SumUp vs Zettle by PayPal

SumUp or Zettle by PayPal? Both lead the European payment processing market - but which one should you choose? We'll take a closer look at how Zettle (previously iZettle) and SumUp compare for small business use

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Both Zettle by PayPal and SumUp give small businesses the means to take card payments safely and securely. However, there are a few differences between the two products which may make one more suitable than the other. 

When it comes to choosing the right payment processor for your business, you have to decide on your priorities. In the case of SumUp and Zettle, would you exchange lower credit card processing fees for a longer pay out time? Or, are you more interested in what premium options a provider has to offer?

In this SumUp vs Zettle review, we’ll compare the two credit card processing providers to ensure you choose the best option for your business. 

From credit card processing fees to integrations, we’ll look at how SumUp and Zettle set themselves apart, and what makes them two of the top credit card processing providers for small businesses.

SumUp or Zettle: A quick comparison

 SumUpZettle by PayPal
Card reader cost£29£59 (Often discounted to £29)
Transaction fee1.69%1.75%
Software feesNoneNone
Deposits funds1-3 business daysWithin 2 business days
Phone support8am - 7pm Monday to Friday

8am - 5pm on weekends
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

Features

Let’s take a deep dive into what SumUp and Zettle offer small businesses.

Card readers compared

 SumUpZettle
BluetoothYesYes
ConnectivityWifi/hotspot

(Cellular with SumUp 3G card reader)
Wifi/hotspot
Offline payments NoNo
Processing rate1.69%1.75%
Chip and pinYesYes
ContactlessYesYes
Virtual terminal (ecommerce)Yes (2.5% fee)Yes (2.5% fee)
Compatible with other POS softwareVend, Nobly, KountaVend, Lightspeed, and more

Key takeaways

At this stage, we wouldn’t blame you if you leant more towards the SumUp card reader. When it comes to the basics, it certainly looks like it offers businesses far more value for money.

SumUp charges small businesses 1.69% per transaction – that’s one of the lowest rates you can expect to find among mobile card readers.

And for small businesses that often take to the road, the SumUp 3G card reader offers the easiest way to keep business costs and personal costs separate. 

This is because a mobile hotspot uses mobile data, while the SumUp card reader has its own mobile reception.

While Zettle charges higher fees, as we go deeper into our comparison of Zettle and SumUp, you’ll discover there’s a reason for that. 

Ultimately, when it comes to making your decision on which payment provider to choose, it’s the details that matter.


SumUp point of sale equipment vs Zettle point of sale equipment

 SumUpZettle
All POS accessories availableNoYes
Branded POS equipment SumUp 3G with printerNo
Integrates with other POS softwareYesSome
Offline modePartialPartial
Complete kits availableNoYes

Key takeaways

To benefit from SumUp’s card machine and low processing fee alongside a complete POS system, you’ll need to use the SumUp card machine alongside compatible third party POS software, like Vend or Kounta.

If you’d rather stick to the basics, SumUp does offer its 3G card reader alongside an integrated printer which, combined with a mobile phone or tablet, gives businesses a fully operational point of sale system. 

On the other hand, Zettle’s software does integrate with third party Bluetooth-enabled point of sale equipment, making it a fully scalable solution in its own right. This means you’ll be able to hook up printers, cash drawers, and even barcode scanners.


Ecommerce

 SumUp OnlineZettle
Suitable for retail and hospitality?YesYes
Transaction fee2.5%2.5%
Free option?YesNo (standard £29/month)
Third party ecommerce integrationsShopify onlyShopify only
Accepts PayPalNoYes (2% transaction fee)

Key takeaways

SumUp and Zettle enable businesses to get their products online, thanks to easy to set up online stores. 

With Zettle and SumUp, all it takes is taking some high quality snaps of your products, deciding on product categories, allocating products to categories, and entering price details to get your store up and running.

Neither Zettle’s nor SumUp’s ecommerce offerings integrate with delivery apps like Deliveroo, but they do give you the means to take orders online and deliver using your own delivery team.

While both providers offer this service for free, they do charge a higher processing fee of 2.5% per transaction. 

It’s also worth noting that thanks to Zettle’s pairing with PayPal, you’re only charged 2% if customers choose to pay through their PayPal account.

Both of these ecommerce options are fairly basic, which is fine if you’re looking to guide customers from your social media pages or run a simple site. 

