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Published: April 17, 2020

All merchants need to know about mobile card readers

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In the most recent years, you can already see how the purchasing behavior of customers continues to lean towards cashless payments. More importantly, the industry already predicts a booming trend towards cashless payment transactions by 2022, with card payments enjoying half of the payments pie.


On the other hand, there are more than 261 million US smartphone users in 2019 alone, most of this population already prefer to make transactions with their smartphones all the time. This has also revolutionized the way merchants process their payments, which is now through their mobile devices, and one key feature that makes this all possible is the mobile card reader.


Essentially, a mobile card reader is a small hardware device that captures information contained on the credit card. Unlike the card readers of traditional payment terminals, mobile card readers connect to a tablet or smartphone, essentially turning the device into a mobile point of sale or mPOS. 


For this to work, you only need to go through these few steps:


  • Set up a merchant account. This will allow you to process and accept payments from your customers directly to your business account with the mobile phone as a channel.


  • Choose the card reader of your choice. Once that is taken care of, you can now download the application that will give your chosen mobile device its POS capabilities. This application is usually free.
  • With the application installed, connect the card reader to your device. Depending on what you choose, you could either connect your mobile card reader physically, through a dongle, or via Bluetooth. On the application, start putting in a few fields of information as a final step to completely connect your device to your mobile card reader and, in effect, make your device ready to process transactions.


When you are now ready to process payments using your mobile phone, you only need to go through these steps:


  • Once the customer purchases something, you can now enter the transaction amount into your mobile application. Most applications have very simple UIs that look similar to calculators.


  • You can now swipe or tap your customer’s card into the card reader so the transaction can proceed. Depending on what the customer’s card is, you can close the transaction with his PIN or signature. In a few seconds, the payment is authorised with the relevant transaction information being displayed on screen within the application. 


  • Once the payment is successfully processed, you can now produce the receipt either by printing it out or emailing it to your customer.

What benefits do mobile card readers present?


  • Mobile card readers are portable and very user-friendly. One of the reasons why mobile card readers have become such a huge hit in the US is because the country has more than 30 million small businesses, which actually account for 99.9% of all US businesses. This means that from the merchants’ standpoint, they will need point-of-sale systems that are portable and easy to use with less the cost.

    Mobile card readers, as mentioned, allow merchants to use their existing mobile phones as their POS system instead, which leads to lesser costs. Mobile card readers also have software that is easily compatible with any mobile device and the application it is running on. This addresses any issue on integration and usability.
  • Mobile card readers support mobile payments. When we talk of mobile payments, we refer to a payment method that makes use of portable electronic devices such as tablets or mobile phones instead of debit and credit cards. With consumer behavior now having an increased dependence on smartphones, it just follows logically that consumers are also gravitating towards mobile payments.

    You might wonder how mobile card readers fit into all this. Now, another good thing about mobile credit card readers is that some use a technology called near field communication or NFC, which allows customers and merchants to transact contactless payments. With NFC on their card reader, merchants can also accept payments from customers that use their phones or mobile wallets instead of cards. 


This is even important information for merchants: the industry expects that 64% of mobile users will now prefer to pay using their smartphones in 2020 if we take in the survey by multinational professional services company Accenture. If you can tap this customer base by using only one device with less cost, then you’re heading to a better strategic direction.


  • Faster processing time. When making purchases, customers always wanted to seal the deal at the fastest time possible so they can move on to other things. Nothing annoys a customer more than waiting in a line since the checkout time of the merchant is slow. Mobile card readers do not require a lot of steps to accept your card payments, making it a more efficient method of paying. Since mobile card readers also allow mobility of merchants, customers may not need to do that line after all.


There will always be service providers that will offer packaged services with mobile card readers. In the end, it will ultimately depend on what you need, what payments you want to process (go for cashless!), and what your budget is. Like all payment processing services, never compromise on the security it offers, the kind of customer service experience it provides, and the overall practicability of the product. 


With Agapay, you are sure to enjoy a hassle-free experience 24/7 with our low-cost and user-friendly payment processing schemes. Our solutions range from wireless terminals over data networks to mobile swipers that attach to your phones or tablets. Our latest technology offers the best mobile payment solutions so you can make transactions for your business anytime, anywhere. Contact us online for more information or call us at 800 644 3909.

AGAPAY - Transactions that give

Agapay was founded on the idea that payment processing should be ethical and give back to the community. In pricing, structure and service, we will always do our best to give the most value and maximize service.
Agapay is a Registered Partner/ISO of Elavon, Inc. Georgia [a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, Minneapolis, MN]
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