Mobile card machines for small business have revolutionised the way companies take payment from customers and all without the restriction of power cables and wires. They are ideal for businesses that offer services on the road, but can also be used as a point-of-sale payment device in a physical location such as a shop or even a food stall. As long as the card machine has access to a mobile data network, it will happily and efficiently take money from your customers all day long.
As the demand for mobile card machines has grown, we have seen more and more providers entering the marketplace. But which is better and which will be the ideal fit for your business? In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on the top four mobile card machine providers so that you can make an informed decision for your business.
- Currently offers the widest range of accepted cards
- Fixed fee: 1.75% per transaction
- Offers invoicing functionality through its app
- Card machine available in white or black
iZettle’s mobile card reader is the leading reader in the UK right now. The tamper-proof and stylish PIN pad machine is available without any shipping or setup fees and is available in white or black. iZettle is also the highest ranking mobile card reader service on the App Store, Google Play and Trustpilot UK.
Creating a new account on iZettle is easy and you’ll just need to provide some details about your bank account and your business. There is a credit and identity check and if accepted you will be able to order your card machine right away.
iZettle accepts a wide range of payment methods including chip and PIN, contactless, chip and signature and swipe. You will pay a 1.75% transaction fee on all payments through your card machine, but this is a fixed fee even if you accept payments from foreign or premium cards.
Payment is quick and easy for both your business and the customer. The card is equipped with a simple PIN pad and display which allows the customer to enter their details and also add a tip if they wish – you can decide whether to leave tipping on or off. Payments will be credited to your nominated bank account within 1-2 working days.
- Accepts most major cards
- Fixed fee: 1.69% per transaction
- Very simple for both businesses and customers to use
- Available in white
SumUp Air offers users its service for a low transaction fee and is very simple to set up and use. There are no shipping or setup costs to worry about and the free app offers all the functionality you need to take payments by credit or debit card.
To order the SumUp card machine, you will need to provide your details on their website. You’ll receive your card machine in around a week. The card machine accepts chip and PIN, contactless and chip and signature cards. Unfortunately, swiping is not possible, but this will only be an issue if you are selling products or services to lots of customers using foreign cards with magnetic strips.
The SumUp card machine is one of the more sturdy and elegant devices out there and offers simplified PIN and contactless functions that customers will be able to get to grips with instantly.
Payments taken through the SumUp reader will take around 2-3 days to reach your bank account which is longer than some other readers on the market.
- Most comprehensive free app
- Fixed fee: 1.75% per transaction
- Allows payments to be keyed-in
- Available in white
Square Reader might be the smallest and lightest (just 56 grams) mobile card reader, but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in features. In fact, its size directly relates to its features. Instead of offering a PIN pad on the reader itself, customers enter their PIN directly onto your tablet or smartphone in Square’s free point-of-sale app. And just in case you were worried such a simplistic and compact design meant a compromise on security, don’t be. Square offers the same level of security and efficiency as larger card machines.
Getting your hands on a Square card reader is easy and you’ll just need to provide a few details on their website. Once signed up you will need to wait four days for your bank account to be verified, but you can still start taking payments in the meantime. Square is able to accept chip & PIN, contactless, mobile wallets and chip and signature cards.
One of the great things about Square is that it comes with a magstripe reader which is perfect if you are taking payment from international stripe cards.
- Accepts all major cards and PayPal
- Transaction fees range from 2.75% to 1.0%
- Fees depend on card type and volume
- Available in black
PayPal’s card reader, PayPal Here, offers you the option of taking face-to-face payments and online PayPal payments. The machine integrates with your business PayPal account and accepts chip & PIN, contactless, chip and signature and swipe cards. It is available in a black finish only.
It’s easy to get started with PayPal Here. You’ll need a PayPal account and your bank account to be verified. This is usually a quick process. You can then order your PayPal reader and download the free PayPal Here app to your smartphone or tablet. One of the biggest plus points of PayPal Here is that in most cases, payments are deposited to your PayPal account almost immediately. You can then withdraw this money directly to your bank account. Most transactions take less than two hours.
The PayPal Here fee structure can be a little complex. It operates on a sliding scale starting at 2.75%. The more you sell the less you pay in fees. For example, if you take more than £1,500 in one month you will pay a 1.5% fee. If you sell more than £15K, you will be charged a fixed 1% fee.
So there we have it – there is a very strong case for choosing a card reader for your business, not least to provide your customers with convenient and instant ways to pay you. Choosing the right type of card reader is important and the type you choose will largely depend on whether your business is mobile, located at fixed premises or both. Once signed up and ready to go, you can start taking card payments on the go and without the headache of investing in and managing complex EPOS systems that may prove to be overkill for your business.