Comparing Card Paying Machines

Have you noticed in recent years that cash payments are becoming fewer and far between? It’s understandable. Since chip & pin was introduced, paying with plastic has become noticeably simpler than using cash, and it’s only accelerated with contactless payment. Tapping a card on a device is simpler than picking out the right bank notes, and walking around with a bulging wallet full of small change is becoming a thing of the past. 

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That’s why every business that handles transactions needs a card machine, but picking the right one isn’t always straightforward. Card machines come in various shapes and sizes, so before shelling out for one, it’s worth checking if it can provide what you need.

guide to card machines for small businesses

The Three Types Of Card Machines

Card machines usually come in one of three types; countertop, portable, and mobile. Countertop and portable credit card machines are the most common. They’re the ones you tend to see in businesses that have a fixed location, such as restaurants. Countertop card machines have good connectivity but are connected to the Internet via a wire, so they must remain on the countertop (hence the name). On the other hand, portable card machines can connect to Wifi, so you take them directly to a customer so long as you remain in signal range. When the waiter in your favourite cafe takes payment by visiting your table, they use a portable card machine. 

Mobile card machines on the other hand, are smaller and have a SIM card fitted. They’re easy to use, and you’ve likely seen examples in pop-up stores or market stalls. 

So, ask yourself what you’ll be using your card machine for? Are you running a bar and taking all payments from the till? Or do you have a mobile hairdressing service and need to visit your customers at home? The type of business will influence what type of machine you need. 

Popular Card Machine Brands

Now, let’s examine some of the more well-known card machine brands that are currently available in the UK. We’ve compiled a list of seven and arranged them in the chart below. Please note, all prices exclude VAT:


Card Machine


Notable Info

£39 – £129 purchase

No monthly fee
1.69% Transaction Fee

Cheapest standalone terminal

From £7.50 rental a month

1 or 12 month contract
Up to £150 setup fee
0.3% - 2.5% transaction fee, plus flat fee

Good support service
Suitable for businesses with £2000+ monthly card turnover

£29 - £199 purchase

No monthly fee
1.75% transaction fee

Straightforward app and very user friendly

£16 - £149 purchase

No monthly fee
1.75% transaction fee

Free POS and payment tools

From £10 rental per month

12-18 months contract
£150 setup fee
Tailored transaction fees

Works well with existing Barclays business customers

£15 - £20 rental per month

1 or 6 month contract
1.4% - 1.8% + 5p transaction fee

Better for businesses with £10,000 or more monthly card turnover

From £17.95 rental per month

18-month contract
Tailored transaction fees

24/7 support

As you can see, there’s quite a range available. This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are other card machine providers out there. However, hopefully this list gives a suitable snapshot of the options available and gives some guidance on how much card machines cost.

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It’s impossible to say which is the best card machine as it depends on the user’s requirements. But here at Business Quotes, we can help you find the right one. We compare card machine prices and all manner of factors to give you the best possible option. So, why not get started by giving our unique online price comparison tool a go? Give it a try today, and let’s see what we can find.

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Categories: Advice, Card Machines

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