- Highs: Affordable fixed transaction rate of 1.69%. No other ongoing costs to worry about.
- Lows: Phone support limited to working hours (Mon-Fri 9 am – 6 pm).
- Buy if: You need an affordable and easy solution for taking payments.
SumUp – the low-down
Accepting card payments is a must in today’s just-about cashless society. Increasingly, vendors need to be able to process a wide range of cards, anywhere, at anytime.
One of the mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions for small businesses growing fast in the UK is SumUp. Having merged with Payleven, it now rivals iZettle (see comparison table) and offers more competitive rates than PayPal Here it has no fixed monthly fees or minimum transaction volumes.
The company launched its new Air contactless card reader in the UK in November 2016. Featuring the latest in Chip and PIN technology, swipe and contactless functionality, the new reader is a step up from SumUp’s PIN+ from 2014.
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’re away! (Internet connection can be via WiFi or 3G/4G).
SumUp’s wireless Air card reader connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth 4.0. The cloud-based processing power contained within the app is what allows it to actually process your payments.
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, before the customer inserts their card into the reader and confirms payment with their PIN code.
Once the payment has gone through, an email or SMS receipt can be sent to the customer.
In addition to Visa, V PAY, Maestro and MasterCard, SumUp also accepts American Express. You can accept international cards, as long as they belong to the Visa, MasterCard or American Express brands.
The Air device accepts contactless cards, so you customer can just tap for amounts up to £30 without entering the PIN. The terminal is Apple Pay ready too.
Affordable fixed transaction fee
Like its competitors iZettle and Payleven, there are no ongoing or monthly fees with SumUp – you only pay a flat rate of 1.69% per transaction. The recommended retail price for its Air card reader is £59 excl. VAT.
SumUp’s 1.69% transaction fee is technically one of the best fixed rates currently available on the UK market for mobile card reader. SumUp’s competitor iZettle charges 1.75%, but services like PayPal Here or the Barclaycard Anywhere terminal for mobile will set you back significantly more.
An added feature of SumUp, which may well be worth the 0.20% higher fees than SumUp, is the option to take phone payments and SMS payments. These are charged at 2.95% + 25p. SumUp is the only payment provider in the UK we are aware of to offer these not present transactions without a mandatory monthly charge. And the rate is definitely more attractive that what you’ll get with PayPal’s virtual terminal at 3.4% + 20p per transaction and a monthly fee of £20.
For sole traders, entrepreneurs and small businesses £2,000 -£3,000 or less per month in card payments however, SumUp remains an attractive option together with iZettle, affordability-wise.
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 1.69% is very competitive.
From 2017 SumUp is offering a complete Point of Sale solution, making it suitable for small retail, food and beverage and services businesses. This software however, if you opt for it, will incur a fixed monthly cost.
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.
There are certain business types SumUp will not support, such as multi-level marketing, any kind of adult entertainment, door to door sales, and unlicensed counselling such as financial, marriage or abuse counselling. It is important to be aware of the restrictions, as some of the negative reviews we’ve seen is from people who have had the service shut down due to usage restrictions.
For those traveling abroad for business – to trade shows for example –SumUp offers the flexibility of use abroad if you’ve made prior arrangements with customer service. This arrangement is available in all countries SumUp offers services, which means most European countries, the US, Brazil and Chile.
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 – where access to information and authorities for additional account users are defined by the main account holder. 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’s also possible to set up a multi-user account where different users can log-in using their personal details. The available 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 most affordable 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 other receipt printers for selling from a counter are Star Micronics TSP143LAN, TSP650 and TSP650ii. Make sure you get the network version, and not the USB version.
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’s 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.
In 2013, there were some reports of non-responsive customer service experiences, however with the launch of its new PIN+ reader, SumUp is reportedly expanding its service teams.
To Sum up, on SumUp
SumUp is likely to be a player in the years to come, having been launched in a number of countries since it was established in 2012, and merging with competitor Payleven in 2016 under the name of SumUp.
Apart from the UK, the company has rolled out services to Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United States.
It has been a successful recipient of venture capital and its backers include BBVA Ventures, Groupon and American Express.
Particularly for lower-volume merchants, SumUp offers a mPOS solution that should definitely be considered with its low flat rate and no fuzz model.