PayPal Here and SumUp are two competing card reader services for merchants who want a convenient way to accept credit cards in person.

While PayPal is famous for its online payments platform, SumUp is a younger European company that has focused on easy face-to-face payments from the beginning. SumUp has definitely mastered simplicity when it comes to costs and products, but PayPal is more nuanced with a wide choice of payment tools online.

We compare the two card reader companies to help you decide what’s right for your business.

PayPal Chip & Tap ReaderSumUp Card Reader
PayPal Here Chip and Tap ReaderSumUp EMV card reader
TechnologyEMV (chip), NFC (contactless), magnetic stripe (swipe)EMV (chip), NFC (contactless), magnetic stripe (swipe)
Price$59.99$39
Transaction fee2.7% + cross-border & currency conversion fees2.65%
Monthly feeNoneNone
CommitmentNo lock-inNo lock-in
PayoutsImmediately in PayPal account1-3 business days to bank account
Accepted cardsVisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican ExpressVisaMastercardMaestroDiscoverDiners ClubAmerican Express
ContactlessContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung PayContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay
PayPal
Chip & Tap
Reader
SumUp
Card
Reader
PayPal Here Chip and Tap ReaderSumUp EMV card reader
Accepts chip, contactless, swipeAccepts chip, contactless, swipe
$59.99$39
2.7% + cross-border & currency conversion fees per transaction2.65% per transaction
No contract, no monthly feesNo contract, no monthly fees
Immediate payouts to PayPal account1-3 business days’ payouts to bank account
VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican ExpressVisaMastercardMaestroDiscoverDiners ClubAmerican Express
ContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung PayContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay

SumUp Card Reader best value, more choice with PayPal

PayPal Here’s and SumUp’s card readers work in conjunction with a mobile app on a compatible iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet (neither can work on Kindle Fire). They connect via Bluetooth to the mobile device and process cards over the internet through the phone’s or tablet’s mobile network or WiFi connection.

SumUp offers just one card reader: the aptly named SumUp Card Reader priced at $39. It accepts EMV/chip cards, contactless cards and mobile wallets via NFC and magnetic stripe cards.

SumUp Card Reader accepts swipe, chip and contactless card payments.

With PayPal Here, you can choose between four card readers, most of which are more expensive. The cheapest one is called Mobile Card Reader. It only accepts swipe payments and can only be plugged into an audio jack on your mobile device. This means you can’t use it with newer iPhones that have a Lightning socket.

The marginally-pricier Chip and Swipe Reader only accepts magstripe and EMV cards. Then we have the Chip and Tap Reader that takes swipe, chip and contactless cards and mobile wallets via NFC. The Chip and Tap Reader can be purchased with a charging stand to keep it fully powered all day and secured on a countertop.

PayPal’s Chip and Tap card reader accepts swipe, chip and contactless card payments.

Finally, PayPal sells a Chip Card Reader which, apart from taking swipe, chip and contactless payments, has a keypad for PIN code entry. If you’re accepting cards requiring PIN entry regularly, it’s worth paying the premium cost of this terminal to avoid having to ask customers to enter their PIN on your tablet or cell phone screen.

None of the card readers have an inbuilt receipt printer like you see on larger credit card terminals. Instead, you can connect the PayPal Here app or SumUp App with a compatible Bluetooth receipt printer.

SumUp Card Reader is very similar to PayPal Chip and Tap Reader; both accept all card technologies (EMV, NFC, magstripe), are square-shaped and a similar size. The main differences are: PayPal’s is black and SumUp’s is white, and SumUp’s card reader is about $20 cheaper.

PayPal Here options: Chip & Tap Reader in charging dock, Mobile Card Reader, Chip & Swipe Reader and Chip Card Reader.

Taking a payment is easy on any of these credit card readers. Simply download the PayPal Here app or SumUp App on your mobile device, connect the terminal with the app over Bluetooth, then enter your first transaction amount. You can also add products from the product library to a bill (if you’ve already added inventory to the app) if you want an itemized receipt and need to track products sold. When ready to accept a card or digital wallet, the app will connect with the reader and finish processing the transaction via the phone’s internet connection.

SumUp has fewer and lower fees

SumUp has the best price of the two. The SumUp Card Reader costs $39, whereas the equivalent 3-in-1 reader (swipe, chip, NFC)  from PayPal costs $59.99, or £79.99 when bundled with the charging stand. The PayPal Mobile Card Reader (swipe only) costs $19.99, PayPal Chip and Swipe Reader $24.99 and PayPal Chip Card Reader $99.99.

