For us, there are two main reasons why every small business should be using a card reader to take payments from clients. And they are:
- customers spend up to 100% more when they use a card compared to when they use cash, and
- that feeling of going into a retail premises, picking out what you want, only to find that there is no card payment machine available.
Britons now expect to be able to make card payments everywhere they go – even venues which traditionally have always been cash-only like the corner shop, the local café, or the pub. Finding the best card machine for your business has never been so important.
In this article, we’ll examine the most current and available card payment solutions available to UK businesses including:
- We look at the best card reader providers for your business
- Mobile card machines – a mobile card reader which allows you to take card payment anywhere as long as there is a mobile phone signal
- Portable card readers – this enable you to take your payment machine across to where the customer is on your premises – most often used in restaurants.
- Countertop/POS card machines – the cheapest of the card payment machines, countertop terminals stay in the one place on your premises at all times.
Cheapest Card Reader list
Please see below 36 different card payment machines provided by 10 of the UK’s biggest merchant services companies.
|Provider name and machine name||Price ex VAT||Monthly fee?||Transaction fees?||Trial period?|
|iZettle Reader card payment machine||£29||Free||1.75%||12 month warranty|
|iZettle Ocean Reader and Dock set card payment machine||£98||Free||1.75%||12 month warranty|
|SumUp Air card payment machine||£29||Free||1.69%||30-day money back guarantee – 12 month warranty|
|SumUp 3G Card Reader card payment machine||£99||Free||1.69%||30-day money back guarantee|
|SumUp POS card payment machine||£99||Free||1.69%||30-day money back guarantee – 12 month warranty|
|Square Reader card payment machine||£19||Free||1.75%||No|
|Square Terminal card payment machine||£199||Free||1.75%||Try risk free for 30days|
|Worldpay Ingenico Ict250 Countertop Terminal card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Worldpay Ingenico iWL250 – Connect card payment machine with WiFi||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Worldpay Ingenico Iwl252 – Connect card payment machine with Bluetooth||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Worldpay Move 5000 mobile card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Worldpay Reader card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Barclaycard Anywhere card payment machine||£29 + VAT||Pay as you go||1.6% (75p per refund)||No|
|Barclaycard Flex card payment machine||Only available for rent||£25 + VAT||Based on volume and value||No|
|Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with separate PIN pad||Only available for rent||£15 + VAT||Based on volume and value||No|
|Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with integrated PIN pad||Only available for rent||£15 + VAT||Based on volume and value||No|
|Barclaycard Portable card payment machine||Only available for rent||£20 + VAT||Based on volume and value||No|
|Shopify Tap, Chip & Swipe Reader card payment machine||£59 + VAT||You have to be signed up to Shopify to use which ranges from $29 per month for basic to $299 per month for advanced||1.6%-2.2% + 20p online, 1.5%-1.7% for in-person, 2% additional fee if different payment provider used||Free 30 day return – 12 month warranty.|
|Shopify Star® mPOP™ with Scanner card payment machine||£379 + VAT||You have to be signed up to Shopify starting from $79 per month to $299 per month||1.6%-2.2% + 20p online, 1.5%-1.7% for in-person, 2% additional fee if different payment provider used||Free 30 day return – 24 month warranty.|
|myPOS Go card payment machine||£29 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Mini – White card payment machine||£119 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Mini – Black card payment machine||£119 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Mini Ice card payment machine||£149 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Combo – Blue card payment machine||£199 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Combo – Black card payment machine||£199 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Smart card payment machine||£299 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Smart N5 – Red card payment machine||£299 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|myPOS Smart N5 – White card payment machine||£299 + VAT||Free||From 1.75%||30-day money-back guarantee. 12 month warranty.|
|TakePayments Countertop card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||No|
|TakePayments Portable card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||No|
|TakePayments Mobile card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||No|
|Paymentsense Countertop card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Paymentsense Portable card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
|Paymentsense Mobile card payment machine||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote||Contact for quote|
3 things you need to accept credit and debit card payments in your business
There are two different types of companies and one vital piece of electronic equipment which you need to allow you to process payments from customers’ debit and credit card
1. Merchant account provider
A merchant account provider is a company which allows your business to accept credit and debit cards from customers. When you work with a merchant account provider, your business is the “merchant”.
You can accept payments from customers over the internet, over the phone, or in person. Your merchant account provider sets your company up with the systems and products it needs to be able to do that.
In order to be able to accept debit or credit card payments, your business must be PCI compliant – that means that your customer’s sensitive financial data (including their card numbers and names) must be as secure as possible from cybercriminals. Your merchant account provider maintains PCI compliance on your behalf.
2. Payment gateway
The payment gateway is the company which authorises payment to you from transactions made on your customer’s debit or credit cards. For the 11 companies on this page, they act as both your merchant account provider and your payment gateway.
Many of the companies listed on this page will allow you to select your own payment gateway however you should expect to pay an additional fee for this on top of your transaction charges (more on what these are just below).
3. Card payment machines
You also need a card payment machine – the physical devise that customers either use to make a contactless payment or into which they enter the credit or debit card followed by their PIN.
Different types of card payment machines
There are three main types of card payment machines used by sole traders and small businesses. Larger businesses tend to use more bespoke ePOS and POS systems – we’ll cover those in another article.
Mobile card payment machines
Many mobile card payment machines work using a pre-installed SIM. They connect to a mobile phone network whenever they’re being used so that the bank who has issued the card can confirm whether your client has enough money in their account to pay for your goods and services.
They are very lightweight, they fit in people’s pockets, and it’s this portability which has made them very popular among taxi drivers, food truck owners, market stall holders, and even car boot sale enthusiasts.
Many mobile card payment machines are generally offered on short-term contracts with lower monthly costs. Many providers offer a pay as you go model where you buy the equipment outright and you’re only charged whenever a customer uses their credit or debit card to pay you.
