iZettle card readers can help your business to take card payments quickly and easily

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iZettle Review 2021 (Zettle by PayPal)

Should you settle for iZettle? Now rebranded to "Zettle by PayPal", this payment service provider continues to be a market leader across Europe. Find out all you need to know in this Startups iZettle review

We understand how important it is for businesses to have the right payment system in place – especially in the current climate. That's why we’ve taken a look at the iZettle card reader, carried out extensive background research, and reached out to iZettle customers to make this iZettle review as helpful as possible.

An introduction to iZettle (Zettle by PayPal)

It’s hard to believe that iZettle (now known as “Zettle by PayPal”) has been on the mobile card payment scene for 10 years. In fact, it supplied the world’s very first mini chip card reader and software, and it remains in a really strong market position today. 

Purchasing the iZettle card reader alone isn’t enough to start taking payments – you also need a point of sale (POS) app. iZettle’s own POS apps are called iZettle Go and iZettle Food and Drink, with the latter being aimed at restaurants and hospitality businesses. You can download iZettle Go from the App Store and Google Play, but you need to speak to iZettle directly to get access to iZettle Food and Drink.

While this review will focus on iZettle’s card reader and its own apps, it’s worth bearing in mind that the iZettle card reader is compatible with a range of POS software. You can find out more about these options in the iZettle alternatives section of this review.

Editorial note: iZettle has recently rebranded to Zettle by PayPal. The product offering remains the same. So, for the time being, we will continue to refer to the brand by its previous, well-established brand name “iZettle” throughout this article. You can find out more about its new branding at zettle.com

iZettle review overview

In a nutshell: iZettle is an affordable, easy to use payment system for small businesses. The simplicity of the iZettle card reader and intuitiveness of the accompanying apps and EPOS solutions have meant iZettle has remained one of the quickest and most popular ways for new businesses to get off the ground.

Suitable for: small businesses and sole traders

Industries catered to: food and drink, retail, health and beauty, services

iZettle card reader review

izettle card reader

The iZettle 2 is iZettle’s latest card reader

‘Ergonomic' is the word we’d use to describe iZettle’s mobile card reader. The latest model, released in November 2018, is lightweight, fairly dirt resistant, and has some well thought out features – like the rubber strips on the back which stop it from slipping off surfaces. 

With the removal of the magnetic strip reader, the iZettle card machine meets the strictest of security standards, while allowing customers to pay smoothly with a tap, or slide their card into the slot for payments that require pin entry.

iZettle card reader: the key information

What do you really need to know before you commit yourself to an iZettle card reader?

  1. It works on a pay-as-you-go basis – that means you pay a one one-off fee for the card reader, then you’re charged 1.75% on every transaction you make, no matter how much you take a month
  2. iZettle deposits your money into your bank account in just one to two days – that’s pretty quick. Some card readers take up to a week to deposit funds
  3. You don’t need a merchant account to start using your iZettle card reader. Simply hook up your bank details or PayPal account using the app (must be a business or director account), and you're good to go
  4. Priced at £59, iZettle offers one of the most expensive card readers on the market, but it charges some of the most reasonable processing fees 
  5. iZettle will perform a credit check upon sign up

iZettle card reader prosiZettle card reader cons
Deposits funds into your bank account within 1-2 daysOne of the most expensive card readers on the market unless purchased through an affiliate partner or while on offer
The battery lasts up to 8 hours
You can’t take payments without a mobile network or wifi connection
Charges a standard rate of 1.75% – a very competitive rate
No monthly fees – only pay for iZettle when you’re earning
Can be paired up with accounting software

Registers cash transactions at no extra cost

So what do you need to know about the iZettle card reader?

Is the iZettle card reader easy to set up? 

Very. The card reader uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to connect to your mobile device. BLE uses less power than standard Bluetooth, and should provide a painless pairing experience.  

How do you set up the iZettle card reader?

We found this really intuitive. Once you’ve downloaded the app, just head over to the settings tab, select the card reader option, and select your iZettle card reader model from the list. You’ll then be given step by step instructions on how to complete the setup. 

How does the iZettle card reader work alongside the apps? 

The apps are where you start the transaction. Just select which menu item or items your customer wants, or scan the contents of your customer’s shopping basket using your mobile phone or iZettle’s compatible scanner (additional cost). 

Once all of the items have been entered, press ‘charge’, and the total sum is wirelessly transferred to the iZettle card reader.

What else do we love about the iZettle card reader? 

You can take payments from credit cards, debit cards, American Express, and mobile payment apps in as little as five seconds – very handy if you’re a sole trader running a busy retail business. 

