Choose the Best Mobile Credit Card Processor
The top performers in our review are Square, the Gold Award winner; EMS+, the Silver Award winner; and CDGcommerce, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a mobile credit card processor that meets your small business's needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of services.
Using a credit or debit card to pay for purchases is quickly replacing paying with cash or checks, but not every business wants or needs a full-scale credit card processing setup. Mobile credit card processing lets you accept credit and debit card payments using your Android phone or tablet, an app, and a credit card reader for Android.
Mobile credit card processing generally works well for smaller businesses that have mobile arms, such as food trucks; do business off-site, like at farmer's markets or conventions; or want employees to complete transactions on the showroom floor. Further, if you run $3,000 or less per month in credit card transactions, these processors often save you money.
We've researched the ten best processors for Android OS. Use this information to narrow your choices, then contact your top picks for pricing quotes specific to your business.
What to Look for in a Mobile Credit Card Processor
Any credit card processor for an Android device should meet certain standards. All of the companies we reviewed offer the following:
- Processing for all major credit and debit cards, including Discover and American Express
- A free or low-cost credit card swiper for Android (unless it uses your device's camera as a credit card scanner)
- EMV-compliant Android credit card readers
- Service on a pay-as-you-go or month-to-month basis
- No early termination fee
- No monthly minimums
- No PCI non-compliance fees
- Flat-rate pricing
- Customer support by email or phone
No Maximum Transaction: While none of the companies we reviewed require a monthly minimum, some mobile processors have processing limits. For example, Yowza's level one merchants can process only $4,000 a month with a $300 maximum per transaction.
EMV Chip Reader: According to Visa, a merchant's mobile card reader must be EMV capable or the merchant is liable for fraudulent purchases. Most processors we evaluated are developing card readers for Android phones that accept EMV cards, and many will ship out replacements once the new readers are ready. Some processors will accept liability for fraudulent transactions until the new readers are ready. Keyed-in and scanned cards process differently and don't fall under this requirement.
Additional Tools: Many of these apps have point-of-sale features. Some mobile processors offer compatible hardware, such as receipt printers and cash drawers, that are often cheaper than those used with standard retail processing.
Rates & Fees
Most of the Android mobile credit card processors we evaluated use flat-rate pricing. Some processors may offer tiered or interchange-plus pricing plans, which have lower rates, but these processors often charge other fees. A flat rate is good for small businesses operating on low margins.
Processing Rates: Processors charge a percentage of your sale for handling the transaction. The companies we evaluated have different rates for swiped and keyed-in transactions. Some charge different rates for debit cards, credit cards and American Express.
Transaction Fee: Some processors also charge a per-transaction fee. For the products we reviewed, that fee ranges from $0.05 to $0.30. If your business does a lot of small transactions, you may want to avoid a processor that charges a per-transaction fee, but if you sell big-ticket items, you could save money if the rate is lower.
Monthly Fee: This charge typically covers monthly statements, customer support and account maintenance. CDGcommerce and Yowza charge monthly fees of around $10. Flagship ROAMpay and CreditCardProcessing.com charge monthly fees of $7.95.
PCI-Compliance Fee: The Payment Card Industry charges this fee to certify your adherence to compliance standards that prevent fraud and data theft. QuickBooks GoPayment, Flagship ROAMpay and CreditCardProcessing.com charge this annual fee.
Chargeback Fee: If your customer disputes a charge and the processor refunds it, it may charge you this fee. Disputes are more common with online sales but sometimes happen if your customer doesn't recognize your business name on his or her credit card statement.
Mobile Credit Card Processing for Android: What We Evaluated; What We Found
The matrix shows the information we found on processors' websites or received from customer service representatives. This information includes fees, rates and basic services. We scored transparency and consistency of information, ease of application, and customer service. To test these qualities, our evaluators researched each company and contacted each company's representatives at various times on various days by phone and email.
Pricing Transparency & Consistency Score: When someone else is dealing with your money, you want to know they are being straight and honest. Therefore, we tested how readily companies provided information on pricing, fees and terms, both via their websites and from customer reps. The score also reflects whether the information the reps gave was consistent with what was offered on the website or was provided by other representatives in the company.
Ease of Application Score: We considered the time it takes to set up an account, the ability to apply online and the information needed to fill out the application. Most of the processors we reviewed can set up your mobile processing account in one day or less, requiring only basic contact and identifying information.
We also considered how long the processor takes to deposit your money into your account. Most processors take up to two days to do this. Some, such as CDGcommerce, can clear the account by the next day. Square's instant deposit feature enables you to have the funds from a transaction deposited immediately. PayPal Here and QuickBooks GoPayment may take three days, and Yowza can take up to five days.
Customer Service Score: Our testers contacted each processor's customer support channels, at various times on various days, to assess their accessibility and responsiveness. In addition to courtesy and knowledgeability, we gave points if the reps also followed up after the call.
Mobile Credit Card Processing: Our Verdict & Recommendations
The best mobile processors offer low processing costs, charge no or few fees, set up accounts quickly, and provide quality customer service. All of the services we reviewed are excellent choices. Here are standouts for each.
- Square offers robust support for small businesses or part-time sellers.
- EMS+, Yowza and CDGcommerce offer low rates that make them economical choices if you have high-value transactions.
- Spark Pay by Capital One can also handle your banking
- PayPal Here deposits directly to your PayPal account.
- CDGcommerce generally clears your account in a business day.
- If you use QuickBooks, its GoPayment app records transactions for you.
- Moolah provides a dedicated customer service representative to handle your account.
- Flagship ROAMpay and CreditCardProcessing.com provide you with your own merchant account.
Before making a final selection, contact your top choices, get specific pricing quotes and read the contract or user agreement. Due diligence can get you the best Android-ready credit card processor for your business.
Disclaimer: The pricing listed in this article, in the matrix and in our reviews is reflective of the date this review was last updated. Pricing reflects our testing scenario; the pricing you receive may differ due to processing volume and average ticket size, among other factors. Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services using testing scenarios that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical small business owner. The processors had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.