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Best Credit Card Readers for Android in 2023

Credit card readers are a crucial piece of hardware for businesses today, with over 80% of retail transactions in 2022 made through credit cards, debit cards and mobile wallets. They come in various shapes and sizes, and some even work with your Android smartphone, allowing you to accept swipe, dip and tap payments with ease. Our experts tested a range of card readers across the market and have found the five best credit card readers for Android based on their use cases.

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Best credit card readers for Android in 2023

Best credit card readers for Android comparison

We extensively research the key competitors within an industry to determine the best products and services for your business. Our experts identify the factors that matter most to business owners, including pricing, features and customer support, to ensure that our recommendations offer well-rounded products that meet the needs of various small businesses.

We collect extensive data to narrow our best list to reputable, easy-to-use products with stand-out features at a reasonable price point. And we look at user reviews to ensure that business owners like you are satisfied with our top picks’ services. We use the same rubric to assess companies within a particular space so you can confidently follow our blueprint to the best credit card readers for Android of 2023.

The best credit card readers for Androids have positive user reviews on customer review sites and app stores. Credit card reader companies should provide customers with fast and reliable support. Using a combination of phone support, live chat and knowledge bases, customers should be able to quickly resolve issues 24/7.

Android credit card readers should allow companies to accept mobile and contactless payments as well as offer self-service capabilities for customers to check themselves out. Hardware should integrate with robust software and apps that allow users to manage numerous aspects of their business, including reporting and analytics, loyalty programs and gift card management. 

And the best Android credit card reader providers should offer affordable or free equipment to help businesses begin accepting mobile payments quickly, easily and on-the-go.

What are mobile credit card readers, and how do they work?

A mobile credit card reader is how businesses can accept card payments with devices connected to their Android phone through Bluetooth, a headphone jack or a lightning cable. They usually work together with a payment processing app you can download from the Google Play Store or the provider’s website.

Mobile card readers let you accept various types of credit card payments, depending on the provider and type you choose, including magstripe, chip and contactless payments. By connecting with the payment processing app on your Android phone, it can collect and process the required data just like a normal card reader.

When the customer swipes, taps or inserts their card into the reader, the app will collect their details and send them to the payment processor, which then sends them to the merchant’s bank and verifies with the customer’s bank that the funds are available and the payment details are correct.

The customer’s bank approves the payment, and this is communicated to the mobile card reader. Then the funds are moved over to the merchant’s account. Depending on the features of the card reader and associated payment processing app, you may also be able to issue electronic receipts to the customer and update your inventory record. 

How to choose the best Android credit card reader for your business

When looking for the best Android credit card reader for your business, you’ll need to consider the following important factors:

What is your budget?

Consider how much you’re willing to pay for your Android card reader. The hardware won’t usually cost more than $200, but depending on the provider, you might also have to pay monthly fees and payment processing fees. In other cases, the hardware might be free, so long as you sign up for the provider’s processing plan.

You should also factor in how your business will grow and whether the provider’s plans are affordable when you scale up.

How will you accept payments?

Mobile card readers might not be as complex as full POS terminals, but most will accept at least one of the following payment types:

  • Magstripe: This is when customers pay by swiping the magnetic strip of their card through the card reader. It’s less secure than the other available options, and as such retailers and credit card providers are phasing it out.
  • EMV chip: When customers insert their card into the reader, this is known as a chip payment. It requires the customer’s PIN to process the transaction. Mastercard, Visa and Europay cards have EMV chips, and these are more secure than swiped payments.
  • NFC chip: Customers can also pay by tapping their card or phone on the card reader. From there, the data is transmitted contactlessly through an NFC chip. Mastercard says over 58% of its global in-person transactions were contactless in Q1 2023, while Visa says 34% of its US transactions were tap-to-pay in Q2 2023.

What features do you need?

Android credit card readers are primarily for accepting credit card payments, so consider whether your choice has the following basic features:

  • Accepting offline payments: Particularly useful for taking payments on the go, it means your card reader can take payments offline and process them once you’re connected again.
  • Connecting through Bluetooth: You might also benefit from Bluetooth connectivity in order to stay fully mobile, so consider if your chosen card reader can connect to your Android phone wirelessly.
  • Connecting through USB-C or headphone jacks: If you prefer a wired connection, keep in mind that most Android phones now use USB-C ports and don’t have headphone jacks.

Some can also offer a range of extra features related to payment processing and business management:

  • Inventory syncing and tracking: Some card readers automatically track your sales and inventory levels, though you might need to pay extra for this.
  • Customer outreach: Likewise, some providers offer additional marketing services that let you communicate with customers and offer vouchers or discounts.
  • Analytics and reporting: Lastly, as part of an overall payment processing service, you might be able to generate useful reports to see how your business is performing or growing.

How much do Android credit card readers cost?

The price you’ll pay for an Android credit card reader is essentially made up of two components: 

  • The hardware: Some providers offer free hardware, but for those that don’t, you’ll normally have to pay the whole amount up front or through a monthly payment plan.
  • Credit card processing fees: You’ll also need to pay fees to your payment processor. In most cases, this will be a percentage fee plus a fixed amount per transaction made through the card reader.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Our recommendation for the best Android credit card reader comes down to you and the business you’re running. If you consider yourself a beginner at selling products in person, Square’s simplicity and relative affordability make it great for startups. Shopify’s online store capabilities are already renowned, so if you focus more on e-commerce and you’re moving to in-person sales, then it can be a great option.

Both Square and eHopper offer no monthly fees as well as a free card reader, but our recommendation for the most budget-friendly provider overall is eHopper. It offers lower payment processing fees than Square and overall gives excellent value for money with its provided features and hardware.

While digital payments do present different security concerns, like cybercrime, payment processor providers generally offer end-to-end encryption for all transactions on Android card readers. This means all customer data is secure from start to finish, so unauthorized individuals cannot access or use it.