But best of all, you don’t need a merchant account. You can set up your iZettle account so you are paid directly into your business bank account or PayPal account, which means you’ll see your earnings come in in one to two days – one of the fastest processing times in the payments sector. 

I want to set up an ecommerce store, too. How does that work?

iZettle has its own ecommerce platform. Use its intuitive drag and drop templates to build your own ecommerce website, then pay £29/month to use it. You can even sync it with the iZettle Go app to track inventory and sales from both your bricks and mortar store and your online store. 

Just bear in mind that iZettle charges 2.5% per transaction. Customers can also pay using PayPal, which incurs a 2% transaction fee.

iZettle payment links

iZettle's Payment Links is a new and innovative way for businesses to take payments remotely. It allows customers to make orders from wherever they're located and pay using a link generated by iZettle's POS software. In a world where emails containing spam links are running riot, this may seem like a dodgy idea, but iZettle reassures that its Payment Links are fully secure and PCI compliant.

So, how do iZettle Payment Links work?

  1. A customer calls you up and makes an order
  2. Enter the order into your iZettle software
  3. Tap charge and select the Payment Link option
  4. The system generates a one time link
  5. Choose to send it via text, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or email
  6. Receive a notification as soon as the customer makes the payment

It really is that easy. Just bear in mind that iZettle charges 2.5% for each Payment Link transaction made.

iZettle POS equipment review

izettle pos equipment

Build your own iZettle POS package

Take a look at the image above and you’ll see iZettle’s POS kit looks super-stylish – a big benefit when so much of your customer interaction takes place beside it.

While you only need the card reader and a tablet or smartphone to take payments, it’s good to know that the iZettle online store allows you to purchase additional equipment as a bundle or as separate units

iZettle POS equipment: key information

What do you need to know before you invest in iZettle POS equipment?

  1. There are specific equipment bundles available for hospitality and retail businesses
  2. iZettle’s POS equipment uses Bluetooth or Ethernet connectivity
  3. You can also purchase equipment as separate units as and when you need it
  4. iZettle POS equipment is compatible with both iZettle Go and iZettle Food and Drink software
  5. iZettle’s POS equipment is provided by a third party, which means it's compatible with a range of POS software systems

So what do you need to know about iZettle POS hardware?

What if I don’t know what equipment I need? 

If you’re not sure on exactly what equipment you need, iZettle’s online shop has a whole section dedicated to different till setups. For example, a basic shop kit – which includes a card reader, docking station, and iPad stand – starts at just £189. Combine that with iZettle’s free iZettle Go software, and you’re ready to go for very little initial outlay. 

What about if I want to move to a different provider later on? 

You may eventually outgrow your iZettle POS system, and that’s okay – especially when the equipment you purchased is compatible with a range of different POS software. What’s also handy is that iZettle's card reader integrates with multiple POS systems, so the only thing you’ll need to change is the software. 

How does the system work? 

iZettle’s POS equipment communicates via Bluetooth. Once you receive your equipment, make sure its Bluetooth visibility is on. Head into the settings section of the app, scroll to the hardware section, select which piece of equipment you want to sync, and the technology will do all the hard work. 

If you want to connect a cash drawer to your system, you’ll need to sync it up to your printer using Bluetooth. Once the connection is established, the cash drawer will automatically open when you print off a receipt – clever!

Are there any downsides to iZettle’s POS equipment? 

You need to bear in mind that iZettle’s POS system needs a wifi or mobile internet connection to process a payment. 

However, you’ll find that any POS providers that do support full offline payment processing will require you to have an onsite server that backs up payments which need to be processed – so it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

iZettle Software: what do you need to know?

iZettle Go or iZettle Food and Drink – which one is best for your business?

The simple answer is, iZettle Food and Drink has been built specifically for hospitality businesses. That means retail business owners should use iZettle Go, while hospitality business owners have the choice of iZettle Go or iZettle Food and Drink, depending on the features they need. But let’s have a look at them both in more detail.

iZettle Go review

iZettle Go is fairly basic EPOS software – but that’s what makes it so great. This fancy-free software offers business owners exactly what they need to get going, from making transactions to managing stock.

It’s intuitive to use, simple to set up, and best of all, it’s free. But as business blossoms, you may find that you need more from your POS software.

iZettle Go app: key information

What do you need to know before you download the iZettle Go app?

