Card Machines for Self-Employed Workers

A card machine is an essential item for any customer-facing business. However, they’re not all universally applicable and depending on what type of business you run, certain types will outperform others. Self-employed workers need reliable, easy-to-use devices that won’t break the bank, and choosing the right one is important. Here at Business Quotes, we recognise that not all businesses are identical. In this article, we’ll examine some of the available card machines for self-employed workers. We’ll be looking at both expensive and cheap card readers and what to consider when choosing your own. What’s the best card reader for you? Let’s find out.

Things To Consider

Before you shop for a card machine, it’s best to work out what you’ll need it for. It’s more complicated than just processing a financial transaction; are you going to be visiting customers or permanently based in a shop? Are you paying or receiving a commission? What reporting functions do you need?

guide to card machines for small businesses

Additionally, it’s worth looking at your available budget. The upfront cost of the device may seem like a relatively small purchase, but transaction and subscription fees will be a regular commitment. It’s unlikely that the cost of a card machine will derail your business, but it’s worth factoring the ongoing price into your financial plans. 

So with all that in mind, let’s look at three of the more well-known brands. 


If you’re looking for a reliable all-rounder, SumUp is a good choice. They have no set-up fees or minimum monthly charge and a low rate of 1.69% per transaction. They have two models; SumUp Air works via connection to a smartphone or tablet, while SumUp 3G comes with a built-in SIM card.

The latter will be an especially useful card payment machine for self-employed people who are on the move a lot. If you’re a hairdresser, stylist or mobile mechanic for instance, you won’t have to worry about whether you can process mobile payments. The device is quite small too, so you won’t be lugging a chunky plastic block around all day.

SumUp is a good starting point if you’re reluctant to commit to a contract. The payments are usually processed between one and three days, but it does have one drawback; support is only available between 8am and 7pm weekdays, and 8am and 5pm on weekends. If you’re working late on a Sunday night and your device breaks down, you’ll have to wait until the morning to get it sorted.


Square are another popular brand for self employed card machines. They have a decent reputation and low fees; 1.75% on contactless cards. Square also provide invoices, phone payments and payment links without charging extra. Arguably their biggest selling point is you can get instant payments to your bank account. You have to pay an extra 1% for this service, but you won’t have to worry about customers disappearing after a payment bounces.

Square is easy to use and quick to set up and has no fixed contract. For £149 (plus VAT), you can also upgrade to a Square Terminal, a device that combines a card machine and POS into one. However, this only works on a WiFi connection, so it isn’t going to help mobile workers.

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One of the more recognisable merchant providers in the UK, Worldpay are a good place to turn for self-employed workers who have a steady monthly income stream. It has an eighteen-month contract, but if you decide to end it early, you can buy yourself out. It also allows you to set your own transaction fees.

Worldplay comes with an Ingenico branded terminal. The bad news is it’s quite big, so won’t fit in anything but the largest pockets. However, it’s fitted with a SIM card, so you’ll be able to take payment on the go.

Choosing A Card Machine For Self-Employed Workers

These are just three of the options available and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. However, if you’re self employed and looking for a card machine, this should give you some idea of the things to look for. If you would still like to compare card machines in more detail feel free to speak to us on 01223 776 104.

Here at Business Quotes, we have extensive experience helping workers find the right tools for their jobs. Why not give our unique online price comparison tool a go if you would not like to speak to us over the phone? It’ll get you quotes for card machines quickly and easily.

Card Machines For Self Employed

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Categories: Advice, Card Machines

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