The good news is that most new credit card machines sold in the UK include the ability to accept contactless payments. However, not all contactless card payment readers are created equal.
Which is why we’ve compared 7 popular options below to help find you the cheapest option. You can also compare options by requesting a free quote using the form above.
Contactless Card Reader Costs Compared
|Supplier||Reader Cost||Buy vs Rental||Debit Card Rates||Credit Card Rates|
£19 (+VAT) Until 30/05/2019
|Square Reader||£29 (+ VAT)||Buy||1.75%||1.75%|
|SumUp||£29 (+ VAT)||Buy||1.69%||1.69%|
|Paypal Here||£35 (inc VAT)||Buy||2.75%||2.75%|
|Barclaycard||£15.00+||Monthly Rental||varies by volume||varies by volume|
|WorldPay**||£17.45||Monthly Rental||varies by volume||varies by volume|
Note comparisons are based on rates published on suppliers own websites and were believed to be accurate at the time of publication (12 February 2018). Debit and credit card fees are based on a business doing £1,000 per month worth of transactions and are subject to change without notice. Moreover, the costs and fees listed above may not include all possible charges (e.g. set-up fees, interchange fees, etc.)
* Cardswitcher is a comparison site that lists many smaller suppliers who can sometimes offer better rates. However, it does not supply card readers itself. The prices listed above were their best rates from a quote search performed (12 February 2018). You can perform such a search yourself here.
** WorldPay‘s card reader cost is based on their standard plan, this and other plans may have additional costs.
Here what each company has to say about their contactless readers.
iZettle is currently the cheapest contactless card reader on the market at just
£25 + VAT £19 + VAT and offers the lowest debit and credit card rates for a machine you can buy outright.
In terms of contactless functionality it offers the following:
- Accepts contactless (tap) payments including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
- Contactless card payments and transactions under £30 are approved in seconds.
- Business Accounts can process up to £500,000 per 24 hours, including contactless payments.
- Battery lasts for roughly 8 hours or 100 transactions.
- Requires smartphone/tablet but works with all smartphones and tablets that have Bluetooth and an internet connection, running operating Apple iOS 9 and higher or Android 4.4 and higher.
2. Square Reader
While the Square Reader has been a massive success in America, it’s still a relatively recent entrant to the UK contactless card machine market. However, their fees for contactless transactions are tied with iZettle’s, and are among lowest among purchased card readers.
In terms of contactless functionality they offer:
- Accept contactless cards and devices with Apple Pay and Android Pay and and other NFC-enabled smartphones and watches.
- Works with the free Square app.
- Connect wirelessly to iOS or Android devices with Bluetooth LE.
- Backup magnetic stripe reader included.
SumUp is another very solid option option for businesses looking to get started with contactless card payments. While the card reader and fees are not the lowest, they do offer a full POS option.
In terms of contactless features they offer:
- SumUp Air Card Reader accepts NFC payments via card, Android and Apple Pay.
- To accept a contactless transaction just tap the card for 1-2 seconds flat in front of the display of the reader.
- Conactless transactions can be up to £30.00 each.
- Battery lasts up to 500 transactions.
4. PayPal Here
Paypal Here is the online payment behemoth’s card reader. While it’s introductory rates are the highest in the industry, they do operate on a sliding scale and decline, based on volume, reaching as low as 1.5% (0.25% below iZettle or Square). Plus, it’s the only card reader that sends payments direct to your Paypal account.
In terms of contactless options they offer:
- Accept all types of contactless payment including Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- Works with your smartphone via Bluetooth and compatible with iOS and most Android smartphones and tablets.
- Payments reach your PayPal account in seconds.
CardSwitcher is different from the other options above. Similar to us they are a comparison website (get a free quote by clicking here.). However, they work with a larger range of smaller suppliers, some of whom may be able to offer you a great deal.
However, most of their suppliers operate on a different model than the 4 companies above.
- They offer substantially lower credit and especially debit card fees (as low as 0.5% vs 1.75% for iZettle).
- They offer proper professional/traditional credit card terminals (e.g. models by Ingenico and Verifone) that work as standalone readers rather than working via a Smartphone.
- But, you’ll usually have to rent their terminal(s), which means a monthly payment above transaction fees and sign a long term contract (usually at least 12 months).
This contrasts with the companies above who charge only a small fee for their readers and who don’t require any sort of long term contract to use them.
Generally speaking it only makes sense to start considering these suppliers if your business consistently processes more than £1,000 a month by card. However, for higher volume merchants the savings can be huge since paying 1.75% per transaction (especially for debit cards) can really add up.
Barclaycard offers a range of dedicated contactless card terminals depending on what your business requirements are.
In terms of contactless options they offer:
- A range of desktop, portable and mobile card machines for a range of monthly prices.
- 18 month contracts.
- Transaction costs that vary based on volume and value
- Also have the Barclaycard Anywhere card reader which can accepts contactless payments.
WorldPay is by far the UK’s largest merchant account and card machine provider. If you’re in the market for a proper contactless card reader, you’re likely going to want to talk to them at some point, just to see what they can do for your business.
In terms of accepting contactless payments they offer:
- Fast, secure payments up to £30
- Straightforward to get started
- Offer more ways to pay with Apple Pay
- Flexible pricing plans (Pay As You Go, Fixed Monthly, Standard)
- Require 18 month terminal hire agreement
You can learn more at the WorldPay website.
Why Your Business Needs a Contactless Card Reader
If you already have a credit card machine and are not sure about upgrading it to a new contactless model, here are just a few statistics from the UK Card Association that you may want to consider:
- There are currently 108.4m contactless cards in circulation in the UK (72.6m debit and 35.8m credit cards)
- £3.9 billion a month is spent in the UK using a contactless card (£3.4 billion on debit and £500 million on credit).
- The average contactless transaction is for £9.40.
- There are 416.3m contactless transactions per month in the UK.
- There are already 491,084 bank-owned terminals in the UK that can accept contactless payments.
Data from April 2017
For other types of card machine have a look at our guides:
- PDQ Machines: Cheap Chip & Pin Card Payment Terminals From £19
- Top 5 Mobile Credit Card Machines & Readers For UK Small Business
- iZettle vs Paypal, Worldpay, Square & Sumup: 2019 Reader Comparison
Disclaimer: This website has affiliate agreements in place with iZettle, Square, SumUp, Cardswitcher, Worldpay and Amazon. They pay us a commission if your purchase any products via our links. This does not in any way affect increase the price you pay, we just feel you should know.