Helcim credit card reader pictured paired with an Android mobile device to process payments on-the-go
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Android credit card reader: How to use your phone to accept payments

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Ryleigh Stangness | September 12, 2023

“What is an Android credit card reader? How you can use your android as part of your POS system to process remote payments or pair with a card reader.”
7 min read
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    Are you a small business owner looking for a cost-effective way to set up and accept payments quickly? Are these mobile credit card readers ideal for your point of sale (POS) needs? Look no further. In this guide, we'll explore the benefits of pairing your Android device with a card reader, how it can benefit your business, and the simple steps to get started.

    What is an "Android credit card reader"?

    An Android credit card reader can be as simple as using your smartphone or tablet to connect to a physical card reader. For many businesses looking for an inexpensive and quick way to take payments, an Android device paired with a credit card reader is the perfect solution to accept card payments, including Chip & PIN or Tap payments. The card reader component offers all the basic functionalities your customers have come to expect, including contactless payments such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. This combination leverages the utility of your Android device, the power of a payment app, and the functionality of a mobile credit card reader, providing a user-friendly way to accept payments.

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    This setup is perfect for small businesses operating from a store, clinic, or on-the-go. It's an affordable solution that allows you to accept payments instantly, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection (for card reader usage) or cellular data (for manual transactions) available. Plus, this flexible POS system leverages the technology and equipment you already have rather than forcing you to weigh down your countertop with expensive customer-facing displays and bulky credit card readers. This POS setup might be the cheapest credit card reader solution out there when it comes to taking in-person payments.

    Benefits of pairing a mobile credit card reader with an Android phone

    1. A mobile credit card reader

    Your Android credit card reader is your mobile POS system. You can accept credit card payments wherever your business takes you, leveraging the device you carry everywhere.

    2. Streamlined setup

    It's as easy as setting up your phone and a chip card reader, saving you space, time, and money.

    3. Wire-free payment processing

    Android phones and wireless card readers can accept credit cards anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.! Whether at a market, in the office, at a worksite, or bouncing around the store, you're no longer tied to a countertop with the hassle of cords and cables.

    4.Limitless Connectivity

    You can connect wirelessly using Wi-Fi, cellular data, or a hotspot, ensuring you can cater to your customers no matter where they are.

    What are my options when it comes to mobile credit card readers?

    As of 2023, emerging technologies are racing towards using phones to accept chip card payments via tap (no card reader needed). Until then, businesses crave flexible and mobile solutions without investing in expensive and bulky POS equipment.

    With consideration of those preferences, here are the best credit card reader options that business owners have available to them:

    • Pair their mobile device with a card reader, such as an iPhone or Android.
    • Invest in a wireless credit card machine like the Helcim Smart Terminal for a chip card reader with a built-in POS app and screen.
    • Pair credit card readers with devices like an iPad, desktop or laptop computer.

    Will your business benefit from mobile payment processing?

    If you already have a chip card reader and are looking for a mobile solution, pairing your Android device is a great way to accept credit card payments. Suppose your business needs a fast payment processing solution without investing in too much equipment, or you're seeking a fully mobile approach. In that case, an Android credit card reader is the perfect choice. You can still access all of the same POS features, like customer data, inventory management, and invoice payments, but with the benefit of being one of the cheapest POS system options.

    Imagine you're a new business eager to start accepting in-person payments. You can begin accepting payments immediately if you already own an Android device. Your options include using a virtual terminal like Helcim, where you can accept payments by sending invoices and processing over-the-phone payments or pair your Android device with a Helcim card reader. The latter is the most cost-effective way to accept Tap-to-Pay and Chip-and-PIN payments. No more manual invoicing or entering customer credit card information— simply present the card reader, and your customers can make payments effortlessly.

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    What types of businesses needs an Android card reader?

