Mobile card payment providers UK

The mobile payment devices market is growing rapidly, enabling small shops and market stall holders to take cashless payments securely. Compare options

From market stalls and craft fairs to small shops and service providers, the ability to take payment via your mobile device is getting easier all the time.

Mobile card payment devices – which connect to smartphone or tablet devices with the internet to process card or contactless payments via an app – are no longer just for early adopters (a term given to people who are some of the first to start using a new product or service).

Since Starbucks decided to invest $25m (£16m) in Square, the electronic payment device founded by Twitter co-creator Jack Dorsey, in August 2012, the market has gone mainstream. PayPal too is predictably a key player in global terms and Groupon also launched a device in 2012 for the US and Canadian markets.

However, issues with European compatibility meant that launching this side of the Atlantic was delayed.

In Europe, Swedish company iZettle is looking to lead the way. Yet with the arrival of Square in the UK in 2017, the mobile card payment provider sector looks set to change, meaning small business owners have more and more options at their disposal.

iZettle, along with SumUp, PayPal and, most recently, Square now all offer their services to the UK’s small businesses.

To help you decide which provider is best for your enterprise, we’ve supplied you with more information about mobile payment solutions for small businesses, along with a look at some of the options available in the UK.

We aim to give you detailed insight so you can choose the best option for your business.

On this page, we have covered a wide range of topics so that you can learn more about mobile payment solutions – click any of the options below for more information:

Read on now to find out more. Otherwise, if you are ready to compare quotes straight away, then simply complete the form at the top of this page.

The mobile card payment devices market

Card payments – or cashless transactions – are on the rise in Europe, and have been for some time. A report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that in 2016, for the first time, debit cards had overtaken cash to become the largest payment category.

This is a fact that might cause concern for some small business owners who feel that they cannot afford the lengthy sign-up processes, set-up fees, monthly costs and minimum spend charges that are synonymous with gaining merchant status and running traditional point of sale systems.

Yet, by failing to take cards UK small business owners are turning away the opportunity to earn more money and, on many occasions, turning down cashless customers altogether.

Indeed, many reports in recent years have made it clear that the return on investment (ROI) is almost always far greater than the expended cost. For your small business, preparing to accept this kind of payment is an excellent way to make your operation stand out above local competitors. As time goes by, consumers will expect this functionality more and more – not having it is as good as giving revenue up.

Mobile card payment devices operating in the UK

There are a number of mobile payment solutions available for UK businesses. The following sections provide a quick breakdown of some of them, with specific information about each system and piece of equipment. The list below contains the products covered on this page:


iZettle mobile card payment

Swedish company iZettle launched its mobile payments device in the UK in 2012, making it one of the most established companies offering mobile payments solutions in the UK.

The UK marked the sixth European launch for iZettle, which claims to have created the world’s first mini chip card reader and software for mobile devices. It now operates across Europe and Latin America.

How to get it: You can sign up online and download the app. The iZettle Reader is priced at £59.
Cost per transaction: 1.75%
Minimum spend: £1
Compatible cards: Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay, American Express, JCB and Diners Club cards. Contactless cards, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay are also accepted.
Compatible handsets: Apple iOS 9 and higher; Android 4.4 and higher.
How it works: The iZettle Reader uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone or tablet.

You enter the purchase amount in the POS app. The credit card or contactless payment is taken by the reader. The phone securely contacts the bank and authorises the payment.

Depending on the payment method, your customer signs the screen or enters their PIN number, to confirm the transaction. Customers then have the option of receiving a receipt, either printed or via email or SMS.

You can track cash payments on the app, to keep a list of all transactions in one place.

Payment speed: The maximum amount that can be deposited into your account varies – it depends on the account type and the payment method used.

With the standard deposit schedule, iZettle will deposit funds into your account within one business day after the date of the transaction. There is also the option to customise your deposit schedule and receive deposits on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis instead.

Refunds: You can refund customers via the app or on the website. Full refunds are available on iOS and Android, whereas partial refunds are currently only available on iOS.


SumUp mobile card payment machine

SumUp launched its product in August 2012. It originated in Berlin and its headquarters are now in London, with offices in Europe as well as North and South America.

How to get it: The SumUp device is available for £59.
Cost per transaction: 1.69%; Virtual Terminal transactions cost 2.95%, plus a 25p charge per transaction
Minimum spend: £1
Compatible cards: Any credit or debit card with a Visa, V PAY, MasterCard, Maestro or American Express logo. Also contactless cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay
Compatible handsets: iOS 8.0 and higher; most Android devices with operating systems running at 4.4 and higher
How it works: Like iZettle, this device also connects via Bluetooth.

You open the SumUp app and enter the amount owed, along with a description.

Your customer then pays with a contactless or chip card. You can send a receipt to an email address or a mobile phone number, or print out a copy.

You can also track cash payments to build a full transaction list.

Payment speed: Payouts are processed on a daily basis. With your online account, you can customise the frequency to receive weekly or monthly payouts.

Refunds: You can process refunds through the app or through your account.



Global ecommerce provider PayPal originally launched its PayPal Here card reader device in 2013, targeted at small businesses such as taxi firms and market traders that traditionally rely on cash payments. It was updated in 2015 to accept contactless payments.

In 2013, it launched PayPal Check in, which enables customers to ‘log in’ to businesses and make payments using just their mobile phones through the PayPal app.

How to get it: You can download the free PayPal Here app either online or via iTunes or Google Play.

The card reader is priced at £75.

