Disclosure: Our editorial staff write reviews independently. We may be compensated if you sign up for a service through our affiliate links.

Our rating(4.2/5)
Low-cost card readers for chip, contactless and swipe cards with a fixed rate of 2.75%.
Small businesses, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors can accept card payments in person with SumUp’s very affordable solution. The sign-up is easy, free and designed to put merchants at ease with only the cost of a card reader and transactions.
  • Pros: No monthly fees. Competitive rate. Affordable card readers. Very easy to use. Remote payments.

  • Cons: Customer support can be slow. POS features limited. No accounting integration.

  • Buy if: You need an affordable, straightforward solution for credit card acceptance on the go.

Looking for the UK review of SumUp? Or the Irish SumUp review?

Best SumUp offer

Get the SumUp Card Reader for $39. No monthly fees or contract to worry about. Free delivery in 4-5 days.

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Mobile Transaction rates credit card machines – like SumUp’s – within key areas: product, pricing, transparency and sign-up, value-added features, reviews and support, and contract.

These criteria each get a score between 1-5, resulting in one overall star rating reflecting SumUp’s value for a small business.

The quality and experience of the credit card terminals and payment acceptance have a higher weighting.

We have thoroughly tested SumUp’s products and payment tools to know their limits and advantages. We have also researched and tested SumUp as a wider service to establish scores for the other rating categories.

Learn more about our rating criteria here. For SumUp’s assessment breakdown, go to the verdict of this review.

How it works

Why would anyone in their right mind choose an obscure German company over Square to handle their card payments? Because it’s a very easy and cheap payment solution that understands small businesses.

SumUp is in fact a self-sufficient payment platform with all the tools you need to accept cards easily – similar to Square. Without contractual obligations, you get:

  • Credit card terminals (choice of 3 models)

  • Credit card processing (in person and remote)

  • SumUp App (free) and POS + Loyalty (paid)

  • Invoicing software (free)

  • Payments via link or QR code (just transaction fee)

  • Digital gift cards (just transaction fee)

Signing up takes 5-10 minutes. Then you can purchase a SumUp card reader and pay a fixed rate per transaction. There are no hidden fees or fixed monthly costs for any of the features, unless you upgrade to the optional POS system with loyalty features.

Apart from using a credit card reader, you can accept payments remotely via payment links, email invoices and keyed transactions. QR codes can be printed or displayed for touch-free payments in person.

Transactions are processed through the cloud, allowing real-time access to sales figures from SumUp App or the web-based Dashboard.

Payment methods and payouts

The card terminals all accept EMV (chip) and NFC (contactless) cards and mobile wallets. Only the app-based model, SumUp Plus, accepts magnetic stripe (swipe) cards too.

They all accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express, Discover and Diners Club, as well as the Apple Pay and Google Pay smartphone wallets.

Cards accepted

VisaMastercardMaestroDiscoverAmerican ExpressDiners ClubContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay

Purchases below $25 won’t require a signature or PIN code. Tips can be added during this process as well, if activated in settings.

Payouts – minus the transaction fee – are initiated daily, but the SumUp deposit time to your bank account is about 1-2 business days.

Cash transactions can be accepted instead of cards in SumUp App, but there’s no option to register checks.

Card readers

The card machines are the result of years of work, designed and produced in-house. There are three different SumUp credit card readers:

  • SumUp Plus: Requires Bluetooth connection with app on mobile device

  • SumUp Solo: Palm-sized, mobile touchscreen terminal, works independently

  • SumUp Pro: Standalone, basic card reader

They are all wireless and portable, ideal on the go. SumUp Solo comes with a stand that’s ideal for a countertop. You can buy Plus on its own or with a counter stand as well, which will cost more. SumUp Pro cannot be purchased with a stand.

The app-based SumUp Plus reader has a wipeable, flat keypad and long battery life at 500 transactions from a full charge.