There is a new generation of mobile card payment readers which connect via Bluetooth (or wi-fi if available) to your mobile phone. If the customer needs to enter their PIN to complete a transaction, a PIN pad appears on the screen on your smartphone which your customer can then use to authorise the transaction.
Portable card payment machines
You’re most likely to have seen portable card payment machines being used by waiters and waitresses in cafes and restaurants after you’ve asked for your bill. They’re also very commonly used behind the bars at many pubs too.
Portable card payment machines, sometimes called wireless portable card machines, connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. Some older models may still have a port in them to connect them to broadband or even dial-up via a landline.
Portable card payment machines generally have an operating distance of between 150 to 200 feet from your Wi-Fi router and they provide up to ten hours of charge.
Countertop payment machines
Countertop payment machines are most likely seen in retail outlets sitting next to the till. For petrol forecourts, fashion boutiques, and cafes where the customer pays at the till, they’re fit for purpose.
Countertop card payments machines tend to cost a lot less than other types of card machines. In addition, because they’re both wired into the Internet and to the power supply, they’re very reliable and they don’t require recharging.
How important is contactless payment?
In the UK, contactless debit and credit cards can be used on purchases of £30 or less. Customers simply tap their card on the display screen of your card payment machine and then their payment is authorised.
For businesses, particularly at peak times, it increases your business’s capacity so that you can cope with more customers in the same length of time because up to 45 seconds is saved because the customer doesn’t have to insert their card and enter their PIN.
In the last two years, making contactless payment via a mobile phone or a smartwatch has also become a lot more common. When selecting the right card payment machine and merchant service provider for your business, it’s definitely worth asking them which of their machines are able to accept payment in these ways.
How much do card payment machines cost to use?
There are two standard types of charges on a merchant services account – the monthly fee and the transaction costs.
Similar to the way that you may pay a monthly fee for your bank account, many merchant services accounts charge subscribers a monthly fixed fee for their service. As you can see from the table above however, many merchant services providers do not charge a monthly fee to their customers.
The transaction charges are the charges you pay every time a customer of yours successfully uses their debit or credit card to buy goods and services from you.
With debit cards, you may either be charged a percentage of the total transaction or a fixed rate (for example, 30p). There may be an additional flat charge on top – usually around 20p.
With credit cards, you pay a percentage of the total transaction in fees. Again, some providers may make an additional flat charge on top, as some do with debit cards.
Most merchant services providers will allow you to take payment from foreign cards however please be aware that there is nearly always an additional premium you have to pay to do so.
Sometimes, different types of cards may attract different fees. Traditionally, it has always cost more to process payments made on American Express cards than it has with Visa cards or MasterCards.
Some, not all, merchant services providers add a premium of up to 5p for any contactless payments. 5p might not sound like a lot but if your business is processing hundreds of customers a day, the amount you’ll be paying will soon add up to a significant sum.
Some providers may also charge a premium for transactions completed with manual entry or with a swipe card.
Prior to signing up to a particular merchant services provider, you will be shown a schedule of the charges on the account they’re offering.
It’s always worth shopping around to find the best card machine deal though because, to all intents and purposes, your merchant services provider may then take up to 2.75% or more of your company’s entire turnover in transaction costs.
What else do card payment machine systems do?
Card payment machines and the accounts they come with are not just useful for taking payments – there are up to five more important features available from your merchant service provider.
Create a product catalogue
With a product catalogue, you can create and customise the products you have for sale and put them into categories. You can include description, prices, and images of the products in your catalogue too.
When someone comes up to buy something from you, you can simply open the catalogue on your smartphone or tablet, select the object being purchased, and it will add the item and its price to the total and to the customer’s receipt.
For those merchant accounts which allow you to sell online, you can populate your website with the same products so that, not only can people buy them from you face-to-face, they can also buy it online.
Inventory is more commonly understood here in the UK as how much stock of each particular product you have.
Many merchant service provider apps allow you to perform basic inventory management. Essentially, when you program a new item into your product catalogue, you can tell your merchant account app how many of them you have in stock. The app will keep count of how many units remaining you have in stock as sales of that item occur.
Some systems will alert you when you might be getting low on stock. Other systems will allow you record returned items, items lost through theft, misplaced items, damaged items, stock recount, and stock received.
Display an overview of sales
Your card payment machine app will record every transaction which takes place including information on what you’ve actually sold (the data for that will come from your product catalogue).
Use your app to gain an overview on the payments you take on the sales that you’ve made.
Your app keeps track of all sales, refunds, and daily settlements in a digital record you can download at any time for later use.
You can keep track of employee sales and usage of your card payment machines by issuing individual log-ins. You can control what and what they can’t access as well as monitoring and downloading the transactions made by your employees.
Card payments machines – in depth
iZettle sees its mission as helping the little guy compete against giants. In 2009, the year of their founding, they introduced the first mini chip card reader to the market for mobile devices.
The company operates across Europe and Latin America. iZettle is currently owned by PayPal.
To open an account, all you need to do is to register at their site. Payments taken via the iZettle platform hit your bank account within 1-2 working days.
There is no monthly charge for the iZettle “Go” account. If you don’t purchase a card payment machine, you can use the iZettle app to send invoices to clients – when they pay you, you’ll be charged 2.5% of the invoice value.
If you do purchase one of the card payment machines listed below, you can take in-person payments for a 1.75% fee.
