Why the Best Mobile Card Reader is your Smartphone

September 8, 2020

Say goodbye to bulky card machines, high setup fees and slow transactions.

The best way to take card payments in 2021 is with your smartphone.

Just a smartphone? No fancy hardware? Not even software?

No. Just a smartphone and an app.

Not convinced? Hear us out:

Which is the best mobile card reader?

The best mobile card reader is your smartphone.


You’ve likely seen portable card readers around town or even used them yourself. They are smaller versions of the traditionally big and bulky payment terminals. They are called “mobile card readers” and offer a better and cheaper alternative to slow and expensive payment terminals.

The main issue with these readers is that you still need to pay upfront for the handheld card reader, set it up and connect it to the internet. So although they call it a “mobile” card reader, you’re still having to set up additional hardware first (and it’s always a hassle getting it connected to wifi).

That’s why, accepting payments with your smartphone is a lot faster, cheaper and more efficient. How? Two words: Quick Response (QR code). With QR code payments your customers can pay with their phones (or use a contactless card). All you need to do is show a QR code from your own phone. No need to purchase additional hardware and no need to even be connected to the internet (although your customer will be). And if you forget or lose your phone, all you need to do is re-install the app in another device and log in. Easy peasy!

How does it work for your customer? You present them with a two-dimensional QR code on your phone or printed on a piece of paper. They then scan it with their phone which takes them to a separate screen, and there they have the option to pay with Apple/Google Pay or fill in their own card details. All up to date mobile phones have a built-in QR reader that can be accessed directly from their camera, and once a QR code is detected, a push notification with a link comes up. Your only fee? A monthly transaction fee.

5 reasons why your smartphone is the best portable card reader:

1. No initial set up

No need to pay for a setup, maintenance fees or a delivery fee. If you’ve got a phone, tablet or any mobile device, you automatically have a Point of Service once you download the Pomelo Pay app. You can choose to set up your device in your store or accept on the go when working outside.

You can also add several users on the app, which means your employees can suddenly turn their phones into a credit card reader as well. All your customer needs to do is scan the QR code and pay.

2. Increased efficiency

Less time fiddling around with card terminals and cash means more time spent on your customers, employees and business. Managing your mobile phone as a POS is incredibly easy to use for employees. Everyone is already used to touchscreens, and with the intuitive interface of Pomelo Pay, your employees can easily learn, further decreasing training time and increasing efficiency.  

The other benefit? No more waiting in line or dealing with an unstable connection. By paying with your phone, checkout times are drastically faster than with cash registers and you don’t even need to be connected to the internet to accept the payment. That means more time to genuinely engage with your customers and make a lasting impression.

3. Hands-off

With QR codes, any location becomes a sales channel. All you need to do is print it and display it in the correct location. Your customer takes out their mobile phone, directs their camera at the QR code, selects the product they want from an online menu and pays instantly.

You can also choose to send them a payment link: a separate link that you can send by email, Whatsapp or SMS, which takes them to a separate payment screen. You’ll be able to take payments without even having to be physically present.

4. Quick and easy to integrate

With an online payment gateway such as Pomelo Pay, every major payment method is accepted. This means that whether you have a webshop or are just starting out, you’re able to accept Visa, Mastercard, Google Pay, Apple Pay and many other payment methods at a favourable rate. More diverse payment acceptance means more revenue as well as higher customer satisfaction.

Using a QR code is also safer and more secure: not only is all the information encrypted, but your customer can complete payment through a mobile phone without even entering any card details on your website.

5. Easy to track

The other benefit of using a QR code is that a lot more information can be stored and managed. You’ll get a dashboard with in-depth analytics and reports as well as live transaction information and reconciliation reports. This makes it easier to issue refunds, prepare tax returns and manage your overall business.

By using a mobile device as a POS, the software used can help you save hours of overall management of inventory, invoice tracking and customer details. No matter where you are, you have access to reports on how your business is doing.

Mobile card reader FAQ

What is the cheapest card reader?

Pomelo Pay is one of the cheapest card readers on the market. That’s because you don’t need to pay for any hardware upfront - just a 1.49% transaction fee.

Do card readers need wifi?

Most card readers need to be connected to wifi. With a Pomelo Pay QR code, you don’t need to be connected to wifi. You can even print your QR code and display it on the front of your shop.

Are card readers safe?

Yes, card payments are one of the safest ways to take payments, especially when using a payment service provider like Pomelo Pay. Pomelo Pay is regulated by the FCA and meets PCI Compliance Level 1. Every transaction is tokenised and encrypted.