Our rating(3.7/5)
Tyl by NatWest is a payment provider renting out card machines for small businesses.
As an offshoot of the British bank NatWest, Tyl was launched to compete with other card machine solutions at a relatively simple cost. The question is: does it offer enough over leading alternatives?
  • Highs: User-friendly payment terminals. Tailored fees. Next-day payouts. Expandable POS features on Flex.
  • Lows: Year’s lock-in. Fees not transparent. Hourly, not real-time, reporting portal. No EPOS integration. Limited service.
  • Choose if: You already bank with NatWest and want to keep everything payments-related with one provider.

How it works

NatWest is one of few UK banks with a card machine offering, though it was only recently launched, in 2020. The new payment solution is called Tyl by NatWest and includes a selection of card payment machines to rent, a virtual terminal, payment links and online payment gateway.

Background

The Tyl platform was created by the software company Pollinate, using Android-based Clover hardware. In other words, NatWest did not create Tyl internally, but hired an outside team to build a solution for small business payments, and NatWest then acts as the reseller.

Merchants get free access to a browser dashboard (Tyl Portal) to track sales, chargebacks and more. This is updated once an hour, so it is not entirely real-time like most cloud-based payment solutions. There is no smartphone app for the Tyl portal, only a customer loyalty app for consumers spending at your store.

To sign up with Tyl, companies and sole traders should fill in an online contact form, receive a phone call, get a quote and sign a contract.

After the application is processed – which may take a few days – you should receive your chosen card machine within 48 hours.

NatWest promises a quick application and simple pricing, but the lack of a dedicated team handling Tyl merchants means onboarding may take longer than expected.

Tyl benefits from fast payouts. You should receive card transactions the next working day in your business bank account, which could be from any British bank, not necessarily NatWest.

Photo: Tyl/NatWest

Check sales and account details from a web browser in the NatWest Tyl portal.

Card machines

Tyl has three types of card machines to rent, but let’s start with the star of the show: Clover Flex.

Clover Flex is a portable, touchscreen card terminal with built-in point of sale (POS) software. The model is manufactured by Clover Network whose parent company, Fiserv (formerly First Data), handles the card processing.

Clover Flex specifications:

  • WiFi and 3G connectivity

  • 8-hour battery life, fast charging

  • 5″ glass touchscreen

  • Built-in receipt printer

  • Access to Clover App Marketplace for additional apps

The card machine is designed for ease of use, much resembling your smartphone screen with separate apps for different functions. For example, there are different Clover apps for reporting, the register screen and editing the style of your receipt.

You’ll get a standard selection of apps to enable you to add a simple product library, accept cards, do refunds, view transactions and reports, manage orders (unpaid and paid) and add employees with different user permissions.

Additional features can be added through the Clover App Marketplace, essentially expanding the use of the Flex Terminal to encompass a full range of POS and business features.

Tyl NatWest gives you an overlay for Flex so you can add a PIN pad (optional).

Photo: Tyl/NatWest

Tyl NatWest terminals

Clover Flex and Ingenico Move 3500 card machines.

Then you have the more conventional portable card machine: Ingenico Move/3500. This is smaller and more lightweight than Clover Flex and comes with a WiFi or 3G connectivity setup. The wireless internet version is ideal for table service, fixed premises and locations with access to a secure WiFi connection. If you need to use it on the go or where WiFi is unreliable, the more expensive 3G package is suitable.

Like Clover Flex, Desk 3500 has a battery life of up to 8 hours from a full charge (it comes with a charging base) and a built-in receipt printer. The 3.2-inch display is backlit and the push-button PIN pad embossed for user-friendliness.

Finally, there’s the countertop card machine, Ingenico Desk/3500. This is for a stationary point of sale, as it needs to be plugged in at all times for power and internet (via an Ethernet cable).

NatWest Tyl card machine for countertop

Ingenico Desk 3500 for a till counter.

Like the portable card machine, it has a built-in receipt printer and embossed PIN pad, but the screen is a little smaller at 2.8 inches.

A major downside of the countertop and portable Ingenico machines is the lack of POS integration. Not being able to integrate the card machines with a POS system means they only work independently and cannot sync with EPOS for a better checkout flow or unified reporting.

All the card machines accept chip and PIN and contactless cards from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and the mobile wallets Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Tyl by NatWest fees and contract

Despite the promise of “no hidden fees”, Tyl’s charges are hidden to the public.

The only way to get the costs is to complete an online contact form with your company name, phone number and email address, and Tyl should then phone you within an hour to get more details from you (incl. documentation) before they provide a custom quote.