There is a paid-for iZettle subscription – the “Go Plus” service for £29 a month. In addition to the features you receive with the standard “Go” account, you can sell your goods and services online for 2.5% of the transaction value (2% for sales transacted via PayPal). If you wish to sell online, iZettle provides an online WYSIWYG editor allowing you to “create a beautiful store” online.
iZettle also offers merchant services loans – they will lend you an amount of money based upon how much you take on cards payments on average every month. You repay the loan via deductions from your settlements. If approved, you receive the loan money into your nominated bank account within 2 days.
iZettle invites any business turning over £10,000 a month or more by card payment to contact them to negotiate a better deal.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, Union Pay, Contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Discover
iZettle card payment machines
iZettle Reader card payment machine
Designed to be carried around in your pocket, the sleek and stylish iZettle Reader card machine is 11cm x 7cm x 2cm in size. The iZettle reader accepts contactless card payment as well as Apple, Samsung and Google Pay.
To operate it, you need to pair it with a smartphone or tablet with the iZettle app loaded onto it. Power-up time for the device is 2 seconds, the average contactless payment takes 5 seconds (10 seconds for card and PIN entry), and charge holds on it for up to 8 hours (charging is done via a Micro USB).
The iZettle Reader comes with a 12 month warranty and costs £29 + VAT. A separate charging dock is available for the Reader for £39 + VAT.
Link to iZettle Reader card payment machine.
iZettle Ocean Reader and Dock set card payment machine
The iZettle Ocean Reader and Dock set card payment machine is a limited edition version of the standard iZettle Reader costing £98 + VAT. Both are made from recycled plastic ropes and fishing nets.
The dock has its own in-built charger – rest your iZettle Reader in it to keep it charged and ready for taking payments. Your phone or tablet will need to have Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) functionality in order to be able to connect it to your iZettle Ocean Reader.
Link to iZettle Ocean Reader and Dock set card payment machine.
iZettle POS system including a card payment machine
iZettle also sells a range of equipment for point-of-sale systems within retail stores and other customer-facing establishments.
For restaurants, cafes, and bars, iZettle has built the iZettle Pro app for tablets specifically programmed to provide food and drink services companies with intelligent payment solutions including letting customers open tabs with your business and for diners to split their bills.
Launched in 2012 and now in 31 countries, SumUp describes themselves as the leading mobile point-of-sale company in Europe. They wanted to shake the payments industry up right from launch and to help “wake the entrepreneur within anyone”.
SumUp offer three different equipment packages to businesses wishing to take debit and credit card payments from their customers – we summarise them below for you.
There is no monthly cost to using SumUp as your merchant services provider. They have a simple flat fee rate of 1.69% per transaction.
There is no charge for the iOS or Android app required to use the system, telephone and email support is also free as is their handy reporting and dashboard service.
With the app, you can add products to your portfolio/catalogue, track sales, edit and add VAT to some or all of your items, manage multiple employee accounts, send digital receipts to your customers, handle cash payments, and keep track of tips.
SumUp offers a short settlement window too – the money you’ve taken from customer cards should arrive directly into your nominated bank account within 2-3 working days.
You also have the option of taking over-the-phone payments with SumUp – transaction charges on these types of payment are a bit higher though at 2.95% of transaction value plus a 25p fee.
If your business turns over more than £250,000 a year on card-transacted sales, SumUp invites you to get in touch with them to talk about how they can make their service “a little bit more accommodating for you”.
Visa, Vpay, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Contactless
SumUp card payment machines
With all SumUp card payment machines, a 30-day money back guarantee is offered in addition to a 12 month warranty. Delivery is free of charge and normally takes 2-3 days.
SumUp Air card payment machine
The SumUp Air card payment machine is a very small but elegantly designed piece of electronic equipment. In fact, it’s so small that it’s hard to believe you can actually put a credit or debit card into it – but you can.
The SumUp Air has a built-in Li-ion battery for longer operating times, Bluetooth (for connecting to your smartphone or tablet with), and NFC – that’s the technology which allows contactless transactions to take place.
The SumUp Air costs £29 + VAT (although it is occasionally on offer for £19 + VAT).
Link to SumUp Air card payment machine.
SumUp 3G Card Reader card payment machine
The SumUp 3G Card Reader card payment machine allows you to accept debit and credit card payments – wherever you and your customer are.
It has a built-in SIM card with unlimited free data to and from the handset. Connection to SumUp’s HQ is very quick so that transactions can be authorised within seconds.
Whether you’re at a customer’s home or premises closing the deal or out selling your artisanal food in the middle of a field at a local food and drink festival, the SumUp 3G Card Reader card payment machine will mean that you make sales to clients who have a card but who are short on change.
The device can handle all kinds of payments including chip & PIN, contactless, and payment via smartphone or smartwatch.
The SumUp 3G Card Reader sells for £99 + VAT (although it is occasionally offered for sale at £69 + VAT)
SumUp POS card payment machine
Designed for use in shops, food establishments, and for other businesses where the customer approaches a counter to make payment, SumUp’s POS card payment comprises:
- the Air Card Payment Machine – the standard £29 model mentioned above
- the SumUp stand – an eye-catching stand on which to rest your tablet (it looks great – very minimalist and Scandinavian)
- a charging station – so that your card payment machine stays powered up and ready to process transactions for the whole day
Compared with most standard POS system, the relatively low entry charge, the lack of a monthly subscription cost, and the functionality of the software makes this solution a compelling case for retailers.
Link to SumUp POS card payment machine.
First appearing in 2010, Square is an inventor and distributor of hardware and software payment products. Since launch, its greatest appeal has been to and its greatest success has been with small businesses wanting to increase turnover and average order values by being able to accept card payments.
There is no monthly fee for having an active Square account – there’s also no application fee to pay either.
When you open an account, you’re then able to download and use the intuitive point of sale app (Android and iOS). The app is very multi-functional allowing many different things including the ability for employees to clock in and out using a linked card payment machine, one account for multiple locations, and the ability to open further locations and assign team members to those new locations.
