Mobile credit card processing is often the easiest and cheapest way to accept credit card payments. Using just a mobile credit card reader, iPhone or Android phone, and credit card payment app, you can ring up sales wherever you do business, whether that's at a jobsite, at a trade or trunk show, or on the road.
For brick-and-mortar businesses, mobile processing makes the checkout process more convenient for your customers. If you have a retail location, your employees can use mobile credit card readers to check out customers from anywhere in the store. If you have a restaurant, your servers can accept payments tableside.
Mobile processing is a cost-effective solution for businesses that only accept a few payment cards each day, process less than $3,000 per month or have small sales tickets. Although the processing rates for each transaction are higher than what you'd pay using a full-service payment processor, there are no monthly or annual fees in most cases, so you only pay for the processing service you use. It's also a good solution if you're opening a new business and need a system with minimal upfront costs, or if you don't yet know how much you'll process each month.
One of the key differences between working with a mobile processor and a full-service processor is that most mobile processing companies set you up as a sub-merchant under their master merchant accounts rather than providing you with your own merchant account like full-service processors do. The benefits are that it's very fast to set up, there are usually no monthly or annual fees, and the processor takes care of PCI compliance for you. The disadvantage is that they're more risk-averse and more likely to freeze funds or suspend your account if a transaction looks suspicious or your monthly volume is abnormally high.
As you search for the mobile processor that's the best fit for your small business, it's important to carefully evaluate your options. While our reviews can help you identify the companies you want to learn more about, it's still important to further research these companies by directly contacting them and reading the user agreement before signing up. This ensures you receive pricing and terms specific to your business, as the details you're quoted may vary from those we received in our testing.
EMSplus, PayPal, Shopify Payments and Square top our list of mobile credit card processing companies for small businesses. Read more about them below, along with information about pricing, contracts and features.
If you're looking for a full-service processor that can provide mobile processing and handle a high volume of in-store or omnichannel payments, our credit card processing review gives you good recommendations to choose from. Also, be sure to visit our POS systems review if you're looking for point-of-sale systems for iPads and Android tablets.
The best mobile credit card processing companies in our review have low rates, no or few fees, quick setup, and quality customer service resources. They provide processing on a pay-as-you-go or monthly basis, so you can cancel your account at any time without incurring expensive early termination fees. As with any credit card processing company, you should avoid signing a long-term contract and request a waiver that gives you month-to-month service and eliminates any cancellation penalties.
After you identify the mobile credit card processors you're most interested in, you want to take the time to directly contact the companies, even if their pricing and terms are posted online, so you can get a feel for the quality of their customer service. It's also important to read through the full contract or user agreement before signing up to make sure the company works with your business type and none of the items or services you sell are prohibited.