PayPal Here card machine review
We put the PayPal Here card reader to the test, and help you compare it with the UK's leading card machines today: iZettle, Square, WorldPay and more
With 78% of retail sales in the UK being paid by card, many small business owners are finding they’re quids in with a card machine.
But is PayPal Here the best option for you? We put the PayPal portable card reader under the microscope, and compare it with the other leading mobile card readers (iZettle, Square, WorldPay, and SumUp) to help you decide for yourself.
You’re probably already familiar with PayPal as that helpful online payments system which makes checking out a breeze – and if you’re already using PayPal for your business, getting the PayPal Here card machine can make your life easier.
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So, does PayPal Here beat its rivals in the all-important areas: cost, ease of use and features?
To help you work out if PayPal Here is the best card reader for your business, let’s explore the nuts and bolts, and get you the best deal.
In this article you will learn:
PayPal Here review: The pros and cons
With PayPal Here, business owners get to benefit from:
- ✔ Lowest fees – High volume sellers enjoy low-low fees of just 1.75% – 1% (no rivals stretch as low as PayPal here, but you’ll need to be making £1,500 – £15,000+ a month to cash in)
- ✔ Fastest transfers – With an instant settlement time, PayPal is the only card reader that’ll wire your hard-earned cash immediately to your (PayPal) account
- ✔ A top app – The intuitive PayPal Here app is one of the top rated on Google Play and the App Store
- ✔ Security – PayPal Seller Protection and fraud screening protect your business
- ✔ Convenience – Customers find they can pay quickly and easily
- ✔ Easy integration – PayPal works with the major e-commerce platforms and devices
- ✔ Reduced admin – You can run personalised reports and even send e-invoices
Small business owners rate the PayPal card payment machine for its simple interface and easy navigation. That makes PayPal Here perfect for events, since you can just turn it on and start taking payments on the go.
What’s more, if you’re already using a PayPal business account for your online sales, it can be handy to sync it with your card reader. That way, you’d be able to manage all your online and face-to-face sales together.
If your monthly sales aren’t quite exceeding £1,500, you’ll pay lower fees with a more affordable alternative like iZettle or Square.
Some small business owners also find the PayPal fee structure more complicated than with the fixed rate plans of competitors, although it can work as a good motivation to keep your sales high. We’ll explain this fully below.
Here are the two main areas to think about when deciding if PayPal Here is the best card reader for your business:
- ❌ Fees on a sliding scale – PayPal’s charges are not competitive for smaller earners (it’s 2.75% for monthly sales under £1,500)
- ❌ Limited cards supported – PayPal accepts only the main card brands (but not too many customers will insist on USB or Diners these days)
- ❌ Not all phones supported – You’ll need an iPhone or Android phone with at least a Bluetooth 2.0 to use PayPal Here (Windows phones are out of luck)
The PayPal card machine decoded
The PayPal card machine lets you take payments in pounds sterling from wherever you are, and the app can help take care of some of the admin, including: invoicing, reporting, and inventory management.
Of course, many start-ups use the PayPal Here mobile card reader to take debit or credit card payments face-to-face, but it’s also handy for requesting money from customers, sending funds abroad, and setting up recurring payments.
Here are all the ways you can use PayPal Here:
How does PayPal Here work?
Taking payments is easy – you just need to pick up a PayPal Here card reader and download the free app (available on iPhones, iPads and nearly all Android phones and tablets with at least a Bluetooth 2.0). You’ll be able to connect the device to your mobile app via Bluetooth.
Then, you’ll just need to set up a PayPal business account, and make sure you have an Internet connection (either Wi-Fi or mobile data), and you’ll be ready to go.
This video below will walk you through how PayPal Here works:
PayPal Here vs iZettle, Square, WorldPay & SumUp
These are the most popular card machines for small businesses in the UK today:
- PayPal Here – Great for ease of use and speedy payments
- iZettle – Great for low costs and keeping things simple
- Square – Great for features that go the extra mile
- SumUp – Great for getting started with card payments
- WorldPay Zinc – Great for flexible payment options
Each one is a simple chip and PIN machine with an app attached, and has no monthly fees attached. And here is how they all compare with PayPal Here:
|Card Reader||Device Cost||Transaction Fee||Settlement time|
|£59 (excl. VAT)||1.75%||2 – 3 business days|
|£39 (excl. VAT)||1.75%||Instant deposits (1% fee applies),
bank account times vary
|£59 (excl. VAT)||1.69%||Mostly 3 business days|
|£39.99 (excl. VAT)||1.95% – 2.75%||3 – 4 days||£65 (excl. VAT)
£45 on offer now
|1% – 2.75%
(depending on sales)
|Instantly to PayPal,
bank account times vary
PayPal Here fees
It’s easy to get your hands on the card reader – it usually costs £65, but you can now find it on offer. Then, the app is free to download, and you’re safe from monthly rental charges.