Customer support is provided as is the ability to analyse transactional statistics in real time, a dispute resolution service, PCI compliance, and inventory management.
The fees for using the service are 1.75% of transaction value on face-to-face payments and 2.5% on cardholder-not-present payments – payments that were taken over the phone, payments made as the result of an invoice, keyed-in transactions, and online ecommerce sales.
For an extra 1% of the transaction value, you can request immediate pay out on a sale. Unlike most other merchant service accounts, there are no administrative or management charges levied on returns.
If you’re currently turning over more than £250,000 a year on card sales, their sales team would like to speak to you – and you can be certain that the word “discount” will feature in that call.
For restauranteurs, a special POS software tool is available for £69 a month incorporating an impressive number of features including conversational modifiers, coursing, and table layout. There is a 90-day free trial offer available during which you can judge whether the software will work for your establishment.
Visa, American Express, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Contactless
Square card payment machines
Square Reader card payment machine
The Square Reader card payment machine must first be paired with your Apple or Android device via Bluetooth. You’ll need to download the Square app onto the linked smartphone or tablet.
The device itself is very minimalist – it is little more than a square white box with four little orange lights at the front.
For chip & PIN transaction, your customer places their card into the slot of the reader and then enters their PIN on the connected tablet or smartphone. For contactless payments and payments made via a mobile device, the customer simply holds their card, phone, or smartwatch above the device.
Contactless transactions take a few seconds – other transactions a few seconds more. The reader has a heavy-duty battery inside it meaning that you should get a day’s straight usage from it but always remember to charge it after you shut up shop for the day.
The Square Reader card payment machine accepts chip and signature cards, chip and PIN cards, mobile wallets, magstripe cards, and contactless cards.
The Square Reader costs £19 + VAT. A separate charging dock is available for £19 + VAT,
Link to Square Reader card payment machine.
Square Terminal card payment machine
Imagine a powerful tablet mounted onto a stylish white foot – that’s the Square Terminal card payment machine.
The Terminal card payment machine accepts contactless, mobile, and chip & PIN transactions easily as does its little brother. Once a transaction is completed, a record and a receipt are printed onto paper from the device.
The battery life in this larger device is even longer and, in terms of size, it’ll easily be carriable in one hand.
The Square Terminal costs £199 + VAT.
Link to Square Terminal card payment machine.
Arguably few companies have done more to get the Great British public to trust giving their credit and debit card details online than PayPal. Bought by eBay and then spun off again, PayPal still derives most of its revenue from auction sites and from online sellers.
In the years since it became a separate company again, a great deal of its commercial focus has been on gaining market share in the face-to-face transaction market. It has its own range of products and services to offer to merchants and, recently, it acquired competitor and leading payment solutions provide iZettle.
Like most of its competitors, PayPal does not charge a monthly fee. Its business plan is centred on selling as many of its card payment machines as possible (presumably at or near cost) and then waiting for its users to start actively transacting card payments through them.
With the PayPal app, you can add up to 200 other users to your account, manage your inventory, and generate reports by items, salesperson, date, and more.
Transaction fees vary according to the turnover you put through the machine every month:
For £1,500 a month or less, the fee is 2.75% per transaction. Between £1,500 and £6,000, it’s 1.75%. For £6,000 to £15,000 a month, you’ll pay 1.5% and for sales above £15,000, it’s 1%.
For AmEx payments, the fee is 2.75% and for swipe card and manual entry transactions, you’ll pay 3.4% + 20p.
You can take payments over the phone with your PayPal merchant account as well as send invoices with a link at which customers can make payment to you. Both of these forms of transactions carry higher fees than whatever standard fee you’re incurring on a particular month.
Contactless, MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, American Express, Apple Pay, Android Pay
Originally part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Worldpay is an international giant among payment processors. It was bought by FIS in July 2019 for $43 billion. With this type of money available to buy companies in this sector, it’s no surprise that so many other companies are now competing with WorldPay for market share.
Worldpay is actively targeting freelancers, contractors, side hustlers, and microbusinesses to take up its services although the main business of the company still is in online payment processing for B2B and B2 companies.
Despite having a very large, good-looking, and impressive website, it’s difficult to get as much detail about Worldpay’s options in comparison to their competitors.
Here’s what we do know. There are a range of different merchant accounts on offer from Worldpay. To summarise –
- Pay as you go – one-off terminal fee, transaction authorisation fees, no joining fee, no monthly commitment, single transaction rate (except for premium transactions), Worldpay Dashboard available at £4.99 a month after 3 months.
- Custom – no joining fee, transaction authorisation fees, PCI management fee, service charge of at least £15 a month, terminal rental fee of at least £17.95 a month, variable transaction rates based upon volume, 18 month minimum agreement, Worldpay Dashboard available at £4.99 a month after 3 months.
- Fixed Monthly – inclusive transactions, terminal rental fee and PCI fees included in monthly package from £49.99, choice of terminal, 18 month minimum agreement, Worldpay Dashboard available at £4.99 a month after 3 months.
- Simplicity – single rolled up transaction rate, terminal rental fee from £17.50 a month, inclusive authorisation and PCI management fees, Worldpay Dashboard available at £4.99 a month after 3 months.
You can accept over-the-phone (mail order payments) on the Custom, Fixed Monthly, and Simplicity packages for an additional £9.95 a month.
We can’t share any information with you on transaction rates, settlement windows, and so on. The Worldpay products do not come with an app unlike most of the other companies in this article so you shouldn’t expect Worldpay to offer you the functionality that others on this page are offering you.
Like other merchant service account provider, Worldpay provides loans to its merchants based upon their average monthly transaction levels.
Why have we included them on this page? Worldpay are huge and this is a more traditional system than many of the systems listed on this page. Many company owners will already be using standalone providers like Worldpay and their bookkeeper and accountant will reconcile payment details.
