Mobile credit card readers that connect to a smartphone or a tablet are profoundly changing the way anyone with a business can take credit card payments. This means that the size of your business is no longer an issue and everyone can take credit card payments.

Thanks to this new generation of mobile credit card machines, offered by companies like iZettle, it no longer matters whether you are selling handicraft goods at a local craft fair or have a larger business offering services and goods on a bigger scale.

All you need is your smartphone or tablet, a free app and a chip and PIN device, which in effect acts as the mobile card reader, and you are ready to go!

Taking cards a business necessity

The need to take credit card payments as well as debit cards is simply a fact of business life today. Consumers are carrying less and less cash around and find using cards not only more convenient but also a better way of managing personal finances, even when paying for small amounts.

Mobile credit card readers changing the game

In the past, a conventional credit card terminal would not have been a practical solution for a small business with low transaction volumes due to the monthly fees and terminal rental costs, for example. However, the low price of these modern smartphone credit card readers is a major reason why anyone with a business should consider signing up for one without delay, and there are no monthly fees.

Confused by the terms and choice of credit card readers?

The new generation of mobile card payment systems (like iZettle, Payleven and SumUp) should not be confused with traditional countertop credit card readers and terminals, which have of course been around for a long time. These credit card terminals are connected by a landline or Ethernet cable and shoppers enter their pin number on the keypad to authorize the transaction.

There are also mobile and portable versions of these traditional credit card readers, and these mobile credit card terminals use GPRS technology to connect to a mobile network. These types of card readers are typically used in restaurants, for example. Again, these mobile card readers are not the same thing as the new generation of mobile credit card processing systems that use a smartphone or tablet.

The need for a data connection is one of the reasons for the higher costs of these older systems and is one of the key differences between the new era represented by iZettle and Payleven, since they utilise the shared data connection of the smartphone, meaning they do not require their own GPRS communication system.

Given the higher cost and complexity of many of these traditional card terminal systems, many companies provide a variety of services such as credit card machine rental services both with short term and long term contracts. However this is not always a suitable or practical solution for small start-ups or small businesses.

New age of mobile credit card readers: simple and flexible

In conclusion, the answer to the question for small business owners as to how to take credit card payments is simple. A mobile credit card reader using your smartphone or tablet is best. The services offered by mobile credit card reader services provided by iZettle, for example, do not have any monthly fees or long contracts.

Once you have acquired the chip and PIN reader you can more or less immediately start taking payments making it a cheap and affordable, especially for small businesses.

Mobile credit card readers: quick facts

  • A mobile credit card reader lets you take card payments anywhere you have WiFi or a data connection for your phone or tablet.
  • The best systems use a chip and PIN reader.
  • To authorize the payment, the customer enters their personal PIN code
  • Fees are low: lowest is 1.5% (with transaction volumes of 13,000 a month)
  • No monthly contracts

Read our detailed comparison of mobile credit card readers.