Overview: iPhone Card Reader Apps
The top iPhone credit card processing applications make it easier to run your business from anywhere (Also see: Best Android Credit Card Processing Apps). Whether you are selling crafts at a trade show or providing in-home services, you can now accept credit cards with your iPhone through a variety of applications. These low cost apps also make for great backup processing options in the event of a service disruption from a primary processor.
Below are our top mobile credit card processing picks based on pricing, customer support, and user satisfaction. Some of these options are ideal for small one-register locations, while others are useful additions to full-service traditional merchant accounts. Many of these providers also offer integration with third-party services like QuickBooks or online marketplaces. Check out each provider’s website to get a full list of current features and pricing.
Quick Reference: Top iPhone Processing Apps
Why These iPhone Apps:
Flint, a service offered by Flint Mobile, Inc in Redwood City, California, rates as the best mobile credit card processing app due to its low cost, ease of use, and live customer support. The service has only been available since late 2012, but it has already established itself as the best payment app for most small businesses.
The primary innovation that separates Flint from its competitors is the method by which it accepts card payments. Rather than using a dongle or a card reader to process payments, Flint allows merchants to simply read a customer’s credit or debit card information with the cameras in their smartphones. These images are not stored on the merchant’s phone, and the payment is processed in a few quick steps after the card data is collected.
Rather than charging different amounts for keyed or swiped transactions, Flint charges 1.95% for all debit card payments and 2.95% for all credit card payments, with no monthly fees, early termination fees, or other recurring costs. Flint also boasts online and mobile invoicing, customized email receipts, check and cash acceptance (iOS only), coupons and Passbook integration (iOS only), QuickBooks integration, a “Buy Now” button, basic sales analytics, and live customer support. It’s easy to sign up for the service and there is no associated hardware besides a merchant’s smartphone.
The only potential drawbacks for some merchants may include Flint’s seven-day deposit limit and the fact that Flint does not accept American Express cards at this time. If a Flint user processes more than $1,000 in any trailing seven-day period, the amount in excess of $1,000 may be placed in reserve for 30 days. Additionally, as with most credit card processors, merchants will have to independently sign up for American Express acceptance through American Express. However, a Flint representative has stated that the company expects to accept American Express cards at some point in the first half of 2015. Flint’s deposit limit has not received any complaints at this time (as opposed to Square’s former, similar policy), and it is standard within the industry for merchants to set up AmEx acceptance independently of Visa and MasterCard acceptance.
|Availability:||iPhone 3GS or newer (iOS 6.0 and above)|
Flint Video Demonstration
Launched in April 2013, Spark Pay by Capital One is a mobile processing app offered as part of Capital One’s “Spark Business” suite of small business solutions. It can be acquired via a free download from the iTunes app store and includes a free headphone jack card reader.
Spark Pay offers two pricing plans for merchants. The first, the Go Plan, is intended for low-volume merchants who simply wish to accept credit cards via their iPhones. It charges 2.7% per swiped transaction, 2.95% per swiped American Express transaction, and 3.7% per keyed-in transaction. There are no other monthly fees associated with this plan.
The Pro Plan, which is intended for higher-volume merchants, charges 1.95% per swiped transaction, 2.95% per swiped American Express transaction, and 2.95% per keyed-in transaction. It includes a monthly fee of $9.95 and can be cancelled anytime without penalty. Spark Pay also includes other useful features for merchants like bar code scanning, tips, inventory management, and digital receipts. The service comes with live phone support and email support for all users.
Spark Pay Promotional Video
|Spark Pay Highlights|
|Swiped rate:||2.7% (2.95% for American Express)|
|Availability:||iPhone 3GS or newer (iOS 6.0 and above)|
SalesVu is a software development company that has partnered with Mercury Payment Systems to offer a mobile credit card processing application for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch devices. The application is feature-rich and nearly acts as a full mobile Point-of Sale (POS) System. Some of the most useful tools the application offers are features such as cash drawer management, bar-code scanning, pre-programmed prices, and employee timekeeping. SalesVu is best suited for established businesses that process credit cards on a daily basis, have multiple sales representatives, and/or desire a basic POS system. This sentiment is mirrored in merchant feedback with reports stating that the signup process is much more in-depth than most other mobile payment apps.
