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Best card payment systems for taxis

Do you need a card reader for your taxi? Discover why this piece of kit is essential for your taxi business, and compare devices here

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We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.

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Imagine a prospective passenger calls, wanting to book a trip. But there’s a catch – they want to pay by card, and you don’t have a card machine. This means you have to hang up, and let a potential fare go – as well as possibly sending them to a competitor. 

Fortunately, there are a number of card readers that taxi drivers can use, with some companies even offering specialist taxi cab bundles. And, if you operate a taxi service in London (or are planning to), you don’t have a choice – you must accept card payments.

But how do you take taxi card payments? Which are the best machines to use? And why do you even need to? We’ll answer these questions, and more, in our dedicated guide.

Best taxi card payment providers

  • iZettle
  • PayaTaxi
  • Paymentsense
  • Ingenico
  • Taxiworld

How to choose taxi card payment systems

When choosing a card reader for your taxi business, some of the key features and functions to look out for include:

  • The range of card types and payment methods that it accepts
  • The amount of battery life it has, and how long it takes to charge
  • How long it takes for payments to be processed
  • How easy it is to set up and use
  • Which connectivity options it has
  • If it has the capacity to print receipts

Price is always a key concern when making business decisions. For card payment systems, you can expect to pay a one-off price for the device itself, as well as transaction fees each time you process a payment. See our FAQs section for more information. 

What’s the difference between chip and pin machines and mobile card readers?

Card payments can be processed through chip and pin machines or mobile card readers.

Mobile card readers typically sport a portable, compact design, and only need the device, the app, and an internet connection to operate. 

In comparison, chip and pin machines are larger devices, and can either be fixed to a point (i.e. a till) or used wirelessly in conjunction with a base unit.

Taxi credit card payment systems

ProviderDevice costTransaction fees
iZettle £291.75%
PayaTaxiAvailable from £19.95Starting from 1.99% + 15p (per transaction)
PaymentsenseContact providerContact provider

izettle

iZettle

The iZettle Reader 2 accepts all major credit/debit cards (including American Express), as well as contactless payments and Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay. It doesn’t matter which cards you process – all card types will have the funds deposited in 1-2 business days. There is also the option to link to a PayPal account.

The iZettle Reader 2 can complete transactions quickly: contactless payments are processed in five seconds, while other payment types take less than 10 seconds. And better still, it only takes two seconds to power up the device.

It uses low-energy Bluetooth, and with the included micro USB cable, one charge can provide eight hours of active use.

iZettle offers an easy to follow three-step process:

  1. Complete the secure sign-up to register your business
  2. Order a card reader and download the app
  3. Connect the app and the reader to begin accepting card payments

And with security features that include transaction protection, encrypted payment data, and tamper-proof design, you can be sure that card payments in your taxi are secure.

  • No training required
  • 12 month warranty
  • Available in white or black
  • Price: £29

payataxi

PayaTaxi

PayaTaxi offers TfL-approved systems for black cabs, as well as separate devices for private hire vehicles. 

With the black cab options, it’s possible to pay weekly or buy outright. For private hire vehicles, you can pay as you go, or opt for a standard merchant account. Contact Payataxi for more information about pricing.

There are two card reader options available:

Wisepad 2 Plus 

  • Print receipts
  • No app required to function
  • Connect to wifi and mobile hotspots
  • 3G model is provided with a data SIM
  • Set up and ready to use
  • Accept card and device payments, including American Express, Google Pay, and Apple Pay

PAX A920

  • Payments accepted include contactless, card and device payments (e.g. mobile and wallet), chip and pin, and magstripe
  • Connectivity options include wifi or 4G
  • Standalone mPOS device
  • 5-inch HD touch screen
  • Battery is rechargeable, allowing for continuous use
  • Thermal printer
  • Uses Android OS
  • Electronic signature capture
  • Available from £19.95

PayaTaxi offers low rates with no long contracts, and allows drivers to apply online. PayaTaxi for taxis and private hire vehicles is just one specialist business solution available from PayaCard services. 

For black cabs, there are three packages to choose from, with the option to pay weekly or buy outright. The rates start at 1.99% + 15p per transaction.

The private hire options offer merchant accounts based on the volume processed, with options for either low or high volume.

paymentsense

Paymentsense

Taxi drivers can sign up online for the Paymentsense card payment system, and be set up with a system in three days. Paymentsense also has a UK-based support team that are available 24/7. 

Paymentsense offers assistance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) compliance via phone. These are a set of 12 security standards that are applied to card transactions globally.

The Paymentsense card machine offers:

  • Built-in GPRS SIM
  • Full day of battery life from one charge
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Colour display
  • Navigation menus
  • Large keys
  • Thermal receipt printer

Contact Paymentsense for pricing.

