Our rating(4/5)
Dojo is a smart POS terminal with little commitment and affordable fees.
Dojo is a mobile card machine solution ideal for small businesses. It requires little commitment, has relatively simple fees and a smooth, uncomplicated onboarding process.
  • Pros: Can buy you out of existing contract. Monthly plan possible. Next-day payouts. Good POS terminal.

  • Cons: 6-month contract with lower turnover. Monthly fee only worth it with enough sales.

  • Choose if: You’re stuck in another card machine contract and want a better card terminal.

How it works

Dojo – a sub-company of Paymentsense – is a merchant service provider that only just arrived on the scene in late 2020.

Its main offering is a touchscreen card machine (pictured below) that can be used anywhere, at the till or portably around your premises. It accepts contactless and chip card payments of the brands Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Diners Club and American Express as well as the mobile wallets Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Photo: Emily Sorensen (ES), Mobile Transaction

Dojo unboxing

Box contents of the Dojo Go package.

Through a merchant web portal or the Dojo app on your phone, you can view the progress of payouts and sales in real time. Sales reports can be downloaded from the account, but it’s not yet possible to integrate Dojo with accounting software directly.

Transactions settle in your bank account the next day from 10am, even on weekends and Bank Holidays. This is pretty good in the industry.

In contrast with many card machine providers, Dojo has a commitment-free plan for businesses with an annual card turnover above £150k with a monthly cost, tailored transaction fees and additional service fees where relevant.

Otherwise, you sign up to a 6-month contract which is also not much compared to the industry norm of 12+ months.

If business funding is needed at any point, Dojo offers a cash advance powered by YouLend (subject to terms, turnover and credit history). This is repaid through a percentage of your card takings, with only a fixed fee added on top of the Dojo loan.

Mobile Transaction reviews card machines – including Dojo – within six sets of criteria: product, pricing, transparency and sign-up, value-added features, reviews and support, and contract.

Each criteria gets a score ranging between 1 and 5, resulting in one overall star rating reflecting Dojo’s value for a small business.

A card machine’s primary function is to take card payments in person, so the device quality and experience of payment acceptance have a higher weighting – this falls under the product criteria.

We have thoroughly tested Dojo’s terminal to know its limits and advantages. We have also researched and tested Dojo as a wider service to establish scores for the other rating categories.

Our verdict shows a full breakdown of ratings.

Card machines

Dojo offers just one card machine on a ‘Dojo Go’ plan: a mobile PAX A920 smart POS terminal with a touchscreen. This is an increasingly popular model in the UK, because it stands out from traditional push-button terminals that many don’t find that attractive.

Tech specs of the Dojo Go/PAX A920 mobile card machine:

  • WiFi, 3G and 4G

  • 10 hours’ battery life

  • 5″ HD touchscreen

  • Accepts tips

  • Built-in receipt printer

  • Standalone or integrated with EPOS

The card machine is WiFi-enabled and can connect with 3G or 4G through the built-in SIM card with unlimited, free data. This allows you to accept cards anywhere through the mobile network, and benefit from the 3G/4G backup connection when WiFi is unstable.

The battery life is pretty good at up to 10 hours’ from a full charge.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Dojo Go in battery charging dock

Dojo Go is a handheld, portable terminal that works well and looks good.

Whether you use Dojo Go on the go, for table-service, queue-busting or at a till point, multiple terminals can be added to the same Dojo account.

The terminal can be used independently or integrated with a compatible point of sale (POS) system. Currently, over 500 POS providers can connect with Dojo.

With a POS integration, transactions on the till communicate smoothly with the PAX terminal to accept payments at the right time. Furthermore, your POS software automatically registers card payments processed through Dojo and includes them in its sales reports.

Although a Dojo terminal cannot directly integrate with accounting software, a POS system integrated with Dojo can. Dojo transactions would then be fed into your chosen accounting system through the POS software.

So how does it work? We received a new Dojo Go terminal, well-packaged in a hard cardboard box. It comes with a USB charging cable, wall adaptor, charging dock and decals to show what cards you accept. It was really easy to set up – the included booklet shows you how to do it in a few steps.

To take a payment in standalone mode, you just enter a transaction amount and let the customer add a tip if they want. It then proceeds to accept a contactless tap or chip and PIN card (the PIN pad is displayed on the screen).

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Dojo Go checkout screen

Dojo Go checkout screen.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Dojo Go tipping screen

Tipping options on Dojo Go.

However, there is no option to add a transaction description to say what you sold. If you need this for reporting, then Dojo Go in standalone mode isn’t going to work, but integrating with a POS system allows you to link card transactions with products sold on the till.

The payment process is pretty fast on PAX A920, ending with a clearly displayed green tick to show the transaction is complete. You can then choose whether to print a receipt through its heat-based thermal receipt printer.

In terms of security, Dojo terminals use point-to-point encryption (P2PE), a high security standard developed by PCI-DSS that will protect your and your customers’ data.

