Our rating(4/5)
SumUp Solo is a unique touchscreen card terminal to fit in your pocket.
SumUp Solo is a standalone, handheld card reader with a touchscreen. For just an upfront price, it is an affordable terminal without monthly fees, commitment or a complicated setup.
  • Highs: Compact card machine. Works anywhere with 3G or WiFi. No ongoing fees. Simple to use. Dock included.
  • Lows: Few software features. No integration with POS system, printer or product library. Battery life could be better.
  • Buy if: You want a stylish, pocket-sized card terminal for basic card payments with tipping options.


Lowest price of SumUp Solo

SumUp Solo 99
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Get SumUp Solo for just £99 + VAT. No ongoing fees or contract. Free delivery in 2-3 working days.

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How SumUp Solo works

SumUp is known for its user-friendly, simple card payment solutions for small businesses and sole traders alike.

The latest card terminal, SumUp Solo, is a special one: a square-shaped, standalone card reader without a physical PIN pad. Instead, it is operated exclusively via the front-facing touchscreen, like a purpose-built mobile device for card payments.

Accepted cards

VisaV PayMastercardMaestroAmerican ExpressDiners ClubDiscoverUnion PayContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay

The card reader comes with a built-in SIM card with unlimited data for 3G connectivity, but can also function through WiFi.

It is therefore ideal as a mobile card terminal that works on even low network connections, as well as for table-service in, for example, a small café with a secured WiFi network.

To accept a card payment, you enter an amount and custom description on the screen, proceed to add a tip (if relevant), process the card and send a digital receipt. Transactions can be viewed and refunded on the terminal.

Solo accepts a wide selection of chip and PIN and contactless cards and mobile wallets.

Payments are automatically settled in your bank account within 1-3 working days, or the next day (including weekends) in an online SumUp account linked to a SumUp Mastercard that is free to use.

Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier (EC), Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo unboxing

All the box contents of a SumUp Solo package.

Fees and pricing

SumUp Solo only costs a one-off price of £99 + VAT. No setup fee applies, and it gets delivered for free within 2-3 working days. If you change your mind about the purchase, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on Solo.

There is no monthly fee, contractual commitment or other ongoing costs, just a fixed rate of 1.69% per card payment.

Charges
SumUp Solo £99 + VAT
Shipping Free
Contractual commitment None
Monthly fees None
Transaction fee (any card) 1.69%
Payouts in 1-3 working days Free
Refunds Before payout: Free
After payout: SumUp charges transaction fee
Chargebacks £10 each
Charges
SumUp Solo £99 + VAT
Shipping Free
Contractual commitment None
Monthly fees None
Transaction fee (any card) 1.69%
Payouts in 1-3 working days Free
Refunds Before payout: Free
After payout: SumUp charges transaction fee
Chargebacks £10 each

Payouts are processed free to your bank account, or to the SumUp Card account if you are directing payouts there.

It is free to refund card transactions, as long as the transaction has not yet been settled in your bank account (i.e. within 1-3 days of the original transaction). After that, SumUp will charge a 1.69% transaction fee to process the refund.

If a customer disputes a payment, a chargeback fee of £10 occurs.

Terminal features

SumUp Solo is a totally unique card terminal to enter the UK market. It is the first card machine 100% designed by SumUp in-house by a team of over 100 engineers and product designers. Previous card readers – such as SumUp Air – were partly designed by SumUp, using certain hardware components by third parties.

Photo: Emily Sorensen (ES), Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo checkout screen

SumUp Solo checkout screen.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo menu screen.

And the result? A simple touchscreen terminal that can constantly evolve with software updates. It is comfortable to hold in your hand, lightweight and easy to slide into a pocket. The built-in software is quite basic at this point, but SumUp may add features down the line.

Tech specs
Dimensions 83 x 83 x 17 mm
Card reader weight 147 g
Display Touchscreen, greyscale
PIN pad On touchscreen (no push-button PIN pad)
Connections GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth
SIM card & data Built in, unlimited free data
Card reader technology EMV (chip), NFC (contactless)
Battery life 100 transactions from full charge
Accessories included SumUp Solo card reader, USB-C charging cable, charging cradle with clear lid, card brand decals
Tech specs
Dimensions 83 x 83 x 17 mm
Card reader weight 147 g
Display Touchscreen, greyscale
PIN pad On touchscreen (no push-button PIN pad)
Connections GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth
SIM card & data Built in, unlimited free data
Card reader technology EMV (chip), NFC (contactless)
Battery life 100 transactions from full charge
Accessories included SumUp Solo card reader, USB-C charging cable, charging cradle with clear lid, card brand decals

The (non-colour) touchscreen is highly responsive. When it’s on standby and not in the accompanying dock, you simply tap the dark screen to show the checkout screen. If stationed in the dock, you have to press the power button on the side to activate the screen.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Solo’s display in strong sunlight.

