The Best Credit Card Machine For Your Small Business (2021)

Choosing the right credit card machine for your small business can mean saving you tonnes of money on credit card processing bills. Each different credit card machine comes with different fees, different cards that it can accept, and they all charge different one off and possibly monthly fees. The kind of machine you need relies a bit on your business so here’s how to assess which machine is best for your small business:

Do I need a portable credit card machine?

The first step in the process is to work out if you need a portable credit card machine. If your business is a food truck, a restaurant, bar, flea market or other business where you won’t have a permanent counter then you’ll need a portable machine. As many credit card machines (AKA as credit card terminals) rely on an ethernet connection and external power point.

So if you need to take the credit card terminal to your customers tables, across a bar, or move it from different counters, you’ll want a more portable credit card reader.


Do I need a variable or fixed fee credit card machine?

The next step is to work out the average size of transaction and average monthly revenue as these can factor into which card reader is going to best for your business. There are a number of different credit card terminals that offer very different deals based on these. The two main types of payment processing for credit card terminals are:


a) Variable based on the types of cards you accept and the transaction size and average amounts.

For example if you process mostly Visa and Mastercard personal debit cards and your average transaction fee is high (say above $50 per average transaction.) Then a variable card reader might be the best option for you. If you accept lots of smaller transactions or accept a lot of business credit cards (i.e have a lot of corporate customers) then a variable card reader won’t be the one for you.


b) Fixed cost, usually charges are higher but more stable pricing so you can bank on the costs more easily.

If you process a lot of smaller transactions and your average transaction size is ($10-50) and your revenue is under $20,000 a month then a fixed fee machine is likely better for your business in terms of the fees and costs.

Do I need a standalone reader? Or is there a spare android or apple phone or device that can be connected to the reader?

So if you have a smartphone or a tablet that you can use to wring up prices, then you can get one of the cheaper smaller readers. Some of the Square readers, for example connect straight to the charging or headphone port of your device. Others connect via bluetooth. The ones that connect direct to your device pull power directly from the device. Whereas the bluetooth readers need to be charged and have a battery life of 7-15 hours depending on the card terminal.

If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet then you’ll need a credit card terminal that has an inbuilt screen and an independent internet connection. These are typically less portable as they rely on a direct ethernet connection to your internet.


Do I need an all round POS solution or just to accept payments?

The more features you need the more you’ll need to pay and the more advanced the machine. Some of the more advanced machines will connect to your POS (Point of Sale) or even come with that software. The main features to look out for are order and inventory management so it tracks what you sell and will remind you to order more of things that you’re selling out of. These more advanced machines also offer employee logins, in case you need to track how much your employees are selling. These more advanced machines will also help you apply taxes at the item level and come with liability protection against data breaches.

Do I need to accept crypto payments?


If you’re having more requests to take Bitcoin or other cryptos then there are two options on the market to accept crypto. They have two machines. The first is called CryptoPOS by GoCrypto and you can keep the money in crypto or transfer it to a local currency. They let you accept 40 different cryptos.They don’t charge fees for the machine, and charge 1.25% of the crypto payment. They also charge a fee to exchange the money to your local currency, but they don’t publicize it. This machine only accepts crypto payments.

The second machine Elly POS (utilizing the A920 Pax machine) lets you accept crypto payments at 1.25% and card payments  starting with a 0.99% fee for debit cards. The Elly POS also accepts: Apple Pay, Google Pay, mBills and VALÚ.

What are the best portable credit card machines for small business?

Clover The Clover Go is the most portable clover machine, they charge $49 per machine, and connect to your iOS and Android using the Clover Go app. The machine also offers paperless receipts and very basic inventory management. They charge 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction and a no fee (if you want inventory management they charge $9.95 monthly fee) or for $39.95 a month and the transaction fee is 2.3% + 10 cents. The clover card reader accepts swipe, chip, NFC and contactless. It has battery for 130 contactless payments or 160 swiped. It has no monthly fees.

Clover Go Card Machine

PayPal – PayPal has three portable credit card readers, the Chip and Tap, the Chip and Swipe and Chip Card reader. The best low cost card reader that accepts the most payments is the PayPal Chip and Tap, it costs $59.99 accepts NFC, contactless, swipe and chip. They charge 2.7% and 3.5% + 15 cents for scanned payments. It has 7 hours of battery life. It has no monthly fees.

Paypal Chip and Tap



Square – Has two credit card readers, the Square Magstripe reader, which only processes swipe and chip cards. It connects via your headphone or charging port and is powered by your phone and is free. The other card machine they offer is the Square Reader which accepts NFC, contactless, swipe and chip. It costs $49 once off to purchase the card machine and connects to a tablet or phone via bluetooth. They both charge a flat fee of 2.6% 10 cents for in person payments and 3.5% for keyed in payments. It has no monthly fees.

Square Magstripe


SumUp – Has two card machines the first is the SumUp Lite which costs $19 and accepts NFC, contactless and chip. It connects to a smart device via bluetooth. The SumUp Plus costs $19 and accepts NFC, contactless, chip and swipe. They charge a flat fee of 2.75% for all card types.