  1. It’s really easy to track and add stock, whether that’s notebooks or blueberry muffins. It’ll even flag up when you’re running low on something
  2. You can have more than one user, and track how many sales each user makes
  3. Keep two eyes on business performance by tracking sales and refunds, and see which of your products sell best
  4. iZettle gift cards help you with cash flow by keeping money in the business
  5. Send food orders to the kitchen printer for efficient communication with chefs

iZettle Go pros and cons

iZettle Go prosiZettle Go cons
It’s freeIts reporting is fairly top level
Decent sales reportingDoesn’t integrate with customer relationship management platforms
Sophisticated stock control You’ll need to pay a monthly fee if you want to set up an ecommerce store
Set up repeat paymentsBasic customer loyalty tools
All data is stored on the cloud
Compatible with Bluetooth printers, cash drawers, and barcode scanners
Processes cash payments

iZettle Go features: the details

When it comes to features, iZettle Go is fairly basic – but that’s why it sells so well. The system is designed to give you exactly what you need to get going, without making you pay for a ton of features that you don’t necessarily need. 

Let’s have a look at some of the features in more detail.

Adding and managing stock

izettle stock management

Adding a product is super-easy. Simply type in the name, price, and the units you want to sell the product in (for example, as one whole unit or cost per kilo). 

You can then track the product in your inventory by selecting how many you have in stock, choosing a stock keeping code, and using your phone to scan the product barcode. 

Once you’ve added your items, they’ll appear in an intuitive menu, so you can easily select them when a customer comes to pay.


izettle analytics

iZettle Go’s reporting functionality doesn’t have any major bells and whistles, but it’ll give you enough insight to see where you’re performing and where you’re not. 

You’ll be able to check out cash payments, card payments, and invoices, and look back at historic receipts. 

Keep track of how many repeat customers you have, and integrate iZettle Go with Xero or QuickBooks for even greater insight.

Customer loyalty

izettle customer loyalty

As we mentioned in the pros and cons, iZettle Go’s customer loyalty features are a little on the slim side. 

iZettle Go does allow you to collect customer information – such as email addresses – but isn’t compatible with CRM software, which is what allows you to manage customer relationships. 

That said, you can export customer information to a spreadsheet, then import it using a separate CRM software application.

iZettle Food and Drink review

iZettle Food and Drink is packed full of features to help hospitality businesses succeed. It offers tableside ordering, tab management, and customer loyalty management, plus a whole host of analytical and inventory management features. 

While paid-for, it’s by no means the most expensive hospitality software on the market, making it a great choice for rising hospitality businesses. 

Right now, iZettle Food and Drink is FREE for three months for anyone who signs up in September. Check out the offer here!

However, there are more sophisticated hospitality software packages around for larger restaurants.

iZettle Food and Drink key information

What do you need to know before you download the iZettle Go app? 

  1. You’ll need to get in touch with iZettle to download the app
  2. It’s suitable for cafes, bars, and small restaurants
  3. It’s got so many features, we’d be here all day if we listed them all
  4. It costs £29 (+VAT)
  5. It’s contract-free!
  6. 7 day free trial available
  7. Works on iPad only

iZettle Food and Drink pros and cons

iZettle Food and Drink prosiZettle Food and Drink cons
Sophisticated table managementOnly available for hospitality businesses
Sophisticated analyticsNot as comprehensive as other specialist restaurant management software
Create separate staff accounts and track individual productivityOnly available on iPad
Bring new staff onboard using the training mode

iZettle Food and Drink features: the details

Below, we’ve gone into more detail on some of its top features.

Sophisticated menu set up

iZettle Food and Drink modifiers

iZettle Food and Drink has been designed with usability in mind. You can set up your menu interface to ensure orders are processed as efficiently as possible. You can even add messages to orders to give the kitchen staff more information about customer preferences.

Take orders at the table

izettle table ordering

Pay greater attention to your customers by taking orders at the table. Once you click into the table, you’ll be able to carry out functions, such as splitting the bill or adding additional items to the check. 

iZettle Food and Drink allows you to create a virtual dining area on the app. Although this takes some time to set up, staff can then assign a tab to the corresponding table.

Dynamic reporting

iZettle Food and Drink Overview

While you’re busy running your hospitality business, the iZettle Food and Drink app is busy collecting sales data. You can take a look at the overview on the app but if you want to see a more detailed insight, simply head over to the back office login page via the settings tab, and you’ll get to track things like revenue per item and average sale value – as well as manage your sales and stock.

iZettle pricing

One of the best things about iZettle is that its pricing is about as transparent as it comes. There are no monthly contracts for its paid products, and because the only thing it charges is a 1.75% transaction fee, you’re only paying for its service when you’re being paid. 

iZettle has a clear pricing breakdown on its website, but we’ve popped the information below for good measure.

