iZettle Reader and SumUp Air are two leading mobile card readers in the UK. Both can turn your smartphone or tablet into a card terminal through the processing power of an app.

They cost less than £30 each, and the silver lining? That there is no monthly fee or rental charge, minimum contract period or minimum card volume. You just pay a fee per card transaction.

iZettle logoSumUp logo

iZettle Reader 2 small

iZettle Reader review

SumUp Air small

SumUp Air review

Price£59 £19 + VAT£29 £19 + VAT
Card fee1.75%1.69%
ContractNoneNone
Monthly costsNoneNone
Settlement1-2 working days1-3 working days
Accepted cardsVisa Visa Electron V Pay Mastercard Maestro American Express JCB Diners ClubUnion PayDiscoverVisa Visa Electron V Pay Mastercard Maestro American ExpressDiners ClubUnion PayDiscover
Contactless Apple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay Apple PayGoogle Pay
iZettle logo
iZettle
review
SumUp logo
SumUp
review

iZettle Reader 2 small

SumUp Air small
Price
£59 £19 + VAT
(offer)
£29 £19 + VAT
(offer)
Transaction fee
1.75%1.69%
Monthly fee
NoneNone
Contractual commitment
NoneNone
Settlement time
1-2 working days1-3 working days
Visa Visa Electron V Pay Mastercard Maestro American Express JCB Diners ClubUnion PayDiscoverVisa Visa Electron V Pay Mastercard Maestro American ExpressDiners ClubUnion PayDiscover
 Apple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay Apple PayGoogle Pay

SumUp also offers a pocket-sized terminal called SumUp 3G. Suffice to say, this model works with a 3G connection through an inbuilt SIM card. SumUp 3G is completely independent, which means that a linked mobile phone or tablet is not required. This comparison features the SumUp Air model, since it works through a mobile app similar to iZettle Reader.

SumUp’s tiny savings are evened out in other areas

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 or whether it is a premium, debit or credit card.

iZettle ReaderSumUp Air
Card reader£59 £19 + VAT£29 £19 + VAT
Delivery chargeFreeFree
Transaction fee1.75% (any card)1.69% (any card)
Monthly feeNoneNone
Minimum sales requirementNoneNone
RefundsFreeFree within 1-3 days, 1.69% after
ChargebacksFree cover for up to £250 chargebacks /mo£10 each
iZettle
Reader
SumUp
Air
£59 £19 + VAT£29 £19 + VAT
Delivery charge
FreeFree
Transaction fee
1.75% (any card)1.69% (any card)
Monthly fee
NoneNone
Minimum sales requirement
NoneNone
Refunds
FreeFree within 1-3 days, 1.69% after
Chargebacks
Free cover for up to £250 chargebacks /mo£10 each

Low-volume merchants with card transactions of £2,000 per month will see no significant difference in fees – SumUp would charge £33.80 and iZettle £35. For medium-volume business, these card rates are comparable with negotiated rates from Worldpay, Sage Pay and other providers. iZettle’s and SumUp’s rates are really competitive for premium cards like JCB and Amex, which normally cost significantly more in processing fees through other providers.

Neither SumUp nor iZettle have monthly fees or other charges on top of the transaction fee. You could argue that SumUp’s marginally lower card fee is compensated for through the blanket chargeback fee and refund fee, if you process a refund after you have received the transaction money in your bank account.

Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Air vs iZettle Reader 2 - top

Tops of iZettle Reader 2 and SumUp Air.

They both deposit payments directly into your business’ bank account, minus the transaction fee which is automatically deducted. iZettle’s 1-2 working days’ settlement is slightly faster than SumUp’s. Depending on your bank, the funds may be deposited the same or next day.

Settlement time for SumUp depends on whether the transaction was by 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 the bank account.

Both accept impressive range of cards

Both iZettle Reader 2 (the newest model) 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, Diners Club and Discover 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. Samsung Pay is similarly only accepted by iZettle.

Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Air vs iZettle Reader 2 bottom

Bottoms of iZettle Reader 2 and SumUp Air.

More checkout functions with iZettle

iZettle Reader and SumUp Air work in conjunction with a free POS app on a mobile device (connected via Bluetooth). The software works particularly well from a tablet as a touchscreen register, but it does not work on a computer.

Both the SumUp and iZettle apps are really user-friendly and updated regularly. SumUp’s design is quite plain, while iZettle is a joyful combination of functionality and design with additional features.

The SumUp app is perfectly fine for selling simple products or services. But with iZettle Go, you have more features like inventory tracking, product variables, barcode scanning, tipping, payment links and invoicing through the checkout screen.

For privacy reasons Vimeo needs your permission to be loaded. For more details, please see our Privacy Policy.
I Accept

The iZettle Go app is basically a POS system on a touchscreen.

