Getting the card reader is the easy part. It normally costs £45 + VAT but is occasionally on offer. Given that you then own the terminal and have no further monthly rental charges, it is affordable. Shipping is included for UK addresses. The accompanying app is free on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
It’s with the transaction fees that things start to get difficult. Your rates depend on your monthly sales volume, type of cards used and whether the card payment was made via chip, contactless, swipe or manual entry. Whether the card was issued in the UK or not is another cost factor.
Visa and Mastercard can qualify for a processing rate of lower than 2.75% if your total monthly card turnover is over £1,500. Amex is always processed at the top rate of 2.75%, or higher if swipe or manual entry is used.