Taxi card payments: Rules and regulations

On 13 January 2018, the UK Government introduced a ban on hidden surcharges. This means that companies must not pass on the fees for card payments or alternative payment methods (such as PayPal) to customers. The ban is in effect across the EU, and applies for purchases made where both the consumer and retailer banks are located in the European Economic Area (EEA).

As a taxi driver, this makes it even more important to find a card machine with good rates, so that you can find the best deal for both you and your customers.


London taxi card payment machines: What do you need to know?

Transport for London (TfL) have requirements that licenced taxis must meet for accepting card payments. These include:

  • Card payment devices have to be installed in licenced taxis
  • Only TfL-approved devices can be used
  • Receipts must be able to be printed (if requested by the passenger)
  • The card payment terminal must be installed in the passenger area

The requirement that all licenced taxi drivers must accept card payments came into effect on 31 October 2016. 

Here, we highlight some of the approved devices. For more information, and to see the full list of TfL-approved providers, read the TfL guide to accepting card payments

TX eCity cars are the electric taxis made by the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), the manufacturer of the famous black cab. Some devices aren’t suitable for TX eCity cars, so be sure to check with the provider.

DeviceApproved for TX eCity cars?Price
Ingenico ICT220 and ICT350NoContact provider
Taxiworld FREEdom SolutionYesContact provider

ingenico

Ingenico: Ingenico ICT220, Ingenico ICT350

Ingenico may not have an actual dedicated taxi package, but the Ingenico ICT220 and ICT350 are both approved by TfL to be mounted in a taxi cab. They aren’t suitable for TX eCity cars, however.

Contact Ingenico for prices.

taxiworld freedom solution

Taxiworld Ltd: Taxiworld FREEdom Solution

Taxiworld’s payment package includes:

  • A pin pad
  • A fixed colour screen for the driver
  • SIM meter (a SIM card is sent to you in the post with up-to-date tariff information, helping to reduce the delays caused by tariff changes)
  • Approved for TX eCity use 

Contact Taxiworld for prices.

How to accept card payments outside of London

While taxi drivers in the capital must conform to stipulations set out by TfL, taxi drivers outside of London have greater freedom with the devices that they can use. 

This means that you can opt for a card reader from a company that specialises in providing card payment methods for taxis, like Taxiworld. Or, you can use a device from a general provider instead, such as iZettle or Ingencio. 

However, be sure to find out if there are any locally imposed rules that you have to adhere to, such as those provided by the local council or authority in the area in which you’ll be running your taxi service.

Why do taxis need to take credit card payments?

Traditionally, taxis are cash-only operations. But as technology progresses, and society becomes less and less dependent on cash, taxi firms need to accept card payments in order to stay on trend and attract as many customers as possible.

Having to carry large amounts of cash around with you? Needing to take frequent trips to the bank to deposit fares? Or finding yourself turning away card-only customers? If so, these are just some of the problems your taxi business is facing that could be solved by accepting card payments. 

A solo owner-operator setup could benefit from accepting card payments, as it’s a convenient and secure payment method. Taking card payments only continues to become more and more important as your firm grows, too imagine the time and potential risk involved in handling cash payments for an entire fleet of cabs.

And, thanks to the range of easy to use and simple to set up card machines available, all you need is a card reader and an internet connection to begin accepting card payments.

Benefits of taxi card payments:

  • Quick and secure
  • Potential to reach a wider customer base
  • Stay up-to-date with current payment trends

In 2018, 47% of all payments were made by card – and by 2028, this number is projected to increase to 61%. This is according to the UK Payment Markets 2019 report published by UK Finance.


Next steps

At this stage, you’ve learned more about the importance of accepting taxi card payments. As well as this, we’ve covered how to get set up with your own card reader, including the specific requirements for taking card payments in a London taxi. Plus, we’ve offered you a guide to some of the best devices out there. 

Best taxi card payment providers

  • iZettle
  • PayaTaxi
  • Paymentsense
  • Ingenico
  • Taxiworld

Going forwards, you may also need a merchant account – learn more with our ‘what is a merchant account?’ article.

Card readers for taxi drivers: FAQs

Here, we answer some key questions you may have about taxi card payments. 

What is the best card reader for taxi drivers?

This depends primarily on your budget, and which rules (if any) you have to comply with regarding types of devices. Ideally, you’ll find a device that allows for quick and easy payments, along with offering affordable fees. iZettle, Payataxi, and Ingenico are just three examples of providers – read more in our dedicated section above.

How much are card processing fees?

Card processing fees are usually charged as a percentage of the transaction, which tends to be somewhere between 1-2%. The volume of transactions you process can also influence the fees you’ll pay, along with the provider you choose – making it extra important to pick the best supplier for your business requirements.  

Scarlett Cook
Scarlett Cook

Scarlett writes for the automotive, energy, hosting and website sections of the site. In addition, she promotes the newest small businesses by managing the Just Started profiles, and has also contributed to Tech Donut. Scarlett is passionate about championing equality and sustainability in business.

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