Practical Ecommerce

11 Credit Card Apps, Swipers for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry

Ecommerce merchants frequently find themselves selling products in venues other than their web stores. Be it in-store trunk shows, pop-up shops, trade shows, boutiques, local fairs or even coffee shops, ecommerce merchants are there setting up booths and selling merchandise.

In the past, merchants had to run cash-only shops or process credit cards on a laptop, but extra outlets and a reliable Internet connection can be rare at these events. Now, merchants can process credit card transactions on their mobile devices with a host of mobile apps and dongles. (A “dongle” is hardware that attaches to a mobile device for a secure connection.)

I looked at the top twenty-five credit card processing apps with the (a) highest user ratings, (b) good reviews and (c) the most downloads for each of the top three mobile devices: Apple’s iPhone and iPad, phones running Google’s Android operating system and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry. I then handpicked from that group of 25 the most highly-rated and useful for each device.

Download these apps and start selling merchandise anywhere you can get a cell phone reception.

iPhone and iPad

  1. Square. This handy app can be used with or without the proprietary Square dongle (it plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad headphone jack), so merchants can swipe or type-in card account information. Receipts are sent to the customer automatically via email. Square does not require a contract, and a merchant account is not required for use. It comes with some helpful tools to track sales, payment locations, tax, and top-purchasing customers. Square charges $.15 plus 2.75 percent for a swiped card and $.15 plus 3.5 percent for typed-in account information. App cost: Free.

    Multiple devices running Square with swiper.

    Multiple devices running Square with swiper.

  2. iPay POS. One of the most flexible credit card processor apps, iPay POS is a good option for merchants that already have a merchant account — iPay POS is compatible with dozens of the most widely-used payment gateways. You can also set up a gateway with iPay POS for $7.50 per month. For a small merchant that may not attend many events, iPay POS comes with 10 free transactions and additional sets of 10, each for $.99. Or for a merchant with a larger budget, $29.99 will allow for unlimited transactions. It has limited compatibility with dongles, but it is compatible with the iMag credit card swiper and portable receipt printers like the RedFin P25-M. App cost: Free.

  3. Credit Card Terminal. One of the most widely-used credit card processing apps, Credit Card Terminal can process all major credit cards, handle full and partial refunds on returns, allows for digital signatures to be captured on-screen and PDF receipts can be emailed directly from the app. It is compatible with an optional Innerfence card reader dongle. Authorize.Net processing rates of $.25 per month plus an additional 1.74 – 3.79 percent rate depending on transaction type, also apply. Credit Card Terminal is only for use with Authorize.Net accounts. App cost: $.99.

  4. Swipe It. Use the app by itself to key in credit card account information or in conjunction with the Swipe It Reader for card swiping on your iPhone, where you can capture a customer’s signature right on your phone and email receipts automatically at the end of sale. Merchants must set up an account with Swipe It’s proprietary EPay gateway, which costs $15 (a one-time set up fee), then $20 per month and $.15 per transaction. App cost: Free.

BlackBerry

  1. BlackCharge. Limited in payment gateway options, BlackCharge is only compatible with Authorize.Net, NMI and PayPal Payflow Pro. If you don’t have a merchant account, you can set one up through NoblePay. The app costs $4.99 and BlackCharge does not add additional fees or take a percentage for transactions, but the standard transaction rates for the compatible merchant accounts still apply. App cost: $4.99.

  2. MerchantWARE Mobile. Process credit cards on the BlackBerry Storm, Curve, Pearl and Bold with this free app and email your customer a receipt at the end of the transaction. Although the MerchantWARE Mobile app is limited to use to a Merchant Warehouse — makers of MerchantWARE — merchant account, there are no additional gateway transaction fees or percentages, just the monthly cost of the merchant account, which varies depending on merchant needs. The app is also compatible with MagneSafe BT90 wireless Bluetooth credit card reader. App cost: Free.

    BlackBerry running MerchantWARE.

    BlackBerry running MerchantWARE.

  3. vTerminal. Accept credit cards with this very simple app, which is also known as ChargeBerry. It doesn’t offer a lot of additional tools, but it allows the entering of numbers from major credit cards without having to use a swiper dongle. It has limited payment gateway compatibility, as it only works with Authorize.Net or PayPal Payflow Pro. There are no additional fees after the $9.99 download purchase, but standard gateway fees apply. App cost: $9.99.

Android

  1. Mobile Merchant Pro. This free Android app provides a very simple, no-frills way to accept all major credit cards. It has limited gateway support, but it is compatible with two of the most popular gateways: Authorize.Net and PayPal Website Payments Pro. Simply type in the customer’s credit card info and click “Charge Now” and that’s it. No additional transaction fees from Mobile Merchant Pro, but standard Authorize.Net and PayPal gateway fees apply for each transaction. App cost: Free.

  2. Intuit GoPayment. Accept credit cards, debit cards and checks with this free app from Intuit. Type in the customer’s credit card info, click “Charge” button and the fees go directly into your bank account. If you run a particularly large shop, you can even add up to 50 employees to a single GoPayment account: Give all employees mobile phones, this app and set up shop. For Android, it is not compatible with the Mophie dongle reader, however it is compatible on with iPhone. You’ll need to set up an Intuit GoPayment Merchant Service account to use this app. 2.7 percent charge on all typed-in credit card info and 1.7 percent charge when using with the Mophie reader dongle. App cost: Free.

