Have you seen those tiny little credit and debit card terminals in your local coffee shop? You might even have been presented with one by a taxi driver or a mobile hairdresser? They’re little contactless payment processors and one of the biggest suppliers of them in the UK is SumUp.
The way we pay for goods and services now has changed. For us as consumers, there’s almost an expectation that we should be able to pay by debit or credit card anywhere we go. In the past, many business owners and retailers were reluctant to accept cards because of the high costs of transacting payments and the monthly rental charges on the bulky machines you used to see next to tills in the shops.
SumUp, which launched in 2012 and now has bases in 31 countries provides two mobile card transaction terminals – the SumUp Air and the SumUp 3G. Both of them are attractive, minimalist, lightweight, and portable devices you can take anywhere with you where there’s a chance you could make a sale.
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In this article, we look at SumUp and their current offering to UK businesses including:
- which cards do SumUp accept?
- what do they charge and is it competitive?
- how long it takes for the money to hit your account,
- how the SumUp terminal works with your tablet or smartphone,
- a review of the SumUp Air and the SumUp 3G terminals,
- what you need to know about the SumUp smart app,
- which printers you need if you want to present customers with a receipt,
- SumUp for larger retail stores, and
- the types of business which may struggle to get an account
|Machine name||SumUp Air||SumUp 3G|
|Price||£29||£99 + VAT|
|Accounting opening and set-up||Free|
|Postage and packing||Free|
|Cardholder not present payments||2.95% + 25p|
|Cost per chargeback||£10|
|Monthly sales targets||£0|
|Monthly subscription cost||Free|
|Refunds||Free within 1-3 days, 1.69% thereafter|
|Settlement window||2-3 days|
|Transaction charge on payments||1.69% (any card)|
|PCI security||Yes – details here|
The history of SumUp
Now in its eighth year of business, SumUp’s mission is to provide anyone with the hardware and software solutions required to take payment. They aim to provide the tools that will “wake up the entrepreneur in anyone” by showing them the power of business and how they can monetise their own experience, expertise, and passions.
They now operate in 31 countries and provide hundreds of thousands of sole traders, businesses, freelancers, and more with the ability to get paid there and then for the work they do.
Which cards do SumUp accept?
SumUp’s merchants can accept the following cards from their clients:
- American Express
Both the SumUp Air and SumUp 3G devices are compatible with:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
What do SumUp charge?
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.
No monthly charge
There is no charge made per month for:
- account maintenance or
- usage of the SumUp app
The SumUp App is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. To use either the SumUp Air or SumUp 3G, you need to pair whichever terminal you choose to a smartphone or a tablet.
What do SumUp charge when you take a payment?
Merchants pay 1.69% of the value of a transaction as a processing fee.
Unlike many other no-monthly-fee payment providers, you can also take card-not-present transaction using your terminal. For example, customers can call you or send their payment details securely to you so that you can key the necessary numbers into the terminal to complete the transaction.
For all card-not-present transaction, the fee is 2.95% of the value of the transaction plus an additional 25p charge on top.
Competition among all merchant services providers is particularly focused on businesses with a turnover of more than £250,000 a year on debit and credit cards.
If you already run a business which uses another merchant services provider and you sell more than £250,000 a year on cards, then SumUp would like the opportunity to speak with you directly so that they can come up with a, in their words, “more accommodating” offer.
How do SumUp’s fees compare with other companies?
SumUp offer the cheapest across the board rate to all clients out of the five main companies targeting face-to-face retailers and sellers.
|Provider name||Monthly fee?||Transaction fees?|
|iZettle||Free or £29 a month for e-commerce option||1.75% (2.5% e-commerce)|
|Square||Free||1.75% (2.5% e-commerce)|
|PayPal||Free||1% to 2.75%|
However, please note that PayPal offer a rate of 1.5% if you turn over more than £6,000 in a month making it slightly cheaper than SumUp’s offering.
How quickly do SumUp pay me?
The settlement window for most of the merchant services providers in the UK is very short compared to the settlement times still offered by High Street banks.
When you successfully take a payment on SumUp, the money will appear in your bank account within 2-3 working days. What will happen is that all payments on one given day will be paid in one go in one transfer of cash.
SumUp’s card payment machines
Guarantees and assurances
A 12 month warranty is offered on the SumUp Air and Sum Up 3G terminals. You can change your mind and return the terminals within 30 days and SumUp will return your payment to you.