Of course, a flat fee structure is easier to get your head around than the sliding scale of 1% to 2.75%. But then you wouldn’t get to benefit from lower transaction fees for higher sales volumes.
Now, let’s dig into the factors that will determine your PayPal Here fees:
- 1) The plan you’re on
- 2) Your monthly sales
- 3) The type of card used
- 4) The payment entry method (chip, contactless, swipe or manual)
- 5) And the country that issued the card (UK or abroad)
Now, let’s walk you through the full costs involved in each of these.
1) The PayPal Here plans
PayPal Here offers a two-tier pricing structure: the Blended Plan and the Interchange Plus Plan.
- The Blended Plan – More predictable pricing (a set rate regardless of the fees charged by cards like Visa and Mastercard)
- The Interchange Plus Plan – More variable pricing (your card provider’s interchange fee – a handling fee, usually between 0.2% and 2.0% – plus PayPal’s fee)
This table breaks down the PayPal Here fees you can expect to pay depending on your sales volumes (IC stands for the card interchange rate):
|Total monthly sales||Blended Plan Fee||Interchange Plus Plan Fee|
|Up to £1,500||2.75%||IC + 2.5%|
|£1,500.01 – £6,000||1.75%||IC + 1.5%||£6,000.01 – £15,000||1.5%||IC + 1.25%|
|£15,000.01 – £25,000||1%||IC + 0.75||£25,000+||Negotiable||Negotiable|
The good news is PayPal counts all your PayPal transactions, not just payments you take through PayPal Here, so it will include any online sales.
Just remember though, if you ever dip below these thresholds, you’ll be paying the next rates up, regardless of your average earnings.
3) The type of card used
Visa and Mastercard can enjoy lower rates of between 1% and 2.75% for monthly sales exceeding £1,500, but AmEx is always charged at the top rate of 2.75% (this is pretty common).
4) The payment entry method
Swipe or manual entry payment methods are processed at higher transaction rates of 3.40% plus 20p.
5) The card issuing country
PayPal charges variable (and some of the heftier) fees for foreign cards, so make sure your small business isn’t serving a tonne of international customers with expensive foreign credit cards.
PayPal Here offers extra services at an additional fee: invoices at 2.9% plus 30p per invoice, and 1% for cross-border transfers (both of these are fairly standard).
Free instant deposits
You’ll usually get your payments in your PayPal business account straight away, or within two hours. With iZettle, SumUp and WorldPay, you’ll be waiting days for this settlement, and unlike with Square, PayPal doesn’t charge you for this speedy delivery.
There you’ll have the option of spending this money directly via PayPal transfers, or you can just move it straight to your bank account.
6) Cards supported with PayPal Here
PayPal Here accepts Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express. This is a slightly shorter list than SumUp (which also supports V Pay) and iZettle (which includes Union Pay and USB, Diners), but to be fair, those cards are pretty rare in the UK.
You can also now pay using contactless on PayPal Here with credit cards, debit cards and smartphones for transactions under £30 (or more with Apple Pay).
PayPal Here customer service
Plenty of online support, and on the end of the line if you need them
As you’d expect from a leading global payments company, PayPal offers robust support by phone, email or directly in the PayPal Here app.
And for that extra 5%, it’s easy to reach them by phone seven days a week during set hours. We found you may have a bit of a wait, but that’s standard.
The PayPal Here app
It’s easy to use (and get paid)
|The PayPal Here app works just like any other POS (point of sale) system. You just plug in the products or services you are selling, along with any images, VAT rates, discounts and tipping options you’d like to add.
To take a payment, you can either select an item from your inventory, or key in the amount manually for an even speedier checkout.
The PayPal Here app has always been a solid programme, but thanks to a revamp, it now has an ultra-clear interface and navigation.