What we do know is this:

NatWest Tyl pricing
Clover Flex – rental £15.99 + VAT/month
Extra cost applies per day of SIM usage
Extra cost applies to Clover apps
Ingenico Move 3500 – rental Portable (WiFi): £19.99 + VAT/month
Mobile (3G): £21.99 + VAT/month
Ingenico Desk 3500 – rental £13.99 + VAT/month
Online payments subscription £14.95 + VAT/month
Contract lock-in Card machines: 12 months
Online payments: 1 month
Transaction fees Custom quote
PCI-DSS compliance Costs apply
NatWest Tyl
pricing
Clover Flex – rental £15.99 + VAT/month
Extra cost applies per day of SIM usage
Extra cost applies to Clover apps
Ingenico Move 3500 – rental Portable (WiFi): £19.99 + VAT/month
Mobile (3G): £21.99 + VAT/month
Ingenico Desk 3500 – rental £13.99 + VAT/month
Online payments subscription £14.95 + VAT/month
Contract lock-in Card machines: 12 months
Online payments: 1 month
Transaction fees Custom quote
PCI-DSS compliance Costs apply

The card machines have a lock-in of one year, whereas online payments have a monthly, rolling subscription.

The card terminals come with a monthly rental cost ranging between £13.99-£21.99 excluding VAT. If you choose Clover Flex with a SIM card (for 3G connectivity), an extra charge applies every day you are using it, so it is recommended you only activate the SIM card when it’s needed. It is unclear whether the portable Ingenico terminal has an extra cost for the 3G version, apart from the higher rental price.

Transaction fees are tailored around your type of business and card turnover and depend on the type of card accepted. Domestic Visa and Mastercard are typically cheapest whereas Amex payments have a higher fee per transaction.

Other charges will most likely apply for refunds, chargebacks, early termination of a contract (if applicable) and more.

Because the Clover system is used, there may be additional charges for several of the apps you want to use. In fact, Clover typically has a monthly fee even for its basic functions, which you should also ask Tyl about.

Clover Flex apps

Some apps on Clover Flex may require a subscription, increasing your monthly cost.

PCI-DSS compliance (international card payments standard) will have to be set up at the beginning of the online payments package, so costs will most likely apply to that. It is unclear whether the card machines incur extra fees for PCI compliance.

Online payments

Given the fluctuating business conditions during the pandemic, it is valuable to accept online payments. Thankfully, Tyl offers these basic options:

Virtual terminal: Clover Flex has a Phone Sale app where merchants can complete manually entered card payments. This is used for over-the-phone and mail order payments. If you don’t have the Flex, a more advanced virtual terminal can be accessed through a browser.

Payment links: Through the virtual terminal in a browser, you can create payment links to send via email, text or QR code. These lead to a web page where the customer can pay online.

Online payment gateway: The Tyl payment system can be implemented as an online checkout on compatible ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce. This can be customised to suit your branding.

All these online payment methods come with a monthly rolling contract at £14.95 + VAT per month excluding PCI compliance which is added on top.

Photo: Tyl/NatWest

Example of a Tyl payment page where a payment link leads to.

Customer service, reviews and our experience

Tyl by NatWest offers customer support Monday to Saturday between 8am and midnight and Sundays between 9am and 5pm. Any account changes have to be dealt with on working days between 9am-5pm. There used to be a web chat, but this seems to have been disabled – we checked on a weekday during working hours, and it said all agents were offline.

Since Tyl is a new company that has not been heavily promoted in the UK, it is not surprising to see there are hardly any user reviews of the service. Consequently, we cannot, with confidence, say that Tyl is a genuinely good service that delivers on its promises.

We tried to get a quote through Tyl’s contact form using genuine details, which apparently should yield a response within an hour. We submitted a phone number with a voicemail to encourage contact by email, but never heard from Tyl afterwards via email. It seems that Tyl really does require a phone call before you can get any information, which could be a turn-off for merchants who want to avoid giving personal information.

Our verdict

NatWest has clearly put in the effort to create a good-looking website with an attractive-looking card machine solution. Next-day payouts sounds great, as do the all-round functions of Clover Flex that basically acts like a portable POS system.

That being said, there’s a worrying lack of user reviews and pricing transparency, which usually means the product has not taken off in the UK, and you can certainly expect additional fees only revealed after you give away personal details.

As one of the few English banks with a card payment solution, it is admirable that NatWest has dipped its toes into this dynamic market. It looks like a sufficient solution for sole traders and businesses needing a standalone card terminal, but it remains to be seen whether the actual service lives up to its own hype.

Name of Reviewed Item: Tyl by NatWest Rating Value: 3.5 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/natwest-tyl-review-uk.jpg Review Author:Review Date: