Finding a card machine provider that allows you to use it abroad is notoriously difficult. Most providers lock the SIM card in their mobile terminal, so it won’t work outside the country of registration.

However, there are ways to get paid in other countries. Short-term rental of a card terminal with an international roaming SIM is a popular choice for businesses attending trade shows or other events overseas. An easy alternative is to get a low-cost terminal that can work in multiple countries out of the box.

In this article, we look at the options available to take card payments from customers when you’re outside your home country.

Short-term rental

There are few companies offering card machine rental for use overseas. The starting point for UK businesses will likely be Wireless Terminal Solutions (WTS), which allows you to rent a machine with an international SIM card on a temporary basis for an overseas trip or to try it out without committing to a long-term contract.

WTS provides Ingenico terminals, which are already set up for international transactions and support most card brands. They are popular with mobile traders, taxi drivers, startups, and exhibitors at trade shows and other events.

The SIM cards automatically connect to the local mobile network, so you can connect in locations without WiFi. The only places in the world where the terminals don’t work are North Korea and Japan. You’ll need to set up a merchant account with WTS to take payments in multiple currencies.


  • Temporary agreement allows you to rent machines only when needed
  • Terminals work around the world


  • Requires filling out paperwork for a single event
  • Costs more than a short-term rental inside the UK

Automatically compatible machines

myPOS is the only European provider that allows you to accept payments in multiple countries by default. Its affordable terminals come with a free myPOS Data Card, which provides mobile connectivity throughout Europe, as well as French overseas territories Martinique, Guadalupe and Reunion.

The myPOS account is free and has a dedicated IBAN in 14 currencies. Payments are settled instantly, and you can either transfer the funds to your business bank account or use the free business Visa debit card provided. This option is popular with taxi and private hire drivers working across borders.


  • Low-cost card terminal with no fixed rental fees
  • No additional transaction fees


  • Only works in European countries
  • No other providers offer this option

Advance notice for (your) existing machine

Some providers will allow you to use their terminals abroad if you give them prior notice.


SumUp allows you to accept payments in 28 European countries for a limited time. You need to contact customer service well in advance to get the terminal activated for overseas use, otherwise it could be blocked for security reasons.

It used to be possible to activate short-term use in the US, but this is no longer the case. You can’t change the currency of your card reader, but SumUp charges fixed transaction rates so you don’t pay extra to take foreign card payments.


If you already use a mobile terminal from WTS, the basic SIM card doesn’t work abroad. But you can use the terminal if you provide at least 7 days’ notice so that they can send you an international SIM card. You will have to pay additional charges to process payments with this.

Large businesses can get a special arrangement

Adyen’s international processing platform allows businesses to set up card machines around the world and easily add local payment methods.

It accepts payments in almost 100 countries and its terminals provide local language support for the customer. Depending on the device, it can provide coverage across Europe, North America and/or Asia-Pacific.

However, Adyen typically only caters to businesses with more than £1 million in annual card turnover, and possibly significantly more for setting up custom terminal usage across borders. It is not suitable for small businesses.

QR codes: an alternative to consider

One way to get around the locked SIM card dilemma is to use a mobile payment app instead, from providers like Revolut Business, Square or SumUp. This gives you the option to easily generate a Quick Response (QR) code on your mobile device that can take contactless payments anywhere in the world.

The customer scans the code with their mobile device camera, which displays a payment page where they can enter their card details or pay with a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

An advantage of using Revolut’s Business account – available in most European countries and the UK – is that you can receive payments in multiple currencies and hold them in your account to wait for favourable exchange rates.

SumUp allows you to use the same QR code to accept an unlimited number of payments and in several places at once. So, you can print out a copy to keep on the counter, easing the checkout process.

Businesses in the UK, Ireland, France and Spain can take payments with Square’s QR codes worldwide. We have used them in several countries and find them to be the most versatile of the three.

If you are planning to sell at an event in Asia, QR codes have become so common in the region that nobody would raise an eyebrow if you skipped the card terminal and presented QR codes only.

This is a trend we are starting to see in Europe too. So for that next overseas event, maybe an account with a payment provider that offers a versatile QR code will do the job.