By Shannon Vissers

Mobile point-of-sale systems — apps that let you accept payments from your smartphone — make sales a breeze for everyone, from home-based “momtrepreneurs,” to jet-setting business owners. (Though, who says you can’t be both?) Indeed, setting up your small business to take credit card payments is now easier than ever, no matter your geographical location or line of business. All you need is a smartphone, a free app, and a pocket-sized (often free) card reader.

Read on to learn about the top mobile POS systems on the market.

1. Square

Created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square is the most popular mobile POS system on the market. Square is best for low-volume businesses processing less than $10,000 per month. Here are the need-to-knows about Square:

  • Works with Android, iPhone, and iPad
  • No monthly fee
  • Free headphone jack credit card reader
  • Bluetooth EMV/NFC reader (to accept chip cards and Apple Pay) available for $50
  • Flat-rate processing fee of 2.75% per transaction
  • eCommerce integration
  • Tracks cash and check payments

With Square and other mobile POS systems, you don’t need your own merchant account to take credit and debit card payments. The 2.75% per-transaction processing fee is a little steeper than what you’d pay if you had a traditional merchant account, though considering its convenience for small, casual businesses, and the fact there is no monthly fee, millions of businesses love and use Square as their primary or secondary point-of-sale.

You can learn more about Square’s mobile credit card reader on their website.

2. Sell on Etsy

You’ve most likely heard of Etsy’s online marketplace for artists and crafters. However, you might not know about Etsy’s in-person card reader and app, “Sell on Etsy.” Sell on Etsy works similarly to Square and is the perfect POS option for businesses who already sell online via Etsy, but also make in-person sales (for example, at craft shows). Here are the basics:

  • Works with Android, iPhone, and iPad
  • App is free to use (no monthly fee)
  • Free headphone-jack card reader
  • Flat-rate processing fee of 2.75% per transaction
  • Integrates with your Etsy online store
  • Records cash payments

One negative thing about Sell on Etsy is that it does not accept EMV payments (the new “chip” style credit cards); that said, most chip cards can be run on a traditional magstripe terminal.

Here’s the website for this service if you want to learn more:

3. PayPal Here

Like Etsy, PayPal is another household name. But while you have probably used PayPal to make or accept online payments, you might not know about PayPal’s mobile payment app, PayPal Here. Here are the basic ins-and-outs of this mobile processing service:

  • Available on iOS, Android, and Windows devices
  • No monthly fee
  • 2.7% per US card swipe/dip
  • Choose from $14.99 headphone-jack card reader or $149 Bluetooth chip card terminal
  • Records cash and check payments
  • Integrates with your PayPal business account

While PayPal’s credit card processing rates are slightly better than Square’s, it doesn’t have quite as many POS features as you get with Square (or even Sell on Etsy). However, if you have a PayPal debit card, you’ll get your funds faster than you will with Square — instantly, vs. 2-3 business days with Square.

Learn more about PayPal Here.

4. Spark Pay

Capital One-owned Spark Pay is a mobile processing service that can be used on a smartphone or a tablet. Spark Pay has good customer support (better than Square’s, according to user reviews), and gives you the option of lower credit card processing fees if you choose a paid plan. Here’s what else you need to know:

  • For iPhone, Android, and iPad
  • Free headphone-jack card reader
  • Choose from free “Go” plan ($0/month, 2.65% + $0.05 per transaction) or paid “Pro” plan ($19/month, 1.99% + $0.05 per transaction)
  • Accept NFC and EMV payments with $249 wired reader

With lower card processing fees on the “Pro” plan, Spark Pay is an appropriate mobile POS for higher-volume businesses. Note that Spark Pay runs a credit check on all applicants.

Find out more about Spark Pay.

Get Ready to Take Your Business on the Go

There are many considerations when choosing a mobile point-of-sale solution, so be sure to read up on each system before committing to a mobile POS. The good thing is that these services are all free to test out, and you can stop using them at any time without incurring a penalty.

Do you have a “mobile” business, or ideas for taking your business on the road? Let’s chat in the comments!