Mobile Card Readers

Tiny but mighty with no long-term contracts. A mobile credit card reader can accept payments anywhere and it fits in your pocket. Get yours in days.


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Accept card payments wherever you go

Imagine being able to accept card payments wherever your business takes you in the UK.

Well, now you can with the help of a mobile card reader.

Paying by card is now so in demand that taxi service providers, buses, train stations, pubs - even churches have been making the transition to contactless donations - everywhere has switched to offering card payment options. That’s why your small business should, too.

Only ten years ago, six out of 10 consumers preferred to pay for items with cash. And, over 2018 in particular, the uptake in credit and debit card payments have been by older consumers. This isn’t surprising, as Mastercard clarify, paying with a card is safer than cash - each chip transaction is unique and virtually impossible to replicate.

So what is a mobile card reader, how do they work and should you be getting one for your business? Read below to learn more about them.

What is a mobile card reader? How do mobile card readers work? Mobile card reader features The best mobile card readers for small businesses How does a mobile card reader connect? What’s the difference between a card reader and a card machine? What card types are accepted? Do mobile card readers accept contactless payments? How much does a mobile credit card reader cost? Do card readers have printers? Do credit card readers require a mobile signal? Do mobile card readers come with contracts?

What is a mobile card reader?

This neat card device is basically a mobile point of sale. Perfect if you’re a small business travelling to and from trade shows, or selling your goods at events or maybe you visit customers at their home - a mobile hairdresser or a massage therapist.

Whatever your small business trades - we’re sure you can agree that taking cash payments or bank transfers is a faff. It’s inconvenient for the consumer, it’s more restrictive for you, and it just doesn’t sit well within our modern and ever-evolving society.

A mobile card reader removes this hassle, and with some mobile card readers, you’re granted instant access to your cash. It makes business easier for both parties. Customers can just tap their card and payment is processed instantly - or use the built-in chip and PIN technology that most card machines are known for.

How do mobile card readers work?

A mobile card reader is just like a card machine - except it’s much more compact. But how does it actually connect? Forget being tethered to a base unit, forget being confined by range - a mobile card reader works in conjunction with your smartphone or tablet and uses 3G/4G/GPRS or Wifi. The device can access signal through a Wifi hotspot - yes, even your smartphone hotspot.

What does this mean for you? It means greater connectivity - you can accept payments anywhere.

There’s no doubt about it, a credit card reader for small businesses is a must.

Mobile card reader features

We all love a good list of features and the best feature? You can take this pocket-sized device anywhere with you. You can accept payments from all the major credit card providers, it’s easy to set up (literally plug it in) and it accepts contactless payments. It’s forecast that 1.31 billion people worldwide will use mobile payment app by 2023 - so you need a card machine that effortlessly enables contactless payments.

Accept all major credit & credit cards - Don’t miss out. Take card payments from all of the major credit and debit card processing providers.

Connect via 3G/GPRS or Wifi enabled device - Simply connect it to your smartphone or tablet and process payments through your device's network or WiFi connection.

Contactless payments - More ways for your customers to pay. Contactless payment methods including Apple, Android and Samsung Pay available.

Easy setup - Start taking card payments in minutes. A straightforward ‘plug and play’ card machine that allows you to set up your device quickly and easily.

Lightweight - An extremely lightweight card reader that’s easy to carry around with you wherever you need to go.

Long lasting battery - Equipped with extended battery life, this device can last days between charges depending on usage.

Compact design - A compact ‘pocket sized’ design that's small enough to be carried with you everywhere without getting in the way.

PCI Compliant - These mobile card terminals are PCI compliant helping protect both you and your customers details.

The best mobile card readers for small businesses

When searching for the best mobile card reader for your business, you need to take a few things into account. Firstly, you need to consider the business need for the card machine in the first place - for example, are you just starting out and don’t have a business bank account? Or do you want instant access to your cash? Perhaps credibility is important to you, and you’d rather stick with a trusted banking name for your mobile card reader?

Let’s take the PayPal card reader as an example. A recognised brand name the world over, this mobile card device offers some of the lowest fees, enables customers to access their cash fast and it’s super simple to set up. So something like this could be a good fit for your business.

Secondly, you should consider the cost of the device itself. The upfront cost could factor into your decision - although the PayPal card reader could be cheaper for your business long-term - alternative brands include the Square card reader, iZettle or Sum Up card readers - could cost you less upfront.

How does a mobile card reader connect?

A card reader usually requires you to download an app to connect to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It then uses the smartphone or tablets 3G/4G/GPRS network or WiFi connection to process payments. With nationwide network coverage, you really can take payments on the go from anywhere in the UK.

What’s the difference between a card reader and a card machine?

Although both card readers and card machines essentially do the same thing - accept Chip and PIN and contactless card payments, they do have their differences.

Card Readers - are the new kids on the block and are very popular with sole traders, micro and small businesses with a low card turnover. They are very compact and lightweight - about the same size as a wallet, some are even smaller. They usually work with your smartphone or tablet via 3G/4G/GPRS or Wifi. They are pretty basic and don’t feature any printing capabilities, but some readers can be linked to a separate external printing device should you need to give receipts.

Card Machines - are probably the ones you are most used to. Larger than a card reader, but still small in size, they come in various types including a countertop for fixed locations, portable for if you need to take the machine to the customer, or a mobile terminal that allows you to accept payments from anywhere in the UK. These do include an internal thermal printer, so you can give instant receipts at the point of sale.

What card types are accepted?

A mobile card reader works with all types of credit and debit cards payment providers. The most popular types being Visa, Mastercard and American Express (Amex) amongst many others.

Do mobile card readers accept contactless payments?

Yes, card readers have the ability to take instant contactless card payments as well as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay via your smartphone.

How much does a mobile credit card reader cost?

There are many types of credit card readers available on the market from SumUP, iZettle and Square, to name a few. The cost really depends on the provider you choose. Generally, credit card readers don’t come with fixed contracts, they are very affordable and typically cost much less than a traditional card machine. Despite the low cost of the reader and no contract, whether you pay monthly or buy it outright, you will get charged a higher card transaction fee. This is best suited to startup or small businesses that have a low turnover.

Do card readers have printers?

Card readers do not feature an integrated receipt printer as they are designed to send digital receipts. However, you can purchase a compatible receipt printer if you need too. These mobile printers use thermal technology to print (instead of ink), and are just as small and lightweight as the reader itself, so they’re easy to carry around.

Do credit card readers require a mobile signal?

No. A credit card reader connects to your smartphone or tablet and uses their signal - either through its phone network or a WiFi connection to process payments. So, if you have access to WiFi, then a mobile signal will not be required, and vice versa.

Do mobile card readers come with contracts?

Unlike other card machines, a card reader doesn’t come with any monthly fees or long-term contracts. Instead, you will only pay a transaction fee on every card sale.