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Comparison of Mobile Checkout Systems

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 such established players as Square and PayPal.

Typically, when the business owner registers the app, the vendor sends the business owner a card reader that plugs into the mobile device's audio jack.  Depending on the software, a mPOS can operate as a stand-alone device that's simply linked to the business' bank account or it can be an integrated component of a larger, legacy POS system. To protect cardholder data, customer data is encrypted and stored in the cloud -- not on the device.

The card readers companies 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. They vary widely in their support of external hardware such as receipt printers and cash drawers, so if you plan to use one of these systems in a storefront setting check carefully to see that your company supports the hardware you'll be using.

These systems serve as a basis for a point of sale transaction system. A POS system allows you to accept payment and record transactions. What these systems have in common:

Common characteristics:

  • Application Software: Local application running on a phone or tablet
  • Cloud based backend: cloud based software responsible for credit card and transaction processing.
  • Credit card processing:  lets you accept credit cards for payment.
  • Internet based solution: An Internet or data connection is required to use.

Differences between the systems

  • Monthly rates and swipe fees
  • Means of handling orders, stock, inventory, etc.
  • Ability to accept cash, checks.
  • Ability to print receipts.
  • Ability to handle peripherals such as scanners

    Here’s a look at some of the options:
Square PayPal Chase Amazon Etsy Intuit PayAnywhere Spark

Square Register

More about Square Register...

Summary: The market leader offers a scalable, feature rich offering.

Swipe Rates: The company takes 2.75 percent of each swipe, and 3.5 percent plus 15 cents for credit card information that is typed in.

Supported Hardware: Square offers one of the most extensive lists of supported hardware including, receipt and kitchen printers, portable printer, cash drawers and scanners. Square also offers a stand for iPads, called the Square Stand. It allows you to plug hardware like a receipt printer directly into the stand.


Featured Solution for Square Register:

 Star LAN Printer
 Vasario Cash Drawer

Buy Epson ERC-38 Ribbon Cartridge


PayPal Here

More about PayPal Here...

Summary: Easy way to start accepting credit cards for anyone with a PayPal account and a smartphone.

Swipe Rates: 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.

Supported Hardware: PayPal Here supports receipt printers and cash drawers

Featured Solution for PayPal Here:

PayPal Starter Kit

 Star LAN Printer
 Vasario Cash Drawer

Buy Epson ERC-38 Ribbon Cartridge


Chase Mobile Checkout

Swipe Rates: Chase

Supported phones and tablets: Chase Mobile Checkout works on an Apple iPad®, iPhone® or iPod touch® running on iOS™ version 6.0 or higher. It also supports various Android™ phones, including HTC™, LG®, Motorola™ and Samsung™ models. For more detail, review the full list of supported devices and models.



Amazon Local Register

More about Amazon Local Register...

Summary: Amazon Local Register, a mobile point-of-sale service combining a mobile app with a secure card reader -- that lets small businesses process digital transactions. The big draw for businesses would be Amazon's rate of 2.5% for every swiped transaction. The online retailer charges $10 for its reader, but credits the money back after it is used.

Swipe Rates: Amazon charges 2.5%  for every card swipe and 2.75% when card information is typed in manually.

Compatible Phones and Tablets:
Amazon Local Register is compatible with Apple devices listed below running iOS 7.0+/8.0+ and select Android devices running Android 4.0.4+.
Android: Amazon Local Register is compatible with the following Android devices running Android 4.0.4+:
•Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5
•Fire HD and HDX tablets.

Compatible POS Hardware
Receipt Printer:
Amazon Local Register currently supports the following receipt printer:
  • Star Micronics TSP143LAN Monochrome Receipt Printer

To print receipts with Amazon Local Register, you'll need a compatible receipt printer and a Wi-Fi network.

To set up a printer to print receipts from Amazon Local Register transactions:
1 Turn on and connect your printer to your Wi-Fi router via an Ethernet cable.
2 Join the same Wi-Fi network with your phone or tablet.
3 In the Amazon Local Register app, go to Settings and tap 'Devices'.
4 Your Star TSP-143 LAN printer should appear. Tap 'Connect'.

