How to Accept Credit Card Payments On Your Phone / Tablet

July 3, 2023 by Invoice Simple

There are many things a business owner can put off, but invoicing is not one of them. Timely invoices help ensure a healthy cash flow so you can keep

For many businesses, accepting credit card payments on a mobile device is the easiest—and fastest—way to get paid. Using a smartphone or tablet to generate an invoice, share the invoice with your customer, and collect a deposit or payment can improve payment rates and reduce internal friction in your accounting process.  

Plus, accepting payments on a mobile device allows you to stop chasing checks, so you have time for other things. What’s not to love?   

If you’re new to accepting mobile credit card payments, it’s simple to set up on a smartphone or tablet. And it doesn’t take much time. Let’s dive deeper into how mobile payments work and how you can use them to get paid faster.   

How Does Mobile Payment Processing Work?

To accept credit and debit card payments on your mobile device, you’ll need to select and download an app from a payment processor. Popular options include ACH bank transfer, PayPal and Venmo, but there are many others.  

Then you set up an account. When creating an account with a payment processor, users typically link it with their bank account so money can easily be transferred. 

Some invoicing software simplify it by including payment processing in their platform. It doesn’t matter what kind of mobile device you have (smartphone or tablet) or what operating system your device uses (Android or iOS for iPhone and iPad)—all can be set up to accept mobile credit card payments.  

You’ll use either a mobile credit card reader (to swipe or insert a card) or a contactless method to receive customer payments.

Mobile card readers work just like the devices you’ve used in brick-and-mortar stores. Swipe the card, and the device reads the credit card information from the card’s magnetic strip. It then relays the information to the payment processor to complete the transaction.  

Alternatively, the device may be designed to read the card information from an embedded chip when the card is inserted into the device.  

Some payment processors provide a free mobile card reader. If you need to purchase one, some cost as little as $10. 

Contactless transactions are another option. Instead of swiping or inserting, the customer holds their card over your device at the point of sale. This could be a card reader, your phone, or your tablet. Radio frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) technologies are used to share account information securely.   

Some payment systems allow contactless transactions without having a credit card present. Instead, card information stored on mobile wallets is accessed from your customer’s phone or smartwatch.    

In some cases, a card reader might not be convenient. You might opt for taking payments with a QR code. Let’s take a look at how to use QR codes on invoices. 


Card Readers vs. QR Codes

In addition to card readers, you can take payments with QR codes, or quick response codes. They’re the black and white square graphics. You know, the kind with boxes in three corners and filled with abstract patterns.  

They’re often used to direct someone to online information, like a menu or event schedule. To use a QR code, you simply scan it with a smartphone or tablet, and it automatically routes you to the linked webpage.  

Here’s one way QR codes work for transactions:  

You generate a unique QR code that appears on your invoice. (With Invoice Simple, QR code generation is automated when you turn this feature on.) When your customer scans the QR code using the camera on their phone or tablet, they’re taken to a payment portal where they can pay their invoice.  

So, are QR codes better than using card readers for accepting payments? That depends on your business. However, QR codes offer several distinct benefits over card readers.  

  • QR codes require no additional hardware. With card readers, you have to purchase a physical device that connects to your point-of-sale system.   
  • You can collect payments remotely with QR codes. Customers can scan codes from printed and digital invoices anywhere and make a payment. In contrast, you have to be physically present with your customers to use a card reader.  
  • Payments can be collected faster with QR codes. They eliminate the need to enter card info or swipe/insert a card.  

(Learn more about including QR codes on invoices generated with Invoice Simple here.) 

What Is the Safest Way to Accept Payment On Your Phone/Tablet? 

Transactions completed with mobile devices are secure thanks to measures taken by payment processors. Information is encrypted to thwart hackers. And even if data thieves did intercept the information, it would be useless because it’s encrypted.   

Even with secure encryption, there are steps you should take to protect yourself and your customers further:  

  • Keep your device’s operating system and your payment app up to date.  
  • Only download apps from trusted sources like Google Play and the Apple App Store.   
  • Secure your phone or tablet by enabling a password, fingerprint, or face identification.

How Do I Set Up a Mobile Payment System  

Setting up a mobile payment system can be intimidating. Luckily, in practice, it’s relatively simple. Mobile payment providers are motivated to make it as easy as possible to create an account and start processing payments.  

Steps to adding a mobile payment system:  

  • Select a mobile payment company.  
  • Create your account and connect your business bank account.  
  • Determine new payment workflow, i.e. will you use a card reader or include payment links (QR codes) on your invoices?  
  • Train your staff on new workflows to collect payments.   
  • Promote new payment options to your customers by highlighting the convenience and ease of mobile payments.  

Popular mobile payment company’s include Square, PayPal, and Stripe. To decide between them, evaluate factors like their processing fees and accepted payment types like credit cards, digital wallets, etc.  

To make the process even simpler, consider adding a mobile payment company that integrates with your existing invoicing system. That way, payments is added seamlessly into your billing workflows without jumping between software to complete a job.


Looking to accept mobile payments? Invoice Simple can help.

Learn More

Setting Up Online Payments With Invoice Simple

Let’s walk through the steps of setting up Invoice Simple online payments through Stripe or PayPal. We’ll cover two ways – through the mobile app and on the web app.  

  1. If using the mobile app, open the settings found under this icon:

    If you’re using the web app, the settings icon looks like this:
  2. Locate the “Accept Online Payments” box and slide the button on:
  3. When you slide the “Accept Online Payments” button on, you’ll be directed to our partnership page:
  4. Once on the sign-up page, you’ll get step-by-step instructions for creating a Stripe account or PayPal business account. You’ll also answer some questions about your business and your contact information.  


