If you rely on PayPal to process payment from customers, to vendors, or both, then you might be wondering what your PayPal credit card reader options are. The online invoicing that PayPal offers can be a lifesaver for companies that need to remotely access payment from customers. But for those moments that you find yourself face-to-face with your customer who’s ready and willing to pay you for your goods or services, nothing is quite as annoying as having them type out all of their card information.
And that’s why PayPal made their payment processing app PayPal Here and the PayPal card readers that allow users to process magstripe, chip, and contactless payments with a swipe, dip, or tap.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive PayPal Here review so that you can decide if this card reader suite is the best option for your face-to-face transactions.
A Rundown on Your PayPal Here Card Reader Options
There are four versions of the PayPal credit card reader that work in tandem with the PayPal Here payment processing app. PayPal credit card reader cost will depend on which option you go with, but you always have to pay a transaction fee (typically 2.7%) for each payment you process through your PayPal card reader:
- The Mobile PayPal card reader requires a headphone jack to connect to a smart device and only reads magstripe payments.
- The Chip and Swipe PayPal card reader connects wirelessly to smart devices and reads magstripe and chip payments
- The Chip and Tap PayPal card reader connects wirelessly to smart devices and reads magstripe, chip, and contactless payments.
- The Chip PayPal card reader has all of the features of the Chip and Tap version, plus a keypad for pin entry.
PayPal Credit Card Reader: How Does It Work?
How the PayPal Here card reader works will depend on which of the four versions you opt for. For instance, the Mobile PayPal card reader will plug into the headphone jack of whatever smart device you are using the PayPal Here app with. The other four PayPal card readers will connect your smart device through Bluetooth.
No matter which PayPal card reader you choose, though, you will definitely need a smart device—whether that’s a smartphone or a tablet—to accompany it. The smart device will run the PayPal Here app, and the PayPal card reader will allow this app to process magstripe, chip, and/or contactless payments (which will depend on which reader you opt for).
PayPal Here Review: Pros and Cons
Before we dive into the details, let’s take a high-level look into where PayPal Here shines and where it falls short.
PayPal Here Card Reader Pros
- Flat-rate pricing
- Variety of connectivity options
- Great device compatibility
- Chip card hardware
- Best for smaller merchants
PayPal Here Card Reader Cons
- Fewer features and options compared to Square mobile POS
- Not suitable for high-volume merchants
The Details on Your PayPal Credit Card Reader Options
Now that we’ve got a general idea of your PayPal Here credit card reader possibilities, let’s start to drill down into the details of each of these options.
Mobile PayPal Credit Card Reader
The simplest of the PayPal credit card readers, the Mobile PayPal card reader simply reads magstripe payments.
So, if you want your customers to have the option to pay with chip or contactless payment, then you’ll need to upgrade from this entry-level PayPal card reader.
As for the PayPal credit card reader cost you might incur with this option, it will just be a $14.99 one-off fee. That said, you’ll still have to pay all transaction fees that PayPal will charge you, which we’ll cover in detail later.
A small, triangular reader, the Mobile PayPal card reader plugs into the headphone jack of a smart device and works in tandem with the PayPal Here app.
Chip and Swipe PayPal Credit Card Reader
The next step up from the Mobile PayPal card reader is the Chip and Swipe PayPal card reader. Unlike the Mobile version, the Chip and Swipe PayPal credit card reader wirelessly connects to smart devices through Bluetooth. Plus, as it name suggests, the Chip and Swipe PayPal Here card reader is able to process both magstripe and chip payments.
For its extra convenience and flexibility, this PayPal credit card reader will cost $10 more than the magstripe option, so you’ll have to pay $24.99 if you opt for this version of the PayPal card reader.
Chip and Tap PayPal Credit Card Reader
If you want to be able to process contactless payments with the PayPal Here app, then you’ll need to make the next step up to the Chip and Tap PayPal card reader. Again, this PayPal Here card reader will connect to your smart device wirelessly via Bluetooth. Plus, it will be able to process magstripe, chip, and contactless payments.