All major debit and credit cards accepted including Visa, MasterCard, China Union Pay, Diners Club International and Discover. American Express can be added on request.
Worldpay terminals accept contactless payments and payments using the Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apply Pay systems.
Worldpay card payment machines
Please note that there is no pricing information on Worldpay’s website.
Worldpay Ingenico Ict250 Countertop Terminal card payment machine
The Worldpay Ingenico Ict250 Countertop Terminal card payment machine connects to a phone line or broadband connection and terminals are supplied to current PCI PTS standards.
This fixed point terminal is designed for retail stores, convenience stores, and cafes.
Included in the package is decals for your premises to show visitors and customers which cards you accept, an installation guide, power cable, ethernet cable, phone line connector, receipt roll, and power supply unit.
Worldpay Ingenico iWL250 – Connect card payment machine with WiFi
This would be the best card machine for you to use if you need to take your machine over to your customers so that they can make payment – pubs, cafes, and restaurants for example.
The terminal is supplied to current PCI PTS standards and can accept gratuities. Included within the package are decals for the tills and the windows, a charging station, receipt roll, charging cable, and installation guide.
You have the ability to connect multiple iWL250s to the same WiFi network and the unit can either be tethered to your mobile or connect WiFi hotspots and WiFi routers.
Worldpay Ingenico Iwl252 – Connect card payment machine with Bluetooth
The Iwl252 terminal is identical to the iWL250 except that, instead of connecting via WiFi, it connects via Bluetooth instead up to 100m from its base. It can also run off a phone line or plug into a router.
Worldpay Move 5000 mobile card payment machine
As well as having the ability to connect to WiFi or Bluetooth, this mobile card machine has SIM connectivity using the EE, Vodafone, or EE networks. It comes with a separate charging station and its battery life can be extended. Gratuities, cashback, refunds, and sales can be processed through the machine.
Included with the box are decals for tills and windows, a charging station, an installation guide, and a receipt roll.
Worldpay Reader card payment machine
The Worldpay Reader card payment machine is much closer in style, size, and functionality to the readers offered by other providers in this article. Simply pair up the Reader with the smartphone or tablet that WorldPay’s POS app has been loaded onto, make sure there’s a WiFi or a mobile data connection, and you can take payments.
Link to Worldpay Reader card payment machine.
Barclays Bank is one of the UK’s and the world’s largest financial services companies and they were the first bank in Britain to offer a credit card to their customers. They were also the first bank to install an ATM into one of their branches so that clients did not have to withdraw money from a teller during business hours.
Barclaycard, previously called Barclaycard Merchant Services, are one of the UK’s most significant payment processors and, as well as continuing to serve their traditional markets, they are also moving into the supply of card payment machines to microbusinesses, freelancers, and the self-employed.
Unlike the other merchant services providers on this page, there is no overall Barclaycard tariff. The multiple tariffs on offer relate to the card payment machines you either buy or rent and card processing fees are dependent on value and volume of transactions.
As Barclays is a traditional financial institution, your likelihood of acceptance for one of the machines and tariffs below depends on your borrowing history and your current financial circumstances – in other words, they’re likely to want to run a credit check on you and your company.
Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club International, Discover and American Express (a separate merchant is required for AmEx which Barclaycard can assist you with).
Barclaycard card payment machines
The Barclaycard Anywhere card payment machine is the equipment provided by Barclays which is closest to what companies like iZettle and PayPal offer – it’s small and black, it has a built-in keyboard and screen, and it has slots into which customers can place their card or through which they can swipe it.
You need to download the Barclaycard Point of Sale app onto your smartphone or tablet and then pair your Barclaycard Anywhere machine. You’re not allowed to take over-the-phone (mail order) payments using the Anywhere service.
The Barclaycard Anywhere card payment machine costs £29 + VAT, it’s pay as you go, and there is a transaction cost of 1.6%. Refunds cost 75p.
Barclaycard Flex card payment machine
The Barclaycard Flex mobile card reader will process up to 700 payments when at full charge and it connects to Barclays’ computers for payment authorisation via WiFi, Bluetooth, or the data networks of EE, Vodafone, and o2.
The machine itself is like a very bulky rugged smartphone complete with keypad on the top, slots for card insertion and swiping, and room for a printer so that you can give customers a receipt once authorisation has been provided by Barclays. With this machine, you can literally take it anywhere and, as long as there’s an internet connection, you can transact debit and credit card payments.
It can handle contactless card payments as well as processing gratuities, cashback requests, refunds, and payments.
The Barclaycard Flex card payment machine costs £25 a month, it has a minimum contract period of 18 months, and processing costs are based upon the value and the volume of transactions made in a calendar month. Additional charges may apply if you are not PCI compliant.
Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with separate PIN pad
Best suited for retailers and other businesses with restricted countertop space, the Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with separate PIN pad also works for companies who have glass partitions separating the main trading area from the retail counter.
The machine takes 5-10 minutes to set up and, although it does connect to a standard phone line, Barclays recommends that you connect it to broadband. It accepts contactless payments and you can process cashback requests, refunds, and payments from the same terminal.
You must be PCI Data Security compliant to increase the chance of your application for the machine being accepted.
The Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with separate PIN pad costs £15 a month with a minimum contract period of 18 months. Processing charges depend on monthly transaction value and volume.
Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with integrated PIN pad
The Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with integrated PIN pad is essentially the same machine as the Barclaycard Desktop card payment machine with separate PIN pad except for the integration of the PIN pad.
As with the previous machine, the cost is £15 a month with a minimum contract period of 18 months. Processing charges depend on monthly transaction value and volume.