Payments can only happen while connected via Bluetooth to a mobile device running the SumUp App, so you do need an iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet too.

Credit card processing is straightforward. An amount is first entered in the app, or you can add products from a simple inventory library in the app to the bill.

After picking ‘card reader’ as the payment method, the customer can dip an EMV card into the reader – or swipe a magnetic stripe card – and confirm with a signature on the cell phone or tablet screen, or a PIN code on the terminal keypad. More simply, tap a contactless card or smartphone an inch or two from the reader to complete the transaction.

Photo: Emmanuel Charpentier, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Pro and Plus card readers

SumUp Pro (left) works on its own and SumUp Plus (right) only works with a mobile device.

If you’re looking for a freestanding credit card terminal, there is also SumUp Pro.

The payment process is simple on Pro: you enter a transaction amount and optional description (it’s not linked to a product library), add a tip if applicable and accept a chip or contactless card/digital wallet. Swipe cards are not accepted.

It works anywhere with a cellular connection or WiFi and includes a free SIM card with unlimited data.

Photo: Emily Sorensen (ES), Mobile Transaction

SumUp Pro (left) works on its own and SumUp Plus (right) only works with a mobile device.

A newer, independent card terminal is SumUp Solo. This has a touchscreen and built-in transaction features, but only the basics relating to tap and chip card transactions. Smart tipping can be switched on, giving you more freedom to choose your tipping options.

We tried Solo in strong sunlight and can confirm the screen is more visible than SumUp Pro’s, which has been known to be a bit harder to read in broad daylight.

Solo works with WiFi, and – like Pro – comes with a free SIM card with unlimited data for transactions.

SumUp Plus SumUp Solo
SumUp Air SumUp Solo
Price $39 $129
Requires app
Connections Bluetooth (for cell phone/tablet connection) WiFi, 4G, 3G, GPRS
Size 3.3″ x 3.3″ x 0.9″ 3.3″ x 3.3″ x 0.7″
Battery life 500 transactions 100 transactions
POS system integrations SumUp App only n/a
Receipt printing Connects to compatible Bluetooth printers No compatible printers
SumUp Plus SumUp Solo
SumUp Air SumUp Solo
$39 $129
Requires app
Bluetooth (for cell phone/tablet connection) WiFi, 4G, 3G, GPRS
3.3″ x 3.3″ x 0.9″ 3.3″ x 3.3″ x 0.7″
Battery life
500 transactions 100 transactions
POS system integrations
SumUp App only n/a
Receipt printing
Connects to compatible Bluetooth printers No compatible printers

So which one is better for your purpose?

SumUp Plus is cheaper because it’s dependent on a mobile app. It has a higher battery life as it is only switched on during credit card processing, whereas SumUp Solo and Pro require more power since you are entering transactions on the terminal itself.

If you’re not fussed about whether the terminal is standalone or app-dependent, you do get more features with SumUp Plus through the app. Both Pro and Solo are just for straightforward transactions without a connection to a product library, payment links or other surplus functions.

Fees and prices

SumUp doesn’t have monthly or other ongoing fees – you simply pay a fixed rate of 2.75% per card transaction after buying a card reader. All card types incur the same transaction fee, even premium and foreign cards. Cash payments are free to process.

If you don’t sell anything, there are zero costs. Neither is there a requirement for a monthly minimum card volume like many payment companies have. The service is completely ‘pay as you go’ with no lock-in or setup fee.

The SumUp Plus card reader costs $39 through our link, which includes free delivery and a 1-year warranty. SumUp Pro is available for $69 and SumUp Solo costs $129. Prices exclude sales tax.

SumUp cost
SumUp Plus card reader $39*
SumUp Plus Bundle with charging dock $49*
SumUp Solo card reader $129*
SumUp Pro card reader $69*
Commitment None
Monthly fee None
Swipe, tap, dip transactions 2.75%
Payment link, virtual terminal, gift card transactions 3.25% + 15¢
Invoice transactions 2.9% + 15¢
Refunds Free
Chargebacks $10

*Excluding sales tax.

