- Highs: No lock-in or monthly fees, and you can send electronic invoices.
- Lows: Complex fee structure with the least competitive rates.
PayPal Here, PayPal’s Chip and PIN reader has a lot in common with the UK’s other leading mobile Chip and PIN card readers, iZettle and SumUp. But before you make your final decision, there are 3 important differences you should be aware of, namely price, functionality and cards accepted. So, let’s see how PayPal compares to the UK competition (continued below the table).
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|Solution type||Contactless Chip & PIN reader + mobile app||Contactless Chip & PIN reader + mobile app||Contactless Chip & PIN reader + mobile app|
|Card reader list price||£62.5 ex. VAT|
|Debit/credit chip card transaction cost||2.75% – 1.50% depending on volume (reduces from £6000 in monthly card transactions).*||1.75%||1.69%|
|Swipe||3.40% + 20p||1.75%||1.69%|
|Transaction limits||Minimum £1, maximum £150 for payments made via PayPal check-in. PayPal reserves the right to place reserves on the account or take other “protective actions”||Minimum £1, maximum £200,000/day for business account, and £5,000 per card and transaction. £100 daily for transactions using the magnetic stripe.||Minimum €1, maximum limit varies individually.|
|Receipt printers||Star Micronics SM-L200, Star SM-S230i. Additional options for iOS.||Star TSP100LAN, Star TSP654II, Star SM-S220i, Star SM-T300i, Star SM-T400i, Star SM-L200. Additional options for iOS.||Bixolon SPP-R200IIiK/BEGE / SPP-R210iK/BEGE, Star SM-L200, Star TSP100LAN.|
|Settlement delay||Instantly to PayPal account. Additional time to withdraw to bank account. Not all funds might be available straight away.||2-3 business days in most cases||3 business days in most cases|
|Device size||10.3 cm x 7.1 cm x 1.8 cm. Weight: 118 g||11 cm x 7 cm x 2 cm. Weight: 130 g||8.4 cm x 8.4 cm x 2.3 cm. Weight: 142 g|
The PayPal Here device is similar to what used to be called the iZettle Contactless Pro before it upgraded to the iZettle Reader. Black and rather bulky compared to the sleeker iZettle and SumUp devices, PayPal Here is actually a few grams lighter.
If you use an Android, make sure it has Bluetooth 2.0 or higher. Samsung Galaxy users beware! The PayPal Here does NOT work with certain models, including the Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Ace Advance and Galaxy Pocket. And Windows phones are not compatible at all.
How does it work?
PayPal Here allows small businesses to take payments anywhere. It is suitable for any business that’s looking for a low-initial-cost card reader with no monthly fees, i.e., mobile businesses such as food delivery services, market stallholders and trades persons.
You’ll need to get the PayPal Here card reader and download the free app to your mobile phone. The card reader must be connected to the mobile app via Bluetooth. PayPal Here is available for Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads.
The standard Chip and PIN PayPal Here card reader v.1, originally launched in 2013, was phased out after the launch of the current v.2 card reader (which also accepts contactless payments) in mid-2015.
The PayPal Here’s contactless card reader connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet running the PayPal Here app
PayPal Here is available for the use of businesses only – and only businesses with an approved PayPal business account.
Standard cards supported
PayPal Here supports Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and American Express. For amounts up to £30, customers can tap their contactless card on the device without entering their PIN. Manual entry and swiping a magnetic stripe card are also possible, but these come with added fees (see below).
PayPal and SumUp’s card offerings are fairly similar, the difference being that SumUp also offers V Pay. iZettle on the other hand comes with Union Pay, Diners Club and JCB.
Apple Pay and Android Pay are both compatible with PayPal Here, but as yet Samsung Pay is not.
PayPal Here charges and fees
This is a big topic, and it’s where PayPal Here falls short of the competition. Firstly, because the fees are higher, and secondly because, for a “simple” pay-as-you-go system, the fee structure is incredibly complicated.
Getting the card reader is the easy part. It costs £75 including VAT, with occasional special offers. 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 for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
It’s with the transaction fees that things start to get difficult (the table to the right will give you some idea). Your rates depend on your monthly volume, the type of cards used, and whether the card payment was made with chip, tap, swipe or manual entry. Whether the card was issued in the UK or not is another cost factor.
Visa and MasterCard can qualify you for a processing rate lower than 2.75% if your total monthly sales from cards is over £6,000. Amex is always processed at the top rate of 2.75%, and higher if swipe or manual entry are used.
Chip and contactless
Chip and contactless
Manual entry and swipe
|Foreign cards||+ variable fees|
The simplified rates-by-card table shows the blended pricing rate. There are, however, two types of pricing structure to choose from: Blended pricing, and an Interchange Plus plan.
The fee structure for Interchange Plus has two elements: the interchange fee set by Visa and MasterCard, and the fee set by PayPal. Blended pricing is more predictable: you pay one rate regardless of the type of interchange fee charged by Visa and MasterCard.
