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
Link to offer
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As a Mobile Transaction reader, you can get the iZettle Reader 2 for only £19* (regular price £59) or iZettle Reader 2 + Dock for £58. No monthly fees or contract to worry about.

* Offer for new business users.

Mobile Transaction is an independent payment industry resource trusted by over a million small businesses a year.

We allow solution providers to offer product discounts for the benefit of our readers. These discounts do not influence our reviews. Rating scores are based on full retail price. (Full policy)

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
ShippingFree
Contract No contractual lock-in
Monthly feeNone
Chip & contactless payments1.75% per transaction
Keyed-in (invoice, payment link, ecommerce) payments2.5% per transaction
Payouts in bank accountFree
RefundsFree
ChargebacksUp 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
ShippingFree
Contract No contractual lock-in
Monthly feeNone
Chip & contactless payments1.75% per transaction
Keyed-in (invoice, payment link, ecommerce) payments2.5% per transaction
Payouts in bank accountFree
RefundsFree
ChargebacksUp 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.

VAT and discounts: VAT can be added to receipts at the rates of 20%, 5% and 0%, and customised discounts can be applied to individual products or the transaction total as a customised percentage or amount in pounds.

Tipping: iZettle has a tipping option in the app to satisfy food and drink businesses. You only need to enable this in your settings, then customers will be asked directly on the card reader display if they want to add a tip. If they pick ‘yes’, they can enter the tip amount manually before paying.

iZettle Reader tipping screens

Tipping is a useful feature in the POS app, here shown on the first-generation iZettle Reader.

Accepting cash: Cash sales can be registered in the app for free to make the system more useful for accounting purposes. If you’re selling at a fixed till point, you can connect a cash drawer with a standard 24V or RJ11 plug, but it needs to be connected to a receipt printer to open.

Receipts: After each transaction, there’s an option to send a e-receipt via text or email. Customise what to include on this receipt in your iZettle account. Printed receipts are also possible, but you’ll need to invest in a compatible receipt printer to provide these.

Refunds: Refunds can be processed for the full transaction amount or by picking an individual item from the list of products on the receipt. Currently, there is no option to do partial refunds for a single item, nor can you refund tips.

Barcode scanning: Use your phone camera as a barcode scanner, eliminating the need for a separate scanner. We tried this on iPhone, and it works smoothly. There is currently no option to use the scanner for internal audits, so this is purely for scanning items at checkout (barcodes should be registered in the product library beforehand).

Invoicing: iZettle allows you to invoice customers by email through the app. The customer can then pay by card directly through the emailed invoice securely. Regulars can even be added in a customer library so you only need to create a transaction, search for the customer and tap to send the invoice.

Payment links: iZettle has a pay-by-link option, which is the ability to send a unique link via text or various apps (e.g. Facebook Messenger, email, WhatsApp), which the customer can click to pay through from their end. Payment links are different from email invoices because they only register as a sale once paid, there’s no payment due date, the customer is not obliged to pay, and there is no customer information with the payment link.

In the backend, i.e. your iZettle account in a browser, you have extra features not available in the iZettle Go app. For example, the Customers section enables you to invite customers to join your mailing list, and you can add staff members with different logins to distinguish between their sales in the analytics section.

EMILY SORENSEN (ES), MOBILE TRANSACTION

Beaut Box hairdressers using iZettle Reader

iZettle Reader is a popular choice for small beauty salons and hairdressers, here pictured at Beaut Box, London.

Upgrade options

Most small businesses will find the free POS features sufficient, but you always have the option to subscribe to iZettle E-commerce if you’re branching into online sales.

Launched on 19th April 2018, the iZettle E-commerce platform lets you to create an online shop directly from the iZettle account. You’ll just need a domain (URL), then the rest is created, customised and hosted through iZettle. There are multiple website templates to pick from, similar to other website builders like Squarespace or Wix, and they’re all highly customisable.

If you already have an online store elsewhere, you can still manage your ecommerce through iZettle as long as you’ve inserted iZettle’s pay buttons and checkout elements on the website. Alternatively, you can sync iZettle with an online store built on the Shopify platform.