SumUp cost
SumUp Plus card reader $39*
SumUp Plus Bundle with charging dock $49*
SumUp Solo card reader $129*
SumUp Pro card reader $69*
Commitment None
Monthly fee None
Swipe, tap, dip transactions 2.75%
Payment link, virtual terminal, gift card transactions 3.25% + 15¢
Invoice transactions 2.9% + 15¢
Refunds Free
Chargebacks $10

*Excluding sales tax.

All SumUp merchants can accept payments via QR codes and payment links sent via text, email and social apps. Electronic gift cards can be sold and redeemed as well. These remote payment methods all cost 3.25% + 15¢ per transaction.

Alternatively, you can send unlimited email invoices to clients. The only charge for that is 2.9% + 15¢ per transaction.

SumUp merchants can also apply for a complimentary virtual terminal for over-the-phone payments in the app and web dashboard.

There is no charge for payouts or processing refunds, but every chargeback incurs a fee of $10.

Photo: ES, Mobile Transaction

SumUp Solo is small, with a touchscreen on the front side.

SumUp App has basic POS features

All users can download SumUp App, whose main purpose is to connect with SumUp Plus for card transactions. That said, you can use it for remote payments or set it up on a tablet in store as a simple checkout system.

The main thing that makes it more like a POS system is the product library. You can add as many products as you like, along with images and variants, but inventory levels cannot be recorded.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Illustrations of the SumUp app

SumUp App is easy to understand, with a simple user flow.

For cash transactions, you enter the amount received and the app then shows you the amount to hand back to the customer. Cash sales are included in sales reports for a complete overview of transactions.

When a payment has gone through, an email or text receipt can be sent to the customer, or you can print a receipt from a connected printer (if using Plus).

A subscription-based POS system with customer loyalty functions (SumUp POS + Loyalty) is also available. This is built for restaurants and other hospitality businesses. It includes a tablet checkout and customer-facing screen where customers can check in and leave their contact details.

For more details about this, you need to get a custom quote directly from SumUp who offers plans starting from $0 a month.

No other POS software can integrate with SumUp’s card readers, so big and complex businesses may struggle with limitations unless they only use the card readers for transactions or as a backup terminal.

Remote and online payments possible as well

Through SumUp App, you can send payment links directly from the checkout. It has options to paste a transaction link into a message, send it as a free text message or generate a QR code that the customer can scan in person to open the payment page. It is then up to the customer to complete the transaction on their cell phone or computer.

Image: Mobile Transaction

A printed SumUp invoice with QR code

SumUp invoicing is sufficient for most sole proprietors.

You can also send and manage itemized email invoices in SumUp App through simple steps on your phone.

Electronic gift cards can be sold through a unique web page shared with customers for later redemption in your store.

Some merchants can access a virtual terminal in the app for over-the-phone payments where you enter card details on behalf of the customer.

None of these remote payment options have a monthly fee, just a pay-as-you-go fee per transaction. This is great value for money matched by few payment providers.

Receipt printing

Receipts can be sent by email or text message straight from the app, or card reader if using Solo and Pro. Those who want to offer paper receipts need to buy a compatible Bluetooth printer to go with SumUp Plus.

SumUp recommends three mobile receipt printers. The most popular one is Star Micronics SM-L200. You can get it for around $280 and has been the go-to mobile printer for SumUp over the last several years.

Another great portable option is Bixolon SPP-R210iK/BEGE. 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 $260.

The Bixolon SPP-R200lliK/BEGE is another mobile receipt printer, which you can find for around $200.

Photo: SumUp

mobile Bixolon receipt printer

Printer Bixolon SPP-R210iK with SumUp.

SumUp US is not yet geared towards connecting with a cash drawer or barcode scanner, though. If you’re looking for a checkout with more than a portable receipt printer, we recommend looking for another card reader company.