PayPal Here transaction fees for MasterCard and Visa
|Total monthly sales||Blended fee||Interchange Plus|
|Up to £6,000||2.75%||IC + 2.5%|
|£6,000.01 – £15,000||2.0%||IC + 1.75%|
|£15,000.01 – £55,000||1.5%||IC + 1.25%|
|£55,000+||by arrangement||by arrangement|
IC = card interchange rate. Varies from 0.2% to 2.0%
Exclusions to fee rates
- Manual entry of cards details or swiping magnetic strip: 3.40% + 20p (Blended fee), or IC + 3.15% + 20p (Interchange Plus)
- American Express cards are charged at 2.75% for chip and contactless payments, and 3.40% + 20p for manual entry and swipe.
- Additional cross border fees for cards issued outside the UK.
The Interchange Plus option is worthwhile for more mature businesses that accept predominately debit cards. Most MasterCard, Visa and Maestro debit cards issued in the UK and the European Economic Area carry a 0.20% interchange fee. This would make the total transaction charge 2.70% for monthly volume below £6,000 if you only accept UK issued debit cards.
As soon as you start accepting credit cards, and especially corporate cards, the charges become less affordable, and for many businesses less acceptable. Corporate MasterCards typically apply a 1.60% to 1.90% interchange rate. If you accept cards like these under the Interchange Plus plan, you pay 4.10% to 4.40% per transaction for monthly sales under £6,000.
Another difference is that with the Interchange Plus plan, your funds take 1-2 business days to reach your PayPal account, whereas with the blended-rate plan your PayPal account is credited immediately.
SumUp charge a flat fee of 1.95% for all transactions regardless of card. iZettle and PayPal both apply a sliding rate starting from 2.75%.
iZettle now charges just 1.75% regardless of sales volume. With PayPal, however, monthly sales must be £6,000 before any reduction comes into effect (down to 2.00%).
PayPal charge additional fees for foreign cards, which can be a deal breaker for some businesses.
The PayPal Here app experience
The PayPal Here app mimics a basic Point of Sale system. You can set up products for sale with images, add them to categories, and set variants, VAT rates and discounts.
To enter a new sale in the app, you can either enter the amount manually or select an item from the inventory. Please note, there are no inventory management functions to keep track of your stock.
Tipping is a welcome feature in the PayPal app. You can set up suggested tips as a percentage amount or a flat rate as a part of the payment process.
You can set up your PayPal Here app for up to 200 users with different levels of permissions.
You can use the PayPal Here app to track payments, including cheques and cash, and issue invoices and receipts. On your PayPal account you will see both online PayPal sales and sales through PayPal Here. For merchants who already do business online with PayPal, this might be an attractive prospect.
Receipt printer options
PayPal Here works with Star Micronics receipt printers that can be connected either via Bluetooth or WiFi depending on which model you choose. Star SM-S220i, SM-T300i and SM-T400i are portable receipt printers that connect to your phone via Bluetooth. The paper width is 57mm, 80mm or 112mm depending on which model you choose. These printers also work with iZettle, see our mobile printer review for more information.
There are two desktop options: one connects via Bluetooth, Star TSP654IIBi, and the other connects via WiFi, Star TSP100LAN/TSP143LAN.
If you decided from the outset that you need a receipt printer, you might be better off buying a bundle that includes the device and a printer that matches your needs. Bundles with the PayPal Here card reader and mobile Bluetooth printer sell for £315 and upwards depending on the model.
The real advantage: PayPal integration
As we have seen, PayPal does not have the most competitive prices. Its device is slightly more expensive, and unless your monthly sales exceed £15,000, your will pay lower fees with iZettle.
However, what does make PayPal an attractive option for some businesses is integration with an existing PayPal account used for online sales or for phone payments. If you already receive a significant portion of your revenue through PayPal and you like the sales tracking it offers, sticking to PayPal for in-person payments can make life easier.
What about customer service?
It’s no secret that PayPal gets a lot of stick for its poor customer service. The company website covers everything you need to know when setting up your PayPal Here account, but getting help on more specific issues can sometimes be frustrating.
According to the PayPal website you can easily contact their UK-based customer support team by email, phone or within the PayPal Here app. If you’re phoning, the team are available 8am–10pm Monday–Friday, 8am–9pm Saturday and 9am–9pm on Sunday. However, it can take sometimes take ages to get through.
The PayPal account limitation extending to PayPal Here
Many users of the company’s online payment service will be familiar with PayPal’s dreaded account-limitations emails, notifying them that they will not be able to access their account or withdraw money until the “issue” has been resolved.
Within the first six weeks of PayPal Here’s launch in the UK, users who’d downloaded the accompanying app reported having their accounts frozen, leaving them unable to access existing funds for up to 30 days. Thankfully, we’ve seen fewer of these reports in 2017. We will continue to monitor the issue, and update the review as and when we get more information.
Already PayPal’s largest market outside the United States, the UK is PayPal Here’s first – and so far only – attempt to penetrate the European mobile payments market.
In the UK, PayPal Here is currently competing with iZettle, SumUp and US rival Square. Last year PayPal apparently concentrated on bringing their app up to par with iZettle. As a result, the app is more attractive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the fee scale, which remains as complicated and uncompetitive as before.
- Integrated payments from cards (chip, contactless, swipe and manual entry), cash, cheques, and PayPal check-in.
- Improved app experience.
- Useful easy-to-use user resources on the website.
- iZettle and SumUp offer small businesses better rates.
- Account holds and limitations can be a critical issue.