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Accepting card payments as a small business - card reader provider review


If you are a small business which runs a physical premises, when you have a customer who is wanting to make a purchase, it can be an absolutely exhilarating feeling. However, that feeling can quickly fleet away when the customer says the following sentence - ‘you do accept cards don’t you’ and you know the chances of completing the transaction are gone. Don’t worry though. You’re not alone. In fact, 40% of companies that employ 10 employees or less don’t accept card payments.


To compound the problem, many customers today expect to make transactions via their debit or credit card and with many banks increasing contactless limits to £45 during the Covid-19 pandemic, not being able to accept can be a huge barrier to sales.


For many small businesses, having the ability to accept card payments can feel daunting, expensive and a luxury they can’t afford. However, this does not need to be the case. In the last five years, a number of challenger companies have set up with the specific aim of making accepting card transactions accessible as well as being super affordable for small businesses.


Within this article, we will review the card payment providers and explore their up front price, any on going monthly fees, additional charges as well as any notible features. At the end we will offer our choice!


iZettle (by Paypal)

iZettle offer just one card reader option for small businesses. Any payment taken through the iZettle card reader will hit your bank account in 1-2 business days. 

Price: £29 excl VAT for first card reader. £59 excl for each additional card reader

Monthly Fee: £0

Transaction Fee: 1.75% 

Accepted Payment Methods: All except Swipe (excluded for safety reasons)

Battery Life: 8 hours or 100 transactions 

Set up: The iZettle Reader is linked to the iZettle app which can be downloaded from all major app stores. The app will then pair your card reader to your device via Bluetooth. In order to use the reader, you do require either 3G, 4G or a wifi connection. 

Hidden costs: None

Contactless: Yes

Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5 based on 2,607 reviews (September 2020)

Check them out at www.izettle.com/gb


SumUp


SumUp offer a wider range of products than competitors such as iZettle and Square Reader which appears to offer more flexibility depending on your type of business and the number of employees. They also offer the best transaction rate we could find!

SumUp Air

This is the equivalent to the iZettle and Square Reader products and similarly requires a smartphone and associated app. Any transactions take 1-3 business days to clear. 


Price: £29 excl VAT discounted to £19 until the end of September. Monthly Fee: £0 Transaction Fee: 1.69%  Accepted Payment Methods: All major credit and debit card brands as well as NFC payment options Battery Life:  500 transactions  Set up: The SumUP Reader is linked to the SumUp app which can be downloaded from all major app stores. The app will then pair your card reader to your device via Bluetooth. In order to use the reader, you do require either 3G, 4G or a wifi connection.  Hidden costs: None Trustpilot score: 4.3 out of 5 based on 2,351 reviews (September 2020)

SumUp 3G


This card reader does not require pairing with a smart phone to work meaning that the product can be used by multiple people in one business. However this additional function does come with a set back…battery life. Businesses who adopt the SumUp 3G can also choose whether to select to include a receipt printer for an additional fee (which also acts a dock to charge your reader)

Price: Card reader: £99 excl VAT Card reader + printer: £169 excl VAT discounted to £129 until the end of September.  Monthly Fee: £0 Transaction Fee: 1.69%  Accepted Payment Methods: All major credit and debit card brands as well as NFC payment options Battery Life:  50 transactions  Data provision: Built in SIM card with free, unlimited data and wifi connectivity.  Set up: Simply charge and go! All you need to check is that you have good signal at your business premises before purchasing this product. 

Trustpilot score: 4.3 out of 5 based on 2,351 reviews (September 2020)


Check them out at https://sumup.co.uk

Square Card Reader

Similar to both iZettle, Square Card Reader offers an individual product for small businesses. The cost of their card reader is the most affordable of any of those we have reviewed and they also offer additional features such as “card-not-present” transactions which allows small businesses to take payment over the phone or on a website. 


Price: £19 

Monthly Fee: £0 Transaction Fee: 1.75% for card transactions and 2.50% for card-not-present transactions  Accepted Payment Methods: All major credit and debit card brands as well as NFC payment options Battery Life:  Square Card Reader don’t specify exactly how long their battery will last or how many transactions it can make, instead stating it will last all day.  Set up: The Square Card Reader  is linked to the Square app which can be downloaded from all major app stores. The app will then pair your card reader to your device via Bluetooth. In order to use the reader, you do require either 3G, 4G or a wifi connection. Hidden costs: None

Trustpilot score: 4.5 out of 5 based on 1,473 reviews (September 2020)


Check them out at https://squareup.com

Our choice

Its a tough choice for sure. All three options make taking card transactions super accessible for small businesses. However, we believe that as a small business, every penny is precious and for that reason, the SumUp Air with its low transaction fee and affordable card reader cost seems like the best option. Do you have experience using any of the brands we have reviewed here? Let us know in the comments!




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