Our rating(3.2/5)
The rates and app don’t match other providers on the market.
Launched as Elavon’s mobile solution for accepting cards, Elavon MobileMerchant is a contract-free card machine-and-app combo that turns your mobile device into a basic point of sale.
  • Pros: 24/7 technical support. Same-day deposits available. Virtual terminal included.

  • Cons: App rarely updated. High transaction fees for some cards. No paper receipt option. Tedious onboarding.

  • Buy if: You’re already an Elavon customer who needs a cheap card reader for occasional transactions.

What is Elavon MobileMerchant?

Elavon has been around for over 30 years and is one of the biggest acquirers and payment processors in the US, UK and Europe.

In Ireland, Elavon is a leading employer in the financial services industry, with offices in Dublin and Arklow.

The company offers a broad range of payment products for any size business, including the app-based mobile card reader called MobileMerchant.

This card reader connects via Bluetooth with your Wi-Fi/3G/4G-enabled smartphone or tablet running the MobileMerchant app – available to both iOS and Android devices.

Accepted cards

VisaMastercardMaestroJCBDiscoverDiners ClubAmerican ExpressContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung PayV Pay

The service accepts Visa, Mastercard, V Pay, JCB, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club cards, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

You can also accept card-not-present payments through a virtual terminal (accessed in an internet browser) that comes with the package. In addition, the web portal shows sales data, receipts, user rights and account settings.

Mobile Transaction rates card readers like Elavon’s in these areas: product, pricing, transparency and sign-up, value-added features, reviews and support, and contract.

Each criteria gets a score ranging between 1 and 5, resulting in one overall star rating reflecting Elavon MobileMerchant’s value for a small business.

A card reader’s primary function is to take card payments in person, so the hardware quality, app features and ability to accept cards smoothly have a higher weighting within the product criteria.

We have thoroughly researched MobileMerchant and Elavon as a wider service to establish scores for the other rating categories.

Our assessment breakdown is outlined in the verdict of this review. Our full rating criteria are explained here.

Fees and costs

MobileMerchant used to be more transparent about pricing but has removed most of them from the website. You now have to contact them for the latest fees.

To use MobileMerchant, you need to purchase the card reader. Be aware that the price can vary: we were quoted €19, but the public website price is sometimes double that at €39. Regardless, the low start-up cost is one draw of this payment solution.

Elavon cost
Card reader €19 + VAT (first card reader)
MobileMerchant app Free
Transaction fees From 1.75% (depends on card)
Settlement Free
Chargebacks €15 + VAT each
Paper statement fee €3 + VAT/month
Contract Cancellable any time

Transaction fees start from 1.75% for all types of Visa and Mastercard transactions, a competitive percentage in this market. But it increases to 2.50% for Diners, JCB and UnionPay, and 1.90% for American Express.

The good news is that all funds will be deposited into your bank account the next working day for no extra cost. There are no monthly fees or long-term contracts.

Higher-volume businesses may negotiate cheaper transaction rates. But Elavon will likely try to get those businesses to go for a traditional chip and PIN machine instead.

Card reader

Resembling a simple calculator, the Elavon MobileMerchant card reader measures 69 x 110 x 17 mm and weighs just 123 g – small and lightweight. It looks really basic but meets security standards like any other reputable card reader.

It has a slot at the bottom for inserting chip cards. Contactless cards and mobile wallets (processed via NFC) are held over the display for quick payment.

So how does a transaction work? First, you enter a EUR amount in the app plus any discount or product description. After picking debit/credit card as the payment method, the app communicates wirelessly with the card reader over Bluetooth.

The information is sent to the card reader that accepts the chip card or contactless tap. The customer can enter their PIN directly on the card machine’s PIN pad if needed, and then the transaction completes over the internet.

The app

The MobileMerchant app works on iPhones and iPads running iOS 9.0 or later or on Android smartphones and tablets running Android 7.0 or up.

What about features? The app has tipping functions, which not all free POS apps offer.

