× Freshbooks App Logo
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it

Need a hand?

Find what you need on the FreshBooks Support page. From Client tips to Invoice tricks and everything in between.

FreshBooks Support Team

What is the FreshBooks Card Reader?

Note: The FreshBooks Card Reader is no longer available for ordering. Existing Card Reader users can continue to use them with their FreshBooks Classic accounts using FreshBooks Payments. The Card Reader is not available for all-new FreshBooks accounts.

The FreshBooks Card Reader works with FreshBooks Payments to allow you to easily accept credit card payments wherever business takes you, quickly and securely right from your phone or tablet on both iOS and Android. The Card Reader works right out of the box, automatically records your payments and transaction fees, and comes with our award-winning customer support.

The FreshBooks Card Reader is one of the few mobile chip readers that can accept both EMV chip cards and the magnetic stripe cards. This is important, as credit cards have recently shifted liability onto businesses themselves. If you swipe a chip card instead of using the chip, you and your business are responsible for any fraudulent transactions. As the FreshBooks card reader gives you the option to use the chip on your Client’s cards, you don’t need to worry!


Pricing and Fees

The FreshBooks Card Reader costs $29 to purchase and comes with a one-year warranty.

Transaction Fees:

  • Visa and Mastercard: 2.7% + $0.30 per transaction
  • American Express: 3.4% + $0.30 per transaction

Use the Card Reader

If you have not yet setup your FreshBooks Payments account, after ordering the Card Reader, you’ll receive an email asking you to provide a little company information, and to connect your bank to your payments account. We’ll be sending your money to this bank account, so make sure you’re entering the details correctly!

The FreshBooks Card Reader is ready to go straight from the box. When you plug it in initially, you’ll find some welcome messages which will briefly touch on the Card Reader’s features:

  • Pricing
  • Green status light (means it’s ready to go)
  • Accept credit card payments using the card’s chip (EMV)
  • Accept credit card payments by swiping the card’s magnetic strip


With your Client, you can pay your Invoice with these steps:

    1. Open up the Invoice you Client wishes to pay, and click the Accept Credit Card button

Accept credit card button on invoice.

    1. Next, you’ll see the payment keypad. Enter in the amount you would like to process with the credit card

Payment field with number pad to specify amount.

    1. Once you’ve pressed the Checkout button, you’ll be asked to plug in the Card Reader:

Notification to plug in card reader.

    1. Now, select the card type. If your Client has a chip card, click Yes. If you wish to swipe the card, click No. And if you want to enter the card details manually, click Enter Card Manually:

      You are subject to higher fees when entering card details manually (3.5% + $0.30)

Notification to confirm chip or no chip on card.

    1. If you’re processing a chip card, you’ll see this screen:

Guide on how to insert chip card.

    1. If you’re swiping the card, you’ll see this screen:

Guide on how to swipe card.

    1. If you’ve chosen to Enter Card Manually, you can actually scan an image of the card on this screen. Double check the credit card information once it’s been scanned.
    2. Clicking Skip in the top right will give you the option to enter the card details manually if you don’t wish to scan the card:

Manual entry form for credit card details.

    1. Upon successful transaction, you’ll see the Client signature screen. Have your Client sign the screen with their finger. Click Retry if they need a second attempt, and Done when everything is good:

Field for signature.

    1. If the payment was successfully processed, you’ll see a Success! screen. From here, you’ll have the option to email a receipt to your Client:

Success screen with email receipt button.

  1. If you choose to email a receipt to the Client, you can enter the email address you’d like to send that to. That’s it!

How to Use the Card Reader Demo

The FreshBooks Card Reader comes with a free demo so you can take the Card Reader for a spin before you have to take a payment with it.

    1. Open your FreshBooks app on your mobile device
    2. Plug in the Card Reader for the first time
    3. The app will take a second to warm the Card Reader up and properly set it up. You’ll only have to do this once
    4. As it’s warming up, you’ll be shown a tour of the card reader. Swipe to the left to get to the demo
    5. Tap on Try the Free Demo
    6. You’ll be shown a sample Demo Invoice (not a real Invoice from your account). Tap on the Pay by Credit Card button:

Sample invoice with pay by credit card button.

    1. Enter the amount you’d like your Client to pay you (full Invoice amount is the default)

Payment field with number pad to specify amount on demo invoice.

    1. Tap on Checkout
    2. Choose Yes or No if you have a chip card or a mag-swipe card (either one works)

Yes and no buttons for chip card.

  1. Grab a credit card and either dip your chip or swipe your mag-stripe. The Card Reader will behave as if it were a real transaction, but don’t worry, nothing will actually be charged. That’s it!


What are the details of the Card Reader?

Diagram of card reader with parts and functions labelled.


What are the system requirements to use the Card Reader?

The FreshBooks Card Reader works on both iOS and Android devices. The device must be running iOS 8 and/or JellyBean (4.2) or higher to use the FreshBooks Card Reader.

If you have an iPhone 7 or higher, the Card Reader will work with the dongle provided with your phone.


What do I do if my Card Reader isn’t working?

If your FreshBooks Card Reader isn’t working out of the box, chances are that you haven’t granted microphone access. The Card Reader needs to have access to the microphone on your iPhone in order to function correctly. To grant microphone access:

  1. Open your iPhone Settings app
  2. Scroll down to the Applications section and click on FreshBooks
  3. Ensure that access has been granted to Photos, Microphone, Camera, and Cellular Data.

Also check that the headphone jack is clear of obstructions and the Card Reader is fully plugged into it.