• iZettle Reader 2 vs SumUp Air card readers
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iZettle or SumUp: which one is better suited for your business?

By Luciana Damasceno|2018-12-12T18:07:47+00:00November 23rd, 2018|Tags: , |

As of 2018, iZettle and SumUp have emerged as two of the top runners in the UK market for mobile card readers. With their devices, anyone can turn their smartphone or tablet into a card machine using the processing power of an app.

You can buy the card readers for less than £30 each, and the silver lining is that there is no fixed monthly fee or rental charge, no minimum contract period, and no minimum card transaction volumes. You just pay a fee per payment you accept.

Their pricing structure and features are somewhat different. Let’s compare the fees and card acceptance first.


Full iZettle review

Full SumUp review

iZettle Reader 2 small

SumUp Air small
Sign Up
Sign Up
Device price (upfront cost)
£59 £19 + VAT (link to offer)
Device price (upfront cost)
£29 £19 + VAT (link to offer)

Debit/credit card transaction fee
1.75%

Debit/credit card transaction fee
1.69%

Settlement
1-2 business days

Settlement
1-3 business days

  

iZettle
review

SumUp
review

iZettle Reader 2 small

SumUp Air small
Sign Up
Sign Up
Device price
£59 £19 + VAT
(link to offer)
£29 £19 + VAT
(link to offer)
Card transaction fee
1.75%1.69%
Settlement time
1-2 business days1-3 business days
  

Similar fees, both competitive

iZettle’s and SumUp’s transaction fees are very similar. iZettle charges a fixed rate of 1.75% and SumUp 1.69% of all card transaction totals regardless of card brand.

Low-volume sole traders with card transactions of £2,000 per month will see no significant difference in fees – SumUp will charge you £33.80 and iZettle £35. For medium-volume business, a flat rate of 1.69%–1.75% for all cards is competitive compared with negotiated rates from WorldPay, Sage Pay and other providers. The fees are especially competitive for premium cards like JCB and Amex, which normally cost significantly more in processing fees with other providers.

Neither SumUp nor iZettle have monthly fees or other charges on top of the transaction fee. As we will see below, iZettle offers more features and also allows you to accept a few more card brands.

iZettle will usually process payments into your bank account slightly faster than SumUp – in most cases, one or two business days after each transaction. Depending on your bank, the funds may be credited the same day or the next.

The settlement delay for SumUp depends on whether the transaction was with a debit or credit card. Debit card payments are credited within a day, while credit card payments may take up to three days to show in your account.

Bottom (1) and top (2) of iZetttle Reader 2 and SumUp Air. Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier (EC), Mobile Transaction

Both accept a wide range of cards

Both iZettle Reader and SumUp Air accept the most common cards including Visa, V Pay, Visa Electron, Mastercard and Maestro, plus Apple Pay and Google Play. They also allow you to take American Express, UnionPay and Diners Club at no extra cost; a bargain compared to the cost a small business would pay with a merchant account of a typical acquirer.

With iZettle, you can accept JCB on top of the above cards. For any business dealing with Japanese tourists, this will likely bring you more (and higher) sales. Then again, SumUp accepts Discover cards – a credit card mostly issued in the US – which iZettle does not. As to Samsung Pay, only iZettle accepts this.

Selling at a till point? Point of sale features

One of the great benefits of iZettle and SumUp compared with a traditional, standalone terminal, is that a free ePOS system is included in the app. The app works particularly well from a tablet as a touchscreen register.

We like both apps, but while SumUp emanates reliable German software engineering, iZettle is a joyful combination of functionality and design with more features – it simply looks and feels better.

The SumUp app is perfectly fine if you sell simple products or services. But with iZettle Go, you have more features like tracking inventory levels, barcode scanning, tipping and invoicing through the checkout screen.

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I Accept

POS apps works like a touchscreen cash register, as in the above iZettle Go app.

SumUp only allows you to use their card reader for goods and services you provide within seven days. This means you can’t sell, say, a booking for a haircut in two weeks or a plane ticket for next month. iZettle is somewhat more lenient, but they do prohibit travel agencies and sales of airline tickets too.

With iZettle, you can print order tickets and use open tickets if you upgrade to iZettle Pro, one of the top POS systems in the UK for restaurants and other food-and-drink businesses. If you don’t work in hospitality, you can upgrade to Go Plus, a more advanced plan that includes out-of-hours customer support, staff-level sales reports and e-commerce. Businesses with a monthly turnover of £25,000+ can get a custom price plan from iZettle.

SumUp also offers the option to expand to a more comprehensive POS system that is not their own. If you contact them directly, they can give you a quote from compatible third parties like Vend or The Good Till.

