Compare the Square Readers

We offer a few different Square Readers so that you can access the latest and most secure hardware for your business:

  • The Square magstripe reader: only accepts magstripe cards.
  • The Square chip card reader: accepts chip and magstripe cards. 
  • The Square contactless and chip reader: accepts contactless (NFC) payments and chip cards. 

Here are some important things to know about Square Readers:

  • They are universal – one reader can be used with all supported devices
  • They’re not linked to any specific Square account or bank account.
  • They can be shared among multiple Square accounts or locations. 
  • They don’t store specific account holder or buyer information. If your reader is lost or stolen, you can rest assured that your account information is stored safely and securely on our servers. 
  • The Square chip card reader and the Square contactless and chip reader both require charging, but the magstripe reader does not.  

Decide what Square Reader is right for you by checking out this side-by-side comparison.

Magstripe Reader

You’ll receive a free magstripe reader when you create a Square account. You can also get additional, free magstripe readers at any time. Visit your online Square Dashboard to order a reader or pick one up at a local retail store. Learn more about reader shipping times

Note: When paired with the contactless and chip reader, the magstripe reader can be used to swipe chip cards.

Square's magstripe reader

Chip Card Reader

The chip card reader combines magstripe technology with an EMV terminal to accept both magstripe and chip cards. It’s the most affordable and compact chip card reader on the market. To learn more, read Square’s guide to EMV.

You can purchase a Square chip card reader online or pick one up at a nearby Staples or Best Buy. Read more about getting started with the chip card reader.

A view of the thicker chip card reader that shows the 2 slots – one for magstripe cards and one for chip cards.

Contactless and Chip Card Reader

Accept contactless (NFC) payments, like Apple Pay and Android Pay, and chip cards with the Square contactless and chip reader. This reader doesn’t accept magstripe cards, but it can be used alongside a magstripe reader or Square Stand. For more information, read Square’s comprehensive guide to NFC

You can buy the contactless and chip reader online through Square Shop or from one of our online retail partners:

Readers are also sold at Apple retail locations. Make sure to call or visit before stopping by to check if readers are in stock.

To hold the reader in place at your countertop, check out the Dock for Square Reader.

The Square contactless and chip card reader

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