Barclaycard Portable card payment machine
The Barclaycard Portable card payment machine is ideal for cafes and restaurants – the terminal can be taken to the individual diner and the machine can process gratuities and tips for the staff. They’re also suitable for very large retail spaces allowing colleagues to take the machine around the premises to where the potential customers are.
The Barclaycard Portable card payment machine works via Bluetooth (up to a range of 100m) and the base unit can handle three connections at any one time. The base station itself can connect to Barclays’ payment authorisation system via broadband or standard analogue line.
The units are compatible with contactless payment cards and the in-built “Waiter Total” function means that you can divide tips up correctly between members of your waiting staff. The machine can also process cashback requests and refunds.
The Barclaycard Portable card payment machine costs £20 a month with a minimum contract period of 18 months. Processing charges depend on monthly transaction value and volume.
Shopify is best known for its clever and intuitive system which allows people and businesses to build ecommerce websites with little or no programming or design knowledge. Not only do they do that but they also process payments on clients’ websites from customers buying products from their clients.
In the last year or two, Shopify have become more and more enthusiastic about entering the face-to-face payment processing sector because, although the amount of shopping we’re doing online is more than ever before, there is still a lot of activity in retail outlets in the UK. And that’s just too big an opportunity for a company as nimble as Shopify to miss out on.
The Shopify tariff and offering is very comprehensive but, among the newer companies in this market, theirs is one of the most expensive.
There is a monthly subscription fee that you need to pay for if you want to take payments in person. The “Basic Shopify” subscription at $29 does not allow you to do that however – you have to choose either the “Shopify” $79 a month account or the “Advanced Shopify” subscription at $299 a month.
With both enhanced subscriptions, you have access to the Shopify POS app, you can register shifts, you can take advantage of hardware peripheral support and fraud analysis monitoring and make use of third-party POS apps.
Both accounts also offer unlimited staff POS PINs – the only difference between the two is that the “Shopify” subscription allows up to 5 store locations whereas the “Advanced Shopify” allows up to 8 locations.
There is a slight difference in transaction fees. For in-person credit card transactions, “Shopify” subscribers play 1.6% and “Advanced Shopify” subscribers pay 1.5%. For online credit card transactions, it’s 1.9% plus 20p on the lower subscription and 1.6% plus 20p on the higher subscription.
24/7 support is offered to subscribers on the hardware they’ve purchased from Shopify.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Apple Pay, Android Pay
Shopify card payment machines
Shopify Tap, Chip & Swipe Reader card payment machine
The Shopify Tap, Chip & Swipe Reader card payment machine accepts magstripe cards, contactless cards, and chip & PIN cards. The reader itself is small and compact measuring 10.2 x 6.9 x 1.8cm. On the front of the device is a keypad and a small display.
You connect it to an iPad or iPhone which has the Shopify POS app downloaded onto it via Bluetooth. Please note that this device is not compatible with Android smartphones and tablets.
The Shopify Tap, Chip & Swipe Reader card payment machine costs £59 + VAT, there is no postage and packing charge, and you can return the device within 30 days if unsatisfied. There is a one year warranty on your reader.
Shopify Star® mPOP™ with Scanner card payment machine
The Shopify Star® mPOP™ with Scanner card payment machine includes a cash drawer and receipt printer. Its modern and minimalist design in matt black is stylish and understated.
The cash drawer automatically opens following the successful input of a sale into the system while the till had four upright holders for note and 6 or 8 slots for coins. The stand supports the iPad which you place on top of the unit.
It connects to your iPad via Bluetooth – there is only one power cable that you need to find a socket for to operate the system. Please note that this device is not compatible with Android smartphones and tablets.
The Star® mPOP™ with Scanner card payment machine costs £379 + VAT, there is no postage and packing charge, and you can return the device within 30 days if unsatisfied. There is a two year limited manufacturer warranty with the system.
Founded in 2012, the two directors of myPOS wanted to build an affordable and easy-to-use platform for small to medium sized businesses to accept debit and credit cards. Prior to the widespread adoption of the internet, it was difficult for SMEs to find a merchant services provider to open a contract because of the providers’ fear of chargebacks and bad debts.
myPOS have been one of the leading companies proving to traditional financial institutions that the risk of fraud or chargeback is no greater for SMEs and start-ups than it is against larger, more established companies.
myPOS do not charge clients to open and maintain a merchant services account with them.
For standard transactions on consumer cards issued with the European Economic Area, there is a 1.75% fee charged (although occasionally this will be re-set at 0.99% as part of a promotion). Commercial cards issued within the EEA attract a fee of 2%. Non-EEA cards, American Express, Union Pay, and JCB carry a charge of 2.85%.
For card-not-present transactions (online and over the phone), there is a 2.25% fee charged for consumer cards issued within the EEA and 3.25% on commercial card issued with the EEA. Non-EEA cards attract a free of 3.35% while transactions on American Express and JCB costs will cost you 3.5%.
Refunds are charged at 49p and disputes and chargebacks at £24.99.
Applicants can open a multi-currency banking current account with myPOS which comes with a myPOS Business Debit card. Clients are also issued with a myPOS data card so that they can connect their card payment machines to a mobile network anywhere in Europe.
Settlement is instant – in other words, you will receive payment into your bank account related to a transaction normally within minutes.
Visa, Vpay, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay
myPOS card payment machines
On each of the following machines, there is a 1 year warranty and a 30 day money-back guarantee. All of the machines handle contactless payments, magstripe payments, and chip & PIN payments.
myPOS Go card payment machine
The myPOS Go card payment machine is attractive and small. It’s matt black, has a PIN pad keyboard on the front, and a full colour 2.4’ display. The cost for the myPOS Go card payment machine is £29 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
Link to myPOS Go card payment machine.
myPOS Mini – White card payment machine
The myPOS Mini white card payment machine weights just 165 grams and comes with SIM, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. On the front of the device is a PIN pad and 2.4’ full colour display. Its dimensions are 121mm x 72mm x 22.5mm.
