Compact card machines that enable you to process payments with an iPhone have taken the payment industry by storm.

In the last couple of years, providers such as iZettle, SumUp, PayPal Here and WorldPay Zinc have become household names among small merchants — and for good reasons. Here are 10 of them.

1. No complicated paperwork

Perhaps the main reason why many small businesses choose a card machine for iPhone is the absence of paperwork and fixed monthly rental fees. Traditional card terminals typically come with a detailed contract as well as several different types of fees, including fixed fees. A solution with no fixed fees or minimum transaction volumes leaves you more flexibility and lets you grow your business at your own pace.

2. Low startup costs

You pay no setup fees to get started with a card machine for iPhone. You just purchase the card machine itself, and then it’s yours forever. Prices are in the £25-39 range if you take advantage of our special offers — see our card machine comparison for details.

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3. Accept a wide range of credit cards

All of the most popular card machines for iPhone let you accept payments with Visa, MasterCard and American Express. If you choose the iZettle card reader, you can also take payments with Diners Club and JCB cards, as well as with Apple Pay.

4. Free point of sale system

All card machines for iPhone work in combination with an app installed on the smartphone. These apps, in addition to registering payments, also offer essential point of sale functionalities. In other words, you don’t need a separate cash register or accounting system besides the app which comes with the card machine. Should you prefer to use other software such as Xero for your accounting, the app can usually be seamlessly integrated.

5. Mobility

With an iPhone and a card machine, you can sell anywhere. That’s why you can observe so many of these devices at market stalls, restaurants and trade fairs, for example. All you need in order to accept payments is a Bluetooth connection between the card reader and your iPhone, and an internet connection for the phone. If you run a café or a restaurant, it’s also nice to be able to take payments at your customers’ tables instead of having them line up at the register.

6. Do everything on the internet

Using a modern, internet-based payment system means that you can also take care of administrative tasks, such as changing your bank account details, easily and quickly online instead of picking up the phone. There are no printed contracts or other paperwork either — you can look up your data any time on your iPhone or on the card machine provider’s web portal.

7. Expandable

If you start up your business taking payments with a card machine for iPhone, you can add accessories such as a receipt printer, a cash drawer and a barcode scanner later on. You aren’t limited to using just the iPhone and the card machine. Small businesses need room to grow, and that’s what you get with a simple solution that can be expanded as needed.

If you’re about to start a business, it’s therefore worth considering taking payments with a card machine for iPhone. Such a solution will provide the flexibility and the convenience you need — at minimum cost.

8. Sales data available anywhere

With an iPhone-based point of sale system, your transaction and customer data are stored in the cloud. That means they are available and up to date any time you log in to the app or the web portal. You can easily run sales reports from anywhere, which makes accounting a lot more flexible than what’s possible with a stationary, traditional point of sale system which runs on a local installation.

9. Excellent for short term use

Traditional payment terminals are usually much too expensive to rent if it’s only for a short time period. Buying a card machine for iPhone is a viable option even if you only need it for a week-end — and there’s none of the hassle and paperwork that’s usually involved when you rent a terminal, either.

10. Modern look

A compact card machine combined with an iPhone looks a lot more minimalist and modern than the clunky terminals we associate with supermarkets and other large stores.

Now that “everyone” has an iPhone or a similar smartphone, it’s no surprise that the payment industry is going increasingly mobile too. Just like the modern consumer, the modern merchant expects ease of use, great flexibility, and synchronisation across devices.