fees on cheapest plan Custom
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

6. Flagship Merchant Services: Best for Older iPhone Models

If you’re a new, less tech-savvy business and would rather use a simple plug-and-play mobile card reader, it’s worth considering the swipe card reader from PaySafe MobilePay. You just plug the beginner-friendly reader into your headphone jack, and the app will automatically detect it – no Bluetooth pairing required.

If you’re using the iPhone 7 or above, you’ll need a lightning port adapter as your device won’t have a headphone jack. If you need support for contactless payments, consider using Clover Go, which is also available through Flagship.

Flagship is one of the most flexible payment processors on the market, with high approval rates and affordable monthly fees ranging from $7.95. It offers tiered pricing, but this model lacks transparency and might lead to unpleasant surprises on your processing bill. I recommend that you negotiate for a great interchange-plus fee structure with average per-transaction fees of 3.58% + 0.19¢ (in-person) for more predictable processing costs.

Features and Benefits

  • User permissions. Control who has access to your transaction data in the MobilePay app with role-based permissions and remote access control.
  • Cloud-based app. Everything you do on the app will be updated in real time for other users. Not only does this keep all other users informed, but it saves you from duplicating administrative efforts when you get back to the office.
  • Secure iOS payments. In addition to Flagship’s PCI compliance, MobilePay uses end-to-end encryption and tokenization to secure your customer’s financial information.
  • Accept cash. MobilePay allows you to register cash either as a unique payment or against a pre-existing invoice.
Read our comprehensive Flagship review to see how it can help your business.

Free mobile card reader?
Compatibility iOS 14 and above
Additional app fee?
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

Other Notable Credit Card Readers for iPhone

7. Payment Depot

Payment Depot’s versatile SwipeSimple B250 reader supports EMV, swiped, and contactless payments. You can also use this reader without an internet connection to accept swiped cards. It’s a shame that the Offline Mode doesn’t cover EMV or contactless transactions. However, with every card still having a magnetic stripe, you won’t have to worry about missing out on any sales.

You’ll pay a flat fee starting at $79.00 per month to get all the software you need (including the SwipeSimple app) and pay 0% + 10¢ (in-person) per transaction, even if the card is not present. Similar to Stax, Payment Depot’s subscription-style pricing is only suitable for high-volume, well-established medium-sized businesses, excluding high-risk merchants.

8. POS Pros

POS Pros offers a vast selection of POS equipment with over 25 brands. This range includes industry-specific solutions and popular card readers like the Clover Go and EPN. The variety ensures you can find an iPhone card reader tailored to your specific needs, whether running a restaurant, a retail store, or any other type of business.

While its extensive POS range caters well to brick-and-mortar businesses, you should be cautious about potentially ambiguous sales information and unclear fee structures. It’s important to thoroughly read and understand the terms and costs before signing anything. Additionally, its sales support can be challenging to reach, which might be a concern for those needing consistent support.

These Are the Best Credit Card Readers for iPhone

My top recommendation is LMS for most small businesses. Its SwipeSimple mobile card reader has a long battery life and robust offline functionality, ideal for businesses selling on the go. If you appreciate countertop convenience, the Clover Go is a feature-rich option for both onsite and remote processing. LMS offers some of the industry’s lowest rates, and you can negotiate and customize your plan to fit a broad spectrum of business needs.

Paysafe is an excellent choice for small businesses with high ticket sales but lower transaction volumes, such as artists or luxury goods sellers. It provides a free EMV iPhone mobile reader. Additionally, Paysafe offers the ability to expand into 120 markets and process payments in multiple currencies, a crucial feature for businesses targeting a global customer base.

If you run a retail or restaurant business and seek specialized solutions, ProMerchant is a decent option. It offers a free Payanywhere Bluetooth card reader and a complimentary POS app. What distinguishes ProMerchant is its commitment to zero-cost processing, designed specifically for the retail and restaurant sectors, complemented by complimentary POS equipment.

Here’s a quick summary of everything you need to know about the best credit card readers for iPhone:
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services A versatile iPhone mobile card reader and the industry’s lowest fees Small businesses looking to save on payment processing with a customized solution $9.00 ~2% + 0¢
ProMerchant A free Payanywhere Bluetooth credit card reader and zero-cost processing Restaurant and retail businesses $7.95 Custom
Paysafe A free EMV mobile reader Businesses selling high-ticket items at low volumes $16.00 0.99% + 25¢ (debit cards)
Stax A free Chipper 2X BT with an all-in-one iOS payments app High-volume businesses that need to outfit their field technicians with an all-in-one solution $99.00 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Flagship Merchant Services A plug-and-play iPhone card reader for less tech-savvy users Small (new) businesses that use older iPhone models $7.95 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Chase Payment Solutions Same-day or next-day payments with a Chase banking account Small businesses that need a regular cash flow N/A 2.6% + 10¢


Can I use my iPhone as a credit card reader?

Technically, no. iPhones can’t accept EMV, swiped, or contactless payments without a mobile payment processing app and an mPOS device. However, almost all payment processing apps will allow you to key in a customer’s card information. Some, like the Clover Go offered by Leaders Merchant Services (LMS), will also let you register cash and check transactions. This means you have backup options if you forget (or lose) your mobile credit card reader.

How much is a credit card reader for iPhone?

You can usually expect to spend under $100 on an iPhone credit card reader. Most readers tend to cost around $50, but this can vary depending on the device and any additional accessories (such as optional charging stands). This makes them a budget-friendly alternative to credit card terminals that can cost significantly more. In addition, ProMerchant offers a free iPhone credit card reader when you sign up, helping you to save money.

Are iPhone card readers safe?

Yes, iPhone card readers are just as safe as any other credit card reader or terminal you’d use in your business – provided that they’re PCI compliant. Not only is every option on this list fully PCI compliant, but many come with additional security features. For example, PaySafe MobilePay offers additional encryption and tokenization to keep your mobile payments secure.

Do iPhone card readers have a fee?

Yes, you’ll always have to pay a fee to use an iPhone card reader. Even if you get a free mobile card reader when you sign up, every payment processor will charge you a per-transaction fee whenever you accept a payment. That said, there are a variety of different payment models that can help you cut iPhone card reader fees. Take a look at our top 10 credit card processors in 2024 to find a great deal for your business.

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