SalesVu iPad/iPhone Overview
|Swiped rate:||2.6%-2.75% + $0.00/$0.10/$0.25|
|Keyed-in rate:||2.6%-2.75% + $0.00/$0.10/$0.25|
|Availability:||iOS 5.0 and above|
Inner Fence, which also owns “Swipe” by AppNinjas, is a joint venture with Merchant Focus to offer a mobile credit card terminal for Apple and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows computers. Of the other picks in this list, Inner Fence offers the widest platform availability enabling merchants to use the system on just about any of the devices they own. Features include most found with the other picks in this list, but with card readers available for computers as a standout option. Inner Fence offers unlimited phone support and email support, as well as service in Canada.
The only drawbacks are a monthly fee of $39 and that the service also requires an Authorize.net payment gateway account in order to use the card reader, which may subject merchants to additional fees. As of this review, Inner Fence only offers one card reader for free with additional readers costing $79 each.
Inner Fence Video Demonstration
|Inner Fence Highlights|
|Swiped rate:||2.9% + $0.30|
|Keyed-in rate:||2.9% + $0.30|
|Availability:||iPhone 4 or newer|
ProPay Jak comes in fourth only because of its card reader cost ($39.95) and annual fee ($39.95 to $69.95 depending on account type), which makes it less than ideal for new and low-volume merchants but great for mid-volume users who regularly accept credit card payments. The additional features that ProPay offers over many of the picks in this article make it a great solution for most businesses. Some of these features include the ability to store encrypted payments for later charging if a phone is not getting service at the time of sale, storage of customer information for future billing or refunds, and use of ProPay’s virtual terminal which comes with a variety of its own features including detailed tracking and reports. ProPay also has month-to-month service agreements, no processing minimum requirements and lower processing rates than most of its competitors (except for GoPayment’s advanced account).
ProPay JAK Overview
|ProPay JAK Highlights|
|Availability:||iPhone 3GS or newer|
Intuit’s GoPayment ranks as the fifth-best mobile pick due to its ability to serve both micro-merchants and high-volume merchants equally well. Like many of the picks in this list, GoPayment offers a free setup, free mobile app, and free card reader. Additionally, GoPayment offers the ability to have no monthly fees while only paying processing fees for the transactions you run.
GoPayment stands apart from most of the competition in three primary ways: First, the company has a dedicated customer support phone number where most other providers rely solely on email support, which can be notoriously slow. Second, GoPayment offers an additional account type for $12.95/mo that better serves mid-to-high volume merchants by lowering their overall processing fees. Lastly, GoPayment uses Intuit’s Merchant Services processing network, which many believe makes for a more secure application. The service also meets PCI Compliance (data security) standards, whereas some argue that certain competitors, such as Square, may not.
GoPayment Video Introduction
|Swiped rate:||1.75%-2.75% + $0.25|
|Keyed-in rate:||3.15-3.75% + $0.15-$0.25|
|Availability:||iOS 6.0 or above|
Although PayPal was one of the first digital payment methods to gain widespread popularity on the Internet, its mobile processing app is relatively new to the market. In fact, PayPal has restructured its account types to incorporate mobile technology and is leveraging its existing user base in an attempt to become the dominant mobile credit card processing player. Users of the system must first sign up for a PayPal account and then install the PayPal Here application on their smartphones. From there, PayPal will send the user a free card reader which can be used immediately. PayPal Here works in conjunction with a user’s normal PayPal account, so all the transactions are tracked and stored in the same place. Additionally, PayPal offers a variety of customer support options including phone support and email support. The only drawbacks that have been reported so far appear to be issues with the app itself, so it looks as if PayPal may still have a few bugs to work out. With three different account types, PayPal can serve businesses of most processing volumes.
PayPal Video Overview
|PayPal Here Highlights|
|Keyed-in rate:||3.5% + $0.15|
|Availability:||iOS 5.0 or above|
Square is top-notch in terms of function and style. There are no startup costs, no additional merchant accounts or payment gateways needed, and no monthly fee or processing minimum requirements. Square is ideal for individuals, low-volume merchants and micro-merchants, and businesses that want an occasional mobile option or credit card processing backup.
Square does have some limitations that may dissuade mid-to-high volume merchants. For instance, Square lacks a dedicated merchant support phone number, which has caused hundreds of complaints to be filed on our review of the company. In addition, the Square’s policies regarding holds on swiped (card-present) transactions lack transparency, and there are numerous reports from users complaining about experiencing sudden, long-term holds without explanation or notification.
