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What Are the Top Credit Card Readers for Small and Medium Businesses?

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Choosing the right credit card reader for your business can be tricky. There are a lot of vendors and over 64 models on the market. When choosing a credit card reader there are a few things to consider. Each vendor charges slightly differently, some charge a one off purchase of the machine and then a % (often 1.5-3.7%) on each transaction depending on the card type and a small fee (usually $0.07-$0.20). Other vendors charge a monthly fee but with that a lower percentage, often the interchange fee, (which is the fee the issuer of customers card charges, usually that’s 0.8 -1.5%.)

If your business has a lot of cash flow then a monthly rental with a lower per transaction fee is probably the cheapest option. To get a better idea of all the credit card readers on the market check out the full list on Clara.

1. Best for Higher Volume Merchants


The Helcim card reader boasts some impressively low fees. They charge a range of fees from 0.91% + 8 cents for debit cards and 3.02% + 8 cents for credit cards. They charge based on two factors. How much monthly revenue you have and the average transaction size. If you have a lot of revenue or your average transaction size is over $300 then this is a great reader for you.

2. Best for Low Fees

Stax Fattmerchant

Stax is one of the cheapest credit card readers on the market, they charge the interchange rate for card processing (they differ based on the bank 0.3-1.8%) and then $0.08 per transaction.  They also charge a monthly fee of $100.

Card X

CardX’s Verifone reader accepts all payment types and connects to the internet via cable. They charge no fees to you at all for credit cards (put putting those fees onto your customers.) They do charge for debit cards 1% plus a $0.25 per transaction fee.

3. Best for Integration with Payment Gateways

If you run a hybrid online and in person store and use Authorize, Shopify or Square then it can be beneficial to use their card readers as you’ll get paid out faster and you can negotiate better rates. However these card readers tend to be a bit pricier.


Charges from 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction to 3.7% (which is on the higher end) + 10 cents per transaction. They offer a number of mobile connected and non mobile card readers and if you use Square’s bank or POS then it makes sense to use Square.


Charges from 2.9% + $0.30 cents but if you use their gateway and merchant account you’re already paying these fees for your online purchases. They also offer a software credit card reader so you don’t need to buy one.


If you use Shopify as your online store and payment processor then then it’s worth looking at the Shopify card readers as they’ll integrate with all the rest of your shopify tools.


If you use Stripe for accepting online payments, then it may make sense to use their card readers too. They charge from 2.7% to 3.7% which is on the higher end.

4. Best for Accepting Crypto


This is the only card reader currently on the market that lets you take crypto payments in store. They either let you accept crypto and hold crypto for 1.25% or will let you settle crypto into USD or any other currency.

5. Best for Fastest Payouts


Offers some of the lowest fees on the market at 0.8% + $0.7 for debit cards and 2.55% + $0.7 for credit cards. They promise to pay out in one business day too.

To see the entire list of card readers check them out at Clarafinds.

About the author


Alex Beck

Alex Beck is the founder of a fintech comparison site to help people find and compare the best new finance products.