How Can I Accept Credit Card Payments on My Phone/Tablet for Free?

Many business owners want to know, “Can I accept credit card payments on a mobile device for free?” It’s a fair question since keeping expenses low is one key to maximizing profit.  

The short answer is that there are always processing fees to be paid. You might be able to pass them on to customers, but this option is not available to everyone. It depends on where you live. 

In some states, adding credit card processing fees to a customer’s invoice can be illegal, while other states allow some types of surcharges but not all.  

See what’s legal in your state.  

Some businesses simply build credit card and debit card processing fees into their pricing. This practice avoids listing processing fees as a line item on the invoice.  

Popular Mobile Payment Processing Providers & Mobile Digital Wallets

Be sure to compare each provider’s fees, including setup, monthly, and processing fees when considering a payment processor. These are usually comprised of a percentage of the purchase price and a flat charge for each transaction.  

Here’s a quick look at some of the most well-known payment processors and how they work. Plus, two popular digital wallets that are accepted by payment processors.

The more options available for receiving customers’ payments (often called payment gateways) the easier it is to get paid. By accepting multiple forms of payment you also make it more convenient for customers to pay.   


Stripe positions itself as the processor that allows you to go “global from day one.” They back this statement by supporting over 135 currencies.   

In addition to accepting payments with debit cards, credit cards, and digital wallets, Stripe also accepts numerous credit card types used around the world. These include American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa, UnionPay, JCB, Allpay, WeChat Pay, and more.  

Stripe is a favorite of many online sellers, especially those with international sales.  


PayPal has been processing digital payments for over 20 years. They accept online and in-person payments from PayPal accounts and Venmo. They also process debit and credit cards linked to a customer’s PayPal account.  

Customers who don’t have a PayPal account can check out by using Guest Checkout. Anyone with a credit or debit card can use the system.  

PayPal also offers a Buy Now, Pay Later option. This payment tool allows buyers to split their bill into four payments. The first payment is made right away. The following three payments are made every two weeks.  


Venmo has gained enough popularity that its name has become a verb. As in, “I’ll Venmo you for the pizza.”  Venmo for Business allows customers to pay you from their Venmo balance, a bank account, a debit card, or a credit card. 

Payments can be accepted through the Venmo app or in person with a QR code. Your customers will need to have a Venmo account to use this payment service. 

A few things to note with a Venmo QR code. According to their website, “Currently, you can only have one preset QR code live in your Venmo app at a time.” And the QR code must be set to a specific price. So, when a customer scans the code, the price will be pre-filled. Though, they can adjust the price to add a tip.  

If you want to provide multiple pricing options to customers, Venmo recommends printing or saving a screenshot of each preset QR code you create. This setup could be a drawback for businesses with multiple products or that have different invoice totals for each customer.


The Square point-of-sale app makes accepting credit card payments in person, online, and remotely over the phone easy. There’s also an option for keeping a customer’s card on file, which is convenient for repeat business and subscription services.  

Newer iPhone and Android devices can accept Square credit card payments with a tap. You can also take Square payments with card readers that link to your phone.  

They offer two types of card readers. The first option is the wireless Square card reader for contactless cards, chips, and digital wallets.  

The second option is the Square Magstripe card reader for cards with magnetic stripes. The magstripe reader plugs into your phone using the port for headphones on Androids or the lightning port on iPhones.  

Apple Pay 

Apple Pay is the digital wallet designed for, you guessed it, Apple devices. This includes iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad. It allows customers to make contactless purchases with Apple Cash, Apple Card, and any other credit or debit cards in their Wallet app.  

No additional equipment is needed to accept “tap to pay” payments on an iPhone. Your payment processor service just needs to support contactless pay.  

Apple Pay itself is not a payment processor. The key to receiving Apple Pay payments is to use a payment processor that accepts Apple Pay.  

Many popular payment processors support Apple Pay, including Square and Stripe. Plus, e-commerce platforms like GoDaddy, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and many others have Apple Pay built in.  

Google Pay 

Google Pay operates similarly to Apple Pay. It’s also a digital wallet that streamlines purchasing. It offers a contactless way to accept credit and debit card payments through any payment processor or e-commerce platform that accepts Google Pay.   

Many payment processors accept both Google Pay and Apple, including PayPal. When you link your Invoice Simple account with your PayPal business account, you can offer customers both methods as payment options.  

Accepting payments from Apple Pay and Google Pay is a smart move. The use of digital wallets is growing. In 2022, 49% of Americans reported using a mobile wallet, an 11% jump from the year before.  


Looking to link your mobile invoicing and payments processes? Invoice Simple can help?

Learn More

Key Takeaways for How To Accept Credit Card Payments  

  • To process credit card payments on a mobile device like your phone or tablet, you need to select a payment processor. 
  • Payment processors handle the financial logistics of accepting payments from a customer’s debit card, credit card, or bank account. 
  • Both Android and iPhone devices can be set up to accept mobile credit card payments.  
  • Depending on the payment provider you select, you may be able to accept contactless payments (such as QR codes) or use a mobile card reader. 
  • Transactions completed with a mobile device are secure. Always keep your device’s operating system and payment processing app up to date. 
  • Most payment processors charge a fee for their service. Some businesses build this into the cost of goods or services. Others pass the cost along to customers. Before passing fees on to customers, check your state’s laws.
  • A short sentence or two is all it takes describe your payment terms. You can customize the examples provided in italics above.
  • Discounts for early payment are an alternative to punishing customers for late payment with late fees. 

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