    Intuit GoPayment screenshots.

    Intuit GoPayment screenshots.

  3. Merchant on the Move. Primary Merchant Solutions’ robust credit card processing app works in conjunction with the proprietary Merchant on the Go card swiper and receipt printer. The app allows for customer signature capture and either typed-in or swiped credit card processing. Merchant on the Move can only be used with a Primary Merchant Solutions’ merchant account, which comes at a cost of $24.95 per month. For each transaction, merchants are charged $.30 plus 1.69 percent for swiped card and 2.2 percent for typed-in account info. App cost: Free.

  4. ROAMpay. QuickPay Merchant Services ROAMpay app works in conjunction with a provided dongle, allowing users to swipe cards or type-in account information. A wide variety of merchant account gateway options is available, all with standard — but competitive — monthly usage fees and transaction percentages. Built-in tools allow for customer data tracking and search, emailing of receipts, handling of voids and refunds, and you can even record transactions offline when out of wireless coverage and then upload the transactions when you are back in coverage. App cost: $2.99.

Matt Ferner
Matt Ferner
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Comments ( 13 )

  1. pitdesi January 8, 2011 Reply

    It seems that Square is often (usually) going to be more expensive than a merchant account, so it only makes sense for really small businesses, but once you get any substantial amount of sales, you’ll want a real credit card processor and can use one of the other apps.
    This site that makes it easy to compare and tell you whether or not to use square: http://feefighters.com/square-calculator
    I used feefighters.com to do a reverse auction to find the best credit card processor for me

  2. Jay Gould October 26, 2011 Reply

    Square is a great story and its founder is a great entrepreneur, but merchants need to look beyond the hype and into the numbers. The question you should be asking yourself is "Does it make sense for me to accept credit card with Square?" For some the answer will be "yes" (as for the cupcake baker in our story: http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/cupcakes-credit-card-processing-and-square), but for quite a few the answer will be "no."

    Simply put, Square is a good match for merchants with low monthly processing volumes (because it comes with no monthly or any other fixed fees) and for merchants whose average transaction amount is very low (because Square charges no fixed transaction fee). However, for everyone else its 2.75% per-transaction rate is simply way too high, as the industry average hovers around 1.70% plus $0.20 per transaction.

  3. Emily Brown March 21, 2012 Reply

    Are you NOT missing something here…merchants specially in UK are in dire need of a chip n pin cardreader app which is also competitive in cost andnone of the above are going to help.The only answer to this is going to be http://www.mpowa.com.Its launching next month!

  4. voidonic September 13, 2012 Reply

    Another option.

    Accept Credit Cards 1.0

    Free version is here:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1883546

    Paid version is here:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=voidonic.card.reader

  5. Brandt Jacob Braverman October 3, 2012 Reply

    Square is a good service although not having a customer service number may not be a good thing…

    Other options can be found at http://www.MobileCardReader.biz

  6. Gigi Rodriguez October 31, 2012 Reply

    Besides using square or any other similar device I recommend looking into http://www.free-merchant.com.

  7. Rami Levi December 16, 2012 Reply

    Look at GlobalPay, http://www.GlobalPay.me they offer 2 plans one with no monthly fees at 2.70% and one with a monthly fee but a much lower rate.

  8. listmarki April 9, 2013 Reply

    Try a payment app called ‘Dabbit’. This is a bill payment app made by WalkingCoin Payment Network pvt ltd. This app is gives you payment due notifications on your phone. You can mark you favorite Billers from the biller list and have the convenience of paying from any one of your bank accounts. You can also schedule your bill payments.

    Website URL – http://www.walkingcoin.com/

  9. djramix123 May 4, 2013 Reply

    Great article, you forgot to mention some really dominant players in the market though. Take MagicPay for example, their app is phenomenal, reliable and has great features that most of the apps in the article haven’t even thought of, I’ll explain: Inventory option, customizable receipts, offline processing feature (my favorite), and these are just some of them. They actually have customer service… And above all, their rates are kinda pretty good. If anyone is interested, their site is http://www.MagicPay.net

  10. Peter Willetts June 15, 2013 Reply

    I own a Blackberry Curve and need some sort of a mobile credit card reader. It would be required for relatively small numbers of charitable transactions.
    I need to know what would work best….Square has been suggested… also need to know it the unit would be transferable to other cell phones and would they deposit to the same account?

  11. Chris April 28, 2014 Reply

    Are there any mobile devices that provide reporting including customer name and address? As a nonprofit taking donations we want this info for our donor base.

  12. Susan Hostetler July 4, 2014 Reply

    What about the credit card company discount rate that aviaries by card? Is that paid by the square company? And how are monthly statements handled, as well as batch by night for bookkeeping records? Are they deposits individual, as bank charges per deposit?

  13. James Stemmy August 3, 2014 Reply

    Very well written article. You have really forgot to mention one of the largest mobile POS providers in my opinion. MagicPay Merchant Services ( http://www.magicpay.net ) has customized solutions for mobile merchants. They use a set of apps, and they even have iPay POS available as well.

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