The 5 mobile credit card machines listed below make it easier than ever for UK small businesses to accept card payments almost anywhere without the need for a dedicated PDQ machine, merchant account, expensive PDQ machine rental contract or sometimes even without a long-term contract at all.
This can be great for small businesses just getting started. But the trade-off is that they often charge higher fees compared to dedicated payment processing companies, usually do not offer the flexibility of accepting card payments online or over the phone and may not look quite as professional as regular PDQ machines.
Therefore, while you should definitely have a look at all the companies below, you should also consider comparing card reader companies using our form at the top of the page as well.
1. iZettle Card Reader
The iZettle card reader has quickly become one the most popular mobile credit card machines options for UK small businesses. Below we outline the major pros and cons of the iZettle system, but for a more in-depth look have a look at our complete 2017 iZettle review.
iZettle Credit Card Machine Features
- Accepts chip & pin, contactless and magstripe payments – including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
- Works in conjunction with the iZettle App
- Connects via Bluetooth.
- Contactless card payments are up to 25% faster than other mobile credit card machines on the market.
- Transactions made by contactless cards below £30 are approved within seconds.
- Charges via USB cable or through the dock (purchased separately). Charge time: 1-2 hours.
- Battery lasts for up to 8 hours or 100 transactions.
iZettle Machine Cost
While there have been a few versions of the iZettle card reader, the current one retails for £59 + VAT. However, for a limited time only you can get one for just £25 + VAT by clicking here (Offer expires 20 January 2017).
This makes the iZettle card reader one of the most competitively priced in UK market at this time.
iZettle Transaction Fees
iZettle’s charges its transaction fees are charged on a sliding scale. The more payments you process with them, the less you pay per transaction.
For merchants with low payment volumes you will be charged 2.75% per transaction. This falls to as low as 1% per transaction if you process more than £40,000 worth of payments per month.
The minimum amount per transaction is £1 for all accounts with the maximum amount being £5,000 for Chip-card (incl. contactless) & PIN processed by business account holders.
Overall, while iZettle’s fees are far from the highest in the industry they are not the cheapest either. For that reason you’re advised to check out their fee calculator to see how much your business would end up paying and compare that against the other options below and normal PDQ machines.
iZettle Set-Up & Monthly Fees
One of iZettle’s greatest selling points is that there are no set-up fees (beyond buying a card reader) and no monthly fees either. This makes them an attractive option for new businesses and those that are unsure how much they’ll use their machine.
Another major selling point for the iZettle card reader is the fact that you are not required to sign a contract, unlike most traditional merchant account providers. This means you can use them for as long or short a period as you like.
The iZettle card reader requires the iZettle app (available for both iPhone and Android) to function properly. Beyond that there are a whole host of add-ons that can turn the card reader into a full fledged point of sale system.
- Stands & Docks
- Receipt Printers
- Barcode Scanners
- Cash Drawer
- Store Kits
Overall, these add-ons greatly extend the functionality of the iZettle reader, but be aware the costs for some of the items may be more than equivalent price you’d pay for the same item on a standard EPOS system.
Overall, the iZettle credit card machine is great option for businesses looking to get started taking card payments. While their fees are not the lowest in the industry they are very transparent and do drop as volume increases.
Moreover, the fact you do not need a contract to get started and there are no ongoing costs besides transaction fees, makes iZettle a top choice when it comes to mobile credit card machines for small businesses.
If you’re ready to give them a try, get started by visiting the iZettle website here.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about them, read out full: 2017 iZettle Review – UK Card Reader Fees & Pricing Compared.
2. SumUp (payleven)
SumUp is a dedicated, standalone credit card machine provider similar to iZettle. They also recently purchased payleven, which offered a similar product. While you can still buy payleven card readers at some retailers, our focus below is only on the SumUp Air card reader, since we suspect payleven devices will eventually be discontinued.
SumUp’s major selling point is that it offers the lowest initial transaction fee of any of the mobile credit card machines featured here. This is great for businesses that process low volumes of card transactions. However, for businesses that process a higher volume of payments it might not be the right choice.
- Accept all debit and credit cards
- Pay with tap of their card or their phone (contactless), Chip & PIN or magnetic swipe
- No fixed monthly costs
- 100% online application with no contract and no paperwork
- Card reader connects via Bluetooth and is compatible with iOS / Android phones and tablets
SumUp Machine Cost
The SumUp Air card machine currently costs £59 + VAT. This is inline with iZettle’s normal card reader price, but more than double the current promotion price. It’s also higher than either PayPal Here or WorldPay Zinc’s card reader prices.