Neither of the companies charge monthly fees or other fixed costs to use the service, and none of them demand a contractual commitment.

PayPal HereSumUp
Setup feeNoneNone
Fixed monthly feesNoneNone
Swipe, chip & contactless transaction fee2.7%2.65%
Keyed-in transaction fee3.5% + 15¢2.95% + 15¢
Added fee for non-US cards1.5%None
Currency conversion fee2.5%None
Standard payouts in bank accountFreeFree
Instant payouts in bank account1% fee addedn/a
RefundsNo refund fee, but PayPal keeps the transaction fee paidNo refund fee
Chargebacks$20 each$10 each
PayPal HereSumUp
Setup fee
NoneNone
Fixed monthly fees
NoneNone
Swipe, chip & contactless transaction fee
2.7.%2.65%
Keyed-in transaction fee
3.5% + 15¢2.95% + 15¢
Added fee for non-US cards
1.5%None
Currency conversion fee
2.5%None
Standard payouts in bank account
FreeFree
Instant payouts in bank account
1% added feen/a
Refunds
No refund fee, but PayPal keeps the transaction fee paidNo refund fee
Chargebacks
$20 each$10 each

EMV, contactless and swipe payments cost 2.65% with SumUp and 2.7% with PayPal Here. SumUp does not differentiate between US and non-US cards, nor does it charge extra for currency conversion – SumUp’s rate stays the same regardless of card brand or type.

What about PayPal? If you’re accepting a foreign card, a 1.5% cross-border fee will be added no matter what so the total rate becomes 4.2%. If currency conversion is involved, another 2.5% is added on top of the exchange rate, i.e. the total PayPal rate becomes 6.7%. That is quite a difference from SumUp’s fixed 2.65% rate.

Key-in card transactions cost 3.5% + 15¢ with PayPal, plus applicable cross-border and currency conversion fees. SumUp does not accept keyed-in card details in the app, but can for some merchants activate a virtual terminal or mobile payments for 2.95% + 15¢ per transaction.

Refunds are free to process through SumUp, but costs the original transaction fees with PayPal Here. Chargebacks incur an admin fee of $10 with SumUp and $20 through PayPal.

In both cases, standard payouts into your bank account are free, but PayPal does give the option to pay out money “instantly” for 1% of the transfer total.

Payouts in bank account versus e-money account

If you prefer automatic payouts to your bank account, SumUp is the only choice. It takes about 1-3 business days for SumUp transactions to clear in your bank account (minus the transaction fee).

Card transactions through PayPal Here, on the other hand, transfer directly to your PayPal Business account online pretty much immediately (again, minus transaction fees). From here, you need to manually “withdraw” any amount into your connected bank account, i.e. your business or personal bank account or debit card. It is only possible to link accounts and debit (not credit) cards in your or your company’s name to your PayPal account.

It takes about 1-3 business days for SumUp transactions to clear in your bank account. Transactions through PayPal Here, on the other hand, transfer directly to your PayPal Business account online.

With a ‘Standard’ transfer from PayPal, money should be deposited in your bank account the following business day. There’s also an option for an ‘Instant Transfer’ (costs 1% of transfer total) – these payouts take just minutes, maximum 30 minutes, to appear in your bank account.

SumUp does not have a fast-track way to deposit money in to your bank account.

PayPal also offers a free PayPal Business Debit Mastercard that’s linked to the online account. The card can be used for free everywhere, online and in stores, where Mastercard is accepted. You only pay $1 for ATM withdrawals, $3 for over-the-counter cash withdrawals and a 1% Foreign Transaction Fee.

This card is great if you need to spend the PayPal balance immediately after it’s in the online account, instead of manually transferring money and waiting for deposits to clear in your bank account. You are only allowed to use the card for business expenses, though.

PayPal offers more remote payments

SumUp accepts more card brands than PayPal Here, but PayPal offers online payments that SumUp does not have.

Both companies’ card readers accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover credit and debit cards. SumUp also accepts Maestro and Diners Club cards. Of the mobile wallets, both can process Apple Pay and Google Pay, but only PayPal Here guarantees Samsung Pay acceptance too.

It is not possible to accept key-in card payments in the SumUp app, but the PayPal Here app does. Cash and check transactions can be recorded for free in both apps so you can have an overview of all transactions in the sales reports.

Credit: Google Play

PayPal Here payment methods on Android tablet

PayPal Here’s payment methods in the Android app.

