Start Taking Card Payments Today
Please choose an option
This field is required
Please choose an option
This field is required
Please choose an option
This field is required
Please choose an option
This field is required
Please choose an option
This field is required
Your postcode ensures quotes are as accurate as possible for your area.
This field is required
Doesn't look like a valid email address
Doesn't look like a valid postcode
Please enter a valid UK phone number
Please enter your first & last name
Please enter a valid value
Hold on - we're finding suppliers that best match your needs
Good news! We've found suppliers that match your requirements.
Complete your details to get your free quotes.
This field is required
Doesn't look like a valid email address
Doesn't look like a valid postcode
Please enter a valid UK phone number
Please enter your first & last name
Please enter a valid value
This field is required
Doesn't look like a valid email address
Doesn't look like a valid postcode
Please enter a valid UK phone number
Please enter your first & last name
Please enter a valid value
This field is required
Doesn't look like a valid email address
Doesn't look like a valid postcode
Please enter a valid UK phone number
Please enter your first & last name
Please enter a valid value
This field is required
Doesn't look like a valid email address
Doesn't look like a valid postcode
Please enter a valid UK phone number
Please enter your first & last name
Please enter a valid value

Small business credit card machines

Find out about small business credit card machine options now, and choose the best one for your business

A credit card machine for your small business can make all the difference when it comes to generating revenue and turning a profit.

A recent report by the UK Card Association found that in Q1 of 2017 (January to March), there were a total of 14.8 billion card purchases – worth an enormous £647 billion across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

72% of all debit cards used in the UK offer contactless technology, and since February 2016, the number of debit card payments had increased by 12%, with the report quoting a figure of 36 million debit card payments a day.

  • 14.8 billion card purchases took place from January to March 2017
  • Total value of these purchases – £647 billion
  • 72% of UK debit cards are contactless
  • Recent figures report 36 million debit card payments made in a day

The figures above are a clear sign of the continued growth in card and contactless payments, a growth that affects small businesses just as much as any large nationwide organisation.

On this page, we have collected together information about small business credit card machines and the value they can bring to your business.

Indeed, as these statistics show, the value of accepting credit card payments can be huge, with customers opting for cashless payment options more and more each year.

To ensure that your small business does not miss out on card payments, it is important to consider your options when it comes to purchasing a card machine.

Our helpful guide will give you all of the information you need in order to select the right type of card machine for your small business, as well as the appropriate provider.

To receive a tailored quote from some of our selected UK credit card processing companies, simply fill in the form at the top of the page.


Small business card machine factors

This page covers credit card machines for small business across various topics; click any option below to find out more:

To find out about any of these topics, simply click and read.


Best card machine for small businesses

Card machines offer UK small business owners a huge range of choice, with a number of options available to suit different industries.

For those new to using a card machine to accept payments in their business, this can be bewildering, and there are a range of considerations to bear in mind. For example: is a free small business credit card machine up to the job, or would you be better off purchasing your own credit card terminals?

When you are considering a card machine for your small business, there are a number of points to consider, including cost, design, and functionality. This article has been written to help you identify the best card machines available for small businesses, and to help you make the right choice.

When selecting the best credit card machine for small business, you will need to take into account all the factors above. However, we’ve narrowed the shortlist down for you to make things easier.

ServiceTypeTop featureRating
iZettleMobile card machine25% faster than other mobile readers★★★★★
VX 820 Duet by VerifoneCountertop card machineDurable and easy to use★★★★★
iCMPMobile or portable card machineVersatile and easy-to-use★★★★
Portable Barclaycard Card MachinePortable card machineCan connect with 3 portable machines★★★★
iCT 200 seriesCountertop card machineDesigned with merchants in mind★★★

Compare small business card machine options today


iZettle

iZettle Small Business Credit Card Machine
The iZettle card reader is a mobile card reader which enables chip and pin, and contactless payments, wherever you are operating. Their basic charge per device is £29.

iZettle are proud of their reputation for being 25% faster than other mobile card readers. Money is deposited in your account the next day and the battery life is around 8 hours.

The iZettle card reader can be used with all major credit cards as well as Apple and Android Pay. In addition, you can use iZettle with receipt printers, cash drawers and barcode scanners, enabling it to be part of a complete POS system.

  • Type of credit card machine – mobile card machine
  • Cost – £59
  • Fees – No monthly or set-up fees
  • Features – With an 8-hour battery life, appealing design and easy-to-use layout, the iZettle could be a perfect credit card machine for small businesses.

VX 820 Duet by Verifone

VX 820 Duet Small Business Credit Card Machine
This is a countertop credit card machine for small businesses and is chip and pin enabled. In addition, contactless payments can be processed.