There used to be a “soon to come” Dojo One plan advertised as a stationary card machine option, but this is no longer shown on the website.

Dojo app

Merchants can check transactions and payouts through the Dojo app or web portal.

Contract

If you’re a merchant switching from another merchant service provider, Dojo can most of your exit fees from your old contract you were locked into. This could be up to £3,000 if you’re going for Dojo’s bespoke plan, or £500 for the fixed pricing plan.

Dojo advertises “no long-term commitment” with a monthly plan, but only for businesses accepting over £150,000 annually in card payments.

If your business is making less than than, you get a 6-month contract. Cancelling before the end of this period incurs an early termination fee equivalent to the remaining costs of the contract. Without a cancellation, the contract will continue on a monthly rolling basis after the six months are up.

Dojo fees

There’s a fixed, monthly rental charge of £15 or £20 + VAT for the Dojo Go plan along with transaction fees based on your turnover and type of business.

On top of that, a range of service-related charges apply that you will have to enquire about while signing up, as not all fees are disclosed openly.

Dojo pricing
Contract length Card turnover below £150k/yr: 6 months
Card turnover above £150k/yr: Monthly
Setup fee None
Fixed rental cost Below £150k/yr card turnover: £20 + VAT/mo
Over £150k/yr turnover: £15 + VAT/mo
Transaction rates (under £150k turnover) Consumer Visa, Mastercard, other debit/credit cards:
1.4% + 5p
Business debit/credit cards:
1.8% + 5p
Amex:
Custom fees
Remote or online transactions Consumer cards: 1.8% + 5p
Business cards: 2.3% + 5p
Monthly minimum fee £24.95
Refund fee 50p per refund
Chargebacks £28 + VAT
Paper billing (optional) £3.50 + VAT/mo
PCI compliance Free if paperwork is in order
£15 + VAT/mo if you’re non-compliant
Early termination fee Equivalent to cost of remaining contract
Dojo pricing
Contract length Card turnover below £150k/yr: 6 months
Card turnover above £150k/yr: Monthly
Setup fee None
Fixed rental cost Below £150k/yr card turnover: £20 + VAT/mo
Over £150k/yr turnover: £15 + VAT/mo
Transaction rates (under £150k turnover) Consumer Visa, Mastercard, other debit/credit cards:
1.4% + 5p
Business debit/credit cards:
1.8% + 5p
Amex:
Custom fees
Remote or online transactions Consumer cards: 1.8% + 5p
Business cards: 2.3% + 5p
Monthly minimum fee £24.95
Refund fee 50p per refund
Chargebacks £28 + VAT
Paper billing (optional) £3.50 + VAT/mo
PCI compliance Free if paperwork is in order
£15 + VAT/mo if you’re non-compliant
Early termination fee Equivalent to cost of remaining contract

Merchants with an annual card turnover of less than £150,000 (£12,500 per month) pay a monthly rental fee of £20 + VAT and the following transaction fees.

Rates are 1.4% + 5p for Visa, Mastercard and Maestro consumer debit and credit cards via chip or contactless processing, including for Discover and Diners Club. Business, corporate and premium cards have a higher rate: 1.8% + 5p per chip or contactless transaction.

American Express fees depend on your business, so a quote is needed for during registration. Amex typically costs more than other cards, e.g 1.6%-2.5% + fixed fee.

The fixed authorisation fee of 5p applies to all transactions. Though small, this raises the overall percentage cost of low (e.g. £5 or £10) transactions significantly.

For card-not-present transactions (online or keyed), you pay an extra 0.4% for consumer cards or 0.5% for business cards.

Those with an annual card turnover higher than £150,000 pay £15 + VAT for rental and personalised rates only disclosed at sign-up.

These fees are based on your type of business, card turnover, how you took the payment and the type of card (request details here).

Dojo may apply additional fees to cards issued outside the UK, like +0.05% if issued in the EEA or +0.95% if issued outside the EEA.

Other fees

Dojo also sets a £24.95 monthly minimum service charge, which is the minimum cost you have to pay in transaction fees each month – even if you’ve made no sales. So if card processing fees amount to less than £24.95 during one month, you still pay £24.95. If transaction fees amount to more, then you just pay the true cost of transactions. This is on top of the monthly terminal subscription.

Receiving payouts in your bank account the next day is free, including weekends and Bank Holidays.

When you order the card machine, you get “free next-day delivery” – but this is slightly misleading because it applies to the moment they approve your application (before 4pm), which can take a few working days. So in reality, shipping may take a little less than a week from the point of signing the contract.

We have been assured that the next-day terminal replacement is free, but the official fee schedule indicates it can cost up to £400 + VAT per machine. This cost applies if you damage or lose the terminal. Technical faults outside of your control that can’t be fixed over the phone will result in a free terminal replacement.

