12 Best Card Machines for Small Businesses in 2024

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According to the British Retail Consortium, some 90% of payments in the UK are now made over a card. As we move towards a cashless society, every business needs the right card machine.

But which should you use?

This guide is a comprehensive resource that addresses key criteria, such as functionality, security, and cost, to help you make a decision that aligns with your business objectives.

I’ll delve into various aspects of selecting a card machine, ranging from technical specifications and security considerations to transaction fees and customer support. I’ll also provide in-depth reviews of specific brands, each excelling in different areas, to give you a nuanced understanding of the market.

If you’re short on time:

Cheapest Card Reader – Square is the cheapest card reader on the market at just £19+ VAT. It’s a great affordable card machine for an entry-level business turning over £5k or less. Buy a reader from their website directly.

Cheapest Transaction Fees – Currently, the Revolut Reader charges a very low 0.8%, which is the lowest fixed transaction fees we’ve come across. You can only get cheaper if you are a high-volume merchant on a fixed contract. Get a Revolut Reader here.

For larger businesses, you’ll want to fill in the form above and get a selection of quotes to compare your options.


The Best Card Machines for Businesses in 2023

What’s the Best Business Credit Card Machine? – Our Verdict

After carefully reviewing and testing the top credit card payment machines for small businesses in 2024, I feel the best entry-level portable credit card machine is the Square Reader.

The contactless Square Reader stands out for its incredibly low hardware cost, starting at just £19, combined with a competitive 1.75% transaction fee. It has an easy setup without long-term contracts and comes packed with features like inventory management and customer profiles that can scale alongside a growing business. (Visit Square here)

If you want a good card reader that goes with an award-winning business bank account, I recommend the Tide Reader. For just £89, you’ll get a streamlined payment solution that has its own connectivity (it doesn’t need to connect to a phone). It also comes with 1.5% transaction fees, no monthly contracts, free unlimited 4G data and a quick 1-3 day fund clearance. (Read our full Tide account review here) However, you need an account for 90 days before you can order the reader.

For the cheapest transaction fees, the Revolut Reader remains unmatched, with rates as low as 0.8% + 2p per in-person transaction in the UK. This can drive major savings, especially for high-volume businesses but it is a very simple solution.

For medium businesses, I recommend the Takepayments A920 as the best option. While pricing is customized, Takepayments stands out for its tailored POS plans, robust reporting tools, and shorter 18-month contracts. This provides a flexible solution as a business evolves. Their customer service is also excellent. It’s a great choice for an all-round POS system: Visit Takepayments

At the advanced end, Lightspeed POS is my top pick. Though pricier, it offers strong inventory management, order tracking, and CRM integrations tailored for retailers, restaurants, and niche sectors like golf. The software can scale from single- to multi-location enterprises. Read my full review of Lightspeed Point of Sale.

Compare the Best Card Machine Providers for Small Business

While this table attempts to offer a broad comparison of card machine providers, it’s difficult to simplify such a huge marketplace in a few rows.

What I’ve tried to display here is the purchase price for the cheaper portable credit card machines, the fee you’re charged for each transaction, and whether you’re tied into a longer-term contract.

I’ve also included our overall star rating, which gives you a quick indication of how I rate these brands.

See costs and fees from our top card payment machines at a glance

Card MachinePurchase PriceTransaction FeesMonthly FeesConnectivityStar RatingLearn More
Square Reader£19 + VAT1.75% / 2.5%£0Wi-Fi, Bluetooth★★★★★Visit Square
Zettle£29 + VAT1.75% / 2.5%£0Wi-Fi, Bluetooth★★★★☆Visit Zettle
Tide Reader£89+ VAT 1.5%* £0Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G★★★★★Visit Tide
Revolut Reader£49 + VAT1% + 20p/0.8% + 2p£0Wi-Fi, Bluetooth★★★★☆Visit Revolut
IngenicoOn Request1-1.5%On Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi★★★☆☆Visit Ingenico
VerifoneOn RequestVariesOn Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi★★★☆☆Visit Verifone
TakepaymentsOn RequestVariesOn Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi★★★★★Visit Takepayments
WorldpayOn RequestVariesOn Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi★★★☆☆Visit Worldpay
Tyl (by Natwest)On RequestVariesOn RequestWi-Fi or 4G★★★☆☆Visit Tyl
SumUpOn RequestVariesOn RequestWi-Fi, Bluetooth★★★☆☆Visit SumUp
Dojo GoOn RequestVariesOn Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi★★★☆☆Visit Dojo Go
Smartpay Anywhere (by Barclaycard)On RequestVariesOn Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi★★★☆☆Visit Smartpay
LightspeedOn RequestVariesOn Request4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth and WiFi★★★★★Visit Lightspeed