The VX card machine is easy to use, tough and durable. It has a large amount of memory, allowing it to support a large number of transactions and support other applications.

The VX 820 links to the PAYware Ocius service platform. Highly secure, with Point to Point Encryption (P2PE), it is a popular and safe choice.

  • Type of credit card machine – countertop card machine
  • Cost – dependant on quote
  • Fees – dependant on contract
  • Features – This countertop option is a perfect small business credit card machine option in retail units where security and durability are important.

iCMP

iCMP Small Business Credit Card Machine
This credit card reader allows you to turn your mobile device (apple or Android) in to a POS solution.

The iCMP works for EMV chip and PIN, magstripe and contactless payments. It operates using Bluetooth and is a pocket-sized payment option. This is designed to be a mobile option, but can also operate on a ‘portable’ basis.

Versatile and easy-to-use, the iCMP credit card reader is an excellent entry-level choice for small businesses.

  • Type of credit card machine – mobile card machine
  • Cost – dependant on quote
  • Fees – dependant on contract
  • Features – The iCMP mobile card reader is a perfect entry-level choice for small businesses in any industry.

Portable Barclaycard Card Machine

Barclaycard Small Business Credit Card Machine
This is a portable card machine which accepts all major credit and debit cards, including contactless.

Barclaycard’s portable card machine has a 100m Bluetooth range making it ideal for the majority of small businesses who need to be able to process payments away from the main till.

Each base unit can connect with a maximum of 3 portable card machines at once, and it operates using either your business phone line or broadband. Additional card readers are available for just £15 plus VAT per month.

  • Type of credit card machine – portable card machine
  • Cost – dependant on quote
  • Fees – £15 plus VAT per month/machine
  • Features – Barclaycard’s offering is best for use in hospitality, where a small business card machine needs to be mobile for easy use.

iCT 200 series

iCT 200 Series Countertop Chip and Pin Machine
The iCT 200 series offers compact quality. User-friendly and easy-to-use, this card machine offers custom options and accepts all major card payments.

Designed with security as a primary concern, this small business card machine is secure, while also being easy to handle. Connectivity with this device is perfect, being powered by Ingenico and Telium 2 technology.

  • Type of credit card machine – countertop card machine
  • Cost – dependant on quote
  • Fees – dependant on contract
  • Features – The iCT 200 is an excellent small business card machine that can be used in a range of industries.

To find out more information about finding the best services for you, visit our top credit card processing companies page.


Card payment machines for small business

When considering the best business card machines for you, it is important to understand what makes a machine particularly good for a small business.

Shortly we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of accepting card payments, but before this, you need to understand some basic terms and concepts regarding card machines for business.

In order to select the right card payment machines for small business, you need to understand more about terminals and merchant accounts. The decision to accept card payments, and therefore choose from the range of credit card machine for business, is your first step.

This decision must be taken in the context of what accepting credit card payments can mean, both now and in the future. Whatever card machine you decide to go for, it needs to be suitable to cope with the demands of your business, both in the present and as it grows in the future.

Card machines for businesses are a form of PDQ (Process Data Quickly) equipment. Their aim is to get the transaction done quickly, safely, and efficiently. They allow for increased revenue and help your business to match customer expectations.

Why does my small business need a credit card reader?

Card machines for businesses are a form of PDQ (Process Data Quickly) equipment. Their aim is to get the transaction done quickly, safely, and efficiently. They allow for increased revenue and help your business to match customer expectations.

A recent Opinium survey on behalf of Barclaycard found that a huge 70% of people prefer to pay by card. That’s not all – 2 out of 5 people are using their cards more often than they did a year ago, and 37% of people tend to carry under £10 cash on a typical day.

Evidently, the way the public spend money is changing – but if this is not enough to convince you, we have summarised some of the main reasons for your business to start accepting card payments.

Advantages of accepting card payments

In this section, we compare the various benefits of accepting card payments; these benefits may not always be applicable to your job, but are worth considering.

  • Meeting customer expectations:Around a third of customers would consider walking away from a purchase if they cannot pay by card – simply put, customers expect to be able to pay using their card, and if they aren’t able to you may miss out on sales.
  • Credibility: Barclaycard’s research has shown that 43% of people – that’s over 2 in 5 – would have a lower opinion of a business if it didn’t take card payments. A credit card machine for payment therefore increases your business credibility.
  • Profitability: In being able to receive more types of payment, accepting credit card payments can improve profitability, as well as making the transaction process easier and more efficient. You also increase your competitive advantage over similar businesses who do not offer card payments.
  • Security: credit card machines facilitate increased security in various ways. You will be able to store less cash on the premises, or wherever your transactions are taking place, and all transactions will be more secure.
  • Reduced administration time: as well as needing to do smaller ‘bank runs’ with cash, you are also able to link credit card machines to POS software, reducing overall administration of payments. You will also have access to data analytics on your customer base making it easier to grow your business.
  • Ecommerce and telephone payments: credit card machines allow small businesses to take advantage of e-commerce channels and telephone payment.
  • Quickly receive funds: whilst cash is inevitably faster, you should still receive funds in as little as 2 days, but with all of the advantages above.