Restaurants, cafés and bars will find the iZettle Pro system most useful, as it includes many hospitality-focused features like table management and split bills.

Reports, sales analytics and financing

The information processed through iZettle is cloud-based, so you can view and use sales data in real time from any browser logged in to your iZettle account.

All transactions are recorded, and full sales reports are always available, including cash sales if you’ve accepted these via the app.

Free analytics are included to help keep track of inventory and identify repeat customers, as well as helping to spot business trends, such as revenue growth and top-selling products.

All reports can be exported to Excel and CSV files. Those who require bookkeeping beyond iZettle’s capabilities can integrate with the cloud-based accounting and invoicing systems Xero or QuickBooks.

Integrate with Xero

iZettle data can be fed into Xero automatically. Offering all the standard features of a cloud accounting system, such as a live view of your bank balance, Xero also includes payroll functions.

Read more: Xero integration with iZettle

Small businesses in need of a cash injection may qualify for an interest-free business loan called iZettle Cash Advance. However, this is only offered on a case-by-case basis and only after accumulating enough of a sales history.

Who is iZettle best for?

The iZettle platform is suitable for most trades and sectors. It’s being used by a range of merchants from plumbers to barbers, retailers, street vendors, hairdressers, beauty parlours, taxi drivers to coffee shops, pubs and restaurants.

The mobility of iZettle means it excels at trade fairs, markets, pop-ups and car boot sales. Many sole traders use iZettle, but since the app allows for unlimited staff accounts with restricted permissions, it is equally suitable for businesses with employees.

iZettle – like any other payment company – prohibits certain services and products from being sold through them. We recommend checking whether your business falls under any of these areas.

You can sell products online and send invoices or payment links directly from the app. These are the only ways to sell without the card reader or customer being present, so businesses who need to process phone or mail orders have to look for alternatives for those channels.

ES, MOBILE TRANSACTION

iZettle review cafe till

iZettle is a frequent sight in independent, British cafés – here pictured in Twigs Hackney, London.

The free iZettle app doesn’t yet offer table layouts or split tenders usually required by full-service restaurants. However, the free app is definitely suitable for smaller food-and-beverage outlets such as cafés. iZettle Reader is actually thriving in this sector, in part because you can upgrade to iZettle Pro, the point-of-sale system with a ton to offer hospitality businesses, or integrate the card reader with more comprehensive restaurant EPOS.

Customer support and iZettle reviews

iZettle’s customer service team is available to contact between 9am and 5pm on weekdays. You can phone or email them but will only get a response during those opening hours. It may take several days to receive a reply for non-urgent queries via email, so we recommend calling them during office hours for a faster response.

iZettle on average ranks highly in customer reviews, currently scoring 4.2 out of 5 on TrustPilot UK. However, recent complaints highlight a lack of response when users have tried contacting to resolve issues with e.g. account holds. Several users also complain about having to pair the card reader with the mobile app several times a day, implying the Bluetooth connection is not consistent.

Reviews in the App Store average 4.7 stars out of 5 (based on 7.7k ratings) and 4.2 stars out of 5 in Google Play (based on 35.8k+ ratings). We think the most worthy alternatives at the moment are Square Reader and SumUp Air.

Our verdict

iZettle’s free app features have long been a draw for mobile merchants. The integrated barcode scanner, invoicing and payment links elevate what could have been just a basic POS app to a complete payment system for your business. Currently, only Square’s breadth of free tools really compete.

Furthermore, iZettle accepts a wide range of cards at a transparent, low rate where it’s usually the norm for card processors to charge high fees on foreign or premium cards like American Express.

All things considered, iZettle is hard to beat for any small business wanting to set up a robust, uncomplicated and highly affordable point of sale that does precisely what you need it to do. True, customer support is not always available, but needing it should be rare because the system is easy to figure out and just works.

  • Free POS app with more than basics
  • Highly rated in reviews
  • Many cards accepted
  • Expandable to full EPOS for hospitality
  • Receipt printer required for paper receipts
  • Support limited to weekday working hours
  • Buy if: You want a dependable mobile solution for taking a wide range of payments without any contract.