Our rating(4.5/5)
The wireless iZettle Reader accepts cards via any phone or tablet with the iZettle app.
iZettle’s low-cost card reader and free payment app make it easy for entrepreneurs and small businesses to start taking cards. There are no monthly fees, commitment or hidden costs, just a 1.75% rate per transaction.
  • Highs: Excellent mobile app. No contractual obligation. Accepts many cards including Amex. Competitive rates.
  • Lows: No inbuilt receipt printer. Phone support only on weekdays between 9am-5pm.
  • Buy if: You want an easy solution for taking payments that comes with a ton of extras to grow your business.


Special offer for Mobile Transaction readers

  • iZettle Reader 2
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Get the iZettle Reader 2 for only £19* (regular price £59) or with the Dock for £58. No monthly fees or contract.

* Offer for new business users.

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Lowdown

iZettle’s compact card machine works in tandem with a clever mobile app, making it possible to take payments anywhere. You just need a tablet or smartphone with a WiFi or 3G/4G connection, on which you can use the iZettle Go app whilst connected with the card reader through Bluetooth.

iZettle Reader 2

iZettle launched iZettle Reader 2 in November 2018. With the main distinguishable difference being the green button instead of a blue one, we consider it a minor upgrade from the first iZettle Reader.

While the previous reader is still portrayed in some pictures, this review has been updated to reflect changes with Reader 2.

The system operates a pay-as-you-go model, which has been the main driver of iZettle’s popularity in the UK. You simply purchase the card reader, then use it however frequently or sporadically that is.

Pay only a fixed transaction rate for card payments accepted – no monthly fee.

In addition to the app, merchants get invoicing, reporting and sales analytics tools. iZettle customers can also get access to small business financing based on sales history. Retailers can also add iZettle E-commerce, an all-in-one ecommerce platform with a monthly subscription.

iZettle accepts one of the broadest ranges of credit and debit cards among card reader in the UK. Visa, Mastercard, Visa Electron, V Pay, Maestro, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, UnionPay and Discover are all accepted, as are the mobile wallets Apple Pay, Google Pay (formerly Android Pay) and Samsung Pay.

iZettle Reader 2 accepts contactless and chip and PIN (or signature for some cards) payments.

Cards accepted

VisaVisa ElectronV PayMastercardMaestroAmerican ExpressUnion PayDiners ClubJCBDiscoverContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

Costs and fees

As well as being transparent with no hidden costs, iZettle fees are on the low side compared with similar payment solutions.

The transaction fee is a fixed 1.75% for all card reader transactions regardless of card type, brand, country of issue and sales volume, e.g. foreign and premium cards cost the same to process as domestic Visa Debit cards.

Email invoices and payment links are included as complimentary tools, costing 2.5% per card payment.

Charges
iZettle Reader 2 £59 £19 + VAT
iZettle Dock 2 £39 (or £58 incl. Reader 2 through link) + VAT
Ocean Reader & Dock £98 + VAT
Shipping Free
Contract  No contractual lock-in
Monthly fee None
Chip & contactless payments 1.75% per transaction
Ecommerce payments 2.5% per transaction
Invoice and payment links 2.5% per transaction
Payouts in bank account Free
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Up to £250 chargebacks/month covered for free
Charges
iZettle Reader 2 £59 £19 + VAT
iZettle Dock 2 £39 (or £58  incl. Reader 2 through link) + VAT
Ocean Reader & Dock £98 + VAT
Shipping Free
Contract  No contractual lock-in
Monthly fee None
Chip & contactless payments 1.75% per transaction
Ecommerce payments 2.5% per transaction
Invoice and payment links 2.5% per transaction
Payouts in bank account Free
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Up to £250 chargebacks/month covered for free

The card reader itself is excellent value at £59 excl. VAT (exclusive offer: £19 excl. VAT through this link). The new limited-edition Ocean Reader, made of recycled plastic with the same tech specs as iZettle Reader 2, can be purchased with the Ocean Dock for £98 + VAT.

IZETTLE

iZettle Ocean Reader with Dock

The special-edition Ocean Reader is made of 75% recycled plastic sourced from the ocean.

There are no monthly fees, rental charges, monthly minimums or other fixed costs that traditional payment providers normally charge. Since there’s no contractual commitment, “early terminal fees” do not apply either. Refunds are free to process, and you also get the transaction fee refunded.

Funds are cleared in your bank account within 1-2 working days of each transaction, minus the transaction fee. Whether it’s the following weekday or two weekdays after depends on your bank’s processing times.

The iZettle E-commerce plan costs £29 + VAT monthly which gives you a self-sufficient ecommerce platform, online payments costing 2.5% per transaction. This does not come with more POS features than what you already have in the free iZettle Go app.

iZettle gives you chargeback protection for up to £250 per month if you follow best practice for taking card payments. So if, for example, a customer signs for a payment, you should compare the signature with the one on the card and ask for a valid ID.

iZettle does have transaction limits, but that’s unlikely to affect most business accounts where the daily limit is £200,000. The lowest transaction amount possible is £1.

Mobile Transaction

iZettle Reader and iPad connected by Bluetooth

iZettle Reader connects to a tablet or mobile phone via Bluetooth pairing.