Small business credit card machine terminals


Credit card machine requirements

There are two main requirements when choosing which credit card machine for small business:

Most credit card terminals for small businesses work using either the internet, a phone line, or a mobile connection, to send data from the card reader to a processor. From here, funds can be transferred from the customer’s account to your merchant account.


Merchant accounts for small business

A merchant account is an account which allows your small business to accept credit card payments.

Usually, merchant accounts are available from a credit card processor – the Payment Service Provider (PSP), or directly from a bank or other financial institution (Acquiring Banks).

Setting up a merchant account requires jumping through a few hoops, but doing so puts you on an excellent footing as a business, and crucially allows you to use credit card machines for your small business. Generally, these steps are not complicated – just like when a person takes a loan, this sort of process is simply a check to ensure your business’s eligibility.

A merchant account is a specific type of bank account which acts as a holding pen for your customer’s money before it goes to your business bank account, where you are actually able to access the money. This provides security to your customers, but also for your business.

Merchant accounts allow checks to ensure customers have sufficient funds available and make for a safer transaction. The payments then automatically move into your business account once processed, minus the merchant account fees.

Small business credit card machine terminals

The credit card machine is terminal you use at a till when you pay. It is the device which reads your card and allows you to enter your PIN to authorise a payment.

It is easy to confuse a credit card machine terminal with a POS (Point of Sale) system, but the credit card terminal is just one part of that system, which will also include things such as a cash register or printer.POS systems often also include the software needed to make sense of sales, transactions, inventory control and more. The card terminal feeds can feed into this but is a separate element.

The section below contains more information about the types of terminal available.


Small business card machine terminal types

When selecting a credit card machine for your small business it is important to realise that not all terminals are the same, and that they do not all have the same functionality or capabilities.

Credit card machines for small business come in four forms: countertop card machines, portable card machines, mobile card machines and virtual terminal card machines.

The type of card machine that suits your small business best will depend on a number of factors: from the size and type of business, to the nature of your customers and your location.

Let’s examine the different types of card machines for small businesses:


Countertop card machines

Countertop Credit Card Machine
Countertop card machines are ideal for taking card payment at a counter or desk, for example in a shop. These are the small business card machines that you are probably most familiar with as they are the most frequently used.

Countertop card machines are operated on a fixed-point basis, like with a fixed till at a shop counter. They connect directly to your merchant account, usually via your business phone line.

They are fast, efficient, and robust ways of taking credit card payments either in person or over the phone.

Many small businesses may only need one of these card machines. However, if you have more than one check out point, or more than one premises or outlet, then you might need more.

You can add multiple countertop card machines to the same merchant account. When you hear of a free credit card machine for small business, this is normally the type being referred to, offered as part of a package with the merchant account.

  • Perfect for retail stores
  • Easy-to-use and understood by consumers
  • Robust and secure
  • Accepts the majority of debit and credit card
  • Countertop small business card machines are an excellent trust factor
  • Available from various suppliers for various prices

Portable card machines

Portable Credit Card Machine
Portable card machines are ideal for small businesses who need to take payment in different places within their premises, for example in a café or restaurant. Similar to countertop terminals in terms of functionality and design, the difference between these forms of card machine is primarily related to the flexibility offered.

Whereas a countertop machine will only work whilst connected at the countertop, a portable machine can be used within a defined area. These card machines are therefore popular in hospitality businesses, allowing staff to take payment at the table. This improves speed and efficiency of payment and the overall service.

Portable credit card machines link to your main terminal using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. As you are likely familiar with, the member of staff and customer can directly complete the transaction, including adding any tips, or vouchers.

  • Perfect for hospitality
  • Easy to use in various parts of your business
  • Safe and durable
  • Accepts most debit and credit cards
  • Portable small business card machines are great for table service
  • Available from various suppliers to match varied budgets

Mobile card machines

Mobile Credit Card Machine
Mobile card machines are ideal for small businesses who need to be able to process customer card payments away from their physical premises, or at multiple sites, such as event-based commerce. It’s easy to confuse these types of card payment machines with portable devices, however, they don’t operate in quite the same way.

