Square vs iZettle vs SumUp: Compare the three best UK card readers

By | 2018-02-23T08:36:31+00:00 February 17th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s now easier than ever to accept credit and debit cards in the UK. Forget the costly card machines of yore. Instead, check out these contactless card readers that can process payments with a smartphone or tablet through neat and easy-to-use POS apps.

In 2018, the race between the most popular mobile card readers in the UK is hair-splittingly close. On our top 3 card reader list, newcomer Square has replaced PayPal Here, as it simply offers more features at better rates. For cost-conscious start-ups, SumUp has the most attractive flat rate, while iZettle and Square pack more features into their superior free POS software.

iZettleSumUpSquare Reader
iZettleSumUpSquare Reader

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Device list price£59 £19 + VAT (link to offer)£59 £19 + VAT (link to offer)£39
Transaction cost debit/credit card (chip, swipe, contactless)1.75%1.69%1.75%
Transaction cost cardholder not presentPay by invoice (app and email): 2.5%Virtual terminal and sms payments (special conditions apply): 2.95% + 25pKeyed in, invoice, online, virtual terminal: 2.5%
Monthly feeNoneNoneNone
Minimum revenue requirementNoneNoneNone
Supported cards
Contactless options
Deposit in bank account1-3 business days in most cases2-3 business days in most cases1-2 business days
PIN confirmation methodOn card reader pinpadOn card reader pinpadOn app on mobile device or tablet
Compatible receipt printersSeveral Star Micronics and Epson models and all AirPrint for iOSStar Micronics TSP-100 and Bixolon SPP-R200IISeveral Star Micronics and Epson models. No Bluetooth printer support for Android.
Digital receiptsText and emailText and emailText and email
Compatible mobiles and tabletsiPad or iPhone: iOS 8.0 or higher Android device: operating system Android 4.4 or higher. Some Huawei and Galaxy tab models incompatible.iPad or iPhone: iOS 8.0 or higher Android device: operating system Android 4.4 or higher.iPad or iPhone: iOS 9.0 or higher Android device: operating system Android 5.0 or higher.
Staff accountsYesYesYes
Product libraryYesYesYes
Tips/gratuitiesNo (yes with upgrade to iZettle Pro)NoYes
AccountingAnalytics and accounting exports to Excel and CSV. Integrates with Xero and DebitoorTransaction and payout reportsAnalytics and accounting reports to Excel and CSV. Integrates with Xero and Enterpryze
Use abroadNoCan be activated if customer service is informed in advance.No
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All three systems share characteristics that make them very attractive to small businesses. Initial setup costs are very low, and there are no fixed monthly rental fees and no minimum transaction volumes required.

SumUp Air, iZettle Reader, and Square Reader are therefore all suitable for infrequent use, as well as for processing multiple transactions daily as a primary POS solution.

As opposed to traditional chip and PIN readers, you purchase the card readers for a low price with no future rental charges or lock-in to worry about.

Cards and charges

iZettle currently accepts the most payment cards. On top of Visa, Mastercard and American Express included by all three, iZettle can handle Diners Club, JCB and UnionPay too.

iZettle used to offer an incentivised transaction rate scheme but has opted for a fixed percentage. SumUp now offers the best flat fee in the UK at 1.69%, beating iZettle and Square by 0.06 percentage points.

However, iZettle and Square will deposit your funds in your bank account slightly faster – expect them to appear within one or two business days. With SumUp, you are more likely to get your funds after three business days.

The iZettle and Square apps are ahead of the game, with more features than SumUp.

For more information on these mobile card readers, read our comprehensive reviews on each: iZettle, Square and SumUp.