Compare the 12 Best Card Machines for Small Business

Square Reader: Best Business Card Reader with No Contract

Square Reader

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Scalability
Hardware Cost: From £19 + VAT
Transaction Fee: 1.75% for card transactions, 2.5% for payment links and invoices
Customer Support: 9am-5pm Mon-Fri
Visit Brand: Visit Square

Square offers a fantastic simple card reader that is suitable for both entry-level businesses such as market traders and pop-ups and large businesses such as restaurants and other large retailers. Square’s cost is competitive, and the functionality is more advanced than something like Zettle, while just as bespoke as a premium solution like Lightspeed.

The Square Reader (2nd generation) also pairs with a Bosstab Dock (£29.00 plus VAT). This holds your Square Reader securely in place, while also keeping the device charged. It also allows the reader to tilt and swivel for easy viewing by both staff and customers.

From only a £19 initial investment, you’ll then have no set-up fees or monthly subscription payments. If you wish to expand the capabilities, just log on to the Square APP marketplace, where Square users can access a curated selection of third-party apps designed to extend and enhance the functionality of their Square POS and payment systems. Ranging from inventory management to accounting software, Square’s App Marketplace significantly augments the functionality of its card reader.

Overall, the Square Reader is an excellent choice for businesses that prioritise quick access to funds. Its hardware cost is remarkably low, starting at just £19 + VAT. The transaction fees are fairly competitive but do vary depending on the type of transaction. Customer support is limited to business hours, which could be a drawback for businesses requiring more extended support.

Square Card Machine Features

  • Mobile POS – Works on smartphones and tablets. Free POS app available.
  • Payment Processing – Accepts all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, cash, checks etc.
  • Offline Mode – Take payments offline which sync when back online.
  • Fast Deposits – Funds deposited next business day into bank account.
  • Invoicing – Create, send and track digital invoices.
  • Analytics – Sales reports and dashboards to track growth and products.
  • Inventory Management – Track stock levels, get alerts for low inventory.
  • Gift Cards – Sell digital and physical gift cards, track redemptions.
  • Appointments – Schedule appointments and classes, take deposits.
  • Customer Profiles – Track purchase history, preferences, contact info of customers.
  • Receipts – Send digital and print paper receipts. Customizable receipts.


Who is the Square Reader Card Machine Best Suited For?

Here are some businesses that Square is best suited for:

  • Suited for all business sizes. Square is a good option for businesses that process both small and large amounts of credit or debit card payments.
  • Businesses that sell products and services. For example, anything from a plumber to a pub to a large supermarket chain could use Square to accept payments for products and services they sell.
  • Dropshipping firms. Square is a good option for dropshipping firms that need to keep track of their inventory levels. Square’s inventory management features allow businesses to track inventory levels across multiple channels, including their website, their physical store, and their dropshipping suppliers.
  • Non-profits. Square offers a variety of discounts and features for non-profits. For example, non-profits can get a free card reader and a 3.5% processing fee on all credit and debit card payments.

Should I Choose the Square Card Reader ?

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, scalable solution that offers a range of features including inventory management, customer data, and more, Square is a great choice. Even for businesses with high transaction volumes, the cost is as effective as other solutions.

How Does the Square Card Reader Compare with Competitors?

Revolut Revolut offers a lower transaction fee of 0.8% compared to Square’s 1.75%. However, Revolut’s offering is more limited in scope, focusing mainly on mobile payments with basic analytics and reporting. You also have to have a Revolut bank account.

Zettle Zettle matches Square’s transaction fee of 1.75% and also provides deposits within a 1-2 day timeframe. Where Zettle differs is in its hardware offerings, which include more traditional card readers and POS hardware.

Ingenico Ingenico operates on an interchange-plus pricing model, starting at 0.15% plus a variable fee per transaction. This can be more cost-effective for businesses with high transaction volumes.

Lightspeed Lightspeed excels in offering specialized solutions for retail, restaurants, and even niche markets like golf. Its advanced inventory and order management capabilities, along with CRM and accounting integrations, make it a comprehensive solution. If your business operates in a specialized sector and you need more than just a payment solution, Lightspeed’s tailored offerings may be more suitable than Square’s generalist approach.

