SumUp Review: is it the right choice for your small business?

Our SumUp review outlines the pros and cons of the provider including its card reader and POS system, ease-of-use, and suitability for small businesses.

Our Research

Our expert team of writers and researchers worked to identify the best payment processing and merchant account providers by focusing on the factors small businesses care about most – value for money, including fees and hidden extras; security protocols and fraud protection; customer support, and ease of access across platforms including mobile.
Written and reviewed by:

SumUp is a popular payment processing solution among SMEs, as you can get it up and running quickly and with almost no overheads. It has an impressive user base of over four million customers – and counting – worldwide. Choosing a payment gateway for your business is no small matter – the fees you agree to can have a big impact on your bottom line.

In this article, we dive deep into the specifics for SumUp – what it does right, its disadvantages, and the types of businesses it will work best for.

Whether you choose SumUp or a competitor, the most important factor is choosing a payment service that makes sense for the needs and scale of your business. Getting stung by transaction fees that really kick into gear as your business grows is no fun when you're already locked into a long contract, for example. To help, we've provided a simple comparison form, below – simply fill out a few questions to compare cost quotes from payment processing providers:

How do you need to take payments?

Compare Costs

For more detail about how we reached our results for SumUp specifically – including its prices, hardware, key benefits, and how it compares to rivals in the field – read on.

How does SumUp compare to other payment systems?

If you're considering SumUp, then you may be interested to learn how we've ranked it against other payment processing services:

  1. Worldpay: Best overall payment processing service
  2. Square: Best for taking mobile payments
  3. Stripe: Best merchant service provider for online payments
  4. SumUp: Best for handling next-day deposits
  5. Barclaycard Payments: Best merchant service provider for brand familiarity

Click any of the links above to begin 🔍comparing costs on merchant account services for your own business's size and needs.

What is SumUp?

4.2 out of 5
  • Till
    4.3
  • Business tools
    5.0
  • Stock control
    5.0
  • Customer score
    2.0
  • Price
    2.8

SumUp, a prominent player in the financial technology sector, distinguishes itself as a company committed to simplifying payment solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Founded on the belief that accepting card payments should be accessible and hassle-free, SumUp offers a range of card readers tailored to various needs. The company's approach is characterised by user-friendly technology, evident in products like the SumUp Air, Solo, and 3G, each designed to streamline payment processes. SumUp not only provides state-of-the-art card machines but also offers an extensive iPad-based Point of Sale (POS) software. This comprehensive software allows businesses to manage transactions, monitor inventory, and generate detailed sales reports directly from their iPads.

SumUp's commitment to transparency is reflected in its pricing model, with a one-off fee structure that eliminates the complexities often associated with traditional card machines.

Small businesses told us that till functionality, business management features, and stock management were the most significant purchasing factors when looking for a POS system such as SumUp's, so we focused our research on these criteria, and found SumUp to be a standout POS for all three, as well as evaluating a couple of other great features.

SumUp Pros
  • In total, the Goodtill by SumUp software has 13 add-ons for you to tailor to your business focus, like Goodeats for managing takeaway orders
  • Wastage reports can help you optimise processes for cost-saving
  • iPad-based software makes for a compact till that you can get to grips with easily
SumUp Cons
  • No option for data backup. You potentially risk gaps in finance and/or sales reporting
  • Very expensive to add multiple licenses with SumUp - rival software talech gives you unlimited licenses for free on all plans
  • No live customer support

SumUp POS software review

SumUp primarily operates its point-of-sale system through its dedicated app, providing users with a seamless and user-friendly platform for managing transactions and payments. There are easy-to-follow instructions on its website, which explain how to set up your POS system in four simple steps:

  • Download the SumUp app onto your chosen device
  • Input your business details
  • Input your personal details
  • Input your bank details

This takes slightly longer than our top-rated brands for usability, Square and Zettle, neither of which require any business details before you can access the app, but it's not going to ruin your day.

Sumup's POS dashboard where you can access all products with one profile.

SumUp POS: our evaluation scores

Our expert researchers awarded SumUp an overall score of 4.2 out of 5. Here's how they came to that score:

Till features – 4.3 out of 5

SumUp covers all of the necessary till functions required to take payments, but it doesn't go the extra mile in this area which is why it comes up slightly short of a 5-point rating. For example, cashiers will be able to split bills – but only into equal parts, and on selected items.

There are some advanced functions, like customising receipts, that we have to give credit to SumUp for. However, the platform does fail in not permitting training mode for its terminals. We always recommend that a POS system has a training mode, but very few brands actually offer this feature (Vend being one of the most well-known).

Business management – 5 out of 5

Business management isn't typically a generous area for low-cost platforms like SumUp, but the platform actually boasts an impressive amount of value for money, awarding it a full 5 out of 5.

We like that it lets users create detailed reports on everything from sales and profits to wastage and refunds. In fact, the array of reporting options available puts SumUp well ahead of rival software, Zettle.

For a full comparison between these two providers, check out our article: SumUp vs Zettle.