    Numerous businesses can benefit from using an Android credit card reader, including:

    • Retail Stores: Replace bulky POS systems with portable Android credit card readers for increased flexibility.
    • Food Trucks: Stay mobile and accept payments wherever your food truck goes.
    • Restaurants: Servers can plug in orders and review totals right from their Android device while punching in totals and printing receipts with a portable credit card reader for on-the-spot payments, reducing wait times.
    • Events: Trade shows and events are ideal for on-the-go payment solutions, eliminating heavy POS equipment and reducing the number of POS devices you need to lug around with you.
    • Personal Trainers: Stay flexible by accepting payments wherever you offer your services; you can even send invoices or punch in credit card details through your phone, so you don't need to bring a credit card reader with you.
    • Pop-Up Shops: Temporary retail spaces require quick and portable payment solutions— just make sure you have Wi-Fi or a hotspot, and an Android credit card reader is the answer.
    • Home Services: Gardeners, painters, and other home-based service providers can accept payments on the spot, send invoices, or set up a recurring payment for your monthly pool cleaning fee, for example.

    These examples are just a few specific examples of the types of businesses and industries that can benefit from the mobility of pairing your phone with a card terminal or using it on its own to access your payment provider's POS software.

    Using a credit card reader for Android

    The Helcim credit card reader is a sleek and affordable wireless solution for accepting credit and debit card payments. It's easy to set up and even easier to use when paired with an Android device. This compact POS system fits in your pocket, has a convenient all-day battery life, and comes with no monthly fees, contracts, or hidden charges. With interchange plus pricing, you access the lowest possible interchange rate for each transaction, ensuring transparency in your payment processing.

    Android POS System: What you need

    Setting up an Android POS system is hassle-free, and you only need a few components:

    Step 1

    Connect your Android to the mobile payment app

    What you'll need:

    Any Android with the latest software update (Android 7.0 and higher as of September 2022) will be able to access the POS software for built-in payment processing. Payment Processing Merchant Account: Sign up for your own merchant account (free with Helcim) to start accepting payments. Your payment provider will charge you processing fees for every successful transaction, so make sure to choose the right pricing model and payment provider to get the best rates and service.

    The Helcim payment app: Download the Helcim Payments app. You can find the app by opening the Google Play Store and searching "Helcim Payments app".

    Helcim payment app can be downloaded from the app or Google Play store

    Need more details? Visit our support page to learn more about downloading the Helcim payment processing app with a tablet or mobile device.

    Step 2

    Connect your Android device to the Helcim card reader.

    Note: This step is optional but necessary for physical card payments

    What you'll need:

    An Android-compatible card reader such as the Helcim credit card reader. This will act as your POS hardware to accept chip cards for contactless payments and PIN verification. Internet Connection: Ensure you have a Wi-Fi connection or are able to use hotspot for the card reader to accept wireless payments. Alternatively, you can use cellular data without the card reader to process invoices or punch in credit card payments to accept payments remotely through the Virtual Terminal.

    Step 3

    You're ready to start accepting payments! We will walk you through a step-by-step of how to process transactions with your card reader and Android device below. However, if you want to add additional readers or POS hardware to print receipts, read barcodes, or hold cash payments, you can customize your POS system with more accessories.

    How to use the Android and credit card reader to accept payments

    Accepting payments with your Android device and the Helcim credit card reader is a straightforward process:

    1. Open the payment tab on your Android device.

    2. Select the items or enter the transaction amount manually based on the customer's order.

    3. Tap "Process Payment" on your Android device; the card reader will receive the command to take payment.

    4. Hand the card reader to the customer for payment via Tap or card insertion.

    5. a confirmation page will appear on the screen once the payment is processed.

    6. Choose the receipt option, which allows you to print or email a copy to the customer.

    Final thoughts on Android card readers

    Equipping your business with the ability to accept contactless payments wherever you bring your phone empowers you to streamline transactions, eliminate checkout lines, and reduce hardware expenses. If you're looking for a payment system or a "free card reader" using your phone might be a functional POS system for you and your business needs.

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