Square Swipe Tutorial
|Credit rate:||3.5% + $0.15|
|Availability:||iPhone 3GS or newer (iOS 6.0 and above)|
PayAnywhere (sometimes spelled “Pay Anywhere”) is a mobile credit card processing application launched by North American Bancard. The service is similar to that of GoPayment and Square with many of the same features. In addition to being compatible with iPhone and Android devices, Pay Anywhere can also be used with the Blackberry. The company offers email support, FAQ pages, video tutorials, and phone support; however, it appears that calls are routed to North American Bancard’s traditional call centers which receive numerous complaints of poor service in our review of the company. Like Square, merchant feedback suggests that PayAnywhere uses fund holding as a primary defense against risk, which can cause problems for legitimate merchants. The service appears to be best suited for low-volume and micro-merchants who can swipe the majority of their transactions.
PayAnywhere Promotional Video
|Keyed-in rate:||3.49% + &0.19|
|Availability:||iPhone 4.0 or newer (iOS 6.0 or above)|
Additional (Unrated) iPhone Credit Card Processing Apps
Roampay is the perfect device for those who do not want to deal with an extra device because a swipe is not required. If you prefer to swipe the card a small swiping device is available. It operates under your current data plan, even if it is just pay as you go. There is a secure web interface that will allow you to enter credit card data from your PC or Mac. The cost to download the application is only $3.99.
ezPOS and AirePoint
This system allows you to download your inventory information to your phone so you do not have to type it in with each sale. It also comes with a card reading device that you attach to your phone so you can actually swipe credit cards instead of having to key in the card data. It does not store sensitive data and does not use excessive battery power to operate. The application can be purchased for $9.99 on iTunes.
The pocket terminal is a device that allows for multiple accounts. This is ideal if you are running several different businesses or if you want multiple accounts for other reasons. It has an easy-to-use search feature that lets you search by the last four digits in a credit card number or by the name on an account. It will work over WiFi or over the cell network. There is a one-time fee of $9.99 to purchase it from the App Store, otherwise your only costs are merchant fees charged by your bank.
This application works on iPhones, iPads, and the iPod Touch. At just $4.99, this is one of the top iPhone credit card processing applications because it allows you to add several employee accounts to help keep your accounting in line. It has a high quality interface that is easy to use for sales, refunds, voids, credits, authorizations, or post only transactions. You can access your transaction data all day and everyday at the Online Merchant Center.
This application is an excellent choice for anyone who loves their iPhone. The design of the phone is set up to look and feel just like your iPhone so it is comfortable and easy to use. The application is just $4.99 and allows you to send email receipts and collect customer data all from your phone. If you want to you can set it up so that other iPhones can charge to the same account so that several employees can collect money at different locations at the same time.
The iAuthorize application is only $1.99 and has some unique features that make it perfect for certain businesses. These include a space for tips and the option for recurring bills. It can also do voids, credits or refunds, and capture holds. While mobile you can look at your transaction logs and shipping information, which makes managing your business on the go much simpler.
This app is the first one that was specifically designed for the Australian gateways SecurePay, eWay, and DPS Payment Express. It can support multiple accounts, refunds, and multiple currencies including AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, NZD, and CAD. The cost to purchase this application is currently $43.99.
One of the best features of this application is its rock-bottom low cost. At just 99 cents it is one of the least expensive but still feature-loaded apps available. It allows you to capture digital signatures and email receipts. You can customize the receipts to your business, track customer orders and shipping, and add a tip.
Credit Card Terminal
Like many of the other applications this one allows customers to sign with their fingertips and provides an email receipt. You can use the contact interface to quickly and easily add a customer to your address book. It processes payments as well as full or partial refunds. This application is 99 cents on iTunes.
Features on this 99-cent application include signature capture, refunds, password protection, GPS tracking, and full transaction details. The process for inputting data is fast and easy to use, and the user interface is quite professional looking.
These iPhone credit card applications can help you to run your business more effectively. The ability to collect credit card payments in the field can greatly increase your bottom line. Not only will you get paid faster but you will avoid the added cost and risk of billing customers after the fact. With so many options available to accept mobile payment, there is no reason not to take advantage of them. We live in a mobile world and if you and your business are not part of it you should get on board before the train leaves the station without you. If we are missing any great apps that should be included in this list, please let us know in the comment section below.
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