With iZettle, you can print order tickets and use open tickets if you upgrade to iZettle Pro for restaurants and other hospitality businesses. If you don’t work in food-and-drink, you have the option to upgrade to Go Plus which includes out-of-hours customer support and ecommerce. Businesses with a monthly turnover of £10,000+ can apply for custom rates.

SumUp offers the option to expand to a more comprehensive POS system. If you contact them directly, they can give you a quote based on your business situation.

Both systems can be expanded with accessories like a cash drawer, receipt printers and barcode scanners, suitable as a complete till system for a small brick-and-mortar shop.

Link
Product library
Staff accounts
Remote paymentsInvoicing, payment links, e-commerce (Go Plus only)Virtual terminal (must qualify for activation)
ReceiptsPrint, text or emailPrint, text or email
Compatible receipt printersStar Micronics SM-L200 & TSP143, Epson TM-T88V & TM-T20II, AirPrint printers, and many moreStar Micronics SM-L200 & TSP143, Bixolon SPP-R200II & SPP-R210i, AirPrint & Google Cloud Print printers
ReportingExcel, CSV reports
Xero, Debitoor integration
Excel, CSV reports
Sales analyticsCore analytics included  Core analytics included
Upgrade optionsGo Plus (£29/mo), iZettle Pro (£39/mo per iPad)SumUp POS system available
Product library
Staff accounts
Remote payments
Invoicing, payment links, e-commerce (Go Plus only)Virtual terminal (must qualify to activate it)
Receipts
Print, text, emailPrint, text, email
Compatible receipt printers
Star Micronics SM-L200 & TSP143, Epson TM-T88V & TM-T20II, AirPrint printers, and many moreStar Micronics SM-L200 & TSP143, Bixolon SPP-R200II & SPP-R210i, AirPrint & Google Cloud Print printers
Reporting
Excel, CSV reports, Xero & Debitoor integrationExcel, CSV reports
Sales analytics
Upgrade options
Go Plus (£29/mo), iZettle Pro (£39/mo per iPad)SumUp POS system available

Not just for in-person payments

SumUp can activate a virtual terminal for phone payments, but only some merchants already selling face to face can get it upon request. If SumUp approves your request for it, you can accept JCB in addition to Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express, Diners Club and Discover over the terminal available in any browser. Transactions through the virtual terminal cost 2.95% + 25p per transaction.

Although iZettle does not have a virtual terminal, invoicing and payment links (charged 2.5% per payment) are available to all their users – plus an ecommerce platform on the monthly Go Plus plan. With invoicing, customers receive automatic reminders if they haven’t paid the bill yet. Payment links do not contain customer-specific information, but are instead one-time links sent by text, email or a social media platform.

Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier, Mobile Transaction

SumUp vs iZettle

SumUp Air and iZettle Reader 2 on respective docks.

Small-business reporting with some limitations

Both iZettle and SumUp give you an overview of transactions in the online dashboard. There are enough reporting features to cover accounting requirements, including the ability to create reports and export sales to Excel.

iZettle has somewhat better business analytics with stock levels, most profitable days and times for certain products, discounts given and more. SumUp’s reports are more limited, but you still get card versus cash transactions, sales by employee and graphs of sales within a chosen period of time All reports are shown in a user-friendly interface.

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

More and more small businesses benefit from affordable, cloud-based accounting software, because it saves time. Xero’s features are hard to beat: 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 has payroll functionality, but Xero gives you payroll features through the iZettle integration.

Why not compare with SumUp 3G? SumUp Air and 3G two different technologies

iZettle better geared towards growing businesses

With the slightly more sophisticated POS app and reports, iZettle could be more attractive for businesses intending to benefit from cloud services beyond payments.

iZettle’s cash advance option is intended for small businesses who otherwise struggle to get a small business loan with favourable terms. Subject to sales history, existing iZettle users can qualify for an interest-free loan based on estimated future card sales. If you accept the advance, you only pay off through a fixed rate on future card sales. The days you don’t earn, you don’t pay; the more you earn, the more you pay.

Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier, Mobile Transaction

iZettle vs SumUp

SumUp Air and iZettle Reader 2 both sport a clean, modern look.

SumUp can be used across Europe

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 2019, this is still not possible.

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 in Europe, just contact their customer support team providing the exact dates you want to trade abroad.

Key points to consider

Both systems have attractive characteristics for budget-conscious entrepreneurs. The card readers are cheap, there are no fixed monthly costs, no minimum revenue requirements and the transaction fee is competitive for small businesses. SumUp and iZettle are therefore both suitable for occasional and regular use alike.

That said, if you are just interested in accepting cards and have a fairly low sales volume, SumUp’s slightly lower transaction fee might save you a bit of money in the long run. For more features and integration options, it’s probably best to opt for iZettle.

SumUp Air with iPhone app

iZettle Reader: £19 + VATSumUp Air: £19 + VAT