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.
  • Highs: Can buy you out of existing contract. Monthly plan possible. Next-day payouts. Good smart POS terminal.
  • Lows: 6-month contract for some businesses. 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, American Express and Discover, 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 working day from 10am, which is pretty fast in the industry.

In contrast with many card machine providers, Dojo has a commitment-free plan (conditions apply) 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.

Card machines

Dojo currently 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 is another card machine model on a Dojo One plan, but this is not yet offered (no launch date is decided). Dojo One is designed for stationery till points, so it will lack mobile connectivity.

Dojo app

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

Contract

Although the Dojo website advertises “no long-term commitment”, this only applies to certain businesses.

If you’re a merchant switching from another merchant service provider, then you get a monthly rolling contract. In addition, Dojo can pay up to £3,000 of your exit fees from your old contract that you were locked into.

If, however, you are new to card payments, Dojo comes with a 6-month contract no matter what. 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

With Dojo, there’s a fixed, monthly charge along with transaction fees tailored to your turnover and type of business. On top of that, there’s a range of service-related charges you will have to enquire about while signing up, as not all fees are disclosed openly.

The monthly cost depends on whether you’re on a Dojo Go plan (£20 + VAT per month) or Dojo One (£15 + VAT per month). Dojo One is actually not yet available, but is being rolled out eventually.

Dojo pricing
Contract length Monthly rolling, or 6 months
Setup fee None
Monthly cost Dojo Go: £20 + VAT/mo
Paper billing (optional): £3.50 + VAT/mo
Transaction rates Visa, Mastercard: Custom rates
Diners Club, Discover: 1.99%
Amex: 1.6%-2%
+3.85p authorisation charge on all transactions
+0.05%-1.45% for non-UK cards
Monthly minimum fee Personalised minimum charge applies every month
Refund fee 50p per refund
Chargebacks £28 + VAT
Early termination fee Equivalent to cost of remaining contract
PCI compliance Free if paperwork is in order
£15 + VAT/mo if you’re non-compliant

Visa and Mastercard transaction rates are based on your type of business, card turnover, how you took the payment and the type of card (request details here). The rates are only slightly lower (for example 1.6%) than SumUp or Zettle with a sales volume below £2,000 monthly.

To be blunt, negotiated card rates are not going to make Dojo cheaper than alternatives with a low sales volume, because you have the monthly fee with transaction fees on top. Once you process at least several thousands of pounds every month, it can start to be worth it.

American Express transactions cost anything from 1.6% to 2%, while Diners Club and Discover payments are a fixed 1.99%. Acceptance of American Express requires that you request it, as it is not automatically part of your contract.

Dojo also applies additional fees to cards issued outside the UK: + 0.05% if issued in the EEA or + 0.95% if issued outside the EEA. For card-not-present transactions, you pay an extra 0.15% for EEA cards or 1.45% for non-European cards.

In addition, a fixed authorisation fee of 3.85p (~4p) is applied to all transactions. Though small, this raises the overall percentage cost of low (e.g. £5 or £10) transactions significantly.

Card-not-present transactions (where card details are manually keyed into the terminal) have a higher fee regardless of the card brand.

Dojo also sets a monthly minimum sales volume fee, which is the minimum amount they want you to pay in transaction fees each month. For example, if your minimum is £30, then your card processing fees will amount to £30 for months where your transaction fees are actually less than that. If your transaction fees are above £30, e.g. £35, then you pay £35, 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.

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 to 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: Dojo

Dojo card terminal

Dojo card machine is ideal for table service in restaurants.

Remote transactions

Dojo is not limited to in-person payments, but it is limited how you can accept remote payments.

At the moment, Dojo can activate a virtual terminal on the Dojo Go/PAX A920 terminal, which has higher transaction rates than contactless and chip payments.

Also called telephone payments – because you take the customer’s card details over the phone – or keyed payments, a virtual terminal allows you to enter a transaction amount on the touchscreen, tip (if applicable) and customer and card details to complete the remote payment directly on the terminal screen.

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.

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 would be particularly important for 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 in the past half a year. 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 £2k 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.

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 new 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.