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 android device or ios smartphone.

All you need is a smartphone and an app, and you have a point of sale (POS). No hardware, no software and no special iPad adapters. Nor do you need any micro sd cards, memory cards or special micro USB ports.

Everything you need, you already have in the palm of your hand.

What is a smartphone card reader?

You’ve likely seen portable Intuit, iZettle, or Sumup 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” (or sometimes OTG or EMV card readers) and offer a better and cheaper alternative to slow and expensive payment terminals.

Developments in phone technology mean that you don't have to purchase a card reader to accept payments. You can utilise this technology to turn your smartphone into your very own card reader.

Which is the best mobile card reader?

The main issue with mobile card readers is that you still need to pay upfront for the handheld card reader, set it up and connect it to the internet. If you're a small business or manage a popup shop, these fees may not be feasible

Although it is 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 contactless payments with your smartphone is a lot faster, cheaper and more efficient. How? Through QR codes. With QR code payments your customers can pay with their phones (or use a contactless card). All you need to do is present a QR code from your own phone.

There is no need to purchase additional hardware and no need to even be connected to the internet (although your customer will be). If you forget your phone or have lost it, all you need to do is re-install the app on another device and log in.

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 that presents the transaction amount. The customer then gives permission to pay with Apple/Google Pay or fill in their own card details. The money then moves from their bank account to yours.

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 charge is a monthly transaction fee.

5 reasons why your smartphone is the best portable card reader

1. No initial setup

There is no need to pay for a setup nor is there any maintenance fees or delivery fees. If you’ve got an iphone, android phone or tablet, you automatically have a POS once you download the Pomelo Pay app. You can choose to setup 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 quickly turn their phones into a credit card reader as well. All your customer needs to do is scan the QR code and they are ready to make a mobile payment.

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 manage payments. This will decrease training time and increase efficiency.

You won't ever have to wait about processing payments, which thanks to open banking, mean you won't have to wait days for funds to clear.

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 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. This is 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 integration

With an online payment gateway such as Pomelo Pay, every major payment method is accepted. Your smartphone turns into a mobile credit card, debit card and digital wallet reader.

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 with or without chip cards. More diverse payment acceptance means more revenue as well as increased 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 in the 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 - you only pay 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.

Do smartphones need Bluetooth?

Whilst many card readers require Bluetooth to take payments, smartphone card readers do not. The person paying just needs to be connected to the internet.