The 8 Best Credit Card Readers

You don't have to say your business is "cash only" anymore

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You’ve realized your goal of starting your own business – congratulations! After months or years of planning, your dream is coming true. However, you quickly realize that no one carries cash anymore, and dealing with checks is a hassle (plus, who really them anymore except for your grandparents?). In order to avoid missing out on purchases, you need a credit card reader. Chip or swipe readers are a great addition to your store and make accepting all forms of payment a breeze. Check out the list below for our top picks.

Best Overall: Square Contactless and Chip Reader

Square Contactless and Chip Reader
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If you use the Square Point of Sale app, this card reader is a great choice for your small business. This small, modern card reader lets you quickly and easily accept payments not only using credit or debit cards but also EMV chip cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay. This innovative design lets you go cord-free – the reader connects wirelessly to iOS or Android devices with Bluetooth LE or with USB (check out the optional Square Stand). With this reader and the Square app, you can take care of payments, tipping, inventory and even reports. It comes with a free Square reader for magstripe, so you can swipe cards, too, as well as a micro USB cable for easy charging. 

Best Budget: Futura Credit Card Reader

If you want to try out accepting credit cards for your business without incurring a big upfront cost, the Futura credit card reader is a great choice. This compact three-track magnetic stripe card reader works with laptops or desktop computers and can be used not only for credit card processing, but for point of sale access control, ID verification or even employee clock-in and out. Bi-directional swipe reading makes checking out easier for your customers. Even though this card reader is very affordable, each machine is rated for over 1,000,000 card swipes, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it for a long time. Better still, the Futura credit card reader comes with a 12-month warranty to give you peace of mind before you purchase. 

Best Magnetic Strip Reader: Osayde Credit Card Reader

This handy machine from Osayde enables you read, write and erase magnetic stripe tracks. This means you can do things like accept credit and debit card payments, as well as create gift cards or employee ID badges with this machine. Use it to allow swipe access to certain areas, create and swipe e-tickets or keep time for your employees, too – anywhere a magnetic stripe ID or transaction card is used. The Osayde reader can encode and verify up to three tracks of data simultaneously. Plus, it comes with 20 free blank cards, a cleaning card, a USB connector and an easy-to-use power adapter.  

Best for Pop-Up Shops: Square Credit Card Reader for iPhone, iPad, and Android

Make payment super-simple for you and your customers with the Square credit card reader for iPhone, iPad and Android. This budget-friendly little plug-in device is easy to transport and takes up little space. Whether you sell tacos from a food truck or homemade items at a craft fair, this credit card reader will make sure you are prepared.  Use it with the free Square Point of Sale app to help you track payments and earnings over time, adjust tax, tip, discounts, send receipts and collect customer feedback. Simply plug the card reader into your smartphone or tablet and get ready to rack up some sales. 

Best Credit Card Machine: Verifone VX520 Credit Card Machine

If you need something more than just a card reader for your business, the Verifone VX520 may be the best choice for you.  This ergonomically-designed machine runs on the advanced VX Evolution platform that uses the time-tested Verix operating system. It uses the industry’s fastest processor to handle encryption, decryption, processing and super-high speeds.

This small but powerful machine has a unique cable management system to keep your workspace neat and can be battery-powered if you need extra mobility. A contactless reader is integrated into the device for even more payment options. Best of all, this device provides end-to-end encryption with Verifone’s VeriShield Protect to protect you and your customers against fraud or misuse. 

Most Versatile: Symcode Mini Credit Card Reader

Plug-and-play with the Symcode mini credit card reader. Use the included USB cable to attach it to your laptop or desktop computer and get started – no additional software or power supply required. It works with all versions of Windows or Mac operating systems and has three tracks that are ISO, ANSI and AAMVA-compatible, so you can use this device for multiple functions. Bi-directional reading capability, an LED indicator light and an included five-foot USB cable make this card reader a breeze to setup and use.

Most Dependable: MagTek Credit Card Reader

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty credit card reader with longevity, try the MagTek triple track magnetic stripe reader. Use the included six-foot USB interface cable to attach it to any computer or terminal that has a USB port. This durable card reader is equipped with bi-directional card reading and reads up to three tracks of encoded data that meets ANSI/ISO/AAMVA standards.

Check the status of any transaction quickly and easily with the included red, green and amber LED lights. The programmable keyboard table supports the use of alternate languages and it encrypts all track data and the MagnePrint value for every transaction. Prevent fraud with MagTek’s clear text confirmation data, which includes the card holder's name, expiration date and a portion of the PAN as part of the masked track data. 

Easiest to Use: 2xhome Mini Credit Card Reader

This affordable card reader is fully-programmable and comes with three tracks, so it can handle triple duty at your business. Use it for accepting payments, data collection, access control, identification verification or timekeeping. You won’t need any additional software to start using this card reader – simply plug it in with the provided five-foot USB cable and get started. It is compatible with Windows or Mac operating systems and can be used with desktop computers, as well as laptops. A green LED indicator light and bi-directional reading capability makes this credit card reader even easier to use.