PayPal Here also offers PayPal Check-In. Customers open their PayPal app, find your business and ‘checks in’ when ready to pay. At that point, you can enter the transaction amount in the PayPal Here app, tap PayPal as payment method and then find the customer to charge them. This costs the same as terminal payments with a domestic card.

Payment methodPayPal HereSumUp
VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican Express
MaestroDiners Club
ContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay
Samsung Pay
Cash
Payment links, virtual terminal
Requires approval
Keyed-in cards, checks, email invoices, pay links, online store integration
PayPal Check-In, PayPal transfers
PayPal HereSumUp
VisaMastercardDiscoverAmerican Express
MaestroDiners Club
ContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay
Samsung Pay
Cash
Payment links, virtual terminal
Requires approval
Keyed-in cards, checks, email invoices, pay links, online store integration
PayPal Check-In, PayPal transfers

As for remote payments, PayPal has the widest selection of online payment methods. This includes a Virtual Terminal for over-the-phone and mail order payments, email invoices, payment links, international PayPal transfers, buy buttons to integrate on your website and integrated ecommerce solutions.

Although SumUp does not advertise their remote payments, it is possible for the company to activate their own Virtual Terminal in your web account, or Mobile Payments (payment links, QR codes) appearing as a checkout option in the app. You have to apply for these features by contacting SumUp support. Not all merchants qualify for it.

Both apps suit a simple POS system

SumUp App and the PayPal Here app have a lot in common. For a start, they work on an Android tablet/cell phone, iPhone or iPad. For a point of sale (POS), it’s most convenient to use a tablet so you can fix it to the countertop with a stand. You can also add a cash drawer and receipt printer to the app. If you’re taking cards on the go, it’s possible to get a mobile receipt printer instead of a stationary model.

Both apps have a product library where individual items can have variants (types) with different price points, which enables you to analyse sales down to products sold. You can also just enter a transaction amount if it’s not important to itemize a bill.

Credit: SumUp

SumUp app on iPad

SumUp App on iPad.

Add taxes to transactions, and view sales history through the app menu. Receipts can be sent via email or text message, but also printed with a connected printer. If you have a team of employees, you can set up multiple user accounts with their own logins to differentiate their sales.

Two definite shortcomings to SumUp App are the lack of tipping and discounting functions, whereas PayPal Here include both.

Credit: Google Play

PayPal Here Android app

The PayPal Here Android app.

Another significant difference is the payment methods available from the app. Some merchants will love that PayPal can send email invoices directly from the checkout, and that card details can be entered manually. None of those options are available through SumUp App.

The apps are so simple and user-friendly that no training is required to use them. Neither of them are suitable as a complicated POS system where advanced inventory systems are required, though.

Customer reviews, complaints and support

What are merchants’ experience of the two companies? Both have positive and negative customer reviews, but the issues are somewhat different.

SumUp’s user base in the US is relatively small, so it is more limited how many people are reporting issues. The most common thread of complaints is how slow and sometimes unaccessible the customer support is. There are also occasional issues with the card reader’s Bluetooth connectivity, and chip transactions requiring a signature where other American card readers don’t require signature.

SumUp’s customer service team is available by phone or email on weekdays between 9am and 7pm EST.

PayPal’s security is top-notch, but that is exactly why they have a wave of merchants at the wrong end of the stick – because transactions looked suspicious, their business type was not approved or the transaction volume exceeded what PayPal allows for that merchant.

PayPal, on the other hand, offers 24/7 customer support over the phone, chat or email.

The negative reviews for PayPal Business services are staggering, though. Many complaints involve account holds, withheld funds and expensive transaction fees (which – let’s face it – can definitely be true for all their services).

PayPal’s security is top-notch, but that is exactly why they have a wave of merchants at the wrong end of the stick – because their transactions looked suspicious, their business type was not approved or the transaction volume exceeded what PayPal allows for that merchant.

Our verdict

If price is the primary driver for your choice, there’s no way around it: SumUp has the best-value card reader that accepts more credit and debit cards than PayPal Here.

PayPal Here lets you choose a card reader model, but do you really need a range of sub-par terminals when it’s enough with one that does it all: swipe, contactless and chip? Although PayPal Here’s fee is simple for domestic cards, the added charges for foreign cards can make total costs high if you have a lot of non-US customers.

Rather, PayPal Here is better for merchants who prefer keeping their online transactions connected with in-person payments. This can make bookkeeping much easier, as well as the general customer experience since there’s round-the-clock support.

SumUp does not connect with ecommerce platforms like PayPal does. Instead, SumUp is best as an easy solution for taking credit card payments in person with a simple app, quick sign-up and no complicated fees.