- Highs: Fixed transaction rate of 2.65%. No other ongoing costs. One device works for all cards.
- Lows: Support mainly by email.
- Buy if: You need an affordable and easy solution for taking payments.
In this review, we take a look at SumUp’s card reader. Why would anyone in their right mind choose an obscure German company over Square, the American payments giant, to handle their card payments? Does SumUp offer anything else than just another me-too service? Join us as we find out what the solution offers a small US business.
Handcrafted German precision
SumUp, a company with a wide presence in Europe, was the first to cross the Atlantic. Featuring the latest in EMV and contactless technology, its latest reader launched in the US is the culmination of years of work. Unlike most competitors, SumUp designs and produces their card readers in-house, resulting in superior reliability, quality and user experience.
In addition to a wide range of cards, today’s vendors are under increasing pressure to accept NFC payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Its contactless card reader features the latest chip technology, swipe and contactless functionality. We like the SumUp reader slightly better than PayPal Here, another all-in-one device.
The battery life is 500 transactions with a fully charged device.
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 good to go. (Internet connection can be via WiFi or 3G/4G).
SumUp’s wireless EMV card reader connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The cloud-based processing power contained within the app is what allows it to actually process your payments.
How it works
With SumUp, the payment process itself is simple: you firstly key the amount the customer has to pay in to the app, then the customer inserts their card into the reader, or swipes, and confirms payment with their signature on the cell phone or tablet.
SumUp also allows you to predefine products if you wish. You can then click on these in the app and add them to checkout.
The customer can also tap their contactless card or their smartphone with Apple Pay or Google Pay an inch or two from the card reader. Purchases below $20 won’t require a signature.
Once the payment has gone through, an email or SMS receipt can be sent to the customer. SumUp is also compatible with several receipt printers (see below).
In addition to Visa and Mastercard, SumUp accepts Discover, American Express and Diners Club. You can accept international cards, as long as they belong to any of these brands.
The card reader is enabled for contactless cards, as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Transparent fixed transaction fee
Like its competitors Square and PayPal Here, there are no ongoing or monthly fees with SumUp – you only pay a flat rate of 2.65% per transaction – and there is no required minimum transaction volume.
There are no additional charges for foreign cards. Cardholder-not-present transactions are not possible – that means you won’t be able to key in the card details for a higher rate.
Chargebacks will cost you $10 each.
Who is SumUp suitable for?
SumUp is a great option for sole proprietorships, small businesses or non-profits preferring a single device for all card transactions. Businesses who require a more sophisticated app with point-of-sale functions will be better served by Square.
For food and beverage outlets, it is hard to beat the POS functions you get with Square.
For businesses with multiple staff: it’s worth pointing out that SumUp does not offer staff account options, where authorization to access certain information for 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.
Some accounting functionality
The online dashboard offered by SumUp is a welcome feature for accounting and business decision purposes. Similar to its rivals, SumUp enables you to access sales data and export either your entire sales history, or the history for a particular day, week or month, to an Excel file.
It is the most affordable receipt printer on the market at around $190, but will still set you back significantly more than the card terminal.
The most popular mobile printer is Star Micronics SM-L200 connecting via Bluetooth. You can get it for around $250 and has been the go-to mobile POS printer for the last couple of years.
Another great portable option is Bixolon SPP-R210iK/BEGE which connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. This is a lightweight printer at 266 grams including paper roll, which can either be fixed to a belt or slid into a bag. It will cost you around $250.
Receipt printer Bixolon SPP-R210iK/BEGE looks good with the SumUp setup. Photo: SumUp
What about customer service?
SumUp offers an online Support Center which will answer the majority of questions users may have.
To contact customer support, email communication is encouraged, although a phone number is also provided for registered customers.
SumUp has made phone support available to registered customers, although it is not provided for presales inquiries. The service is geared towards businesses who do not require much customization.