Square Card Machine Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Quick Set Up
  • No contract
  • Comprehensive features, including inventory management and customer data
  • Good customer support

Square Card Machine Cons

  • Square’s transaction fees can be higher than some other POS systems.
  • Square’s inventory management is a separate add-on feature, so you will need to pay an additional monthly fee.
  • No phone support

Square Reader Pricing

Service/ProductPricing
Point of Sale AppFree
In-Person Transaction Fee1.75%
Online Payment Fee1.4% + 25p (UK) or 2.5% + 25p (non-UK)
Manually Keyed-In Fee2.5%
HardwareVaries (e.g., Square Reader at £19 + VAT)

Tide Reader: Best 4G Card Reader with Business Account

Tide Reader

Card Machine Type: Mobile (4G)
Best For: Versatility & Bank Account
Hardware Cost: £89 + VAT (Tide Card Reader), £99 + VAT (Tide Card Reader Plus)
Transaction Fee: 1.5% for all transactions (Both Models)
Customer Support: Email support with 48-hour response (Both Models)
Exclusive Offer: £100 cashback when you purchase a Tide card reader! Ends 30th June
Visit Brand: Visit Tide

Tide offers two card reader options for those who use their bank accounts. Unlike other small card readers on this list, the Tide Reader is a standalone device meaning you don’t need to connect it to a mobile phone. Because it’s a bolt-on to Tide’s bank account, you obviously don’t need a merchant account, and it couldn’t be easier to monitor your sales income.

Overall, I’ve been impressed with this reader, although you can’t process offline payments, which may be a caveat for some. It also takes 90 days before you can get a reader after opening your account, which seems like a long time.

The Tide Card Reader and Tide Card Reader Plus are priced at £89 + VAT and £99 + VAT, respectively. Both devices require the free Tide App for operation and include lifetime free 4G connectivity, estimated at a value of £5 per month.

Tide’s basic Card Reader allows for email transaction proofs only, making it a suitable choice for businesses that don’t require paper receipts. It supports an array of payment methods such as Contactless, Chip + Pin, and digital wallets.

On the other hand, the Tide Card Reader Plus offers both paper and email transaction proofs. This additional feature could be a deciding factor for businesses that wish to provide multiple receipt options to their customers.

Both models clear payments within 1-3 working days and come with a four-month warranty as standard. Customer support is offered via email, with a 48-hour response time.

Tide Card Reader Features

  • Operating System: Android
  • Connectivity: Cellular 4G, Wi-Fi
  • Battery Life: 1 day
  • Payment Types: Contactless, Chip + Pin, Digital wallets
  • Email transaction proofs only

Tide Card Reader Plus Features

  • Operating System: Android 9.0
  • Connectivity: Cellular 4G, Wi-Fi
  • Payment Types: Contactless, Chip + Pin, Digital wallets
  • Battery Life: 1 day
  • Paper and email transaction proofs

Who are the Tide Card Machines Best Suited For?

The Tide Reader presents an great solution for those seeking an economical yet efficient card reader that seamlessly integrates with one of the most reputable small business bank accounts in the UK.

This device is particularly well-suited for freelancers and traders who have a lower turnover and do not require the complexity of a full Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system.

Should I Choose a Tide Card Reader?

If your business has a diverse range of payment receipt requirements and values a low, flat-rate transaction fee, either of the Tide card readers could be an ideal choice. The decision between the two models will largely depend on whether your business requires paper receipt capabilities.

How Do Tide Card Readers Compare with Competitors?

Tide’s transaction fee of 1.5% is competitive, especially given the lack of monthly fees. While customer support may be limited to email, the hardware comes with a four-month warranty.

In terms of features and pricing, Tide offers a balanced proposition that can cater to both small and large-scale operations effectively.

Zettle Card Reader 2: Best Card Machine for Beginner Sellers

Zettle Reader 2: Best Card Machine for Beginner Sellers

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best Suited For: Beginners, pop-up shops, mobile vendors, taxi firms
Hardware Cost: From £29 + VAT
Transaction Fee: 1.75%
Customer Support: 9 am-5 pm Mon-Fri
Signup: Visit Zettle

The Zettle Reader 2, owned by Paypal, is a simple mobile card machine with a great feature set. Its competitive pricing, starting at £29 + VAT, makes it one of the easiest entry points to getting paid by card. It integrates seamlessly with Paypal.

The flat transaction fee of 1.75% is about average, but they do charge 2.5% per sale for payment links (paying online or by invoice) compared to 1.9% by Square.

Also, Zettle customer support availability is limited to standard business hours, which may be restrictive for some businesses.

Overall, Zettle is one of the best POS for beginner sellers running a physical store requiring lots of small payments. It has a very intuitive set-up and functionality, comes with no monthly fees, commitment or hidden costs. It’s competitive on price, and comes with no contractual obligation. It also accepts one of the largest ranges of cards of any reader we’ve tested. Expect to see transactions in your bank account within 1-2 working days.