The myPOS Mini white card payment machine costs £119 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
myPOS Mini – Black card payment machine
This model is identical to the previous model except that it comes in “shiny black” instead.
The myPOS Mini black card payment machine costs £119 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
myPOS Mini Ice card payment machine
The myPOS Mini ice card payment machine more resembles a stylish smartphone with its large 4’ full colour touch screen display on the front. It has a glossy and bold white façade and it connects to myPOS payment authorisation servers via SIM, WiFi, and Bluetooth.
Its dimensions are 136.5mm x 70mm x 17.4mm and it weighs 182g with battery included.
The myPOS Mini ice card payment machine costs £149 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
Link to myPOS Mini Ice card payment machine.
myPOS Combo – Blue card payment machine
The myPOS Combo card payment machine features a high-speed thermal paper printer so that you can present customers with their receipts when they’ve paid you by card. It has a long battery life and comes with WiFi, SIM, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Its façade is blue and features a PIN pad keyboard and a 2.8’ full colour display. It weights 360g with the battery and its dimensions are 162.5mm x 80mm x 56mm.
The myPOS Combo blue card payment machine costs £199 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
myPOS Combo – Black card payment machine
This model is identical to the previous model except that, instead of having a blue façade, its façade is “shiny black”.
The myPOS Combo black card payment machine costs £119 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
myPOS Smart card payment machine
The myPOS Smart card payment machine has an impressive full-colour 5.0’ touchscreen display with a dual camera and paper printer built in.
Connectivity is via WiFi, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G, and 4G and its dimensions are 175.7mm x 78mm x 57mm.
The myPOS Smart card payment machine costs £299 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
Link to myPOS Smart card payment machine.
myPOS Smart N5 – Red card payment machine
The myPOS Smart N5 mobile point of sale terminal features a full-colour 5.5″ capacitive touchscreen and connects via WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, and 4G.
The paper printer sits at the back and at the top of the device behind a red casing so that, when it’s placed on a surface, it’s easier for a customer to insert a card and enter their PIN number. Likewise, payment via mobile device or contactless card payment is easy.
The myPOS Smart N5 red card payment machine costs £299 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
myPOS Smart N5 – White card payment machine
This model is identical to the previous model except that the casing protecting the back of the phone and the paper printer is white instead of red.
The myPOS Smart N5 white card payment machine costs £119 + VAT – postage and packing is an additional £10 + VAT.
FiServ, part of First Data, are ecommerce and payment specialists working with governments, financial institutions, and merchants to meet the challenges of the new economy and make the changes necessary so that the most can be made out of every transaction.
At time of writing, over 5 million merchants around the world use FiServ to process credit and debit card payments.
FiServ charge a monthly fee for their services starting from around £10 a month. There are also monthly online payment gateway fees, terminal setup fees, and terminal maintenance fees.
Depending on the volume of your card transactions, you may also have up to a £15 minimum monthly charge to pay on top if the fees generated from your activity don’t reach a certain amount.
As a rule of thumb, card turnover of more than £50,000 a month will generate fees of 2.29% + 40p per transaction (3.29% + 40p if keyed). For less than £50,000, the likely fee will be 2.69% + 40p (3.69% + 40p).
You will be asked to sign up for a number of years and, should you try to cancel early, you’ll likely be charged the remaining standing charges that you would have paid had you decided not to close your account.
FiServ accepts chip and pin, magnetic stripe, standard credit and debit cards, and contactless payments (like Apple Pay®).
FiServ card payment machine
FiServ Clover Flex Mobile card payment machine
The FiServ Clover Flex Mobile card payment machine is portable and designed to allow you to take it to where the customers are in your premises. It has a built-in printer and barcode scanner, wireless connectivity (with a 3G data plan option), the ability to take signatures onscreen, and can last for up to 8 hours on single charge.
It features an attractive and robust 5’ HD screen suitable for both PIN entry and e-signatures. It is fully certified to PCI PTS 5.0 and it’s lightweight.
For 25 years, TakePayments have been working with independent British businesses enabling them to grow faster by being able to accept debit and credit card payments.
The Stockport-based company has 45,000 customers and 100 different payment consultants who visit customers regularly to see if their needs can be serviced better
TakePayments do not publish their tariff online – instead, each customer is given a personalised package bespoke to their business when signing up. The package is designed in conjunction with the client by the company’s local consultant who will visit you at your premises as part of a fact-finding mission about you and your company.
They do mention on their website that the package they offer has 12 month contract and that there’s no fee payable for joining or leaving the service.
TakePayments accepts all major credit and debit cards, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Maestro.
TakePayments card payment machines
As well as accepting credit and debit cards using chip and PIN, all of TakePayment’s card machines accept contactless payments, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.
TakePayments Countertop card payment machine
The TakePayments Countertop card payment machine is ideal if you only take payments from one place in your premises. It plugs straight into either your phone line or broadband line and it’s a compact, small, but smart machine.
With PCI compliance as standard and an easy set-up process, the TakePayments Countertop card payment machine prints receipts off for clients and for your own bookkeeping on the authorisation (or otherwise) of a client’s purchase.
TakePayments Portable card payment machine
Do you need to be able to take payment from customers where they are in your premises rather than where you’d like them to be? If that’s the case, then you may benefit from finding out more about the TakePayments Portable card payment machine.
Using Bluetooth which allows the machine to connect to its base up to 50m away, this Ingenico machine is small and lightweight. It has a powerful battery too meaning that, depending on the volume of use, its charge should last a full service or even longer.
