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Top 8 Portable Mobile Card Reader Providers
Mobile card readers are perfect for small businesses that don’t want the hassle of signing up for a merchant account but still want to accept card payments. In this article, we look at the top 8 UK mobile card readers for small businesses. We will explore leading card reader providers such as iZettle, Sumup, Square, and several more.
If you are about to start a new business, buying a portable mobile card reader may be the most cost-effective option. Traditionally as a business, you would have needed to take out a merchant account with one of the prominent providers such as Worldpay, Barclays, or Sagepay if you wanted to accept card payments. However, the emergence of mobile card readers has given small businesses a quick, cost-effective solution to taking card payments. Yes – you’ve all seen them. Tiny little compact machines that are no bigger than a credit card are presented to you when you buy an item that accepts contactless payments. Now you can get your hands on a mobile card reader for your business. But first, let’s compare the best mobile card reader providers for small businesses.
How does a mobile card reader work for small businesses?
Mobile card reader devices connect to Android/Apple smartphones through wi-fi or Bluetooth. Although the individual transaction fee is higher than the traditional credit card terminal machine, it works out more economically because there are no lengthy contracts or rental fees to pay.
UK Best Small Business Mobile card reader comparison*Please note: Sign-up to Worldpay Zinc mobile card machine is currently unavailable.
1. IZettle Reader
IZettle has made payments secure, easy to process, and quick to set up. Izettle was initially launched in Sweden in 2011; businesses are using it across the UK, Norway, France, Italy, Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, and Spain.
An updated version of the iZettle mobile card reader was recently launched in the market which costs £29. It charges via a USB cable, or if you have an iZettle dock, then it’s more convenient. Once fully charged, it has a battery life of 8 hours and can process chip and pin, contactless and magnetic stripe payments from all major credit cards, including Diners Club International.
IZettle is a compact mobile card reader that connects to a smartphone app allowing the flexibility to take payments anywhere. It is a truly revolutionary system that functions on a pay-as-you-go model. It accepts all cards, including Visa, Maestro, MasterCard, and American Express. There is a 1.75% fee involved, and the maximum amount allowed per transaction is £5000.
It is easy to start accepting mobile card reader payments for you small business within a matter of minutes. You are required to have a mobile card reader and install the iZettle app. Once you have made your iZettle account, you are ready to go. The entire system is hosted on a PCI DSS server with round-the-clock surveillance.
You can acquire specific Add-ons for a £20 monthly fee. These include an iZettle dock, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and printing receipts.
2. SumUp Mobile Card Reader
SumUp is a dedicated mobile reader provider that is very much like the iZettle. They have been providing card payment services across 11 countries in Europe since launching in 2012 and are now expanding globally. In 2016 they merged with another provider Payleven allowing them to process more than 1 billion Euros worth of transactions.
There is no contract and no paperwork with the SumUp mobile card reader; you need to apply. The device is compatible with chip and pin, magnetic swipe, and contactless cards.
SumUp is authorised by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and is certified by PCI DSS and EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa). It costs about £19+ VAT to buy this device, and you get free delivery. You also get a free smartphone app, free telephone and email support, and a free dashboard with reporting options. You can print, SMS, or email receipts for each transaction. It offers the best fee structure of 1.69% in the UK, beating iZettle.
3. Paypal Here Card Reader
Paypal Here is PayPal’s mobile card machine solution. As one of the biggest names in the online payments industry, it was smart to start providing mobile payment options for small businesses to enable them to start taking card payments via mobile phones. The Payal Here card reader is the choice of many start-ups and small businesses that want a quick solution. The Paypal Here machine is more expensive than iZettle and SumUp and costs £45 plus VAT.
Paypal Here accepts most mobile card payment options such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. There is no monthly fee involved, and payments reach your Paypal account within seconds. The transaction fee starts at 2.75% but can drop to as little as 1%, which is lower than SumUp, although their fee structure is a bit complex to understand.
If you already have a Paypal Business account, then it should not take too long to set up the Paypal Here card reader for your small business. You can manage online and offline payments in one place with this option.
You can also buy add-on features to extend the functionality of your Paypal Here card reader. These features include POS mounts, fast charge cradles, Bouncepad, and Taxi Cab bundle.
Paypal Here is a truly versatile solution as it allows 200 people to connect with one account, each having their password and level of access. It has a dedicated UK based customer service hotline, so there is help on hand whenever you need it.
