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Best 5 Mobile Credit Card Machine and Readers 2018

izettle mobile readerIn this review, we are going to take a look at some of The market leaders for portable credit card readers. These machines can operate independently and do not require a merchant account or a PDQ machine, making them great offerings for small businesses, especially mobile ones.

Although mobile card payment machines are highly flexible and easy to use, they may also charge considerably more than traditional alternatives offered by credit card processing companies.

1. iZettle Card Reader

Based in Stockholm, iZettle is a financial technology company that provides solutions catered to small businesses, including credit card processing. Its outstanding wireless card machine and free app provide an easy and secure point of sale system that comes with lots of great extras.


iZettle Credit Card Machine Features

  • Can accept cards via contactless (NFC), chip & PIN, and magnetic swipe
  • Powers up quickly (in 2 seconds)
  • Can be charged with the included micro USB cable or an iZettle dock (not included)
  • 8-hour battery life   
  • Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 2 cm
  • Next-day deposits
  • Safety elements including tamperproof design, transaction protection, and encryption
  • 12-month warranty


iZettle Costs  

The iZettle machine alone costs £59 (+VAT), which is a simple one-time fee. Transaction fees are based on a graduated schedule: the more transactions you have, the lower your fees. The baseline fee starts at 2.75% per transaction.  

There are no monthly or setup fees, and iZettle’s POS app comes with several free features including:

  • Daily reports
  • Inventory management
  • Receipt tracking
  • Ability to add multiple users
  • Phone support
  • Xero accounting software integration

Add-ons for iZettle

iZettle sells three add-on kits that are handy if you have a physical storefront or are looking for a more comprehensive selling solution:

  1. Basic kit (£649): includes an iZettle card reader, cash drawer, receipt printer (choose between Bluetooth or Ethernet), 25 receipt rolls, iZettle Dock tablet stand, and cash drawer wrap
  2. Retail store kit (£878): includes everything in the basic kit, along with a scanner
  3. Mobile store kit (£287): includes an iZettle reader, a mobile receipt printer, and 20 receipt rolls

If you’re looking for something simpler, but still need a basic cash drawer, iZettle offers a more affordable solution, the Star mPOP. The mPOP is a comprehensive starter solution that has both a small drawer and a Bluetooth-connected printer. Perfect for keeping bills and coins, it comes with several USB ports, as well as an LED display. Note, however, that it is only compatible with iOS.

Other accessories available for purchase (not as part of a kit) include:

  • Receipt printers
  • Stands
  • Cash drawers
  • Barcode scanner
  • Receipt rolls

Also available is a comprehensive EPOS that’s specifically designed for the hospitality industry.

2. PayPal Here

The PayPal Here card reader is a convenient handheld credit card processing device that deposits funds instantly to your PayPal account.


PayPal Here Credit Card Machine Features

  • Can accept cards via contactless (NFC), smartphone or smartwatch, chip & PIN, and magnetic swipe
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • USB charger
  • High level of security, including access to fraud management
  • UK-based customer support
  • Wide range of integrated software solutions for different industries, including taxis, hospitality, retail, trade, and health & beauty

 

Note that this card payment machine requires an Internet connection (via Wi-Fi or mobile data) and a smartphone or tablet that has the PayPal Here app installed. PayPal Here is compatible with iOS and Android devices.


PayPal Here Machine Costs

The PayPal Here reader costs £75. There are no monthly fees, and the transaction fees are based on volume.

If your transactions are under £6,000 per month, the fee is 2.75% per transaction; if you have between £6,000 and £15,000 in revenues, then the fee is 2.00% per transaction; and, finally, if you make between £15,00 and £55,00, the rate is 1.5% per transaction (for revenues above this, you can inquire about getting a custom rate).


