Mobile credit card readers: a POS-terminal from the comfort of your iPhone

7 March 2017

Portable devices have been included in almost every aspect of life, making it easier, yet, software companies never seize to amaze consumers by developing new gadgets. Now there is a way to accept payments in stores, using just a mobile phone and a card reader, and special applications will take care of the rest, from processing transactions to virtually connecting all parts of an office and its members. Here are most illustrious members of the rapidly growing industry.

Spark Pay

Capital One’s Spark Pay was created as a free digital payment app for small businesses, allowing them to manage income and expenses. The program is equipped with an improved dashboard, an online basket for purchases and separate accounts for employers and employees that provide data safety, giving a company necessary tools. It is possible to obtain the terminal system for $1,100; however it is more cost effective to use just a card reader for EMV, which will be refunded by the company with an extra $50 if transfers reach $5,000.

There are two possible payment options when it comes to fees with Spark Pay. If consumers choose a free plan, credit card processing will cost 2.65% + $0.05, with an exception of AmEx, which is 3.7% + $0.05. Nevertheless, if card reader owners opt for paying extra $20 per month, the rate will be 1.99% + $0.05, and 2.8% + $0.05 for AmEx. Spark Pay offers both digital and paper receipts that can be customized for consumers’ needs, and $40 is a required monthly payment for those who are getting started.


Shopify company has broadened its horizons, creating a new card reader for iPad or iPhone that can be suitable for business and easily integrated with POS system if there is such a need. Shopify app is a great solution for any type of selling along with full analytics package, including sales monitoring. Once uploaded to several digital gadgets it can be useful for both staff and managers, who will have different PIN codes and access levels.

Depending on the offer, fees vary from $9 to $179 a month for POS and approximately $40 for retail deals, including a card reader. The charges for face-to-face purchases are 2.7%, and online costs are 2.9% + $0.30. Customers can opt for another payment gateway, but a fee will cost them an extra 2%. Supporting tap-and-pay along with EMV chips, Shopify can appeal to more consumers and, supplying a platform for running a store the company also provides users with 24/7 online consultations.


Electronic Merchant Systems launched EMS+ free mobile credit card processor for iPhones; however, it requires additional credit card swipers for $10. The company is planning to create an EMV reader suitable for accepting mobile wallet payments, which will cost $95. Along with majority of iPhone apps for running stores, EMS+ offers digital receipts and lets owners keep count of sold items. Additionally, the setup process takes little time for both businesses and individuals, thus making substantial difference.

Another advantage of the app is a relatively low fee for processing credit cards, which is 2.25%; however, should a consumer opt for a keyed-in transaction, the price will rise to 3.50% + $0.15 per transaction. Additionally, there are no monthly fees required and the pricing system is transparent, but conditions are sent individually. While maintaining 24/7 online customer support, the company doesn’t have a responsible representative, therefore some issues may appear more difficult to resolve.


Having been on the market since 1998, CDGcommerce introduced a credit card reader for iPhone, suitable for both online and mobile transfers along with credit card processing. The first device is free, and others can easily be obtained, if there is such necessity. The company is currently working on development of EMV readers, but they are not available at the moment. Additionally, placing the deposits takes little time in comparison to other platforms.

CDGcommerce offers relatively low fees, with 1.70% + $0.25 charge for plastic cards; keyed-in transfers along with reward and international cards require 2.90% + $0.30 fee. Despite of having a monthly payment of $10, the platform gives consumers an opportunity to make transfers without a monthly minimum, which can be useful for small businesses and individuals. Digital receipts can be sent by email for online purchases, and has a built-in printer for paper ones.

There are several factors to consider when making conclusions about companies listed above. With faster deposits, rates for keyed-in transactions tend to be higher, and if there is no extra fee consumer support may get worse, although plan flexibility based on different amount of sales may be more important for some stores; in such case they can opt for Spark Pay. And the time some services take to approve an account can be justified by variety of credit cards they accept, with Pay Pal Here as an example. In the end, future plastic card reader owners should base choices on their business’ needs.


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