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 Written by Scarlett Cook Updated on 13 July 2023 About us Startups was founded over 20 years ago by a multi-time entrepreneur. Today, our expert team of writers, researchers, and editors work to provide our 4 million readers with useful tips and information, as well as running award-winning campaigns. Our site is governed by the Startups editorial manifesto. Written and reviewed by: Scarlett Cook Writer Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. We think the best card payment system for taxis is Zettle, by PayPal, thanks to its simple transaction processing and countless card integrations.For taxi drivers, a card payment system is essential. In the age of Uber and app payments, expecting a customer to have cash on hand could mean losing a potential fare altogether. 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.We've developed a free tool to help you compare costs on taxi card payment systems. It only takes a moment to select the features you need to get a price comparison from top payment service providers.But how do you take taxi card payments? Which are the best machines to use? We believe the below are the best choices you can make:Best taxi card payment providersZettle by PayPalPayaTaxiPaymentsenseIngenicoTaxiworld Startups.co.uk can help your business succeed At Startups.co.uk, we're here to help small UK businesses to get started, grow and succeed. We have practical resources for helping new businesses get off the ground – you can use the tool below to get started today. What Does Your Business Need Help With? Taking card payments Vehicle Tracking Getting a Business Loan Choosing a Fuel Card Get Started In this article, we’ll cover: How to choose taxi card payment systems London taxi card payment machines: What do you need to know? Why do taxis need to take credit card payments? How we test card processing products for small businesses Finding a card payment system for your taxi: next steps Card readers for taxi drivers: FAQs How to choose taxi card payment systemsWhen 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 acceptsThe amount of battery life it has, and how long it takes to chargeHow long it takes for payments to be processedHow easy it is to set up and useWhich connectivity options it hasIf it has the capacity to print receiptsPrice 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 systemsProviderDevice costTransaction feesZettle by PayPal£291.75%PayaTaxiAvailable from £19.95Starting from 1.99% + 15p (per transaction) PaymentsenseContact providerContact providerZettle by PayPalQuick 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 well-established name “iZettle”.The Zettle 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 Zettle 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.Zettle offers an easy to follow three-step process:Complete the secure sign-up to register your businessOrder a card reader and download the appConnect the app and the reader to begin accepting card paymentsAnd 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 required12 month warrantyAvailable in white or blackPrice: £29PayaTaxiPayaTaxi 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 receiptsNo app required to functionConnect to wifi and mobile hotspots3G model is provided with a data SIMSet up and ready to useAccept card and device payments, including American Express, Google Pay, and Apple PayPAX A920Payments accepted include contactless, card and device payments (e.g. mobile and wallet), chip and pin, and magstripeConnectivity options include wifi or 4GStandalone mPOS device5-inch HD touch screenBattery is rechargeable, allowing for continuous useThermal printerUses Android OSElectronic signature captureAvailable from £19.95PayaTaxi 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.PaymentsenseTaxi 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 SIMFull day of battery life from one chargeLightweight and portable designColour displayNavigation menusLarge keysThermal receipt printerContact 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 taxisOnly TfL-approved devices can be usedReceipts must be able to be printed (if requested by the passenger)The card payment terminal must be installed in the passenger areaThe 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?PriceIngenico ICT220 and ICT350NoContact providerTaxiworld FREEdom SolutionYesContact providerIngenico: Ingenico ICT220, Ingenico ICT350Ingenico 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 Ltd: Taxiworld FREEdom SolutionTaxiworld’s payment package includes:A pin padA fixed colour screen for the driverSIM 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 securePotential to reach a wider customer baseStay 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. How we test card processing products and merchant services for small businessesWe tested 11 merchant account products and services to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, price, compliance, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to small UK-based businesses.Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in six main categories of investigation and 25 subcategories – in fact, we covered 36 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs of our Startups.co.uk readers.Our main testing categories for merchant account products and services are:Compliance: the adherence of the merchant account product to relevant regulations and standards, such as data security, anti-fraud measures, and legal requirements.Customer Support: the assistance and resources provided by the merchant account provider to users in resolving issues, answering questions, and providing guidance.Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular merchant account. Also, the market position and reputation a merchant account holds.Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the merchant account product, including online payment processing and payment gateway integration.Taking Payments: the process and options available for accepting payments through the merchant account product.Price: the cost associated with using the merchant account product, such as transaction fees, setup fees, monthly fees, and any additional charges.The Startups product testing process Next stepsAt 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 providersZettlePayaTaxiPaymentsenseIngenicoTaxiworldGoing forwards, you may also need a merchant account – learn more with our ‘what is a merchant account?’ article. Card readers for taxi drivers: FAQsHere, 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. Zettle, 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. Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Written by: Scarlett Cook Writer Scarlett writes for the energy and HR sections of the site, as well as managing the Just Started profiles. Scarlett is passionate about championing equality and sustainability in business.