Whereas a portable device works by connecting to your main terminal via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, a mobile card machine uses GPS technology so that it can work away from the main terminal. Their functionality is much the same as a countertop device, but how they achieve it is different.

This enables mobile card machines for small businesses to be used remotely, ‘off-site’, away from any main business premises. This makes them suitable for a wide range of situations – from events to trade fairs, and exhibitions to markets.They enable fast, efficient, and safe transactions wherever your business is taking place.

  • Perfect for non specific-location businesses
  • Useful in any environment, even where businesses are not tethered to a specific location
  • Safe and secure
  • Accepts most major debit and credit cards
  • Mobile small business card machines are great for non-local sales
  • Available from a range of suppliers, with low-budget options

Virtual terminal card machines

Virtual terminal small business card machines are required when you need to take payments without a customer being present. In most cases, this sort of transaction will happen over the phone, though mail orders are also possible.

Virtual terminal payments via the phone or mail are known as MOTO transactions.

In the past, MOTO transactions via virtual terminals have taken place in call centres, or through catalogues and other print sales tools. In any industry where a customer is not going to be physically present when a transaction takes place, this was the best option.

In more recent years though, MOTO transactions have evolved beyond the methods mentioned above. Increasingly, this option is being used in small business environments as technology improves to allow business owners to do so safely and securely.

Like other small business credit card machines, virtual terminals are available from a range of suppliers; the main advantage of this sort of payment option is, of course, the flexibility that is allows.

It is important to remember though that you may still require another form of payment processing machine in order to accept payments quickly and easily in store.

  • Excellent option when customers are not physically present
  • Useful in a range of sectors, but especially when orders are being made remotely
  • Safe, with various security options available
  • Accepts most major debit and credit cards
  • Requires no physical card reading equipment
  • Available from various suppliers

 

Card machine processing for small businesses

Without a merchant account you will be unable to process credit card transactions. These accounts work by charging a small fee for each transaction they handle on your behalf.

Typically, the more transactions you complete, the lower the fees. This can, therefore, put smaller businesses at a disadvantage. However, the advantages offered by new payment options generally outweigh this.

In the UK there are two key types of merchant account: dedicated merchant accounts and aggregated merchant accounts. A dedicated merchant account is set up specifically for your business alone, and you negotiate the rates.

Alternatively, you can select an aggregated merchant account which acts as a ‘pool’ along with other businesses. This is simpler and easier but you won’t be able to negotiate fees so easily, or control the process for accessing your funds.


Small business card machine fees

Many merchant accounts offer free credit card machines as part of a package for having an account with them. However, you may choose to rent or purchase this directly.

Fees involved with credit card machines fall into the following categories:

  • Merchant account service charges: the fee levied on each transaction, usually worked out as a percentage of the sale.
  • Terminal hire: some may be provided with the account free of charge, others you may be charged a rental fee for.
  • Authorisation fee: a set fee for each transaction.
  • Minimum monthly service charge: the minimum amount you will be charged regardless of whether you process enough transactions.
  • Set up and exit fees: different accounts will have different set up and exit arrangements.

Your fees will vary considerably depending on your choice of payment method. Choosing to rent or lease rather than buy, for example, will change your costs.

The list below includes a basic breakdown of approximate monthly fees for some of the small business credit card machine types:

  • Countertop machine – £15/month or £180/year
  • Portable machine – £19/month or £228/year
  • Mobile machine – £22/month or £264/year

For more information on transaction and monthly fees, visit our How much will it cost to process card transactions’ page.

Credit card machine cost

Credit card machine costs vary considerably depending on various specifications. Choosing a specific form of terminal or plan, for example, will alter the final price you pay. Additionally, you will pay fees – mentioned above – that may factor into the upfront or agreed upon monthly costs.

The list below includes a quick idea of what you may need to pay for your small business card machine:

  • Basic chip & pin terminal cost – £30 to £80
  • Mid-Level chip & pin terminal cost – £80 to £180
  • Advanced PDQ terminal cost – £180 to £300

It is important to remember though, that the prices above may not necessarily reflect exactly what you need. Research is vital if you want to ensure that your machine is the best choice for your industry or business type.

For more information on credit card machine costs, visit our ‘how much is a chip and pin machine?’ page.


Small business credit card processing benefits

The ‘best card machine’ will vary from business to business. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of accepting card payments will enable you to compare card machines, and work out which is best for your business.

