Can I Take Card Payments on My Phone?

Yes, you can take card payments on your phone. 📲

Thanks to advances in technology, you can now accept payments at a distance and even consider ditching the card machine! If you’re looking to take card payments with your phone, what’s the best way to do so? In this post, we cover two main ways to take payments on your phone as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Why take card payments via mobile phone?

There are many reasons why you may choose to use a mobile phone to take card payments. Here are some of them:

  • Take payment from a safe distance
  • Faster processing time
  • Unable to carry your card reader with you
  • Looking for cheaper alternatives

More and more customers are favouring mobile payments, especially since the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. Whether you’re taking payments on a phonecall or using something like QR code payments, mobile payments are cheaper, more practical and safer. This is especially true if you run a business in a tight space or are constantly on the move - such as a takeaway, contractor, retailer or even a restaurant.

Many businesses choose to get a mobile card reader, which is a smaller version of a normal, large card reader. However, we have argued before that it is unnecessary to get a mobile card reader if you already own a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. By using a system that implements QR codes, you can get all the benefits of card readers without having to carry them around or pay for them.

Method 1: over a phone call

This is a type of card payment over the phone that you’ve likely done before. It’s quite straightforward: you simply call your customer, they read out their card number, and you input it into your system. Many merchants still use this method because it’s simple and easy to implement. However, before using this method you need to make sure your Point of Sale is PCI DSS compliant - you can’t do this on any type of POS. You receive fines and put your customer at risk if you’re not compliant.


  • Easy to integrate: it’s easy to integrate with most payment systems
  • Straightforward: everyone knows how to take a call and read out payment details
  • Accessible: you just need to be able to take a call and have your card handy


  • Not very secure: someone could overhear the customer reading out their payment details. It’s also not very secure for a merchant to store a customer’s payment details.
  • Not practical: the customer may not be available for a call, have their card handy, or have the time to read it out.
  • Requires more regulation: you’ll need to make sure you are compliant and following the rules.
  • More expensive: because of the higher risks, many credit card processors charge higher fees.

Method 2: with QR codes

This is a modern, updated way to accept payments on your phone. With QR codes, you just need to display a barcode-like image on an email, website or on a mobile device and your customer simply scans it with their smartphone (every modern smartphone has an in-built QR code scanner in their camera app). This then takes them to a separate payment page where they fill in their details and process the payment.

You can also choose to send a payment link, which follows a similar process: you send a link by SMS which then takes the customer to a separate payment screen.


  • Highly secure: even more secure then debit card transactions. Every transaction is encrypted and details are not stored on anyone’s records.
  • Practical: the customer can complete it on their end in their own time.
  • Cheaper: with a payment processor like Pomelo Pay, you only pay 1.49% per transaction and no upfront fees.
  • Puts the customer at ease: the customer can double and triple check payment details before completing the payment.
  • Easy to integrate: It can be integrated with other features such as invoicing, direct debits and a table ordering system.
  • Fewer regulatory requirements: it does not require meeting strict compliance regulations

In general, it is more secure and safer to use payment links or QR codes. It also enhances customer experience and is a lot more practical for both the merchant and the customer. If you’re eager to move on towards mobile payments, QR codes are a step in the right direction.

To summarise: yes, you can take card payments on your mobile phone and it can be a lot easier and more practical than using a card reader. It may require an initial set up and switching provider, but the time, energy and cost savings in the long run are worth it. With Pomelo Pay, you can start accepting mobile payments with QR codes for free. And you can test it out and get started for free! 😉👇

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