For those looking to take their online store to the next level, it’s handy to know that both SumUp and Zettle integrate with Shopify, which offers businesses more scope when it comes to marketing and managing your website and online presence.


Pricing

 SumUpZettle
Card reader SumUp Air £29
SumUp 3G £99
£59 (often reduced to £29)
Software FreeFree
Paid software plan None available£29/month per iPad (including VAT)
Card present fees 1.69%1.75%
Card not present fees 2.5%2.5%

Key Takeaways

SumUp is undoubtedly the cheaper product, offering lower fees, and a cheaper card machine. 

But as the saying goes “you get what you pay for” and business owners looking to scale quickly may need to look at a card processing company or point of sale provider that offers more in the way of software features and expandable hardware sets. 

For business owners looking for a cheap and cheerful way to take card payments, the cost of the SumUp card reader and the lower transaction fees are ideal.

Zettle is a tad more expensive, but business owners do get more bang for only a little more buck, including the option to integrate accounting software such as QuickBooks, and sales analytics. 

Hospitality businesses can even choose to upgrade to Zettle Food and Drink for £29/month – and if you’re thinking that could be a little hard to justify, Zettle Food and Drink offers advanced reporting, table management, and delivery integration. 


Setting up the Zettle and SumUp payment systems

When it comes to setting up Zettle and SumUp payment systems, it’s all fairly simple. You’ll need the app – both are available in the Apple and Google Play store – and the card machine. 

Initial setup

Before you pair your software and your card machine, you’ll need to set up and account with your chosen provider. 

They’ll ask you for some basic information on your business, and the details of your business bank account. 

Note that neither SumUp nor Zettle require you to have a merchant account – simply a business bank account in the name of the person setting up the payment system.

Once you’ve provided all the information, you can pair your card reader.

Pairing your equipment

Zettle and SumUp’s card readers are Bluetooth-enabled, so before you start taking payments, you’ll need to pair them with the device that hosts the accompanying software – this is either your tablet or smartphone. 

Simply head into the software app of your choice, tap into settings and select which device you want to pair. Then hold down the sync button on your card reader and the technology will do all the hard work. 

Syncing any additional hardware to your Zettle POS system follows the same process. Select the device you’re looking to pair on the app and hold down the sync button on the device.


Security

When it comes to security, neither SumUp nor Zettle mess around. Both payment processors adhere to the latest PCI standards, and both take extra measures when it comes to protecting your data. 

SumUp promises that it never secures sensitive data on your mobile device and all data secured on its servers is encrypted.

Zettle goes even further. It’s card reader is tamper proof and self-destructs if it gets in the wrong hands, so you can start building a successful business knowing you’re not going to get stung in the future.


Customer Support

 SumUpZettle
Customer support channelsPhone, email, live chatPhone, email, live chat
Internet supportYesYes
Phone support hoursWeekdays 8am-7pm
Weekends 8am - 5pm
Weekdays 9am-5pm
TrustPilot rating 4.34.1

Key findings

When it comes to customer support, SumUp does have the edge, being the only mobile payment provider to offer its customers weekend support. 

That said, if you are swinging more towards Zettle and are concerned about its lesser support hours, you can opt to become an Zettle Go PLUS membership holder, which’ll give you access to phone support until 8pm in the evening.

The customer review outlook is positive for both suppliers, with fairly high TrustPilot ratings indicating towards generally satisfied customers. 

SumUp customers often praise its efficient service and ease of use, while Zettle’s slightly slower response time seems to account for its slightly lower score.


Final verdict

Our comparison of Zettle and SumUp has revealed that both credit card processing providers are ideal for small businesses. 

In our opinion, SumUp is the ideal payment processor for small shops and pop up stalls, offering business owners a quick and simple way to start taking card payments. And, if you start to need more from your point of sale system, you can always integrate SumUp with a software product like Vend. However, this will incur its own charges.

Those looking to scale their business should look at Zettle, as it offers business owners the tools and data collection they need to make informed business decisions without the need to use a third party provider. And, hospitality businesses can always upgrade to Zettle Food and Drink if the time arises.

If neither SumUp nor Zettle suit your business' needs, you may want to consider Square. 

Square is also a mobile payment provider, however it offers businesses far more flexibility around choosing a point of sale package that suits your needs. There are heaps of integrations to choose from, and it has a solid ecommerce product.

You can find out how Square compares to Zettle in our Square vs Zettle review.


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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