SumUp Lite Card Reader



Shopify – Has two credit card machines, the Shopify Tap & Chip which accepts every card type except swipe it costs a one off fee of $49. The Shopify Chip & Swipe accepts only swipe and chip and costs a one off fee of $29. They charge based on your Shopify subscription starting from 2.7% (which costs $29 a month) for Basic, 2.5% ($79 a month) for Shopify and 2.4% ($299 a month) for Advanced.


What is the best variable price credit card machine for small business?

PayJunction – has a super high technology credit card terminal, it has a large screen and a keyboard and it takes swipe, chip, NFC and contactless. The machine is connected to the internet via Ethernet cable so it is not easily portable.

If you process more than $10,000 the monthly fee of $35 is waived. They also have a price match policy, where they’ll beat or match existing rates from your current provider. 

Their average fees are:

Swiped Debit Card – 0.8%
Keyed Debit Card – 0.8%
Swiped Credit Card – 2.26%
Keyed Credit Card – 2.55%
ACH Check processing – 0.75%

Transaction fee – $0.07 (which is added to every transaction)

Whilst their pricing is variable, they do charge the interchange rate + a small markup on every transaction.

Stax by Fattmerchant – Has three credit card readers the Chipper 2X BT, Stax’s Chipper BT and the Stax’s EMV terminal. They charge some of the lowest fees for credit and debit card processing. Their fee structure is the interchange fee + $0.08/$0.15 so the fees for various cards are:

Average Debit Cards – 0.30% + $0.08
Average Credit Cards – 1.51% + $0.15

They also charge a monthly fee of $100.

These fees are just the average though as different banks and card types charge different interbank fees.

Stax EMV Credit Card Terminal

What are the best fixed price credit card machine for small business?

The Square Reader  or the The Clover Go Go both charge 2.6% and 10 cents, their machines are highly rated and easy to use. Both accept all payment types and are highly portable.

Clover Go Card Machine
The Square Reader

What is the best standalone credit card terminal for small business

The PayAnywhere Smart Terminal Mini is a standalone terminal with all the bells and whistles, it costs $249 once off and $9.95 a month. They charge 2.69% for swiped, dip, or tap and keyed 3.49% +19 cents. 



What is the cheapest credit card terminal for small business

CardX is by far the cheapest credit card machine, and they achieve this by passing on the more expensive credit card fees of 3.5% to your customers. The only fees you pay are for debit cards it costs 1% and 25 cents. The machine is free by they charge a $35 a month fee.

CardX’s credit card reader

What are the prices for credit card machines for small business?

CryptoPOS – The machine is free and only takes crypto charging 1.25% per transaction

EllyPOS – The machine is free and charges 1.25% to take crypto and from 0.99% – for debit cards. (prices for other cards likely 2-3.6%)

Clover Go – Costs $49 to buy the machine and 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction in store and 3.5% for keyed in transactions. You can also pay $39 a month and lower your transaction fee to 2.3% + 10 cents. Which only makes when your monthly revenue is above $14,000.

PayPal Chip and Tap – Costs $59.99 and 2.7% + 15 cents for in person transactions and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed in transaction.
Paypal Chip and Swipe – Costs $24.99 and 2.7% + 15 cents for in person transactions and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed in transaction.
Paypal Chip Card Reader – Costs $99.99 and 2.7% + 15 cents for in person transactions and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed in transaction.


Square Magstripe – The card reader is free and charges 2.6% + 10 cents for in person transaction and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed in transaction.
Square Reader – Costs $49 and charges 2.6% + 10 cents for in person transaction and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed in transaction.

SumUp Lite and Plus – Both cost $19 and have a flat transaction fee of 2.75% + 10 cents.

Shopify Tap & Chip – Costs $49 and the transaction fee is based on your Shopify subscription starting from 2.7% (which costs $29 a month) for Basic, 2.5% ($79 a month) for Shopify and 2.4% ($299 a month) for Advanced.
Shopify Chip & Swipe – Costs $29 and the transaction fee is based on your Shopify subscription starting from 2.7% (which costs $29 a month) for Basic, 2.5% ($79 a month) for Shopify and 2.4% ($299 a month) for Advanced.

Stax Chipper 2X BT, Stax’s Chipper BT, Stax’s EMV Terminal – All Stax devices are free, but all come with a $100 a month fee. The fees for Stax are from 0.3% to 2% depending on the type of card.

Payjunction ZeroTouch Terminal – Costs $35 a month and has a variable pricing structure from 0.3-3% based on the card type. You can see their full pricing here.

Cardx – charges your customers 3.5% for credit cards and for debit cards they charge 1% + 25 cents. The card reader is free but they charge $35 a month.

PayAnywhere Smart Terminal Mini – Costs $249.95 for the machine and their transaction fees are 2.69% for swiped, dip, or tap and for keyed the fees are 3.49% +19 cents.