Technology and accessories

In contrast to conventional POS terminals using landlines or a GPRS SIM card, iZettle’s card reader utilises the processing power of your mobile device and internet, eliminating the need for expensive equipment.

iZettle’s newest card reader, iZettle Reader 2, looks very similar to the old one but has some important improvements.

Emmanuel Charpentier (EC), Mobile Transaction

It’s pretty straightforward to insert a chip card at the bottom.

The current model is slightly prettier, more energy-efficient and with a coating that makes it more resistant to dirt. Beneath it, you have two rubber “sausages” to keep it firmly on a countertop. You get the sense that you can just throw it on the ground without inflicting damage (of course we do not recommend trying this – we have seen examples of broken displays!).

We love the minimalist design and the fact it comes in white or black, giving you the freedom to pick one that blends in with either light or dark environments.

EC, Mobile Transaction

The power button at the top is hard to press by accident.

Internet connection: To process a payment, the iZettle app connects to its servers using your mobile device’s WiFi or 3G/4G connection. In the past, we’ve seen reports from users indicating they’ve had no problems using slower connections such as EDGE, so it appears the system is robust enough to work even with weak connections.

Mobile devices: In addition to the card reader and payment app, you’ll need a compatible iPhone, Android smartphone, iPad or Android tablet. We have noticed that iZettle tends to release new features in the iOS app for Apple devices first. For example, it took some time before the Android app began supporting contactless payments, but new features seem to find their way to both apps eventually.

Battery: The card reader is charged with a micro USB cable. It will automatically go into sleep mode when not in use, and the battery therefore lasts longer than older models that received complaints about short battery life. Battery life is on average 8 hours with a transaction every 5 minutes, or 250+ transactions from one charge.

Businesses selling from a fixed location would want to use the card reader with a Dock (for iZettle Reader) or Dock 2 (for iZettle Reader 2) – a small stand with an inbuilt charger. Placed in the dock, the card reader is automatically charged. The Dock 2 for iZettle Reader 2 is more stable than the old one, which some users say is a bit flimsy.

iZettle Reader 2 on Dock 2 next to iPad with app

iZettle Reader 2 with iZettle Dock 2. The dock not only looks great, but keeps the terminal in place and always charged.

Receipt printers: Unlike chunky, traditional chip and PIN machines, iZettle Reader doesn’t have an inbuilt printer, so you have to buy that separately if you want to offer paper receipts. Fortunately, iZettle is compatible with a range of Star Micronics receipt printers, both stationary and mobile. The compatible printers connect either wirelessly or by cable.

Other accessories: iZettle is also compatible with select barcode scanners and cash drawers, making it suitable for a busy, counter-based till point. Stationary iPad setups will also benefit from a tablet stand, which – apart from protecting the iPad – gives a professional feel to your customer-facing environment.

Signing up

Signing up is easy. In contrast to the strenuous application processes required by traditional payment processors, you just go to iZettle’s website to fill in some basic details to get started.

Upon signing up, iZettle performs a “unique risk assessment” involving a credit check to verify your identity, business and bank account. Only bank accounts in your company’s or company director’s name will be accepted. Sole traders and partnership businesses may need to submit additional documentation. When we tested registering as a sole trader, the automatic check went smoothly without the need to submit more than the information on the sign-up pages.

We should emphasise: you can only have only one iZettle account per business or sole trader, so if you’ve already registered your name or company with iZettle, it won’t be possible to create a new iZettle account under that name.

Mobile Transaction

iZettle review

Box contents of an iZettle Reader 2 delivery.

After the sign-up, you can order the card reader. It usually takes 1-3 working days to receive this by post. We got it two days after placing the order. DHL sent a text message the day before, saying when it would arrive and that a signature will be required. The package was neatly wrapped up in a padded envelope, and the card reader was ready to use immediately.

Taking payments

Before accepting the first payment, the card reader has to be paired with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. That is done swiftly by following some simple instructions from the Settings tab in the iZettle Go app. You may have to repeat the Bluetooth pairing several times over a day if you’re not using the iZettle app actively.

Then you can take a payment by entering the amount in the app and tapping “charge”. Transaction details are sent wirelessly to the card reader through Bluetooth. The customer can insert their card in the card reader and key in the PIN on its PIN pad, or tap it with a contactless card or mobile wallet.

Inventory items can be preprogrammed, complete with names, prices, descriptions and even images. Tapping a product image in the app adds it to the checkout bill. As such, iZettle is more than just a payment terminal – the free app is a POS system in its own right with the mobile device working as a cloud-based cash register.

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I Accept

Those who need to accept multiple payments of the same amount quickly, for example street musicians or charity fundraisers, can request access to iZettle’s Repeat Payments feature. This is not a default option in the app, so iZettle will need to grant you access.

Repeat Payments allow you to set a fixed amount to be charged via contactless, chip and PIN card or wearable tech without having to enter the amount over and over again. Customers can simply just pay and go without your needing to touch the card reader or app during the process.

POS app features

The free point of sale (POS) app, iZettle Go, has enough features to work as a self-sufficient till system. Here’s a snapshot.

Product library and inventory: Add products – complete with image, description, types, barcode, and more – to a visually intuitive menu in the app, enabling you to just tap items to add them to the bill. Add a stock count to each item, helping you to keep track of stock levels.

iZettle inventory tracking

You can choose to track inventory and get alerts when stock levels are low.