Now that everyone’s got a smartphone, it’s no surprise the payment industry is going mobile in a big way. Just like most consumers today, merchants now expect ease of use, great flexibility and synchronisation across devices.
The answer to card payments? Compact card machines enabling you to take payments with an app on an iPhone. In the last few years, providers such as iZettle, SumUp, Square and PayPal Here have become household names among small merchants – and for good reasons. Let’s look at ten of them.
1. No complicated paperwork
Perhaps the main reason why many small businesses choose a mobile card reader is the absence of paperwork and fixed monthly rental fees. Traditional card machines typically come with a complicated contract in addition to several different types of fees. Having no fixed or complex fees and no minimum required transaction volume per month give you more flexibility, so you can grow your business at your own pace.
2. Low start-up costs
While traditional card machine providers often include start-up costs, you pay no setup fee to get started with a card reader for iPhones. You just purchase the card reader and it’s yours forever. Prices are in the £19–39 range (excl. VAT) if you take advantage of our special offers, which is way lower than the hundreds of pounds traditional card machines normally cost.
3. Accept a wide range of credit cards
All of the most popular mobile card readers let you accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. If you choose iZettle, you can also take payments with Diners Club, UnionPay and JCB cards. All the major card readers are enabled for contactless payments including Apple Pay and Google Pay, while Samsung Pay is not accepted by everyone.
4. Free point-of-sale system
All iPhone card readers work in combination with an app installed on the phone. Apart from processing payments, these apps also offer essential point-of-sale (POS) functions, so there’s no need for a separate cash register or accounting system. If you prefer to use a more comprehensive accounting system such as Xero, it can be integrated with the point-of-sale app in most cases.
With an iPhone and card reader, you can sell anywhere. That’s why you see these devices in so many places, e.g. market stalls, restaurants or at trade fairs. All you need in order to accept chip and PIN or contactless card payments is a Bluetooth connection between the card reader and iPhone, and that the phone is connected to the internet. If you run a café or restaurant, it’s also nice to be able to take payments at your customers’ tables instead of having them queuing up at the till.
6. Do everything on the internet
Using a modern, internet-based payment system means you can also take care of administrative tasks – such as changing your bank account details – easily and quickly online instead of over the phone. There are no printed contracts and no other paperwork. You can get hold of all the information you need via your phone or web browser dashboard, any time of the night or day.
If you’re a new business, you may be conscious that eventually, you’ll want to scale your payment or till system. With the mobile card readers on the market today, the free point-of-sale apps and/or integration possibilities allow for expansion in line with your company growth. For example, you can easily add accessories like a receipt printer, cash drawer or barcode scanner whenever you need them. The fixed transaction fees are usually competitive, even when you make more money.
8. Sales data available anywhere
With an iPhone-based point of sale system, your transaction history and customer data are stored in the cloud. It’s always available and up to date, so you can log in to the app or browser dashboard and run a sales report at any time, from any location.
9. Excellent for short-term use
Unlike traditional payment terminals, a card reader is ideal for anyone who needs a reliable payment system for a short period of time or for occasional card transactions. A mobile card reader is a viable option, even if you only need it for the weekend. What’s more, there’s none of the hassle and paperwork that comes with renting a conventional terminal.
10. Modern look
A compact card machine combined with an iPhone has an attractive, minimalist look and feel. Many people find that a lot more appealing than the clunky terminals you find in supermarkets and other big retailers.
The most popular card reader providers in the UK are increasingly upping their game with lower, more simplified fees, better hardware and more refined point-of-sale systems. The card readers themselves have come a long way from needing cables to being wireless and sleeker-looking. Simply put, they are now serious contenders to traditional card machines, worthy of consideration for most new businesses.