Clara's best credit card readers.

Find the right credit card readers for your business on Clara.

Verifone k450by Verifone, Inc.

Verifone is a supplier of card machines so they don't process payments, so these readers are only suitable for larger organisations who will order a larger amount.

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Chip & Swipe Readerby Shopify Inc.

Shopify's Chip and Swipe reader accepts swipe and chip payments but not contactless or NFC. Connects wirelessly to your tablet or mobile phone using Bluetooth. It's Only compatible with US based Shopify Payments accounts dealing in USD.

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POS Machineby Payfirma

Payfirma offers a number of terminals, contact them for a quote.

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Guide to credit card readers.

What is a Credit Card Reader?

A  credit card machine is a machine that can be plugged into a computer, a phone or a POS system to accept credit card payments. There are many types of credit card machines, like the larger Ingenico models you'd expect at department store or the smaller iPhone or iPad credit card machines that plug into the iPhone's charging port, some accept just NFC payments (like PayWave or Apple Pay) others take just chip cards (those credit cards with the small sim card sized chip) whilst others take just swipe cards.

To find the best credit card machine for your business, so you can accept card payments compare all the vendors fees, payout times, and cards accepted here.

How credit card readers work?

Credit card machines work after you swipe, insert, or tap your card, the credit card reader passes the transaction request to the merchant bank (the merchant being the business you're buying from). The merchant bank sends a request to the issuing bank (your bank), which checks to see if the cardholder has enough cash or credit before authorizing the movement of funds to the merchant bank. The credit card machine keeps track of these authorizations in batches for future settlements. Depending on merchant preferences, the actual transfer of funds can happen within one to two business days. 

The functionality of these machines differs slightly on the kind of card you own. Much like its name reveals, magnetic stripe cards store payment information in the magnetic strip on the back. After swiping the card, the information is sent to the reader and then the acquiring bank. Magnetic stripe cards have become less popular because of their more vulnerable to fraud . The strip contains static information, which is easily obtained with credit-card skimmers and accessed by fraudsters. Chip (EMV) cards have largely replaced magnetic stripe cards due to their encrypted data feature. The chip, which contains cardholder information, and the reader allow for the encrypted data to change for every transaction, making it more secure and less accessible to fraudsters. 

There are also credit card readers for near field communication (NFC) or contactless payments, which usually involve holding a smartphone or wearable device over a reader. Like chip cards, NFC payments are safer than magnetic stripe cards because they utilize encrypted and changing data for each transaction. Apple Pay or Samsung Pay are examples of NFC payment apps that have become increasingly popular during the coronavirus pandemic.

How to accept credit card payments?

Accepting credit-card payments is relatively straightforward today, physically accepting credit-card payments you'll need a credit card machine and an internet connection (either via your phone or wifi) that's it!

There are a number of factors you'll need to take into account before selecting a credit card machine. The first how much revenue you process a month, what cards and payment types you'll need to accept and where you'll be taking payments. These are key questions as the amount of revenue you have will dictate if you want a higher % lower monthly fee machine or vice versa. Also the kinds of cards you want to accept will also determine which credit card machine you should get.

Each different credit card machine comes with different terms, some charge higher % of a transaction and lower monthly fees, whilst others have lower fees but charge a monthly subscription that is higher. Check out the full comparison of credit card readers here.

If you're looking to take online payments you should check out our Payment Gateways list. 

The Square credit card reader

What is the Square virtual terminal?

The Square virtual terminal is not a credit card machine but a payment gateway to take remote payments (either via the internet, email or phone call.) The Square virtual terminal is great for your businesses ecommerce payment needs but won't solve the same problem a credit card machine will so we recommend you use both if you sell online and in store.

What is Square Up ?

Square Up is just the domain name of Square. You'll find their full list of products for accepting payments in person and online at

What are some Square alternatives?

The main Square competitors in the U.S are Stripe, PayPal, Clover, Sumup and Poynt. Each different company offers different transaction fees and monthly fees so we recommend you compare all the vendors on our credit card reader comparison table here.

Can I buy the Square reader Walmart?

Yes, you can buy the Square Reader for Contactless and Chip for $41 or the Square Credit Card Magstripe Reader for $6. It always pays to check the Square website as they may send it one free if you sign up for their software services.

Can I buy the Square reader Walgreens?

Yes you can but seemingly not online, only in store, again we recommend you check Square's site first

Can I buy the Square reader Best Buy?

Yes, you can buy the Square Reader for Contactless and Chip for $42 or the Square Credit Card Magstripe Reader for $7 from Best Buy. It always pays to check the Square website as they may send it one free if you sign up for their software services.

Credit card reader for android

There are many creditcard readers for android Square, Quickbooks, Shopify, Clover, Chase, PayPal and many others offer credit card readers that are compatible with Android. We track well over 40 credit card readers that are Android compatible. To see and compare the full list of credit card readers for android click here.

Are there any wireless creditcard machines?

Yes there are a number wireless creditcard machines, Square, SumUp and Paypal have a number of card readers that can connect directly to an iPhone, iPad or Android device but any wireless creditcard machines has to be charged and connected to via bluetooth or directly to a device.

Where to buy PayPal card reader?

You can buy the PayPal credit card machines directly from their website. It's best to buy direct from PayPal as you'll get the newest readers that work with the most modern devices. You can also pick them up on Amazon.

Where can I buy PayPal here printer?