PCI-DSS compliance used to have a monthly fee, but is now free as long as you have completed the requested paperwork by a specific deadline. Otherwise, it will cost you £15 + VAT monthly for as long as you are non-compliant.

Other fees apply to add-on features, services and account extras. These costs are not disclosed until you speak to a Dojo representative on the phone, but may, for example, include point of sale integrations.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Dojo card machine at Franze & Evans Cafe Hackney.

Remote and online transactions

Dojo is not limited to in-person payments. The company offers a few ways to accept payments remotely as well without an additional monthly fee.

In the Dojo browser account, you can easily create and share payment links via messaging apps, email or text. The recipient can then pay online on their smartphone or computer.

Dojo can also activate a virtual terminal on the PAX A920 terminal, for when you’re taking card payments on behalf of customers over the phone. You just enter a transaction amount on the touchscreen, tip (if applicable) and customer/card details to complete the transaction.

These options are standard for a modern merchant service provider, but nonetheless useful.

Dojo compared with market alternatives

Among the card machine options in the UK, Dojo is only a good deal if you’re making at least £10k monthly, preferably more than £12.5k per month so you can get custom rates and a lower monthly fee.

Otherwise, the monthly minimum service charge (£24.95), rental (£20 + VAT) and fixed card rates add up to more than alternatives from the likes of SumUp and Square that don’t have monthly fees, just a competitive pay-as-you-go rate of 1.69%-1.75%.

Takepayments is a contender similar to Dojo, with monthly and annual contracts suitable for merchants with a card turnover as low as £2k monthly. That’t because the rates are personalised even at that sales volume, and the monthly cost could work out cheaper if your average transaction value is high enough.

Regarding integrations and online features for ecommerce and accounting, Dojo doesn’t have much to offer. Square’s platform has a lot more in that area without a contract, such as a free website builder, many remote payment tools and integrations with accounting, marketing, scheduling and other software.

Eligibility and sign-up

As with many other uncomplicated card machine contracts, only certain types of businesses are accepted. For example, high-risk businesses like travel agencies, adult entertainment and vape shops may be rejected. Charities and trusts are not accepted, but social enterprises are.

Typically, Dojo will accept small shops and food and drink, and not necessarily hairdressers with high transaction sizes. Businesses with lots of high-value transactions may be referred to Paymentsense for a longer-term contract with other card machine models.

So how do you get started with Dojo? You’ll need to fill in a web form for a quote, then a Dojo team member will get in touch within a working day to discuss your options and request documentation. Only after Dojo has received everything required from you will they provide a quote and share an agreement.

After you sign the contract, Dojo will check and approve it and then send the card machine on the same day if it’s before 4pm, or the working day after.

All in all, you should be ready for your first card machine payment within a week.

During onboarding, it will be required that you read some PCI-DSS compliance documents pertaining to card payment security, then answer a few questions about it. This is actually a simple version of setting up PCI-DSS compliance, so it’s not so bad.

Sole trader or new business? Compare SumUp, Zettle and Square readers

Customer service and reviews

All Dojo customers can call the main support team with general queries seven days a week between 8am and 6pm.

Tech support can be reached until late in the evening every day (8am-11pm), which is particularly important for off licences, bars and restaurants. Dojo can log into your device remotely if an urgent card machine issues needs fixing.

In terms of Dojo reviews, the service has received a large amount of positive user reviews. This is largely due to Dojo’s ongoing push to get customers to review its product, but it seems people genuinely have a positive experience of Dojo.

As a newcomer to the market, it’s obvious that Dojo should put more effort into customer service. It will be interesting to see if they can keep it up in the long term.

Our verdict

Dojo is a reasonable deal for small shops and hospitality businesses that consistently have a sales volume of over £10k monthly. Restaurants, pubs, bars and food trucks will benefit from tipping and the possible EPOS integration with the flexibility to carry Dojo Go around premises and beyond.

The PAX terminal has a long battery life and impressive technical specs, but using it independently does have its limitations when you can’t add a description to individual transactions. The Dojo app is handy for checking transactions, but the lack of accounting integrations could also be a hindrance.

Dojo criteria Rating Conclusion
Product 4.2 Good
Costs and fees 3.8 Good
Transparency and sign-up 4 Good
Value-added services 3.7 Passable/Good
Service and reviews 4.5 Good/Excellent
Contract 3.7 Passable/Good
OVERALL SCORE 4 Good

If you’re stuck in a pricey card machine contract, Dojo would be an attractive choice because of its monthly rolling contract and the offer to buy you out of your current contract.

Dojo is slightly less appealing to below-£12.5k/year-turnover merchants who can only get a 6-month contract, though it’s reassuring that the contract changes to a monthly rolling subscription after the six months.

Next-day payouts are a great advantage, but the monthly fee and minimum monthly charge for transactions could be too much for seasonal and low-volume businesses who’d save money by choosing a wholly pay-as-you-go solution without a monthly cost. Dojo fees could generally be more transparent – so be on the lookout for hidden costs when signing up.