Finding the best credit card reader for Android is all about knowing the questions to ask as you evaluate options.

In this article, we’ll look at areas to address before you make your choice. We’ll cover critical features like data security and deposit time, as well as what you need to know for setup, comparing costs, and reaching out to customer service.

Here are six questions to help you choose the best credit card reader for Android.

1. How easy is set up?

Time spent setting up your Android credit card reader is time you could be collecting payments on that reader.

Setup time depends largely on the equipment you select and your technical skills. It’s not out of the question to order and receive your new credit card reader in as little as two days.

From there, it’s a matter of following the setup instructions, which ideally takes just a few minutes. This typically entails:

  • Powering up your reader
  • Turning on Bluetooth on your Android phone or tablet
  • Opening the appropriate app 
  • Connecting your reader

You could be up and running in as little as 2 days.

Common challenges

Of course, you hope setup goes smoothly, but you may run into some challenges. Things to watch out for include:

  • Incompatible Android device: Before buying a mobile reader, make sure it’s compatible with the device you’ll use to process payments. 
  • Issues with training: Even if you know how to use a credit card reader, the rest of your team might not. To get them on the same page, schedule some hands-on training. If dedicated time for training isn’t available, consider working it into your regular staff meetings, but make it a priority.
  • Technical issues: These can be as simple as turning on your reader or as advanced as downloading the necessary app and syncing with your device. Fortunately, today’s readers are more customer-friendly than ever.

2. Does it support EMV chip cards?

EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chips are part of smart credit cards and designed to create a unique code for each transaction to enhance security. 

The best modern hardware has built-in chip readers compatible with EMV chips. About 8 billion payment cards worldwide use this secure technology, so it makes sense to choose a card reader that’s compatible.

You need to protect customer card information and your store’s financial data at all costs. And EMV technology is one of the best ways of doing so at the point of sale. 

3. What type of customer service is offered?

Ideally, you won’t need to contact customer support often. But when you need it, you don’t want to have to wait. 

And there will come a point—perhaps even during setup—when you need the assistance of a customer service agent.

For each mobile credit card reader you’re considering, reach out to inquire about customer service. Here are some questions to find answers to on their site:

  • When can you contact them? Are they available 24/7 or only during business hours? Consider when you might need support, like after hours or before a busy holiday shopping weekend.
  • Is support ongoing or only available for a predetermined time after your purchase? If support is limited to some period after your purchase—for example, to the first 60-90 days—it may help you during setup, but you’ll be on your own if you run into issues down the road. 
  • How can you reach them? Phone, email and online support are all potential outlets. Check their website for an active help center that’s regularly updated. This can be a valuable self-service resource for quick answers.

Be sure to ask about customer service options and availability.

4. What’s the average deposit time?

When you receive a payment, you want to access the funds as quickly as possible.

As a general rule of thumb, next-day funding is the new standard. And anything longer than two business days should have you thinking twice about your decision. 

The company may say they require a merchant account for next-day funding, but rest assured that you most likely already have this if you accept credit cards. A merchant account is simply the bank account that lets you accept credit card payments at your store, acting as the middleman between your business, your bank account, and the credit card network. 

5. What security features does it offer?

It doesn’t matter what type of point of sale (POS) system you’re using, security for credit card transactions is essential. Credit card fraud remains a serious issue.

Payment data on your Android card reader should always be protected with encryption that virtually eliminates the risk of fraudulent activity. As a business owner accepting credit card payments, you’re required to maintain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance. Requirements, administered by the PCI Security Standards Council, include never storing cardholder financial information electronically or otherwise and having PIN-entry functionality as part of your POS.

With the right security measures in place, customer data is safe, whether they swipe or dip their credit card or pay with a mobile app, such as Google Pay or Apple Pay.

RELATED: Data Security for the Small Business Owner

6. What does it cost?

Mobile POS systems can be some of the more affordable solutions when it comes to payment processing. Since your credit card reader is a tool you’ll be using daily, think of it as an investment for the long term.

Here are some costs you’ll want to look out for as you choose your Android credit card reader.

  • Hardware: Do you have to pay for the hardware itself? Some come with a fee while others don’t, so make sure to ask about this upfront.
  • Transaction fees: While upfront costs are important, fees can eat into your revenue over time. Transaction fees are what you pay every time a consumer makes a purchase with a credit or debit card. 
  • Monthly minimum: Some mobile credit card processing companies charge a monthly fee alongside transaction fees, which adds to your cost. This can work well for businesses with a high volume of purchases, but a pay-as-you-go option might be better for smaller volume operations.
  • Price matching: Look for a company that offers a price match guarantee. If you present them with a better offer from a competitor, they’ll match the price with hopes of securing your business—and you’ll know you got the best deal.

Finding the perfect credit card reader for Android

The right mobile card reader is the one that fits your business. Security, a smooth setup process and superior customer service are the first items to consider.

As you answer the six questions above, you’ll be well on your way to making a final decision on your Google Android reader.

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