SumUp is one the best options for small businesses and sole traders looking to take card payments on the go and in store. An inexpensive card machine and low-ish rates make SumUp an affordable way to start taking card payments without any commitments or contracts.
Card reader fee –
£59 £19 through StoreKit.
The SumUp Air card reader retails for £59 but is often available at a discount for first time buyers, StoreKit visitors can purchase their first reader for £19 through this link, additional readers can be purchased from SumUp or StoreKit at £59/reader.
Per transaction fee – 1.95% (Special rates through StoreKit)
SumUp charges a flat rate of 1.95% on each card transaction, regardless of card type (credit/debit/amex etc.). You’ll pay slightly more for card payments taken over the phone or through an invoice (2.95% + £0.25), as you’ll be entering these into SumUp’s virtual terminal which carries a higher risk for SumUp. There’s no penny charge per transaction either, so you don’t need to add a surcharge for small payment amounts. Charge your customer £5 and you’ll receive £4.9025 in your bank account.
For larger operations, we may be able to negotiate better rates on your behalf, if you’re taking more than £5,000 per month through card payments talk to us about bespoke SumUp transaction rates.
Monthly fee – £0
There’s no monthly fee to use SumUp, you get access to the free POS app for your smartphone or tablet to manage products and put through sales. You’ll only be charged when you put through a card transaction as detailed above, and for card transactions only – you won’t pay for cash payments. You’re not locked into any kind of contract and can stop processing card transactions at any time without a penalty.
Monthly Minimum fee – £0
Unlike traditional merchant accounts and payment processors, you won’t need to process a minimum amount each month to avoid monthly minimum charges. Leave your SumUp reader unused and unloved in a drawer for a year and you won’t be charged a penny. This is a big part of the reason we recommend it for smaller businesses with unpredictable turnover or seasonal sales.
To start using SumUp to take card payments you’ll need a Bluetooth 4.0 enabled smartphone or tablet running iOS or Android. What this means in practise is an iPhone model newer than the iPhone 4S or an iPad newer than the iPad 3rd Gen or iPad Mini, you’ll also need to have upgraded to at least iOS 8.0. For Android you’ll need to be running Android 4.4 or later and double check your device is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. See here for a listed of fully tested devices
The SumUp card reader requires the SumUp app to be installed on your phone or tablet, you can download it from the Apple App store here and the Google Play store here. You can create an account from the App but it’s best to sign up online to take advantage of your card reader discount.
Your card reader arrives in a compact, well-designed box containing the SumUp Air reader, a USB charging cable, an instruction booklet and vinyl “cards accepted here” stickers. At 84 x 84 x 23 mm the reader fits easily into the palm of your hand and has a reassuring heaviness (142g) and build quality. Unlike most other card readers, the SumUp Air has a capacitive glass touchscreen for PIN entry which has a similar feel to using a smartphone.
The rechargeable Li-ion battery inside the reader is rated for 500 transactions or about 1 transaction per minute for a full 10 hour day. The reader can be recharged with the included micro USB cable, you’ll just need a USB wall plug like an iPhone charger. For in-store use we’d recommend buying the charging dock so you can sit the reader in the dock for constant charging and a better buyer experience.
The reader has a clear OLED front-facing display showing the amount due to the customer, an icon indicating contactless payments are accepted and a confirmation or rejection message when a payment is put through. One area that could be improved is the start-up time from selecting the card reader as the payment method in the app to the reader being ready for taking payment. The reader has the ability to accept contactless, chip and pin and magstripe transactions.
Overall, the SumUp Air reader is well designed, and although not quite as robust as a traditional (and much more expensive) Verifone/Ingenico terminal is excellent value at both £19 and £59 per reader. You’re also covered with a 1-year manufacturer warranty on each reader.
The SumUp App
The free SumUp app can be used as a simple calculator, just hit the manual entry button to enter a price and VAT rate, then press charge to take payment.
Manual entry is a flexible way for tradesmen and smaller merchants to take payments but if you have inventory or a set product list you’ll want to add your products into the app for faster checkout.