iZettle Go package

iZettle card reader£59 (£29 until 30/06/2020)
Point-of-sale appFree
Customer supportFree
Invoice payments2.5% per transaction
Accounting software integration Free
Ecommerce and remote payment processing 2.5% per transaction

iZettle Food and Drink package (hospitality only)

iZettle card reader£59
Point-of-sale app£29 per month
Customer supportFree
Invoice payments2.5% per transaction
Accounting software integration Free
Website and remote payment processing 2.5% per transaction

The pricing above represents the minimum initial outlay for retail, hospitality, and service businesses. But what about if you wanted to invest in POS equipment, too? We’ve popped some examples below. 

iZettle retail POS equipment cost

iZettle 2 card reader
iZettle 2 Dock
iPad stand
Receipt printer
Printer paper
Apple iPad
Total: £599 (+VAT)

iZettle food and drink POS equipment cost

iZettle 2 card reader
iZettle 2 Dock
iPad stand
Receipt printer
Kitchen printer
Receipt paper
Apple iPad
Total: £798 (+VAT)

iZettle customer reviews

With a four out of five Trustpilot rating, a near perfect 4.8 G2 score, and a score of 4.6 on fellow software review site Capterra, iZettle has got some great customer credentials. 

This is largely down to iZettle’s customer service, which has seen some great reviews – like this one from Michael: 

“iZettle 2 was a brilliant investment. We now never have to turn customers away because we can't take cards. It was recommended to us by our daughter and we love it. Their customer help desk was really helpful.”

We also spoke to Block and Bottle in Gateshead to see how iZettle has helped business flourish from day one.

izettle review

Here’s what Katie Cullen, co-owner of Block and Bottle, had to say:

“iZettle manages our stock inventory, links in with our accounting software, pays us the very next day, and takes American Express for no extra charge. It’s so easy to set up, and we can use it at market stalls and events through our iPhones”

iZettle alternatives

There are plenty of iZettle alternatives – the most notable being Square, which offers a similar card reader, charges the same transaction fee, and also supplies stylish POS equipment. We’ve provided you with a few other options, too – just in case.

Card reader providerBest forDevice costTransaction fee (contactless and chip and pin)
Cheapest card reader£19 (+VAT)1.75%
SumUp logoCheapest transaction fee£59 (+VAT)1.69%
Lowest debit card transaction fee£69 (+VAT)Debit cards - 0.75%

Credit cards - 2.75%
PaypalBest for businesses with higher transaction volumes£45 (+VAT) 2.75% - 1% depending on volume of transactions
barclaycardLowest overall transaction fees (with Barclays merchant account)£29 (+VAT)1.6%

Take a look at our helpful guide to the best credit card machines for small businesses to help you decide on which card reader is best for your business.

The iZettle card reader is also compatible with a range of software providers. This means you don’t have to change your system if you want to change to a different software package. You can choose to switch to the following software providers:

  • Lightspeed
  • Goodtill
  • Vend
  • Practi
  • Ikentoo
  • Revel 
  • Kounta 
  • AirPOS

iZettle review: the verdict

Thanks to its standard transaction fee and user-friendly apps, iZettle is a great alternative to traditional methods of processing card payments.

With no set-up costs and no monthly fees, iZettle Go is ideal for startups or growing businesses that want to start raking in the cash as quickly as possible. 

And with no contracts and a heap of features for a set monthly price, iZettle Food and Drink is fantastic for hospitality businesses that mean business (check it out now while you get three months free).

Here’s a quick roundup of why iZettle tops the charts for us:

  • Transparent pricing – clear fees protect you from any nasty surprises at the end of the month
  • Low fees – iZettle wants to make accepting card payments possible for everyone – and now it is!
  • In-depth reporting – get live insights into your sales in the most easy-to-digest way possible
  • Solid customer support – iZettle’s customers are some of the happiest online
  • Top-notch apps – iZettle’s free app has won awards for a reason, and will have you up and running in no time

That being said, there are some drawbacks. 

Its transaction fee is on the high side compared to other payment providers, so once you start taking more than £10,000 in card payments every month, you’ll want to get in touch to see if they can offer you custom pricing – or, indeed, have a look elsewhere. 

Also bear in mind that the iZettle Go app isn’t as sophisticated as other paid-for POS apps. The good thing is that your iZettle system is compatible with POS software providers, making it easy to switch things up if you need to! 

If you want to give iZettle a go, head over to the website, order a card reader, and download iZettle Go onto your mobile or tablet for free! 

Aimee Bradshaw
Aimee Bradshaw

Senior Writer and Researcher

Aimee is Startups' resident expert in business tech, products, and services. She loves a great story and enjoys chatting to the startups and small business community. Starting her own egg delivery business from the age of 12, she has a healthy respect for self-starters and local services.

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