There is no charge for delivery on either the SumUp Air or SumUp 3G. Expected time of delivery after you’ve ordered is 2-3 days.
SumUp Air card payment machine
Given that SumUp want its merchants to be able to use its terminals anywhere, its designers were set a difficult challenge.
Normally, merchant tills are big, clunky devices that you see next to a standard cash till on a countertop. If SumUp is to be able to give its merchants the ability to take payments anywhere they wanted, they had to think small and portable.
And they achieved their results. The SumUp Air card payment machine is tiny and lightweight – it’s an elegant bit of engineering with an eye on both design and ergonomics. It fits into your pocket yet it’s large enough to contain two different slots – one which you use for chip & PIN payments (the keypad appears on your phone for the customer to use) and one for magswipe payments.
Included within the terminal is the NFC technology required for contactless payments, Bluetooth so that you can connect the Air to your Android or Apple device, and a powerful Li-ion battery which should provide you with a full day’s use when fully charged.
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
Whereas the SumUp Air relies on your smartphone to allow you to take payments from customers, the SumUp 3G terminal can handle credit and debit card payments no matter where you are as long as you have a 3G mobile data connection.
Included within the SumUp 3G is a SIM card. The SIM card has unlimited free data included meaning that you can take as many payments as you like without running up mobile charges. Operating on the 3G network via GPRS, connection to SumUp’s and the payment gateway’s authorisation system is quick meaning that you don’t have to wait long to find out if a customer’s payment has gone through.
The terminal itself has the dimensions of a stand-alone calculator. There’s a PIN pad on the front together with a dot-matrix type display above the pad. There are slots to take chip & PIN payments and magswipe transactions. The terminal itself is ready to take contactless card payments and payment via smartwatch, smartphone, or any other NFC-enabled device.
The SumUp 3G Card Reader sells for £99 + VAT (although it is occasionally offered for sale at £69 + VAT)
What is the SumUp app like?
The SumUp app (required for use with the SumUp Air) is a slick and intuitive payment platform which allows:
- the processing of card and cash payments almost immediately,
- printing of receipts (to a compatible printer) or the sending of receipts by text or email,
- tracking of sales made and payments in real time, and
- the creation of your own product catalogue
With it, you can also send digital receipts, keep track of tips, edit and add VAT, manage your employee’s access to SumUp, produce personal revenue reports, and view all of the products you have in stock.
How can I print receipts off for clients?
The SumUp Air and SumUp 3G are compatible with the following printers:
- Bixolon SPP-R200IIiK
- Star Micronics SM-L200
- Star Micronics TSP 650 (don’t select the USB version)
- Star Micronics TSP143LAN
- Star SM-L200 Mobile Bluetooth Printer
- Star TSP654IIBI Bluetooth Printer
Do SumUp do a POS system?
SumUp also produce a point of sale and card payment solution for businesses, food establishments, and shops.
Payment is taken on the SumUp Air terminal – the same terminal as reviewed in this article. Given the higher likelihood for more frequent use, the SumUp POS system provides you with a charging station which you can put the terminal on when it’s not being used.
There’s also a SumUp standard on which you place the tablet connected via Bluetooth. It’s a very stylish curved stand made of wood – it has a light brown wood finish and its design is very Scandinavian and minimalist.
As with the other packages on this page, there is no monthly cost for using the service when you purchase the POS system and you pay exactly the same transaction charges. It may not be as functional as many of the much more expensive POS systems but, in our experience, most businesses really don’t actually need that level of complexity.
SumUp – in summary
SumUp’s UK proposition is compelling for businesspeople wanting to offer their clients the opportunity to pay by credit or debit card. There are hundreds of thousands of more merchants (companies accepting card payments) than there were 10 years ago because business is moving in the way that customers want them to move – now, customers want convenient payments.
For food van retailers, do you want to be the only vendor not taking payment for your delicious food? Mobile hairdressers – can you really be bothered driving your client down to the cashpoint because they forgot to go before you came? Fast food outlets – reduce the risk of fraudulent card-not-present transactions by allowing your delivery drivers to take payment at the customer’s home.
SumUp is not the only company in this space – you should definitely check out all alternatives to see what’s better for your business. But you should act soon…
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