Adding products can only be done on the app and not through the dashboard for now, so there’s no easy spreadsheet import you’ll find with more complete POS systems. It’s pretty simple to add a product from your device though, just enter the settings > product management > category and tap New Product. This will give you the option to name the product, a price, tax rate, optional product image and variants.
Variations / Modifiers
Basic support for variations or modifiers is included. When you’re setting up a product you can add multiple variations that are priced differently, crucial when you sell multiple sized items like coffee or apparel.
Categorisation / Shelves
You can categorise your products using SumUp’s “shelves” which are the different screens of products you see and swipe between on the main screen. This feature is very basic currently, you can’t move products between categories and there’s no reporting so determining your food/beverage split, for example, isn’t possible.
Taking payments is very simple, once you’ve added all the products to the current order hit the charge button and you’ll be offered a list of payment methods, Card reader, cash and SMS payment if you’ve set it up. Cash payments work as you’d expect; once you’ve entered the amount received it will calculate a change due amount. Whilst you can easily setup a cash drawer to kick open when putting through a cash sale there’s no float feature, meaning you’ll have to keep track of your float separately.
Card payments are relatively fast and simple too, selecting the card reader option at checkout will send the amount due to the reader where the customer can pay by contactless (Including Apple & Android Pay), chip and pin or magstripe if necessary. Speed can be an important factor if you run a busy business and need to process transactions quickly, SumUp does OK here – from our tests it will take around 3 seconds from pressing the charge button to the reader being ready to accept payment. This is about twice the time you’ll see in high-volume QSR chains and supermarkets but is in line with competing small business solutions.
You can accept the vast majority of credit and debit cards you’ll come across in the UK, including Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, V PAY and American Express. This lineup isn’t quite as comprehensive as iZettle and traditional processors who will also allow you to accept foreign cards including China UnionPay but from our experience, this isn’t a big issue for most merchants.
Basic employee management allows you to create individual employee logins and view corresponding reports in the dashboard.
Refunds are easily handled either through the app or the web dashboard. Just find the original transaction searching by date (there’s no last 4-digit search unfortunately), select refund and enter your password.
Upgrading & Larger Businesses
Whilst the free app is a great start for many, if you run a larger or more complex business you’ll probably want a more powerful point of sale interface. Features like table management, split bills, inventory tracking, staff clock-ins, etc are all beyond any free application.
Point of sale integrations allow the SumUp card reader to be used as a payment method within other, more complete POS apps. Integration means exact payment amounts flow from the register to the reader without manual entry, great for minimising errors, speeding up checkout and reconciliation.
Current POS integrations including; Vend, Talech, iKentoo, Nobly, The Good Till and Kounta cover most bases across retail and hospitality. Of course, you should talk to us about choosing a POS system to go with your SumUp reader:
Printers & Accessories
In addition to sending email and SMS based receipts, you’re also able to print paper receipts from the app with one of the compatible printers. Like most of their competitors, SumUp works with common, non-proprietary hardware you can easily buy online. For countertop installations you can use the following desktop Star printers, connecting over Bluetooth or WiFi:
For printing on the go and away from mains power you can use the rechargeable Star SM-L200, which connects to your phone or tablet over Bluetooth.
See our SumUp hardware page for the full range of compatible printers, cash drawers and stands.
SumUp offers email and an integrated ticket based support system through the customer dashboard. Basic queries on using the app, dashboard and getting started are fairly comprehensively covered in their support centre. You can also speak to a UK or Germany based support agent by calling their support line on 020 3510 0160 (Mon-Fri: 08:00 – 17:00 UK time). Whilst not the ideal 24/7 offering, this is in line with similar solutions like iZettle who also only offer phone support during the weekday working hours.
Safety & security
SumUp operates under the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) regulations and removes you from the typical charges and requirements of PCI compliance when signing up with a traditional payment processing company. Card data is encrypted on the SumUp card reader so your phone or tablet will never see or stores sensitive information. Read through SumUp’s security recommendations here to minimise your risk of fraud and chargebacks.
Want to stay ahead of other stores? 💅
Get the newsletter. Once per month, for free