Variety of card readers available for different business types
Complete faster payment processing and be protected from fraud with the right choice of card reader
Save money over time with lower transaction fees and payment plans
Excellent prices when you compare card reader providers with us
Any business intending to take customer payments will require a card reader or card machine. Here at Business Quotes, we compare devices from a wide range of brands to help you choose the right one. They are a crucial part of managing financial transactions, and on this page, we’ll look at some of the options available.
Let’s start by stating what we mean by ‘card reader.’ Card readers are not the same as Card Machines. There are similarities as they’re both used to take payments from customers, and the names are often used interchangeably, but they are two different types of machine.
Card Machines are the traditional payment device. They’re characterised by their large size, screen, keypad, and chip & pin insert. You’ve likely seen them on countertops in larger chain establishments, and they don’t require mobile or computer software to function.
Card readers are more compact. Compared to card machines, they have smaller screens and keypads and often lack swipe functions. Card readers usually require a computer application to work but are portable and mobile. Card readers are great for smaller businesses or those just starting out, but they don’t have the flexibility to take payments over the phone and tend to look less professional than their bulkier cousins.
For this article, we will be examining card readers only.
When choosing the right card reader, there are several factors you should consider:
Card readers charge a monthly transaction fee. Can you afford them?
How do customers pay for your service? Which card types or payment methods do they use? Check that your card reader supports them.
What sort of business do you have? Are you a high-earning franchise with an established customer base or a start-up making your first tentative steps into the marketplace? Do you have a fixed location, or are you always on the go? The right choice for a high street shop might not be appropriate for a food truck.
Add-ons are always attractive but consider them carefully. Will you really need them in the long run? Or will you just be paying an extra fee for a function you never use?
This is especially important for mobile businesses like bookmobiles or roadside mechanics. If you rely on a 4G connection to take payment, make sure your card reader supports it.
Now, let’s look at the available types of card reader. We’ll examine eight different brands and provide a brief overview of each. The following table gives a rough guide to their fees:
|myPOS Go||£29||1.10% + £0.07|
*Does not include VAT, prices accurate at time of writing.
Worldpay are an established service provider in the UK. They are safe and secure and a good choice for businesses that process around £10,000 per month in card transactions. They are popular in the retail, hospitality and food sectors, with over 300,000 UK businesses using them. There is no joining fee, but you do need to apply to find out their pricing. You also need to commit to an 18-month agreement.
|Compatible with all major card providers. Accepts chip & PIN, contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.||Built-in receipt printer.|
|Connects via WiFi or Bluetooth up to 100m from base.||Accepts payments via AMEX (for an additional fee).|
|Offers cashback.||Gives customers the option to tip.|
|Long battery life.||Provided with decals to show accepted payment types.|
Formerly known as iZettle, Zettle is a popular choice with small businesses. Zettle offers the fastest transaction times on the market and is ideal for businesses that process less than £2000 in monthly card payments. It’s also fully mobile, so it is suitable for use by mobile professionals such as plumbers and mechanics. They also have many optional add-ons, like receipt printers and barcode scanners, that increase their functionality.
|Compatible with all major card providers. Accepts chip & PIN, contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.||Provides the option of adding VAT or discounts to payments in percentages or fixed amounts.|
|Provides up to eight hours of use or 100 transactions when fully charged.||Is fully mobile – it connects to 3G/4G connections, so can be used on the go.|
|Connects to the Zettle Go app which offers extra features.||Charges no fees for full or itemised refunds.|
|Compatible with Android or Apple devices through Bluetooth.||Gives customers the option to tip.|
Square are an American company and a comparatively new face in the UK. They were the first to market a device with no keypad or screen, have a good reputation and are one of the cheapest options. They are aimed at small businesses but do not provide services to industries they deem as ‘high risk,’ such as gambling or multi-level marketing. A detailed list of the sectors Square does not support can be viewed on their website. Like Zettle, they have multiple add-ons to increase the functionality.
