Zettle by PayPal Review 2021

Zettle by PayPal continues to be a market leader across Europe. Find out all you need to know in this Startups Zettle review

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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 Zettle card reader, carried out extensive background research, and reached out to Zettle customers to make this Zettle review as helpful as possible.

An introduction to Zettle by PayPal

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

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

Zettle review overview

In a nutshell: Zettle is an affordable, easy to use payment system for small businesses. The simplicity of the Zettle card reader and intuitiveness of the accompanying apps and EPOS solutions have meant Zettle 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


Zettle card reader review

iZettle card reader

The Zettle 2 is Zettle’s latest card reader

‘Ergonomic' is the word we’d use to describe Zettle’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 Zettle 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.

Zettle card reader: the key information

What do you really need to know before you commit yourself to an Zettle 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. Zettle 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 Zettle 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, Zettle offers one of the most expensive card readers on the market, but it charges some of the most reasonable processing fees 
  5. Zettle will perform a credit check upon sign up

Zettle card reader prosZettle 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 hoursYou 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 Zettle 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 Zettle card reader?

Is the Zettle 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 Zettle 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 Zettle card reader model from the list. You’ll then be given step by step instructions on how to complete the setup. 

How does the Zettle 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 Zettle’s compatible scanner (additional cost). 

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

What else do we love about the Zettle 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 Zettle 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?

Zettle 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 Zettle Go app to track inventory and sales from both your bricks and mortar store and your online store. 

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

Zettle payment links

Zettle'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 Zettle's POS software. In a world where emails containing spam links are running riot, this may seem like a dodgy idea, but Zettle reassures that its Payment Links are fully secure and PCI compliant.

So, how do Zettle Payment Links work?

  1. A customer calls you up and makes an order
  2. Enter the order into your Zettle 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 Zettle charges 2.5% for each Payment Link transaction made.

Zettle POS equipment review

izettle pos equipment

Build your own Zettle POS package

Take a look at the image above and you’ll see Zettle’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 Zettle online store allows you to purchase additional equipment as a bundle or as separate units

Zettle POS equipment: key information

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

  1. There are specific equipment bundles available for hospitality and retail businesses
  2. Zettle’s POS equipment uses Bluetooth or Ethernet connectivity
  3. You can also purchase equipment as separate units as and when you need it
  4. Zettle POS equipment is compatible with both Zettle Go and Zettle Food and Drink software
  5. Zettle’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 Zettle POS hardware?

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

If you’re not sure on exactly what equipment you need, Zettle’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 Zettle’s free Zettle 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 Zettle 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 Zettle'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? 

Zettle’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 Zettle’s POS equipment?

You need to bear in mind that Zettle’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.

Zettle Software: what do you need to know?

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

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

Zettle Go review

Zettle 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.

Zettle Go app: key information

What do you need to know before you download the Zettle 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. Zettle 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

Zettle Go pros and cons

Zettle Go prosZettle 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

Zettle Go features: the details

When it comes to features, Zettle 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.



Analytics

izettle analytics

Zettle 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 Zettle Go with Xero or QuickBooks for even greater insight.



Customer loyalty

izettle customer loyalty

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

Zettle 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.

Zettle Food and Drink review

Zettle 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, Zettle 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.

Zettle 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

Zettle Food and Drink pros and cons

Zettle Food and Drink prosZettle 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

Zettle 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

Zettle 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. 

Zettle 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 Zettle 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.

Zettle pricing

One of the best things about Zettle is that its pricing is about as transparent as it comes – and it hasn't changed since its rebrand to Zettle by PayPal. 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. 

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

Zettle Go package

Zettle 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

Zettle Food and Drink package (hospitality only)

Zettle 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. 

Zettle retail POS equipment cost

Zettle 2 card reader
Zettle 2 Dock
iPad stand
Receipt printer
Printer paper
Scanner
Apple iPad
Total: £599 (+VAT)
Zettle 2 card reader
Zettle 2 Dock
iPad stand
Receipt printer
Kitchen printer
Receipt paper
Apple iPad
Total: £798 (+VAT)

Zettle 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, Zettle has got some great customer credentials. 

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

“Zettle 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 Zettle has helped business flourish from day one.

izettle review

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

“Zettle 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”

Zettle alternatives

There are plenty of Zettle 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 Zettle 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

Zettle review: the verdict

Thanks to its standard transaction fee and user-friendly apps, Zettle is a great alternative to traditional methods of processing card payments. And the good thing is its product offering hasn't changed since it rebranded to Zettle by PayPal.

With no set-up costs and no monthly fees, Zettle 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, Zettle 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 Zettle tops the charts for us:

  • Transparent pricing – clear fees protect you from any nasty surprises at the end of the month
  • Low fees – Zettle 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 – Zettle’s customers are some of the happiest online
  • Top-notch apps – Zettle’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 Zettle Go app isn’t as sophisticated as other paid-for POS apps. The good thing is that your Zettle system is compatible with POS software providers, making it easy to switch things up if you need to! 

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

Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer

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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