You can adjust the screen brightness to suit any environment and set it to turn off the screen after 30 seconds, 1-5 minutes or never.

We tested the maximum screen brightness in strong sunlight, and the screen was still readable. However, it was grey and not bright in the sun – though better than the performance of SumUp 3G’s display that has had complaints about being hard to see in the sun.

The battery life is officially 100 transactions from a full charge, but in reality, it depends a lot on how it’s used.

With maximum screen brightness and frequent testing, the battery did not take more than an hour to use half its power. If you only used it for transactions, with low screen brightness, it would last longer. It also drains the battery within hours to keep it on standby.

It takes a few hours to charge Solo from 0% to 100% – not quick, so you should always make sure it’s got enough power when it’s most needed.

What about the software? Here are the features:

  • Checkout screen: Numerical keypad where you enter a transaction amount and custom description to go on the receipt. You cannot enter multiple amounts for one bill or add products from an inventory library.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo transaction

You can only enter one amount per transaction.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo custom description

Entering a transaction description can be fiddly with big fingers, as the keys are small.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo loading screen

It can take several seconds before it’s ready to accept a card.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

Ready for a contactless or chip and PIN transaction.

  • Digital receipts: After each successful transaction, you can send a receipt via email or text message (it’s all free).

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo send receipt

Receipt options after a payment.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo text receipt

Entering a mobile number for SMS receipt.

  • Tipping: Turning on ‘Smart Tipping’ will display tipping suggestions before each payment, which has been shown to increase your tipping income. The customer can either choose a tip like £2 or 15% (depending on transaction value), add a custom amount or choose not to tip.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo smart tipping

Smart tipping options before a payment.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo tipping settings

Tipping settings.

  • Connections: Toggle on/off WiFi and log into your WiFi network from the main menu. If it’s switched off, the terminal will use its SIM card to connect with the best available mobile network.

  • Sales history: View your transaction history on a list, sorted into dates. Tapping on a transaction gives you more details about the transaction, and options to refund or resend an SMS or email receipt.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo sales history

Sales history section.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo transaction options

Transaction options.

  • Languages: Set the language to almost any European language. This is useful if you’re going on a business trip abroad (SumUp Solo can be used abroad under some circumstances) or serving non-English-speaking clients.

That’s it for features. You cannot connect the terminal with a point of sale (POS) app or add more features, but SumUp may decide to add new functions through its regular software updates. For instance, we experienced a sudden increase in language options from one day to another while testing.

The card machine automatically shows when new updates are available, but you can also check software updates manually on the terminal. If you need to, you can log out of the SumUp account from the settings menu (you must log in with your SumUp account details the first time you use it).

Accessories and printed receipts

Since this is a standalone card machine, there are not many accessories to connect it with.

The main accessory – included in the package – is a non-slip display stand to put on a countertop. This doubles as a charging dock with an internal storage compartment for a USB charging cable.

Photo: EC, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo dock compartment

Solo stand’s compartment with USB charging cable.

You can either plug the charging cable into Solo directly, or place Solo in the cradle and plug the cable into the dock to charge the card reader. You’ll need your own adapter plug for the USB cable, or charge it through a USB charging socket.

The dock’s clear, magnetically attached lid is a great, stylish protection to keep the reader free from dust and dirt. The included decals showing all the cards accepted by SumUp Solo can be stuck onto the lid perfectly.

Photo: EC, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo in its dock with lid on.

Photo: EC, Mobile Transaction

With the lid off, chip cards can be inserted.

What’s lacking is the possibility to attach a receipt printer. However, SumUp will later in 2021 release a special receipt printer to connect with Solo. In the meantime, SumUp 3G and Printer and SumUp Air with a compatible Bluetooth printer can be used for paper receipts.