|Accepts chip & PIN and contactless, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay. Compatible with all major card providers.||Real-time sales data is easily accessible through the dashboard.|
|Offers the choice of physical receipts or digital/text receipts.||Gives customers the option to tip (within fixed percentages).|
|Comes with a free Android app.||Inventory management via the app.|
|Rechargeable, long-lasting battery.||Comes with the optional upgrade of instant deposits, where payment is received in your account within 20 minutes.|
SumUp Air is another popular choice with smaller and mobile businesses. The application process is very simple and fast, often getting a reader out within three days. They’re a good option for vendors who don’t process many card transactions (less than £1500 per month). However, they do restrict certain businesses due to the limits on their licence. Check if your industry is restricted before applying. Their biggest selling point is the low transaction fee of 1.69%, which is good news for businesses that process variable amounts each month.
|Compatible with all major card providers. Accepts chip & PIN, swipe and contactless payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay.||The associated app has a useful feature whereby you can create a product catalogue with VAT rates for every item.|
|Connects to an Android app that provides additional features.||Offers revenue reports.|
|Can process over 500 transactions from a single charge.||Gives customers the option to tip.|
|Compatible with Android or Apple devices through Bluetooth.||Availability of payment links.|
MyPOS Go provide one of the smallest card readers on the market. It is a suitable choice for anyone looking for a no-frills means of accepting card payments. Despite their small size, the devices are sturdy and durable. MyPOS Go are a popular option for taxi drivers and travelling salespeople. Larger options with printers and barcode scanners are also available.
|Accepts chip & PIN, contactless and magstripe payments.||Provide a free e-money merchant account with IBANs in 14 different currencies.|
|Compatible with the myPOS mobile app.||Can provide private label gift cards to your customers.|
|Sends digital receipts only, making it eco-friendly and paper-free.||Instant access to refunds.|
|Lightweight device with a straightforward interface and free data SIM card.||Gives customers the option to tip.|
DojoGo is owned by Paymentsense, one of the biggest payment processing companies in the UK. They offer a stylish portable device that is secure and simple to use. Their contract terms are flexible, especially for larger businesses, starting from as little as one month for companies that process more than £150k in card transactions annually. They also guarantee that payments will be processed by 10am the following day, including on weekends and bank holidays. Their transaction fees vary, and they provide bespoke pricing based on the type of business.
|Compatible with all major card providers. Accepts chip & PIN, contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.||In-built fraud monitoring system for extra security.|
|Ten hours of battery life.||Built-in printer.|
|Mobile and WiFi connectivity.||Connects with the Dojo app which offers insights into transactions.|
Takepayments provide a larger device that resembles a traditional card machine. They offer lower transaction fees on some card types and can be cheaper for businesses that handle a high volume of card payments. They also create tailored plans designed for the individual customer’s specific needs.
|Compatible with all major card providers. Accepts chip & PIN, contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Google Pay. Certain card fees are as low as 0.3%.||Takepayments provide clients with a dedicated account manager who assists with the set-up and use.|
|Long-lasting battery.||Supported by Barclaycard.|
|Lightweight device that is easy to carry.||Portable device with a Bluetooth connectivity range up to 50m.|
The Barclaycard Anywhere card reader is a device created by Barclays, the global bank. It is a good option for sole traders, seasonal traders, and businesses with less than £1 million annual turnover. They don’t offer add-ons or accept AMEX cards, but their fees are low at 1.6%. They also work on a pay-as-you-go basis, so there are no monthly fees or contract.
|Accepts chip & pin and contactless payments. Compatible with Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.||Offers £30 cashback after 20 completed transactions and 6 months of use.|
|Can be used by multiple employees at once.||Can send digital receipts to customers.|
|Connects with iOS and Android services via Bluetooth.||Comes with a personalised dashboard for managing sales, refunds and receipts.|
|Compatible with the Barclaycard Anywhere app.||Processes transaction data in real-time.|
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing a card reader. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and other options are available, so it’s worth shopping around to see what is right for your business. We would also recommend looking at your merchant account and checking which reader is most compatible with it.
Here at Business Quotes, we can help you choose the best long-term investment. Our easy-to-use online form compares quotes from all the major card reader providers, giving you the big picture on prices. From there, you can make a more confident, informed investment.