PayPal Here’s features
Did we mention how user-friendly the PayPal Here app is? Plus, it’s kitted out with all the features you need to make taking payments (and taking care of the admin) a breeze.
The big ones
Here’s what you can look forward to with PayPal Here:
- Get started easily – Customise your business profile, state your returns policy, and create a recognisable card statement name for your business
- Manage inventory – Manage and categorise all your stock, on the PayPal app or on your desktop
- Get everyone on board – Add up to 200 users to your account, all with individual passwords and access levels set by you
- Churn out reports – Check how you’re doing with sales reports by date, item, staff member etc. (whatever you pick)
Is that it?
Of course not! There are heaps of extra perks to make your life (and work day) that bit easier, to pick out just a few:
- Quick Sale Mode – Just key in an amount and take the payment right away
- Invoicing – Send e-invoices to help get your money in
- Item library – Create your own inventory of products, including sorting them into categories with photos
Top PayPal Here accessories
And that’s not to mention all the PayPal Here accessories you might like to tap into:
Overall, PayPal Here offers everything you would expect from a card reader on a really easy-to-use interface.
PayPal Here: Small business case study
To help you decide if PayPal Here is right for you, we asked small business owners in the UK how they are getting on with the card reader and PayPal merchant account.
Here’s what William Forshaw, CEO of luxury leather brand Maxwell Scott, had to say:
1) How has using PayPal changed your business?
We have seen an increase in sales since using PayPal. I personally think that the fact that PayPal is a well-recognised name means that people feel more comfortable using it in purchases.
We use our Paypal card reader for promotional events, and find that it is a highly efficient way of taking payment.
Also, their customer service is extremely good which is always encouraging to consumers.
2) What made you choose PayPal over rivals? How happy are you with this choice?
For me, it was really the recognisability of PayPal. Its status as such a trusted brand made the choice easy.
Our experience so far has been positive, as our conversion rates have increased.
3) Have you ever had to contact PayPal for customer support? If so, what went wrong, and how well did they help you?
I have contacted PayPal in the past actually, and was extremely happy with how responsive their customer support team was.
One Sunday, my PayPal account had been hacked – I was able to talk to the customer support team instantly, and they quickly and efficiently sorted the problem. They are very helpful.
PayPal Here FAQs – Your top 5 questions answered
1) Do I need an Internet connection to use PayPal Here?
Yes, as with most card readers, you’ll need to be connected to the Internet. And remember, your transactions will be fastest via a Wi-Fi network or mobile data with 3G or 4G.
2) Do my customers need a PayPal account?
No, anyone can use the PayPal Here card reader. It works just like Apple Pay and Android Pay,so customers can pay using their debit or credit card, cash or cheque.
3) Which cards are accepted?
You can accept chip & PIN, contactless, debit and credit cards from: VISA, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express.
4) Can I use the card reader abroad?
You can only join PayPal Here if your business is UK-based, but you can use it abroad (so long as you charge in pounds sterling). As is standard with card payment devices, you’ll also be able to accept supported cards from overseas customers.
5) Can I print receipts using PayPal Here?
Yes, the device is compatible with selected printers which you can find listed here.
PayPal Here card reader: The verdict
Now more than ever, small businesses are finding they are able to grow faster and boost their revenue by accepting card payments.
As one of the most popular card machine suppliers in the UK today, PayPal Here is a great option. But is it the best one out there for small businesses?
The PayPal card reader gets top marks for:
- ✔ Cheapest fees of 1% for high volume sales
- ✔ Fastest (instant) settlement times
- ✔ Easy-to-use app
- ✔ Secure payments guaranteed
- ✔ Slick integration with PayPal (and ecommerce)
But these are the two areas PayPal loses brownie points:
- ❌ Need to sell over £1,500 a month to get lower fees
- ❌ Only main card types served
PayPal’s tiered fee structure can be a good incentive for small businesses to push for higher sales – and if you do, you’ll get a great deal.
If you’re not bringing in at least £1,500 a month, however, you’ll find better rates with iZettle, Square or SumUp. That said, some small businesses still like the ease of integrating all their online and in-store sales with one PayPal account.
So, how do you decide? For a fast way to compare PayPal Here with all your options, we’ve made a comprehensive quote-finder for our readers. You just tap into our short form exactly what you’re looking for to be matched directly with the best card machine providers for you.