PayPal doesn't offer it's own receipt printer, but you can pick up a receipt printer from Amazon, Best Buy, NewEgg or any number of physical or ecommerce stores.

PayPal Here for iPhone and iPad (iOS) supports the following receipt printers:

Portable printers

  1. Star SM-L200 (Bluetooth)
  2. Star SM-S220i (Bluetooth)
  3. Star SM-S230i (Bluetooth)
  4. Star SM-T300 (Bluetooth)
  5. Star SM-T300i (Bluetooth)

 Stationary printers

  1. Star TSP 113 (LAN)
  2. Star TSP 143 (LAN)
  3. Star TSP 650/654 (Bluetooth or LAN)
  4. Star mPOP (Bluetooth)
  5. Epson TM-T20 II (LAN)
  6. Epson TM-T81 II (LAN)
  7. Epson TM-T82 (LAN)
  8. Epson TM-T82 II (LAN)
  9. Any other printer that is AirPrint or ePrint enabled 

 PayPal Here for Android supports the following receipt printers:

Portable printers

  1. Star SM-L200 (Bluetooth)
  2. Star SM-S230i (Bluetooth)*

How to accept credit card payments over the phone?

Most credit card machines don't in and of themselves have a facility to take over the phone payments. The POS solution you use often has the capacity to take a card payment over the phone. We recommend you check out the Square Virtual Terminal as it allows you to quickly and cheaply take creditcard payments via the phone.

What is a magnetic card reader?

A magentic card reader is one of the most basic credit card machines, it is usually a device that plugs into your computer via USB. It's only accepts Magstripe cards (those cards you swipe.) These days they're pretty old technology but that means you can pick them up for under $10 bucks.

Remember that any card reader like this you buy you'll need to find a payment processor who can process the payment, the advantage of PayPal, Square, SumUp etc is they provide the hardware and the payment processing so you can focus on selling and not setting up payment flows.

What is the SumUp card reader?

SumUp offer two credit card machines in the US, the Plus which is a small calculator type device that connects to your computer or phone via Bluetooth, but is standalone so you can use it anywhere, it charges via Micro USB and lasts 500 transactions on one charge.

The other credit card machine offered by SumUp is the Lite it is a small card reader with no interface it takes NFC, Chip and PayWave payments but doesn't take swipe cards. You need to pair it with your smart device. It charges via Micro USB and lasts for 300 transactions.

What is Stripe card reader?

Stripe doesn't make their own credit card reader but have connected their payment gateway to two third party credit card readers the BBPOS Chipper which takes chip, NFC and PayWave cards and the Verifone P400 a modern card reader which takes chip, stripe NFC and PayWave payments.

Check out both credit card readers on our credit card readers list here.

What Is the Best Credit Card Machine?

The best card-machine for your business is based largely on how your business works. The key variables are revenue and payment types accepted, the larger the revenue the more important it is to get a lower processing fee machine, even if they charge a monthly fee. If most of your customers use Apple Pay or contactless then it pays to choose a credit card machine that charges lower processing fees for this.

For example:

You need a card reader for your small flea market stall which earns $400. Lets say you can choose a card reader that charges 2%, this would equal = $8 a month. This is better than a credit card machine that charges 1% and $20 a month fee ($24 in total.)

Key features to look for:

  1. Ease of use: For you and your users you should find a credit card machine that is easy to use, is the screen big enough, does it take contactless payments? Do you need one for swipe cards?

  2.  POS Connection: If you use software POS services you will want a credit card machine that can seamlessly connect to your POS system.

  3. Payment security: It's key your credit card machine is PCI compliant (this basically is just how the credit card machine processes and stores your customers card details.) If your machine isn't it can mean you can liable for any fraud or payment issues processed by your card reader.

  4. EMV and NFC compatibility: EMV is a the chip card and is one of the most common type of cards these days, and NFC allows you to take contactless and Apple/Samsung pay.

  5. Portability: How portable is your credit-card machine? How portable does it need it be? For restaurant or a foodtruck it helps that it can move from the base, as a store then it's fine for it to sit at the counter. So it pays to work out if you want a card machine that can connect to your phone or is portable.

  6. Payouts: It's also key to work out how long it takes to pay out. The higher % fees card machines may pay out faster but cost more, so you need to work out if you need payouts faster or slower.

  7. Connectivity: How does your  machine connect to the internet? Does it use a sim card, connect via your phone or iPads internet or connect via an ethernet cable?

8. Ability to print receipts: Do your customers need receipts printed? Or would you prefer to be more green and skip the paper receipts altogether?

9. Hardware Cost: Does the machine have an upfront cost or a monthly fee? A monthly fee with lower processing fees makes sense if your revenue is higher, whereas a no fee once off purchase makes sense if your revenue is lower.

10. Processing fees: Each credit card machine competes on fees, each card type (debit, credit) and then payment type (swipe, chip, NFC) have different costs and each credit card machine prices it differently so be sure to understand what fees will be charged on the payment types and card types you most commonly accept. Also many readers have PCI fees, refund fees, chargeback fee, statement fees and leasing hardware fees, so be sure to check these to understand the true cost of the machine. Our full list of credit card machines here can help you understand these. Also some machines have contracts with minimum so be sure to understand this too before jumping into a card machine.

In summation the best credit card machine for your business would take into account your revenue, the cards you accept (credit, debit, Apple or contactless). If your business is permanent premise or moves.

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