PayPal Here Add-ons

Through its partners, PayPal Here offers a number of accessories to complement your card reader. These include:

  • POStoGo, a complete POS set including a card reader, Epos Now software, mobile tablet, base unit, and printer
  • Complete cab bundle for taxi drivers, which includes card reader, card reader mount, Bluetooth receipt printer, printer mount, printer power converter, and receipt roll
  • Bouncepad
  • Card reader accessories, including for charging and mounting
  • Point-of-sale stands
  • Lanyards and cases

3. SumUp (Payleven)


SumUp offers a portable, easy-to-set up mobile card reader with a simple pricing structure and fast online sign-up.
SumUp Credit Card Machine Features:

  • Can accept cards via contactless (NFC), chip & PIN, and magnetic swipe
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery with micro-USB charging port
  • OLED display and sleek white design
  • Android and iOS compatible
  • Bluetooth enabled  
  • 1-year warranty

SumUp Machine Costs

SumUp’s wireless credit card terminal, SumUp Air, costs £59. The SumUp fee structure is quite straightforward: a low flat fee of 1.95% per transaction, with no additional monthly costs. Bank payouts are made in 2-3 days. Some of the free features include an app, reports, and phone support.

 

SumUp POS System

SumUp is partnered with numerous other companies to provide a comprehensive, industry-specific (retail, service, or hospitality) POS system that complements its mobile credit card terminal. This system includes:

  • Physical hardware (tablets, printers, scanners)
  • Cloud-based back office
  • Register app that works with a tablet

4. Worldpay Zinc


Worldpay is a large, internationally established payment processing company that also offers a mobile card payment machine and card processing service for small businesses, Worldpay Zinc.
Worldpay Zinc Credit Card Machine Features:

  • Can accept cards via chip & PIN, and magnetic swipe
  • Branded with the WorldPay Zinc logo
  • OLED display
  • Multiple options for issuing receipts (SMS, email, and via a Bluetooth-enabled printer)
  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Excellent level of security
  • Accounting data and reports
  • 12-month warranty
  • 24/7 customer support

Worldpay Zinc Machine Costs

The Worldpay Zinc mobile credit card terminal costs £39.99. There are two pricing structures available, a monthly one, and one that allows you to pay as you go. For the pay-as-you-go scheme, there is no flat monthly charge, but the transaction fee is relatively high: 2.75% per card payment (and 75p per refund). If you decide to go with the monthly scheme, you pay £5.99 per month, with a lower transaction fee (1.95% per transaction, with a 75p fee per refund).

Note that in order to use Worldpay Zinc reader, you need to apply and be approved for a Worldpay Zinc account.

5. SmartTrade App

Unlike the other options on this list, the SmartTrade App does not require a standalone portable card payment machine. You can download the application—which is available on the App Store and Google Play—directly on an existing device to get started.

SmartTrade App Features

  • Accept debit and credit cards by securely scanning them with your phone, tablet, or computer
  • PCI Level 1 security certification
  • Compatible with Android and Apple devices, and can also be used through a login page accessible on any web browser
  • Additional features: team management, accounting (via integration of Xero and Quickbooks along with credit card processing), and invoices/quotes


SmartTrade App Costs 

There are no setup fees for this virtual card reader, and you pay simply for the suite of services, which are all provided through a smartphone app. The pricing structure for the SmartTrade App is, however, slightly complex.

It’s broken down into three options, which are based on number of users, and paid monthly. There is also a per-transaction fee, which can be removed if it is rolled into the customer’s bill. If you pay upfront for an entire year, the per-month rate is discounted, and you save 15%.

The pricing breakdown is as follows:  

  • Sole trader (for individuals): £9.99/month; 2.15% transaction fee (+20p)
  • Business (for up to 15 users): £26.99/month; 1.85% transaction fee (+20p)
  • Enterprise (for up to 50 users): £89.99/month; 1.75% transaction fee (+20p)

Verdict—Who Wins?

As the market for mobile card payment terminals becomes ever more crowded, it’s useful to consider which card readers from among those proposed by industry leaders provide the specific features that best fit your needs.

Overall, we found that the iZettle reader was the winner on our list of best card payment machines, in terms of both performance and value.

Our favourite features of each product are summarised below:

  • iZettle: the iZettle’s ease-of-use and thoughtful design, as well as the fact that it’s a more or less complete solution, made it rise above the competition
  • SumUp: this reader is the most affordable and also the most straightforward to get started with
  • PayPal Here: this is a perfect solution if you require PayPal integration, and the large library of industry-specific software solutions may also come in quite handy
  • Worldpay Zinc: Worldpay is a well-respected company with a proven track record in the payments processing industry. Worldpay Zinc’s flexible and easy-to-use card reader is great if you plan on taking orders over the phone
  • SmartTrade App: this reader does not require a separate physical piece of hardware, which is a cost saving, at least initially