- Highs: Affordable fixed transaction rate of 2.75%, including for AmEx. Pay-as-you-go: no contractual lock in, monthly fees or set up costs to worry about.
- Lows: Phone support limited to working hours (Mon–Fri 9 am to 6 pm).
- Buy if: You need a hassle-free and affordable solution for taking payments.
SumUp – the low-down
Accepting card payments is a must in today’s just about cashless society. Payments with debit or credit cards has been the norm in Ireland for a few years, and there is no way back. Increasingly, vendors need to be able to process a broad range of cards, anywhere, at any time.
Still, the cost of a card machine can be prohibitive for small business or for those just starting to trade. Many Irish entrepreneurs are beginning to see mobile point of sales (mPOS) as their best alternative to a traditional terminal with fixed monthly fees and contractual lock-ins of 18 months and more.
Utilising the processing power of a phone or tablet, SumUp can sell its device for a fraction of a traditional terminal. Merchants do have to worry about fixed monthly fees or minimum transaction volumes, being contracted in a pay-as-you-go system.
SumUp – how to get started
To start accepting cards with SumUp, you firstly need a smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth.
Add the company’s free app for iOS or Android and an Internet connection, and you are good to go! (Internet connection can be via WiFi or 3G/4G).
SumUp’s wireless Air reader connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth 4.0. The cloud-based processing power of the app is what allows it to process your payments, and transform your device into a card terminal for iPhone or Android.
SumUp – how it works
With SumUp, the payment process itself is simple: you firstly key in the amount the customer has to pay into the app. The customer inserts their card into the reader and confirms payment with their PIN code.
SumUp is enabled for contactless payments, so tapping contactless cards works too. Apple Pay is compatible, though not yet Android or Samsung Pay.
Once the payment has gone through, an email or SMS receipt can be sent to the customer.
SumUp mobile card reader accepts payments with Visa, V Pay, Maestro, MasterCard and even American Express. To get access to the latter, small businesses usually have to pay a significantly higher fee from a merchant acquirer.
SumUp initiates payments to your bank account daily, although it may take 3–6 business days for payments to be credited.
Affordable fixed transaction fee
Having merged with competitor Payleven, SumUp now only faces competition from AIB and Eir brand Pogo Payments for the mobile card reader market. As far as we can see, Pogo is now only available for Eir business customers. The Pogo app has not been updated since 2015, leading us to believe it has lost competition to SumUp.
Even though Pogo is more affordable than a regular cash till and debit/credit card terminal for a very small businesses, it still charges a much higher fee than SumUp. Plus, Pogo requires that you have a business account with AIB – meaning, if you already have an account with some other bank, or just a personal account with AIB, you will still have to open a new business account and deal with its fees on top of everything else.
|SumUp Air||AIB Pogo|
|Set up fee||Set up fee|
|Monthly fee||Monthly fee|
|Credit card fee|
|Credit card fee|
|Debit card fee|
|Debit card fee|
50 c per transaction
SumUp’s flat rate is 1.95% per transaction and the card terminal costs €79 excl. VAT (available for €19 though this link). This is all that you will have to pay to be able to take payments with credit or debit cards.
SumUp’s 2.75% transaction fee is the best fixed rate currently available in the Irish mobile POS market. High volume merchants might find better deals with a traditional terminal.
Who is SumUp suitable for?
SumUp is a great option for sole traders, small businesses, clubs and societies requiring a single mobile card reader – as opposed to multiple readers and staff accounts.
For lower-volume traders and businesses, SumUp’s flat fee of 2.75% is competitive. If your monthly card sales total exceeds €5000, it may be worthwhile getting a quite for a traditional terminal provider to compare – just keep in mind the addition monthly fee, contractual lock-in and in some cases minimum transaction volume requirements.
In principle, SumUp is for registered businesses and non-profits such as clubs, societies, schools and universities only. However, accounts for private individuals are considered by the company on a case-by-case basis.
Some accounting functionality
The online dashboard offered by SumUp is a welcome extra feature for accounting and business decision purposes. Similar to its rivals, SumUp enables you to access sales data and to export either your entire sales history, or the history for a particular day, week, or month, to an Excel file.
SumUp also allows you to pre-define products if you wish. You can then click on these in the app and add them to check out.
SumUp does not offer the option of staff accounts, so the account owner cannot define access to information and privileges for additional account users. Yet if you need to have more than one person accepting card payments, it is possible to link more than one reader to the main account. It is also possible to set up a multi-user account where different users can log on using their personal details. The business information in these cases remains the same.
SumUp compatible receipt printers
Receipts can be sent by email or SMS, however for those who want to offer paper receipts, compatible printers are available at extra cost. The desktop option is Star Micronics TSP-100, available in white, putty or grey. It is the most affordable receipt printer on the market at around £125, but will still set you back significantly more than the card terminal.
The mobile option is Bixolon SPP-R200II, which connects to your smartphone or tablet via WiFi or Bluetooth. If you’re using the card reader with an iPhone or iPad, make sure to get the MFi version. It is a rugged, yet lightweight (at 236 grams) portable printer that can either be fixed to a belt or slid into a bag. It will cost you around £190.
What about customer service?
SumUp offers an online Support Centre which will answer the majority of questions users may have.
To contact customer support, email communication is encouraged, though a phone number is also provided for registered customers.
To Sum up, on SumUp
SumUp is likely to be a player in the years to come, having been launched in 14 countries since it was established in 2012. The merger with competitor Payleven in 2016, has made it one of the two biggest mobile point of sale companies in Europe along with Swedish iZettle.
Apart from Ireland, the company has rolled out services to the UK, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Russia.
It has raised a respectable amount of venture capital and its backers include BBVA Ventures, Groupon and American Express.
Especially for lower-volume merchants, SumUp offers a mPOS solution worth a serious consideration.