You cannot connect Solo with point of sale equipment like a cash drawer, barcode scanner or kitchen printer. It is meant purely for card and mobile wallet transactions, not cash or POS setups where you scan products or print itemised receipts.

SumUp Solo vs. Air

If you’re facing a choice between SumUp Air and SumUp Solo, there are some crucial differences.

For a start, SumUp Air only works when it’s connected with SumUp App on a phone or tablet connected to the internet. Solo only works on its own.

Because Air is only switched on when a transaction created in SumUp App is ready for the card payment, the battery life of Air is much better than Solo at 500 transactions from a full charge. Transactions on Solo are created from start to finish via a power-consuming touchscreen, so it only lasts 100 transactions from a full charge.

SumUp Solo SumUp Air
SumUp Solo SumUp Air
Price £99 + VAT £29 + VAT
Works without phone/tablet
Network GPRS, 3G, WiFi 3G, 4G, WiFi
Size 83 x 83 x 17 mm 84 x 84 x 23 mm
Battery life 100 transactions 500 transactions
POS integrations None SumUp App, Goodtill
Receipt printing No compatible printers Connects with Bluetooth printers
SumUp Solo SumUp Air
SumUp Solo SumUp Air
£99 + VAT £29 + VAT
Works without app on mobile device
Network
GPRS, 3G, WiFi 3G, 4G, WiFi
Size
83 x 83 x 17 mm 84 x 84 x 23 mm
Battery life
100 transactions 500 transactions
POS integrations
None SumUp App, Goodtill
Receipt printing
No compatible printers Connects with Bluetooth printers

SumUp Air can connect with a good range of compatible, mobile receipt printers over Bluetooth. Solo cannot yet connect with a receipt printer, but SumUp is developing one that fits specifically with Solo.

Size-wise, Solo is a bit smaller and lighter than Air. This is somewhat due to its dominating touchscreen that acts as both the display and keypad in one, whereas Air has a separate display and physical PIN pad below.

Reporting and other free extras

If you need more than a basic transactions overview on the terminal, you can log into your SumUp Dashboard on a laptop. Here, you can analyse sales, export sales reports and use SumUp Accounting to sort your books for HMRC.

You’ll also see many additional features (included free) such as invoicing, a product library and your SumUp Card account.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

SumUp Dashboard

SumUp Dashboard in a web browser.

Even if you don’t have a SumUp Air reader, we recommend downloading the SumUp App on your phone because it has lots of additional features. You can send payment links, accept QR code payments, sell and accept gift cards, and create a basic online store page.

The app also has an overview of payouts, employee accounts (staff can have different logins) and a product library to sell from in the app only, not SumUp Solo.

Customer service

All SumUp merchants can phone, email or message customer support on weekdays between 8am-7pm and Saturdays between 8am-5pm. Some customers do not get prompt support, while others do – calling is usually the fastest way to reach the team.

You cannot access help guides on the terminal, but it does show the URL to SumUp’s online FAQs that you can look up on your phone.

Getting started

SumUp is one of the easiest options around for getting started with card payments.

You simply go on the website, click to get started and complete an online sign-up form (takes about 5-10 minutes). You can then order the card reader online and wait 2-3 working days to receive it by post.

It may take a few days before your bank account – which must be in a name that matches your business name – is linked to your SumUp account, but you can still accept payments straight away. As soon as the bank account is verified, transactions can be released in your bank account.

Alternatively, you can choose to receive transactions in the online SumUp account, if you want to keep it separate from your bank account.

Photo: SumUp

SumUp Solo on a countertop.

Our verdict

SumUp Solo is an interesting card machine built for card payments that don’t require integration with a POS system. It works well for simple transactions where you just enter a payment total, not itemised receipts linked to a food menu or inventory library.

It’s fundamentally different from its predecessor SumUp 3G because of its touchscreen and compact design, but they are equally basic in their features. If you want more advanced features, you may consider SumUp Air that connects with POS systems – but Air doesn’t work on its own.

With Solo, you can truly use it solo, anywhere with a mobile connection or wireless internet. The accompanying stand makes it great for, say, hairdressers and pop-up shops with a counter, and the tipping options are advantageous for hospitality and professional services.

Last but not least: the lack of monthly fees, commitment and complicated costs is attractive for a card reader. The upfront cost is low compared to traditional card machines, and the fixed rate competitive below a monthly turnover of £5,000.