Stock management – 5 out of 5

SumUp is prime when it comes to inventory controls, particularly for food or accommodation businesses, which is why again it receives another full 5 out of 5. The software even features an ingredient-level inventory, so restaurateurs can keep their menus up-to-date and running smoothly.

Crucially, there is also a low stock warning, which makes life easier for busy small business owners, and one less thing to worry about. SumUp automatically updates users if a particular item outsells so that all revenue streams are kept at an optimal level.

Business development – 4.6 out of 5

SumUp, unlike many competitors, scores highly here for CRM and brand loyalty. Users can create loyalty programs or analyse purchase history, should they wish. Yet, other basic areas, like being able to integrate SumUp with a marketing app, are not currently catered for, lowering SumUp's performance score against rivals.

Price – 2.8 out of 5

If those just purchasing software, SumUp won't make a dent in any business bank account. Its lowest software pricing point is £9.

Hardware is where SumUp is let down, however, which is why the low score of 2.8 out of 5. An entire new terminal will cost, on average, £485. Any additional licenses (if a business needs a POS system in multiple branches) will cost £385.

Help and Support – 2 out of 5

SumUp's website gets a 2 out of 5 for help and support because while it has a knowledge centre and phone support, these are not 24/7.

There is also no live chat or official email support available so users will only be able to get assistance during business hours – not great for online stores that sell around the clock.

SumUp One: The premium software subscription

If high transaction fees are not really your thing, SumUp offers a premium subscription called SumUp One, for a fixed price of £29 a month, entitles you to cheaper SumUp products and transaction fees.

With this plan you can enjoy 7am payouts, transaction fees of 0.99%, exclusive deals, and discounted SumUp POS hardware at 50% off.

SumUp POS hardware review

SumUp's Point Of Sale Lite

SumUp's Point of Sale (POS) system offers an all-encompassing platform for monitoring sales, creating valuable reports, and improving overall efficiency. SumUp's system is for businesses of all kinds – from POS for retail and POS for restaurants, to POS for bars and pubs – all in search of a contemporary, flexible, and uncomplicated method for handling payment transactions.

SumUp has three wireless, portable, take-anywhere card readers in their integrative hardware range:

SumUp Air: £39 + VAT

The SumUp Air is a versatile card reader that seamlessly integrates with your smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth. Its ease of use is amplified by the free SumUp app, making payments a breeze. With a commendable battery life of up to 12 hours, this reader ensures your business stays connected. Charging is convenient,  thanks to the included micro-USB cable.

SumUp Solo: £79 + VAT

The SumUp Solo operates independently, accepting payments without relying on external devices. With compatibility for Wi-Fi and the added perk of free unlimited mobile data through its built-in SIM card, it offers a reliable and efficient solution. The fast-charging battery provides up to 8 hours of usage, and the device comes with a dedicated charging station.

SumUp 3G:  £139 + VAT

The SumUp 3G is effectively the Solo with a printer. It also functions as a standalone device, enhancing the freedom of payments, operates seamlessly with Wi-Fi and includes free unlimited mobile data via its integrated SIM card. The device boasts a battery life of up to 8 hours and comes with a convenient charging station. Additionally, it enables on-the-go printing of receipts, adding an extra layer of practicality.

SumUp's pricing model is refreshingly straightforward. Unlike traditional credit card machines that often involve long-term contracts and substantial monthly fixed costs, SumUp's portable card machines follow a one-off fee structure. Once you've acquired your chosen card reader, the only additional cost is a fixed fee per transaction.

This transparent approach aligns with the evolving needs of businesses, offering financial flexibility without compromising on functionality.

SumUp's pricing

Depending on your business needs, SumUp can either be a very cheap product that pays for itself, or a large investment that might make a competitor preferable.

When it comes to POS software however, you can't beat free – and Sumup does have this option if you would like to get started right away.

If you're looking for a more advanced POS system, SumUp Point of Sale Pro (starting at £49 per month) and SumUp Point of Sale Lite (at a £299 one-time cost) are the two go-tos, each catering to different business needs.

The Pro version offers advanced features suitable for larger enterprises, including inventory management, detailed sales reporting, and employee management tools. On the other hand, SumUp Point of Sale Lite provides essential functionalities for smaller businesses, focusing on simplicity and ease of use. Both versions seamlessly integrate with SumUp card readers, ensuring secure and efficient transactions.

However, your bill can climb very quickly if you invest in add-ons. With POS terminals costing up to £485, plus a licensing fee of £348 per terminal, larger businesses with multiple outlets could look to Zettle, which charges just £149 per terminal in comparison.

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0 out of 0

SumUp

Software cost

Free

Hardware cost

Starting from £29 + VAT

Transaction fees
  • 1.69% for all contactless or card payments

SumUp's Customer Reviews

Takeaway coffee store owner Jerry talked us through how he uses his SumUp reader

After analysing major online review sites and interviewing real-life SumUp users, our team of expert researchers found it to be a popular, trustworthy brand – best-known for its ease of use and compact, minimalist Air card reader.