4. Worldpay Zinc Card Machine
Worldpay zinc is the mobile card reader solution provided by the largest credit card processing company in the UK. They offer a range of online and offline payment processing services. It has an essential card reader, which is available for £39.99. The only disadvantage is that it does not support contactless payments at the moment. However, it does accept card payments over the phone and in person.
Worldpay Zinc’s mobile card machine provides secure chip and pin solutions for a fee of 2.7% per transaction. The keypad comes with a 12-month warranty and is compatible with iPhones, Android, laptops, and tablets. It does not require any monthly fee, and there are no long commitments or long-term contracts.
They do not offer any add-ons; however, you can connect to Bluetooth and print receipts yourself. You can also access Worldpay Zinc’s online portal to process phone transactions.
5. Square Card Reader
The Square card reader sells for £39.99 (now £19 + VAT) and is the creation of Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey who created Square Inc. It has a sleek, compact design that is aesthetically pleasing.
Square mobile card readers plug into both Android and IOS phones. It is compatible with chip and pin, magstripe, and contactless credit/debit cards. Square charges a 1.75% flat fee on each transaction and provide next-day settlement on most purchases. In the UK, you can download Square’s app and point of sale software for free. The app allows small businesses to monitor their stock, sales, and print receipts.
This mobile card reader device comes with a backup magnetic reader when a chip cannot be read to allow businesses to accept payments from magnetic swipe cards. The square card reader is only available in four other countries: the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US.
It has a long battery life that lasts up to 500 transactions before it depletes.
6. Barclaycard Anywhere Card Reader
The Barclaycard Anywhere app and card reader allows businesses to take card payments through their mobile device. The capability to accept all major credit cards on an Android or iOS device is the ideal card payment solution for small mobile businesses that are always on the go, such as plumbers and hairdressers. Barclays offer a one-off payment of £29 + VAT for the card reader on PAYG, so you are not tied into any contract. Transaction fees are charged at 1.6%. This makes it perfect and more affordable than its competitors for businesses that do not take high volume payments but accept payments occasionally.
7. PayAnywhere Card Reader
PayAnywhere card reader conveniently accepts payments from credit/debit cards by using a dongle and smartphone. All you need to get started is to create a PayAnywhere account, and the credit card reader is shipped to you quickly.
The device works with a broad range of Android/IOS phones and tablets; however, serious sellers should invest in a more robust machine. It also lacks some of the modern features that other expensive devices offer.
Setting up the account and the reader itself is free of cost; however, you incur a fee when you make a sale. PayAnywhere takes a small fixed price along with a percentage of the transaction. For swiped cards, the fixed cost is $0.19, and the transaction percentage is 2.69. However, if you enter the card details manually, you incur 3.49% plus $0.19.
PayAnywhere is a good option if you are looking for a cheap card reader for your business, but it does take a few attempts to set up an account for individual sellers, which can be quite inconvenient. This mobile card reader also lacks support for EMV chips, and the design itself is awkward looking. In conclusion, if you are a durable mobile card reader with modern features, you should avoid buying this device and save yourself from unnecessary hassle.
8. Shopify Card Reader
The Shopify card reader is now available in the UK. It’s ideal for merchants who wish to sell their products at markets, trade fairs, in-store, or on the go. Shopify is known for providing online eCommerce solutions and is the most popular platform for online stores currently. The Spotify mobile card reader bridges the gap between online and offline. Small businesses can sign up today and start accepting mobile card payments readily through an internet connection and your mobile phone.
9. Elavon Mobile Merchant Card Reader
Elavon’s mobile merchant solution is designed to empower businesses to accept payments on the go. Catering to the needs of modern merchants, this solution offers a seamless integration of payment technology with mobile devices, allowing businesses to process transactions wherever they interact with their customers. By leveraging secure and robust technology, Elavon ensures that every transaction is processed safely, giving businesses the confidence to serve their customers in diverse settings, from pop-up shops to market stalls. Furthermore, the intuitive interface and robust support network make it an excellent choice for businesses seeking a flexible and reliable mobile payment solution. is designed to empower businesses to accept payments on the go. Catering to the needs of modern merchants, this solution offers a seamless integration of payment technology with mobile devices, allowing businesses to process transactions wherever they interact with their customers. By leveraging secure and robust technology, Elavon ensures that every transaction is processed safely, giving businesses the confidence to serve their customers in diverse settings, from pop-up shops to market stalls. Furthermore, the intuitive interface and robust support network make it an excellent choice for businesses seeking a flexible and reliable mobile payment solution.
myPOS Go is a compact and portable card payment device designed for businesses that need flexibility and mobility in their operations. The device is known for its affordability, often coming with a one-time purchase fee and no monthly rental costs. Accepting a wide range of payment methods, from chip & PIN to contactless and mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay and Google Pay, myPOS Go ensures merchants never miss a sale. The device also provides instant access to funds with its associated myPOS account, enabling businesses to manage their finances in real-time. With its user-friendly interface, robust security features, and the backing of the myPOS platform, the myPOS Go is a popular choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs across Europe.