Customer-not-present payments

SumUp can activate a virtual terminal for phone payments, but only some merchants – who already sell face to face – can get it upon request. Through this, you can accept JCB in addition to Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express, Diners Club and Discover. Every transaction through the virtual terminal incurs a 2.95% + 25p transaction fee.

Despite iZettle not offering a virtual terminal, they do offer invoicing (charged 2.5% per payment) and an option to use their ecommerce platform (costs a monthly fee). With invoicing, customers receive automatic reminders if they haven’t paid up yet.

Sign Up
Sign Up
Staff accounts with limited access
Yes, with option to analyse sales performance (Go Plus)
Staff accounts with limited access
Yes, with option to analyse sales performance
Product library
Yes, with images
Product library
Yes, with images
Remote payments
Yes, via invoicing and e-commerce (Go Plus)
Remote payments
Yes, via virtual terminal (must qualify to activate it)
 Expandable to full Point of Sale
Yes, Go Plus (£29/month) or iZettle Pro (£39/month per iPad)
 Expandable to full Point of Sale
Yes, third party software
Accounting 
Excel, CSV reports
Xero and Debitoor integration
Accounting 
Excel, CSV reports
Receipts
Print, text or email
Receipts
Print, text or email
Compatible receipt printers
Star Micronics TSP-143, Epson TM-T88V, and many more
Compatible receipt printers
Star Micronics TSP-100, Bixolon SPP-R200IIiK, and more
Elaborate business analytics  Basic business analytics
Sign Up
Sign Up
Staff accounts with limited access
Yes, with option to analyse sales performance (Go Plus)Yes, with option to analyse sales performance
Product library
YesYes
Remote payments
Yes, via invoicing and e-commerce (Go Plus)Yes, via virtual terminal (must qualify to activate it)
Expandable to full POS?
Yes, Go Plus (£29/month) or iZettle Pro (£39/month per iPad)Yes, third party software
Accounting
Excel, CSV reports, Xero and Debitoor integrationExcel, CSV reports
Receipts
Print, text or emailPrint, text or email
Compatible receipt printers
Star Micronics TSP-143, Epson TM-T88V, and many moreStar Micronics TSP-100, Bixolon SPP-R200IIiK, and more
Analytics
PlentyBasic

Small business accounting

Both iZettle and SumUp give you an account online showing you an overview of transactions. You can generate reports and export your sales history to Excel for accounting purposes.

iZettle offers better business analytics showing stock levels, most profitable days and times for certain products, how much discount you’ve given, cash versus card sales, and plenty more. All reports are shown in a user-friendly interface.

More and more small businesses benefit from affordable, cloud-based accounting software, as it can really save you time. Namely, Xero features are hard to beat: invoicing, inventory, payroll, workplace pensions, VAT computation, purchase orders, and so on. iZettle integrates with Xero – SumUp does not yet.

A caveat on the iZettle/Xero integration: while the financial side syncs perfectly, the product level does not. This means that if you sell an item with iZettle, the inventory in Xero will not be updated accordingly.

Neither SumUp nor iZettle offers payroll, but with the iZettle/Xero integration, you get payroll functionality in Xero for five employees for £15 per month (£10 for the basic package per month and £5 for payroll).

iZettle’s cash advance option is intended for small businesses who otherwise struggle to get a small business loan with favourable terms.

iZettle has more to offer growing businesses

With more integrations, a more sophisticated POS app and more elaborate reports, iZettle could be more attractive for businesses who want to benefit from cloud services beyond payments.

iZettle’s cash advance option (iZettle Cash Advance) has been anticipated for small businesses who otherwise struggle to get a small business loan with favourable terms. Subject to their iZettle sales history, existing iZettle customers can qualify for an interest-free loan based on their estimated future card sales. If you accept the loan, you only pay off the loan via a preset fee for the sales you have. The days you don’t earn, you don’t pay; when you earn more, you pay more.

SumUp Air and iZettle Reader 2 on table surface

SumUp Air and iZettle Reader 2 both sport a clean, modern look. Photo: EC, Mobile Transaction

Use SumUp in continental Europe, US and Brazil

iZettle can be used in the UK only. The company says they are working on making it possible for UK vendors to use it elsewhere in Europe, but as of 2018, this feature is not available.

By default, SumUp does not work abroad either, but the company says you may be able to use it in countries covered by their operations in some circumstances. If you want to accept cards on an overseas trip, just contact their customer support team providing the exact dates you want to trade abroad.

SumUp’s eligible countries include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the US.

In summary: iZettle can offer more to growing businesses

If you are just interested in being able to take cards and you have fairly low sales volumes, SumUp’s slightly lower transaction fee will save you a little money in the long run. If you will benefit from the additional features and services iZettle has to offer, that is a good reason to opt for iZettle for both low- and medium-volume merchants.

Best upfront offer: £19 + VATBest upfront offer: £19 + VAT
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