TakePayments Mobile card payment machine
Want to be able to take payments anywhere? The TakePayments Mobile card payment machine connects to Britain’s extensive 3G network meaning that you can take payments from customers there and then. It’s a great solution for plumbers, window cleaners, taxi drivers, mobile hairdressers, and other professions where you have to travel to serve or see your customers.
Its in-built SIM card connects to the strongest available GPRS signal so that it can dial in transactions quickly for you to receive near instant authorisation on customers’ card payments. Included in the model is a thermal printer so that you can present your clients with their receipt there and then.
Paymentsense handle 250m credit and debit card transactions a year worth over £10bn for their 70,000 customers.
They’re one of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies having won two Sunday Times awards, a Lloyds Bank National Business Award, and inclusion in the prestigious Inc. 5000 Europe list.
We wish we could share more information on Paymentsense’s tariff but they’re not publicly available. Just as with TakePayments, you have to contact the company for an individual quote.
In that case, the transaction fees offered by the company are more likely than not going to be based upon the value and the volume of business put through their service. If this is the case, it is also more than likely that they will want you to sign up to their service for a minimum period of time.
American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Contactless, Maestro, MasterCard, Visa
Paymentsense card payment machines
Paymentsense Countertop card payment machine
Designed for retailers and companies where the location that clients make payment remains the same, the Paymentsense Countertop card payment machine is a robust machine made by leading electronics manufacturer Ingenico.
The design is similar to the card payment machines you’ll see in most outlets – contained within it is a printer so that you can produce receipts for customers straight away. It has a PIN pad and a sharp and attractive LCD screen.
Paymentsense Portable card payment machine
The Paymentsense Portable card payment machine has a range of 100m from base meaning that you can take it to where your customers are in your premises – they’re ideal for very large retail environments, bars, and restaurants.
Paymentsense Mobile card payment machine
The Paymentsense Mobile card payment machine is ideal for delivery drivers, taxi drivers, handymen, couriers, and mobile hairdressers – wherever you are, as long as there is a strong enough GPRS signal, you can take payment there and then and present your customer with their receipt.
Payzone have recently been acquired by TakePayments and will soon rebrand under that name.
Card payment machine FAQ
How do I choose a card payment machine that’s right for my business?
Leaving merchant service account charges aside and considering only the machine itself, the right option for your business will fit into the way you and your staff work and offer convenience to your customers.
Think of a café that might be busy at lunch time. Counter space is scarce and, because the tables and chairs are so close together, it might be difficult for customers to come to the till.
In this case, a countertop solution would not be ideal – a portable terminal however would allow you and your colleagues to save customers the trouble of getting up because you could take the machine over to them and allow them to pay at the table.
If you run a petrol station, the likelihood is that all customers will come into your store after they’ve filled their car. They may buy additional items from you at the till. Whereas a portable terminal would function completely adequately, it would need frequent recharging. In this case, a countertop terminal wired to both the broadband line and the power supply would be the better option.
What happens if a customer reverses the transaction?
When a customer reverses a card payment, it’s known as a chargeback. Chargebacks happen when a customer disputes the validity of a payment they later spot on their statement or online banking platform.
The customer will contact their bank or card issuers and ask for the money back. For over-the-phone (sometimes called mail order) and online transactions, the customer’s card issuer is almost certain to ask for the money back on behalf of their client.
When that happens, the next payment you receive from your merchant services provider will likely have the disputed amount deducted.
For face-to-face transactions, the picture can get more complicated especially if the customer has entered their PIN into the machine in front of you or a member of staff.
Should I take a card payment machine that accepts contactless payment?
It’s up to you. Every customer with a contactless payment card can still pay you by entering their card into your machine followed by their PIN but it does take a little longer to complete the transaction.
We British may be a nation of queuers but, at the same time, we hate waiting around for something. If you run a café or a takeaway food shop that experiences peaks in footfall (like for breakfast or at lunch time), it’s in your best interests to turn customers around as quickly as possible.
If someone is tenth in the queue, it will take you a lot less time to get to them if the customers in front of them can simply tap their card on your machine to make payment.
The answer to this question is what’s best for your customer because, in most cases, that’s also going to be best for your business.
Do customers really spend more when using a credit card?
Yes and that fact has been backed up by many different studies. What makes that particularly interesting for retailers is that this is true in a time where we now spend more as a nation on our credit cards than we do using cash.
Customers are willing to spend 83% more when paying with a credit card. Tips left for waiters and waitresses are 13% higher than with cash. If someone see their credit or debit card logo on a shop window, they’re happy to pay an average of 10% more.
It even goes deeper than that. 82% of shoppers using cash remember the price – far more than credit card users. However, credit card users were 28% more likely to remember what they liked about a product or service than they were the price.
Do you want to attract customers who focus more on and better remember the benefits of your products than the price? Then it makes sense to offer these valuable customers the option to pay you how they want to pay you.
How soon until the money clears in my bank account?
The settlement period is the time it takes for payment to appear in your business bank account.
With each merchant service provider, the settlement window varies often according to your line of trade. Some types of transaction are more prone to chargeback and fraud than others. As a result, a merchant may refuse you access to their service or:
- they may make you wait a long time to receive payment
- they may keep aside a proportion of your card-based turnover to cover for potential chargebacks and fraud, or
- they may do both of the above.
If you feel that the settlement window you have been offered by a merchant services provider is too long, you may wish to approach other companies to discover how long they would take to transfer customer funds to your business bank account.
Choosing a card payment machine for your business
There has never been this much choice for businesses wanting to take payment from their customers by debit or credit card. Compared to twenty years ago, acceptance rates and turnaround speeds are high. Prices across the market still seem to be reducing as the amount of competition increases.
When selecting a card payment machine for your business, you’re making an investment which will likely increase the number of customers who use you and their average spend. Try to find the merchant service provider offering the very best deal whose card payment machines will add value for you, your staff, and your customers.