Mobile credit card readers, and what they cost
NEW YORK -- Need to accept credit cards for your small business? You have more reader options than ever. Online retailers Amazon and Etsy are the latest companies to offer the devices, which plug in to smartphones and tablets and let business owners accept credit cards anywhere. They join established players such as Square and Inuit GoPayment.
The card readers work the same: They take a percentage of each transaction when a card is swiped, usually about 3 percent. They charge more if the card needs to be manually typed in, instead of swiped. Most work on Apple's devices and those that use Google's Android operating system.
Here's a look at some of the players:
The online retailer charges $10 for its reader, but credits the money back after it is used. Amazon charges 2.5 percent for every card swipe and 2.75 percent when card info is typed in manually.
Chase's reader is aimed at mid-sized businesses that would use it more frequently. Users must have an account with Chase. It charges $9.95 a month for the reader, plus a minimum of $25 worth of goods must be sold a month, or the business owner must pay the difference. It charges between 1.99 percent and 3.76 percent, plus 25 cents, for each swipe. Chase sets the cost, depending on the type of business. Those interested need to ask Chase for fee information.
This reader, from online marketplace Etsy, charges 2.75 percent per swipe and 3 percent, plus 25 cents, for manually entering the card number. You'll need a shop on Etsy to use it. Demand for the Etsy card reader was higher than expected when it was unveiled last fall, and the company ran out of readers in late October. The company says it will have more in early 2015.
This card reader comes from Intuit, the company behind accounting software QuickBooks. It has two plans: one has no monthly fee and charges 25 cents per transaction, plus 2.4 percent per swipe and 3.4 percent for typed-in card numbers. The other is $19.95 a month and charges 25 cents for every transaction, but charges lower percent fees: 1.75 percent for swiped cards and 3.15 percent for typed-in card numbers.
The payment processor's card reader costs 2.7 percent per swipe. For card numbers that are added manually, the cost is 3.5 percent, plus 15 cents.
This reader comes from North American Bancard, a credit card processing company. It charges 2.69 percent per swipe and 3.49 percent, plus 19 cents, for manually entered numbers.
Owned by Capital One, Spark Pay has two plan options. One, aimed at merchants with a lot of credit card transactions, has a $9.95 monthly fee and charges 1.95 percent for Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards, 2.95 percent for American Express cards and 2.95 percent for card numbers that are typed in. The other plan has no monthly fee and charges 2.70 percent for Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards, 2.95 percent for American Express cards and 3.7 percent for typed-in transactions.
The company takes 2.75 percent of each swipe, and 3.5 percent plus 15 cents for credit card information that is typed in.