10. myPos Go
MyPOS Go is a compact and portable card reader device designed for businesses that need flexibility and mobility in their operations. The device is known for its affordability, often coming with a one-time purchase fee and no monthly rental costs. Accepting a wide range of payment methods, from chip & PIN to contactless and mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay and Google Pay, myPOS Go ensures merchants never miss a sale. The device also provides instant access to funds with its associated myPOS account, enabling businesses to manage their finances in real-time. With its user-friendly interface, robust security features, and the backing of the myPOS platform, the myPOS Go is a popular choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs across Europe.
What is the cheapest card reader for small businesses?
To conclude, we will base this case study on a business that takes £10,000 in face-to-face card transactions in their first month with each transaction valued at £100. Let’s get to it, which card reader will be the most cost-effective based on 100 purchases at £100 each?
Izettle card reader costs £34.8 to purchase, including VAT. A business that takes 100 transactions at £100 will incur £175 worth of charges cost. Therefore, in their 1st month with the machine, they will be charged £209.8, including card reader cost based on £10,000 revenue.
Sumup card reader has one of the lowest transaction fees at 1.6% compared to the other card readers. Like Izettle, including VAT, the mobile card reader will cost you £34.8. The lower transaction fee means based on the above scenario of £10,000 revenue at £100 a transaction; you will be charged £160 in transaction fees. The total cost in your first month including card reader cost would be £194.80
Squareup charges 1.75% per transaction, which is the same as iZettle. However, their mobile card reader cost has recently been lowered and is now cheaper than the Izettle and the Sumup reader at £22.80, including VAT. Therefore with 100 transactions at £100 plus card reader cost, your entire 1st month spent with Square would be £179.8.
PayPal Here is the only provider whose transaction fees are tiered depending on monthly revenue. PayPal’s fees start at 2.75% for volume under £1,500 then goes down to 1% for volume over £15,000 a month. Based on our criteria of £10,000 in transactions, you will fall into PayPal’s tier of £6,000 – £15,000 a month in sales, which has a 1.5% transaction fee. Therefore, based on 100 transactions, you will be charged £150 in transaction fees. If we included the cost of the mobile card reader, which is £54, including VAT, the total cost of using PayPal for your first month would be £204.
Barclaycard Anywhere cost £34, including VAT. They charge 1.6% per transaction, so based on the calculations for all the above fees using the mobile card reader in your first month would be £194.
The Shopify card reader costs £70.8, including VAT, and a 1.7% transaction fee. There is also a £23 monthly subscription cost. Therefore the first month using Shopify would cost a hefty £263.8 in charges based on £10,000 in revenue.
So, based on our criteria, we have…
Cheapest mobile card readers ranked by lowest cost*
So that makes the Square card reader £14.2 cheaper than its nearest competitor Barclaycard Anywhere while iZettle and Spotify come up last being the most expensive at £210 and £263.8 respectively.
*the above rankings assume that the business took £10,000 in card payments with each transaction at £100. The total cost per card reader provider given above is the total of purchasing the card reader with the calculated transaction costs added. Note we did not include Worldpay Zinc as they have been discontinued at the time of this article.
In conclusion, mobile card readers have revolutionized the way small businesses accept card payments. They are cost-effective, portable, and easy to set up, making them an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes. With the top 8 mobile card readers for small businesses we’ve explored, such as iZettle, SumUp, Square, and PayPal Here, there is a wide range of options to choose from, each with its unique features and fee structures. Based on our comparison, businesses can choose the most suitable mobile card reader that fits their needs or the cheapest mobile card reader that fit their budget. So, whether you’re a start-up or an established business, investing in a mobile card reader is an excellent way to expand your payment options and reach more customers. With the increasing demand for contactless payments, mobile card readers are becoming an essential tool for businesses that want to keep up with the latest payment trends. So, if you’re looking for a cost-effective and convenient payment solution for your business, consider getting a mobile card reader today.