You can also:

  • Add VAT and discounts to payments
  • Create several user accounts for staff
  • Process refunds
  • Send text or email receipts after transactions

If you’re planning on printing receipts, however, MobileMerchant does not support this.

App Elavon MobileMerchant

The MobileMerchant app looks a bit outdated but has the basic features for card payments.

The app can also accept cash transactions and track them on the go. It does not, however, connect with a cash drawer, so you’ll need a way to organise coins and notes.

The app isn’t frequently updated. The last time the iOS app was updated was 1 year ago (July 2021). That is not a good indication of how seriously Elavon takes the functioning of the app, as it typically requires regular updates (e.g. monthly) to fix new bugs or adapt to smartphone updates.

For security reasons, Elavon’s app may not work on phones that have been unlocked, i.e. where it was previously locked to one mobile network.

How does it compare to other solutions?

Like SumUp and Square, MobileMerchant eliminates the need for a contract, monthly fees and minimum sales volume. But it falls short when it comes to fee rates and the quality of the product.

The €19 price makes the card reader cost similar to other options in the market.

On the other hand, Elavon’s transaction fees are the same or most expensive among the competitors in Ireland:

  • SumUp charges 1.69% for all card reader payments
  • Square charges 1.75% + VAT for all card reader payments

MyPOS charges less for domestic, EEA and UK cards (1.69%) plus €0.05 per transaction, but their fee is higher for other cards (2.89% plus €0.05).

What’s more critical, SumUp and Square apps are much more frequently updated, so the software works consistently.

No Irish reviews are currently available on the App Store or Google Play Store. But most UK user reviews about MobileMerchant complain about the app not working or being buggy, rendering the card reader useless for payments. This rarely happens with the above competitors.

Customer service: 24/7 technical phone support

Elavon tries to compensate for its poor app by offering a round-the-clock call centre for technical and authorisation support.

For other customer service enquiries, the service is available only Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm. You can also request a callback.

When we emailed Elavon, we received a response within a couple of hours, accompanied by a brochure with a full breakdown of fees and other charges. 

Getting started

To get started with Elavon MobileMerchant, you need to complete an online registration form and provide the following:

  • Proof of ID: passport or driving licence
  • Proof of address: e.g. utility bill from the last 3 months
  • Proof of business banking: copy of bank statement from the last 3 months

The form takes 15 minutes to complete in most cases, though uploading documents can delay it. You will also need to digitally sign your application. Overall, the registration and customer onboarding journey are cumbersome, sometimes confusing, with quite a few steps required.

In addition, you can order only one card reader through online registration. If you need more devices, you will need to call customer support.

Our verdict

MobileMerchant falls far short of the alternatives available in Ireland. Other mobile card readers (e.g. Square Reader, SumUp Air) have more feature-rich and reliable payment apps, so you rarely lose a sale because of a technical issue. MobileMerchant’s outdated app offers little reassurance that you can trust it.

Elavon’s app has just basic features to accept card transactions – nothing more. In other words, we don’t see much reason to choose MobileMerchant over the alternatives on the market that generally provide more cutting-edge solutions and similar fees.

Elavon MobileMerchant criteria Rating Conclusion
Product 2 Bad
Costs and fees 3.5 Passable/Good
Transparency and sign-up 3.7 Passable/Good
Value-added services 3.6 Passable/Good
Service and reviews 3.5 Passable/Good
Contract 4 Good
OVERALL SCORE 3.2 Passable
Elavon MobileMerchant
Rating Conclusion
Product 2 Bad
Costs and fees 3.5 Passable/Good
Transparency and sign-up 3.7 Passable/Good
Value-added services 3.6 Passable/Good
Service and reviews 3.5 Passable/Good
Contract 4 Good
OVERALL SCORE 3.2 Passable

If you need remote payments and 24/7 technical customer support, this package may be worth considering since you get a virtual terminal included without a monthly fee.

In conclusion, this is not an advanced solution for anyone who wants more than a simple card reader for on-the-go payments. There’s no integration with point-of-sale hardware (such as a receipt printer) and no prospect of adding new features.

That said, it might be a good service for existing Elavon merchants who need an extra way to accept cards on the go.