We gathered some exclusive insights on SumUp in our journey out into the Greater London community. On our search for the SumUp card reader out in the wild, we found it at “Jerry's” in Angel, where we spoke with the owner who says he had used the product for the last eight months.

Happy customers 😄

When asked about issues, Jerry mentioned that they are “quite rare” but when they do happen, customer service communicates well. Issues are dealt with quickly, not interrupting the service for too long. “It's not too difficult to communicate with a human being either,” he added, “which is quite nice.”

He noted that it is easy to use, as “the customer gets a screen to look at, and I get a screen to look at” since it runs through his iPad, making the experience faster and better for everyone.

Not-so-happy customers 😓

SumUp's poor customer support has created some dissatisfaction amongst some other customers, however.

One customer, John Rothwell, said: “I have had a good experience of using SumUp over the last few years. The money goes in easily, and pays out next working day usually unless a weekend or bank holiday. I have found it useful to have two phones/ipad etc as sometimes I may not get a good signal with one internet provider.” (sic) (Source)

The platform does not provide much in the way of email support, and is the only mobile provider out of all the ones we assess and review with no live chat function. Online users have reasonably complained about not being able to get assistance during business hours.

A SumUp reader we observed in action at Jerry's mobile coffee shop in London

Alternatives to SumUp

Zettle and Square are SumUp’s main competitors, offering more sophisticated software and point of sale setups and scoring 4.6 and 4.3 respectively. The software makes them better suited to businesses that are looking for a payment processor that can assist them in achieving high growth. 

The other option is to choose a payment processor that’s attached to a bank, such as Smartpay Anywhere (from Barclaycard). However, these arrangements are better suited to businesses that take a higher number of sales – whereas SumUp specialises in the low-maintenance space of pop-up vendors or independent shops.

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Square

Lightspeed 

Zettle

Clover

Vend

EPOS Now

Goodtill (by Sumup)

Touchbistro

Shopify

Best for

Takeaway businesses with low transaction volumes

Best for

Advanced hospitality features

Best for

Coffee shops

Best for

Small businesses looking to grow and wow their customers with tailored solutions

Best for

Businesses on the go that need remote access

Best for

Restaurants

Best for

Takeaways

Best for

Pizza restaurants

Best for

Excellent sales features, a great free trial and unifying online and in-store sales

Our Methodology

To get the most up-to-date information for our SumUp review, we carried out extensive research into the entire POS market.

We then judged each provider against a specific set of criteria, organising user testing to see exactly how each aspect worked rather than relying on what we heard online.

From what we found, we built up a huge dataset by which to analyse and compare each offering, and ultimately decide on our list of the best small business POS systems in 2024.

You can get a full breakdown of our findings via our free 🔍online comparison tool. We've populated it with all of our results so that, once completed, we can match you with quotes from the product that's best for your business's unique objectives.

SumUp: Verdict

Overall, SumUp's software offering is truly unique, with the most tailorable packages available. The SumUp Air card reader is also one of the most modern products on the market, able to take 500+ payments in one charge.

We'd recommend SumUp to independent sellers that are less than three years old, with small till areas, that want to focus on growing areas of their business. SumUp is a better choice for those firms that need a singular and discreet payment solution that can be used in smaller, predominantly offline firms such as street food vendors or salons.

It's not ideal for scaling firms however, as its expensive hardware pricing can quickly become unaffordable. Its value-for-money is poor, however, for ambitious, sales-focused firms. SumUp's added licensing fees are too much to be justified for those with multiple outlets. 

If you're looking to perfect one particular aspect of payment processing – and do it well – SumUp is the one of the POS systems we can currently recommend.

Still unsure of how these costs stack up with other POS systems?

There's no need to spend days researching POS provider fees and costs on your own. You can save your time and money by using our 🔍free cost comparison tool. Just tell us a few simple details about your business and you'll be matched with comparable, no-obligation price quotes.

SumUp FAQs
  • Which POS providers are cheaper than SumUp?
    Square is cheaper overall than SumUp when it comes to card readers, as Square's is £19 + VAT in comparison with SumUp's lowest price of £29 + VAT, but SumUp has cheaper transaction fees (at 1.69% for card payments as opposed to Square's 1.75%) so may be more beneficial in the long-run.
  • How does the SumUp card reader work alongside the SumUp app?
    In order to set up the card reader, you need to download the SumUp app onto your chosen device. From the app, you'll be able to manage and record all payments - and even print receipts.
  • Does the SumUp card reader enable online payments?
    Yes. Merchants can accept online payments by integrating SumUp as a payment tool in their online shop. You can also accept them using payment links. Simply share these as you would any other link, and customers can settle their bill digitally, in seconds.
  • How often will my SumUp card reader go down?
    SumUp, like any technology, aims to provide reliable services, but occasional issues may arise. It's advisable to ensure your device is updated with the latest software and firmware to minimise potential disruptions.
  • Which is better: Square or SumUp?
    Our top-rated POS platform is Square. It just pips SumUp in terms of help and support tools, which the latter is sadly lacking. Still, SumUp can provide just as much value-for-money for customers as Square if you are just looking to purchase a basic hardware and till system.

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Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.
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