SumUp Transaction Fees
SumUp’s major selling point over the solutions above is the low initial transaction fee of just 1.95%. This is the same as WorldPay Zinc’s fee, but with SumUp there is no monthly fee to get this rate.
This makes them the cheapest option for businesses that are unsure how much they’re going to be processing each month or businesses that process variable amounts per month (e.g. seasonal businesses).
However, businesses that consistently process card payments worth £4,850+ a month, would actually pay less with iZettle because of their sliding fee structure.
SumUp Set-Up & Monthly Fees
Similar to all the other companies featured here, there are no set-up (beyond buying a card reader) and monthly fees to use SumUp Air. You also get free delivery of your card reader, free Android / iOS app, free dashboard with reporting, and free telephone and e-mail support.
You do not need to sign any long-term contract to use SumUp.
Unlike iZettle, SumUp does not offer official add-on products to extend the usefulness of their card reader. However, they do list compatible receipt printers that work with the SumUp Air.
SumUp is currently the best alternative to iZettle for businesses that don’t consistently process more than £4,850+ a month in card transactions and who only need a card reader without any add-on bells and whistles.
To learn more about SumUp visit their website here.
3. PayPal Here
Paypal Here is PayPal’s mobile credit card machine solution. While not as competitively priced as the iZettle card reader, it does benefit from integration with PayPal, one of the best known names in online payments.
PayPal Here Features
- Accept card and contactless payments without monthly fees.
- Payments reach your PayPal account in seconds.
- Works with Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- UK-based customer support team.
- No fixed term commitment
PayPal Here Machine Cost
The PayPal Here card machine costs £75 including VAT (£62.50 exc VAT). This makes it marginally more expensive than the iZettle card reader’s normal price.
PayPal Here Transaction Fees
PayPal Here’s transaction fees start at 2.75%, the same as iZettle. However, their fee structure is quite a bit more complex than iZettle’s, with their lowest fee only dropping to 1.5%, a full 0.5% higher than iZettle.
To qualify for their Merchant Rate you need to process at least £1,500 worth of payments per calendar month. They then offer a Blended fee structure or an Interchange Plus fee structure. The differences between the two is not huge, which can make selecting the right even more difficult.
Overall, iZettle offers lower fees at all monthly transaction levels.
PayPal Here Set-Up & Monthly Fees
There are no set-up (beyond buying the card machine) or monthly fees for using PayPal Here. And if you already have a Paypal Business account you can get up and running right away.
PayPal Here Contract
PayPal Here does not require a monthly contract.
PayPal Here Add-ons
There are variety of add-on products you can purchase with your PayPal Here card reader to extend its functionality. These include:
- Taxi Cab Bundle
- Retail Stands
- Fast Charge Cradles
- POS desk stands and mounts
PayPal Here Summary
Overall, the main selling points of PayPal Here over iZettle are that it integrates with your PayPal Business account. This allows you to manage online and offline payments in one place and helps get you up and running more quickly since you can apply and pay for your PayPal Here card reader using your PayPal Business account.
In terms of features there’s not much to pick between the either company’s credit card machine.
However, in terms of fees, iZettle’s are much lower than PayPal Here at all transaction levels. Combine that with more a greater diversity of add-on products and a lower initial machine cost and iZettle looks like the more attractive option for businesses only interested in handling in-person card payments.
4. WorldPay Zinc
WorldPay Zinc is WorldPay’s mobile credit card machine solution for small businesses. WorldPay is the UK’s largest credit card processing company and also offers a range of other credit card machines and merchant services for both offline and online payment processing.
WorldPay Zinc’s one major advantage over the other credit card machines above is that it can be used to handle phone payments as well as in-person payments. However, the major disadvantage is that their keypad does not currently accept contactless payments.
To process contactless payments with WorldPay, you’ll have to go for one of their full priced card machines.
WorldPay Zinc Features
- A secure Chip & PIN solution from the UK’s leading card payments company.
- Works with iPhone, iPad, Android phones & tablets.
- Take payments face-to-face or over the phone.
- Instant issue receipts via email or SMS
- Keypad comes with a 12-month warranty
WorldPay Zinc Machine Cost
At the time of writing, the WorldPay Zinc Chip & PIN Keypad is only £39.99 (incl VAT). It has previously sold for as much as £79.99, making it more expensive than iZettle’s current promotional price, but roughly in-line with both iZettle and PayPal Here in terms of cost.
WorldPay Zinc Transaction Fees
WorldPay Zinc has two pricing options in terms of fees. The first is 2.75% per transaction with no monthly fee. The second is 1.95% per transaction if you pay £5.99 a month.
This means your fees with WorldPay Zinc could be lower than iZettle or the same as SumUp.