To access these payment processing options, you’ll have to swallow the PayPal credit card reader cost of $59.99. Additionally, if you want to purchase a charging stand for your Chip and Tap PayPal card reader, you’ll have to pay an additional $20, and a total cost of $79.99 for the bundle.
Chip PayPal Credit Card Reader
Finally, the most costly but most capable of all of your PayPal Here card reader options—the PayPal Chip card reader. This PayPal Here card reader offers the same perks as the Chip and Tap reader, and then some. You’ll still be able to accept magstripe, chip, and contactless payments with the Chip PayPal card reader. Plus, you’ll still be able to connect to your smart device through Bluetooth.
With the Chip PayPal card reader, however, you’ll get a keypad so that your customers will be able to use their pins to verify their debit card purchases.
For this extra capability that the Chip PayPal reader offers, you’ll have to pay a solid $99.99, so think hard about whether a pin keypad is worth the extra $40.
PayPal Card Reader Transaction Fees
On top of these PayPal credit card reader prices, you’ll also need to account for the transaction fees the PayPal will charge you for each payment they process. No matter which PayPal card reader you opt for, you’ll have to pay the following fees to process payments through PayPal Here:
- 2.7% per magstripe, chip, or contactless payment
- 3.5% + $0.15 per payment you manually enter
So, when you’re calculating your PayPal credit card reader cost, be sure to keep in mind that you’ll need to pay these payment processing fees for every transaction that you use your new reader for.
Which PayPal Credit Card Reader Is Right for You? Here’s How to Decide
After learning all the details on the four PayPal credit card reader options, you might be unsure which one is right for your business. To decide which of the four PayPal Here card readers is the best fit for your business, you should focus on the following three criteria:
PayPal Credit Card Reader Cost
One of the deciding factors for choosing your PayPal Here card reader? How much it costs, of course. Although every PayPal credit card reader costs under $100—which is pretty reasonable when measured against industry standard—there’s still a considerable range of prices attached to your options. Decide whether you’re willing to shell out $99.99, if you’d rather stick to paying $14.99, or you want to find a happy medium somewhere between.
How much a given PayPal credit card reader costs should be top-of-mind when deciding on which to get.
PayPal Credit Card Reader Compatibility
What devices can each PayPal card reader connect to? And how does each reader connect to its compatible devices. Because Bluetooth versus headphone jack connection is one of the defining features of each of your options, be sure to decide what kind of PayPal credit card reader compatibility you’ll need.
What Kind of Payments You Need Your Reader to Read
You’ll need to lend a lot of weight to what kind of payment options you want to give to your customers. If your customers seem content with merely having the option to swipe their cards to make a purchase, then the Mobile PayPal card reader could be enough for your business. However, if you want customers to be able to make chip or contactless payments, then you’ll definitely need to make an upgrade beyond the entry-level PayPal card reader. Even more, if you want your customers to be able to enter a pin to verify their debit card purchases, then you’ll need to level all the way up to the Chip PayPal card reader.
Where to Buy a PayPal Credit Card Reader
If you’ve decided to move forward with purchasing one—or several—of these PayPal card readers, then you might be wondering where to buy it. Luckily, PayPal not only sells their Here credit card readers through their own site but also through third-party sites. Beyond the PayPal site, you can buy PayPal credit card readers from sites like Amazon.
Our Verdict on the PayPal Card Readers
Now that you’ve learned all about your PayPal card reader options, you might be wanting to know about alternatives to these card readers. If that’s the case then look to similar POS companies like Square and Clover. Both offer options that are mobile and convenient like PayPal credit card readers but won’t necessarily come with their downsides.
Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current contributing writer for Fundera.
Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. She has reviewed and analyzed dozens of financial tools and providers, helping business owners make better financial decisions.