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 easy-to-use POS apps.
In 2018, the race between the most popular mobile card readers in the UK is really close. On our top three card reader list, 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 have the most superior free POS software, and the option to branch into ecommerce.
|Solution type||Card reader + mobile app||Card reader + mobile app||Card reader + mobile app|
|Card reader price|
|Transaction fee card not present||Invoicing, e-commerce: 2.5%||Virtual terminal: 2.95% + 25p||Key-in, invoice, virtual terminal: 2.5%|
|Min. sales volume?||None||None||None|
|Bank acc. settlement||1-3 business days||2-3 business days||1-2 business days|
|PIN method||On card reader PIN pad||On card reader PIN pad||In-app on mobile device|
|Compatible receipt printers||Star Micronics, Epson, AirPrint||Star Micronics, Bixolon||Star Micronics, Epson|
|Digital receipts||Text and email||Text and email||Text and email|
|Accounting||CSV/Excel, Xero or Debitoor integration||Transaction and payout reports||CSV/Excel, Xero or Enterpryze integration|
|Use abroad||No||Yes, if SumUp is notified||No|
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 card machines, 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. SumUp has recently started accepting Diners Club too, and accepts as the only one Discover cards.
iZettle used to offer an incentivised transaction rate scheme but has opted for a fixed percentage. SumUp 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’s app.