Card machine advantages:

  • Meeting customer expectations: customers expect to be able to pay by card, and if they aren’t able to you may miss out on sales. Having a credit card machine for payment, therefore, increases your business credibility.
  • Profitability: accepting credit card payments can improve profitability by accepting more ways of paying, as well as making the transaction process easier and more efficient. You also increase your competitive advantage over similar businesses who do not offer card payments.
  • Security: credit card machines facilitate increased security in various ways. You will be able to store less cash on the premises, or wherever your transactions are taking place, and all transactions will be more secure.
  • Reduced administration time: as well as needing to do smaller ‘bank runs’ with cash, you are also able to link credit card machines to POS software, reducing overall administration of payments. You will also have access to data analytics on your customer base making it easier to grow your business.
  • Ecommerce and telephone payments: credit card machines allow small businesses to take advantage of ecommerce channels and telephone payment.
  • Quickly receive funds: whilst cash is inevitably faster, you should still receive funds in as little as 2 days, but with all of the advantages above.

Card machine disadvantages:

  • Charges: most small businesses worry about charges from their merchant bank. However, the ability to accept credit card payments brings worthwhile returns on investment to make the charges worthwhile. Charges can be kept low by carefully selecting the best small business card machine and merchant account for you.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: most credit card machines offer cost-effectiveness, however, there are some instances where this may not be the case. For example, if customers are most likely to expect to pay by cash or cheque, then it may be in your interests to avoid charges this way. Find out more about prices on our chip and pin machine costs page.

Contactless Payments

Contactless payments increased by 147.6% from April 2016 to April 207 according to the UK Cards Association – and the use of cashless payments shows no signs of slowing down.

Following the increased limit of contactless payments from £20 to £30 in late 2015 and the increasing numbers of contactless payments in the UK, two thirds of manned terminals can now accept contactless payments, with further upgrades planned by retailers throughout 2017.

Evidently, contactless payments are something you do not want to miss out on – so ensure that you consider this when choosing the right credit card machine for your business.

  • Contactless increased by 147.6% from 2016 to 2017
  • Spend limit increased from £20 to £30 in 2015
  • Two thirds of terminals accept contactless payments
  • Small business card machines that accept contactless payments can significantly increase your ability to process transactions quickly and easily

Small business card machine buyer checklist

The needs of your business will be different to other business, so it’s important to make sure you are making the right choices when choosing a card machine.

The list below includes several factors that you should bear in mind when choosing a small business card machine.

  • Do you need a credit card machine based on the advantages and disadvantages for your business?
  • How will you be selling your product – do you need a countertop, portable, or mobile card payment machine?
  • How many devices do you need?
  • What types of card do you need to accept?
  • Will you be accepting online payments?
  • Which merchant account is best, and what are their fees?
  • Is the credit card machine included with the merchant account?
  • Will you be accepting contactless payments?

Card machines for startups

Card machines for small business will often be an excellent choice for startups too.

Even businesses that have only just started will need to take payments, and fortunately there a range of options available. Many of the small business card machines listed on this page already would be suitable for startups – in this small section though, we compare a few of the best value options.

The table below compares two lower-budget card machine options.

ServiceTypeFeaturesCostRating
iZettle debit card readerMobile card machineAccepts debit card payments£35★★★★★
iZettle credit/debit card readerMobile card machineAccepts payments from credit and debit cards£59★★★★★
Paypal chip and pin machineMobile card machineAccepts card payments£35★★★★
Paypal contactless card machineMobile card machineAccepts chip and pin and contactless card payments£35★★★★

Startup card machine considerations

Like small business card machines, card machines for startups need to be chosen based on various factors.

The table above compares just a few lower-budget options. The list below includes a few of the considerations that you should bear in mind when choosing:

  • Cost – how much can your startup reasonably pay for your card machine?
  • Fees – will you be paying fees on top of the initial cost?
  • Accessories – will you need to add extra accessories to your order?
  • Contactless – will chip and pin be enough, or will you require contactless payments?
  • Software – small business card machines will often come with dedicated software – deciding which is most useful to you can help when you need to make your decision.

As mentioned, startups have very similar credit card machine requirements to most other small businesses. Take a look at the information above now to ensure that you know what you need.

For more tailored information, continue on to the section below, or else complete the form at the top of the page.


Compare credit card machine for small business quotes

The information on this page should help you to understand what kind of value a small credit card machine for small business might offer. To find out more and to receive tailored information based on your exact requirements, simply complete the form at the top of this page.

Completing this form will help us to put you in touch with top UK credit card processing companies who can provide quotes based on your needs.

This quote comparison process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your small business both time and money. Find out today with Startups!

Compare Card Payment Quotes Today. Compare and save.

What type of card payments do you require?

Face to Face

Online

Telephone Orders

Unsure

Comments

(will not be published)