Taking payment on your mobile using card readers

In 2017, half of all Americans said they usually did not carry cash, rarely used it, and given a choice between paying someone with paper money or an app, would choose the digital option. And that was before COVID-19.

More than ever, we are living in a paperless world and a contactless society. For businesses, adjusting to this new reality is imperative because the alternative is missing out on sales to increasingly tech-savvy and cashless customers. 

While changing to a different primary payment method once may have seemed a daunting challenge, it is now quite simple. You can implement a mobile point of sale (mPOS) system with a credit card reader that plugs into a smartphone. 

The advantages of an mPOS system for businesses are that it’s easy, can be used anywhere and is free of traditional merchant terminals and expensive equipment. An mPOS system runs on your device using software to process transactions, and the card reader acts as the electronic connection between merchants and the system to accept credit and debit card swipes or taps as payments for purchases. 

There are different types of mobile card readers available, which vary in price, function, and value.

What are the different types of card reader? 

A magstripe reader is a device that decodes information embedded on the magnetic stripe of a credit card. These more basic readers allow you to simply swipe for payment and the benefit is that they accept all older magstripe cards.

Higher-level EMV readers can accept microchip cards, such as those from Europay, Mastercard and Visa. Microchipped cards are more secure than magstripe because they use new encryption for each transaction. 

As chip cards are quickly becoming the standard, an EMV-enabled reader is crucial for merchants. Especially as, since a 2015 liability shift, businesses rather than credit card companies are responsible for in-store fraud resulting from transactions on non-EMV systems. 

A chip-enabled reader helps protect both merchants and customers from counterfeit sales, which can be particularly important for businesses considered “high risk,” such as CBD shops. 

Near-field communication (NFC) is an advanced wireless technology that allows NFC-enabled readers to accept contactless payment from mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. There are many benefits of contactless payments, for both companies and consumers. 

NFC transactions are fast, safe, and easy, since a customer’s credit card information is stored separately on a smartphone, which just needs to be placed near the reader. 

There are several mobile card readers on the market, and the right one for your business depends on your needs. 


Probably the most common mPOS and card reader, Square is versatile, user-friendly and fast funding. While it’s not the cheapest option, its fees are straightforward and reasonable. Square is a great choice for startups, but it’s not ideal for high-risk retailers and medium or large businesses.

PayPal Here

PayPal Here offers a choice of three mobile card readers, from a basic swipe reader to a chip and tap model with charging stand. They all integrate with PayPal’s merchant services, making them great for businesses that do high-volume transactions both online and in person. PayPal Here offers flat fees and wider payment compatibility, though its reader is bulkier with a more awkward design than others.

Clover Go

Clover Go is a good option for bring-your-own-device businesses that process at least moderate card volume. It offers inexpensive hardware, a decent web dashboard and lots of features, but it can get costly for merchants that process in low volumes or not often.

Miura M010

The Miura M010 mobile card reader is comfortable, easy to use and accepts magstripe, EMV and NFC payments. While it’s more expensive than some competitors, the Miura M010 features fantastic design and the best EMV hardware.

Start taking payment from mobile card readers

In a newly socially distanced world with increasingly cashless customers, it has never been a better time for small-business owners to invest in a mobile card reader. Chip card systems may be the present, but contactless transactions are the future. 

In addition to providing electronic invoicing, FLEX Payment Solutions can help merchants start accepting “tap and go” and mobile wallet payments, enabling you to meet customers where they are – or where they physically are not. 

Unfortunately, while taking contactless payments can be as simple as getting a mPOS system and NFC-enabled card reader, it’s not that easy for everyone. Native American businesses, CBD shops and businesses labeled as high-risk merchants by most payment solutions providers are often not able to accept credit or debit card payments.We understand the unique compliance issues CBD and tribal businesses experience when looking for payment solutions. With a unique compliance background, innovative business model and special banking relationships, we have developed a suite of custom processes to help those merchants comply with the legal requirements that will enable them to start taking card payments – the first step toward contactless transactions and business growth.

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