Some reporting functionality

The web-based merchant portal (SumUp Dashboard) is a nice feature for accounting and business decisions, but it is also a given with any card reader today. You can view sales data and export your entire sales history – or daily, weekly and monthly reports – to Excel.

After each payout, SumUp will send you an email with a PDF attachment of your sales. Sales and payouts are viewable in the SumUp App, if logging into SumUp Dashboard is a hassle.

However, SumUp transactions cannot be integrated with accounting software like most other payment platforms allow.

Customer service and SumUp reviews

SumUp has an online Support Center answering most of people’s questions. Otherwise, customer service is reachable between 9am – 7pm (EST) via telephone on weekdays or email support if questions are less urgent.

Email queries tend to take days – sometimes over a week – to get an answer to, so it does require patience to deal with SumUp support.

The service is geared towards businesses who do not require much in the way of customization. For that reason, the support is mainly geared towards technical queries, payment issues and matters pertaining to your account.

It is limited how many customer reviews there are in the US, but common complaints have alluded to Bluetooth connectivity issues and the inconvenience of requesting a signature for some transactions. Moreover, some merchants have experienced withheld funds due to SumUp’s security protocols, or later-than-expected payouts.

Getting started

The online registration for a SumUp account is quick and easy. After completing the online form, it takes a few days for SumUp to approve your business and bank account. You can order a card reader in the meantime, delivered by post within five business days from SumUp directly.

If you prefer, it’s also possible to purchase SumUp card readers from specific retailers and websites such as Amazon, Verizon and Sam’s Club, but then you may have to pay shipping charges. In any case, you should have your SumUp account approved first before purchase, as you cannot use it without one.

After sign-up, it’s possible to download and use the free SumUp App for iOS or Android. Even without a card reader, you can start sending payment links and invoices, or print QR codes for your physical location.

Who is SumUp best for?

Merchants who want the cheapest credit card reader that also accepts contactless cards and mobile wallets should look to a SumUp card reader. Other payment companies tend to give away credit card swipers and charge the most for a swipe, chip and NFC (“all-in-one”) reader, but SumUp keeps the price down for its all-in-one reader Plus.

The pay-as-you-go structure makes it the perfect option for delving into card payments as a new startup, cautious sole proprietor, small business and non-profit organization.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

SumUp card reader, tomatoes and payment card

SumUp Plus is perfect for outdoor markets and other impromptu locations.

It can feel daunting to venture into card payments for the first time, but SumUp is made to put any newbie’s mind at ease with its user-friendly app and no-fuss pricing.

Square will better serve businesses needing a more sophisticated app with point-of-sale features. For example, SumUp does not connect with a cash drawer, nor can it produce (or even integrate with) advanced sales reports beyond the bare minimum requirements for accounting purposes.

Instead, SumUp is very good for traveling merchants like at market stalls or professionals providing services at the client’s location. On the other hand, it can be used with a team of employees by creating different user logins for the same SumUp account.

Our verdict

SumUp has a broad presence in Europe and was the first mobile card reader to cross the Atlantic. Does that mean Square has met its match?

For the payment part, SumUp more than measures up. The single all-in-one reader leads with its technology and ease of use. As for advanced features and integration possibilities – not yet.

SumUp criteria Rating Conclusion
Product 4.2 Good
Costs and fees 4.4 Good/Excellent
Transparency and sign-up 4.4 Good/Excellent
Value-added services 3.7 Passable/Good
Service and reviews 3.5 Passable/Good
Contract 5 Excellent

That being said, recent developments in socially distanced payments like mobile payment links, gift cards, invoicing tools and key-in transactions are signs that SumUp is keeping up with the world, so it will be interesting to see how fast new features are added over the next year.

A business bank account is coming up soon as well, which will add considerable value to the package.

But it really depends on what you need. If you are primarily looking for a way to get paid rather than, say, schedule appointments, manage inventory and integrate with payroll, SumUp wins the prize for being simple and cheap, hands down.