If you cannot find your printer within the app, confirm the printer is turned on, connected to your Wi-Fi network (or connected with an Ethernet cable), and a supported printer model. Press 'Try Again' once confirmed. You must repeat these steps to reconnect your printer each time you log out of your Amazon Local Register account or sign in with a staff account.

Cash Drawers:
Connect a cash drawer to your point-of-sale system to make accepting and tracking cash transactions even easier.

In order to use a cash register that will automatically open during cash transactions, you must first have a compatible receipt printer connected to the Amazon Local Register app.

When connected to a printer, Amazon Local Register is compatible with 24v automatic cash drawers. When correctly connected to a compatible cash drawer, the cash drawer will automatically open when cash is tendered.

To connect an automatic cash drawer to your Amazon Local Register point-of-sale system:
1 Confirm that your receipt printer is connected to your device.
2 Connect your cash drawer cable to the cable input on the back of your receipt printer.

Featured Solution for Amazon Local Register:

PayPal Starter Kit

 Star LAN Printer
 Vasario Cash Drawer

Buy Epson ERC-38 Ribbon Cartridge



Etsy Card Reader


Supported POS Hardware: none listed. It appears there is no way to print a receipt



Intuit Gopayment

Summary: Takes all payment types:Accept and record all credit card transactions. Plus, record any cash or check payments.

Works with QuickBooks: All transactions sync up with QuickBooks and Intuit Point of Sale products to help you fully manage your business.

This card reader comes from Intuit, the company behind accounting software QuickBooks.

Swipe Rates:  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

Supported phones or tablets: The mobile app works with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Not compatible with Windows or Blackberry devices. Although we do not officially support devices from other providers (such as TracFone and Cricket), they will often work with GoPayment.

Supported POS Hardware: none listed.




This reader comes from North American Bancard, a credit card processing company.

Swipe Rates: It charges 2.69 percent per swipe and 3.49 percent, plus 19 cents, for manually entered numbers.

Supported phones:

  • Requires iOS 7.0 or higher
  • iPhone - iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus 
  • iPad - iPad 2, iPad (3rd Gen), iPad with Retina, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • iPod touch - iPod (5th Gen)


Currently, the Android devices that the PayAnywhere app has been optimized for include:

  • Google Nexus 4
  • Google Nexus 10
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Tablet 2-7" (wi-fi only)
  • Samsung Tablet 2-10" (wi-fi only)

Supported POS Hardware:

PayAnywhere is compatible with Apple AirPrint-enabled (iOS only) or Star Bluetooth printers (iOS and PayAnywhere Storefront only) and select cash drawers



Spark Pay

Owned by Capital One, Spark Pay has two plan options pro and . One, aimed at merchants with a lot of credit card transactions,

Swipe Rates: It 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

Supported Devices:

Apple iOS  - iOS 6.0 or later

iOS devices:

iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus (AT&T, Sprint, T mobile, and Verizon)
iPhone 3GS (AT&T)
iPod Touch - 4th generation and above
iPad 2, 3, and 4
iPad Mini 1, 2
iPad Mini Retina
iPad Air 1


To use the app on an Android phone, you will need to have:

  • Android 2.2 (Froyo) or later
  • At least 12 MB of free memory 

Supported POS Hardware:

Printers: Spark Pay integrates with the Star TSP650II BTi printer (Bluetooth) and the Star TSP650 printer (LAN). The USB version of the Star TSP650 printer is not compatible with Spark Pay.

Cash Drawers: Spark Pay integrates with the APG VP320-BL1416 cash drawer and the APG VB448-BL1616 cash drawer.

Please note: in order to take advantage of these cash drawer options, you will also need to be integrated with the Star TSP650II BTi printer (Bluetooth) or the Star TSP650 printer (LAN). The USB version of the Star TSP650 printer is not compatible with Spark Pay.

Square PayPal Chase Amazon Etsy Intuit PayAnywhere Spark

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