For example, if you process £1,000 a month you’d pay £27.50 in fees with iZettle but only £25.49 (£19.50 + £5.99) with WorldPay Zinc’s monthly plan.
Overall, their fees are lower for merchants processing under £5,000 a month via card vs iZettle or inline with SumUp.
WorldPay Zinc Set-Up & Monthly Fees
Similar to the other companies above, there are no set-up fees (beyond keypad) with WorldPay Zinc. However, there is an optional monthly fee of £5.99 per month, which drops your transaction fee from 2.75% to 1.95% (see above).
WorldPay Zinc Contract
Neither, WorldPay Zinc fee structure requires any commitment or long-term contract.
WorldPay Zinc Add-ons
For the WorldPay Zinc card reader to work, you’ll need to download their free app. They also offer the WorldPay Zinc online portal where you can process phone orders. However, they do not have an official list of additional hardware you can use to extend the card reader. But, they do state you can connect a Bluetooth printer to your phone and print receipts.
WorldPay Zinc Summary
WorldPay Zinc is a very stripped-down mobile credit card machine solution, presumably because WorldPay does not wish to compete with its higher margin, traditional PDQ machines.
Nevertheless, WorldPay Zinc may be a good solution for small businesses processing less than £5,000 per month in card transactions and who don’t need to accept contactless payments. It may also be a good solution if you take payments by phone and in-person but not online.
5. SmartTrade App
SmartTrade App is different from all the solutions above since it’s aimed at tradespeople and does not even require a card reader. Instead you just scan your customer’s debit or credit card with your smartphone. It also offers 3 different payment options: Face-to-face, over the telephone or through emailed paylinks.
In another twist, they offer you the ability to pass on your card fees to your customer so you in effect pay nothing.
However, all these features do come at a cost since their fees are generally a bit higher than some of the competing products above. You can learn more below.
SmartTrade App Features
- No credit card reader required
- 0% per card transaction option (roll onto customer bill)
- Create professional customised invoices
- Send paperless quotes to customers and get them accepted in one click
- Accept Visa, Mastercard and Amex, as well as all major foreign cards
SmartTrade App Machine Cost
Since you don’t need a credit card machine to use the SmartTrade App, you don’t need to pay anything upfront. They also offer a 30 day free trial of their service.
SmartTrade App Transaction Fees
The fees to use SmartTrade App vary from 2.15% + 20p Credit card fees to as low as 1.75% + 20p Credit card fees depending on the plan you choose. While the percentage taken is lower than some competing products, keep in mind you also pay 20p per transaction, no matter the size. So if you process a lot of very small transactions this could really add-up.
They also offer a 0% per card transaction option whereby you roll all the fees onto your customer’s bill.
SmartTrade App Set-Up & Monthly Fees
There is a free 30 day trial to get started with SmartTrade App. After that you’ll have to pick one of their 3 plans. They are:
- Sole Trader: 1 user and 2.15% + 20p fee – £9.99/Month (£101.90/Year)
- Business: Up to 15 users and 1.85% + 20p fee – £26.99/Month (£275.30/Year)
- Enterprise: Up to 50 users and 1.75% + 20p card fee – £89.99/Month (£917.90/Year)
SmartTrade App Contract
You can cancel your contract at anytime and you get the first 30 days free.
SmartTrade App Add-ons
SmartTrade App is a standalone product so does not offer much in the way of add-ons. It does allow for easy integration into accounting packages like Xero and Quickbooks. You can also access the app on any Apple or Android Device or online through any web browser. They also offer a web dashboard to manage all payments, invoices, and quotes.
SmartTrade App Summary
The SmartTrade App makes sense for tradespeople who don’t want to bother with a credit card machine, those who want to be able to accept payment by phone or those who want a zero fee card payment option. However, their per transaction fee and monthly plans mean, it may not be right for all merchants, only those who process relatively few, high value transactions.
To learn more about SmartTrade App visit their website here.
- iZettle: Best Overall – Sign-up for iZettle Here
- SumUp: Best for getting started. Sign-Up for SumUp Here
- PayPal Here: Best for online integration with PayPal.
- WorldPay Zinc: Best for those who need to accept phone payments or those who want to work with an established brand in the payment space. Apply to Zinc here.
- SmartTrade App: Best for those who don’t want a card reader or those who don’t want to pay any fees. try the SmartTrade App Here.
For a quick comparison you can also have a look at: iZettle vs Paypal, Worldpay, Square & Sumup: 2017 Reader Comparison
Note: We have partnership agreements with iZettle, SumUp, Worldpay and SmartTrade App. They each pay us a commission if you sign-up and start using their services. We genuinely think they offer great mobile credit card machines and processing solutions for UK small business, but we leave the final judgement up to you.