The table below includes the costs of transactions

Sales per month Fee per transaction
Less than £1,500 2.75%
£1,500.01 – £6,000 1.75%
£6,000.01 – £15,000 1.50%
£15,000.01 – £25,000 1.00%
Greater than £25,000 Custom rates

Compatible cards: Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and American Express; also it’s compatible with the PayPal Check in app. Contactless cards, Android Pay, Apple Pay
Compatible handsets: iOS 8.1 and later; select Android smartphone devices
How it works: You pair your phone with the device wirelessly via Bluetooth and can then start taking payments. Once the payment has been approved you can send the customer a receipt by email or text.

The app has features which allow you to check the status of the payment to find out whether it has completed successfully. Also, the reader can be used to log cash and cheques, as well as to send electronic receipts and invoices to customers.

For customers looking to make transactions using their PayPal app, you can accept the payment as long as they have the PayPal Check in device turned on.

Transaction speed: Once a sale is made using chip and PIN or PayPal, the funds are immediately transferred into your PayPal account.

Refund: You can issue refunds for any card or PayPal Check in payment by accessing the ‘sales history’ function on the app.


The 2017 launch of Square in the UK marked the company’s fifth market. In addition to the UK, Square is also available in Australia, Canada, Japan and the US, where it began.

How to get it: Square is available to order online, priced at £39.
Cost per transaction: 1.75% per in-person transaction; 2.5% for other types of transactions
Minimum spend: £0
Compatible cards: Contactless card, chip and PIN cards – American Express, Mastercard, Visa credit or debit cards; Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Compatible handsets: iOS 9.3.5 and higher, Android 5.0 and higher
How it works: You connect the Square reader to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The Square app is available to download for free. Customers can then use chip and PIN or contactless payment methods. International cards can be used with the swipe function.

You can print, email or text receipts for successful payments.

The Square app can be used to keep a record of cash and cheque payments.

Transaction speed: With the standard deposit schedule, funds are processed the next working day and then should arrive in your bank account in one-two business days. There is also the custom option, allowing you to receive funds within 20 minutes, for an additional fee of 1% of the deposit amount.

Refunds: You can process refunds using the app or online.

What you need to know about mobile card payments

The rise of mobile payment devices means that it is easier for small shop owners, market stall holders and individuals to accept card payments than ever before. However it also makes choosing a device a difficult task, so it’s important to know what to look out for.

  • Cost can vary between providers. Set-up costs of the mobile card payment devices are generally minimal, if not non-existent, which contrasts starkly with traditional systems that can cost hundreds upfront. However, the transaction fees can vary, so keep an eye on costs.
  • Processing payments to your account is not instant. It is important to be aware of the time it will take for the money to reach your account. While mobile payment solutions are generally quick, there is still some waiting involved. It’s worth making sure that you are not relying on payments that will be delayed in entering your account.
  • Be aware of card fraud. When processing payments, it’s important for your staff to be vigilant and to ensure that security requirements are followed.

In addition to safety measures carried out by the merchant, iZettle promises to make real time checks to ensure that a card presented for payment is not stolen. Similarly, SumUp has a dedicated fraud team which monitors any suspicious activity.

Moreover, each of the devices listed adheres to the requirements of the global Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for handling card data. These are a set of 12 requirements used worldwide to ensure card data is protected. This should give you peace of mind and help to ensure that taking cashless payments becomes almost as pain-free as having the cash in your hand.

Card payment apps

Card payment apps are available from many of the providers on this page. These apps allow your business to process mobile payments simply and quickly using a modern interface that you can access through your smartphone or tablet.

These card payment apps will work together with your card reader. In most cases, your smartphone or tablet will connect to the card reader wirelessly, although wired options are also available.

A card payment app is an excellent tool for modern businesses in need of intuitive software. These apps offer a range of features, many of which can add significant value to your purchasing processes.

Many people will be used to using mobile banking apps to check their personal funds and accounts. A Payments UK report found that four out of ten account holders used mobile banking in 2016. A card payment app from a merchant account provider can be quite similar. This form of card payment is becoming more and more popular and is one of the favourite options in various sectors.

As well as offering a smart and new way for retailers and service providers to process payments, card payment apps also offer various other benefits:

  • Easy-to-use – a card payment app on your phone or tablet is far more accessible than a purpose built equivalent.
  • Quick – as long as your phone or tablet has internet access, then a card payment app – and the connected device – will work quickly to process payments.
  • Secure – like other forms of online or mobile banking, card payment apps are designed to be incredibly secure, both for you and for your customers.
  • Flexible – by their very nature, card payment apps are the most flexible payment option. This form of processing can be used in any environment and at any time.

As with other forms of smart payment, there is a continued rise in the use of this form of payments, with Forrester Research expecting $34bn of in-store purchases will happen using mobile devices.

In addition, Payments UK also found that contactless card payments counted for 7% of all payments in 2016, with this figure set to rise to 27% by 2026.


When deciding which mobile payment solutions are right for your small business, there are a number of factors to consider. While there are variations between each product and company, there are also some similarities and common themes. So what are the key points you should think about?

  • Do you have a reliable internet connection? The readers rely on Bluetooth connections between devices, as well as the internet to access the app and your online account.
  • What are your customers’ needs? It’s important to factor in what your customers unique requirements are. This means thinking about how many transactions your business processes, as well as the preferred payment methods.
  • How quickly do you need to access the funds? There are some time differences between when you’ll receive the money, depending on which device you use, so think about your cash flow requirements.
  • How do you see your business developing? It’s useful to consider where you see your business going, so ensure the option you choose is scalable. Will it help your business both now and in the future?

Compare UK mobile card payment providers

The information on this page should help you to understand what your business might need in terms of mobile payment solutions. For more information though, you should speak to an expert today – Startups can help with this.

Comparing UK quotes with Startups is the best way to find the service and equipment most suited to your business. To start this comparison now, simply complete the form at the top of the page. This process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money.

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