It’s PCI compliant (meaning secure),and integrates with the very good Zettle Go App. There’s no offline mode, though, so you’ll need Wifi or Bluetooth to process payments.

The reporting functionality is somewhat basic, and you can’t link with CRM software which emphasises that this is a solution for a business with somewhat simple requirements.

Zettle Card Machine Features

  • No Monthly Fee – Zettle has no recurring fees, just pay for hardware once.
  • Fast Set Up – Get started selling quickly by setting up Zettle hardware and app in minutes.
  • Long Battery Life – Zettle card readers can last all day on a single charge, allowing hundreds of taps before recharging.
  • Wide Payment Acceptance – Accept all major cards including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, debit cards, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Contactless Payments – Take fast contactless payments in under 5 seconds with Zettle.
  • Online Invoicing – Send digital invoices and get paid online.
  • Cash Payments – Accept cash payments with no limits.
  • Digital Receipts – Send receipts to customers and store them in the cloud automatically.
  • Fast Funds Access – Deposit earnings to bank within 2 business days.
  • 12 Month Warranty – Get 12 months’ warranty with Zettle hardware.
  • Owned by PayPal – Seamlessly integrate with your PayPal account.

Should I Choose the Zettle Card Machine?

Choose Zettle if you’re a small business that moves around a lot, like a food truck or a pop-up shop. It’s easy to set up and use, and it won’t break the bank. It’s simpler and usually cheaper than other options like Square, making it a great pick if you just want to take payments without any fuss.

Zettle Card Machine Pros

  • No Monthly Fees: Competitive pricing with only a transaction fee.
  • User-Friendly: Quick and straightforward setup for immediate use.
  • Portability: Compact and mobile-friendly for on-the-go businesses.
  • Contactless Payments: Supports increasingly popular contactless transactions.
  • Comprehensive Mobile App: Allows payment management and sales tracking.

Zettle Card Machine Cons

  • Limited Payment Options: Does not accept swipe payments.
  • Feature Constraints: Lacks advanced features like inventory management.
  • Sluggish Customer Support: Support response times can be slow.

Zettle Pricing

Fee TypeCost
Credit Card Transaction Fee1.75%
Debit Card Transaction Fee1.75%
Contactless Transaction Fee1.75%
Monthly Rental FeeNone (Hardware cost)

Probably the biggest selling point of Zettle is its transparent and simple pricing structure. The basic Zettle Reader 2 card reader costs £29, which is quite affordable. If you want a more advanced system, they offer the Zettle Terminal at £129. They also have a service called Zettle Invoice that allows you to send invoices and collect payments online for £10 per month.

Zettle and Square have very similar pricing. Both offer no monthly fees and have a transaction fee of 1.75% for contactless, chip and PIN or swiped card-present transactions. The main difference is that Zettle has a higher transaction fee for manually keyed-in payments and online payments.

Revolut has a lower transaction fee for contactless, chip and PIN or swiped card-present transactions, but it is higher for manually keyed-in payments and online payments.

How Does the Zettle Card Machine Compare with Competitors?

The closest direct competitors to Zettle are the Revolut Reader or SumUp. These are the simplest card payment solutions without complex functionality such as inventory management or CRM integration.

The two most popular solutions for businesses needing more functionality are as follows:

  • Square: Square offers a wider range of features than Zettle, including the ability to accept payments online and in-store, as well as the ability to issue refunds and manage inventory.
  • Lightspeed: Lightspeed is a more robust POS system than Zettle, and it offers a wider range of features, including the ability to track inventory, manage customer orders, and create reports. However, Lightspeed is also more expensive than Zettle.

Revolut Reader: Best Card Machine for Cheapest Transaction Fees

Revolut Reader: Best Card Machine for Cheap Transaction Fees

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Cheap transaction fees, multi-currency support
Hardware Cost: £49 + VAT
Transaction Fee: From 1% + 20p online, 0.8% + 2p in person
Customer Support: 24/7
Signup: Visit Revolut

The Revolut Reader stands out for its market-leading transaction fees, especially for in-person transactions. With transaction fees as low as 0.8% + 2p for in-person payments, Revolut is the cheapest of any brand I’ve tested.

The hardware cost is slightly higher at £49 + VAT, but the savings on transaction fees would quickly offset this. Revolut’s 24/7 customer support ensures that any issues can be resolved promptly.

You’ll need a business account with Revolut to use their card reader, but it’s simple to set up and comes with a lot of other useful functionality.

Revolut Card Machine Features

  • Low transaction fees – Charges 0.8% + 2p per in-person transaction in the UK, which is very competitive.
  • Fast settlement – Funds available in Revolut account within 24 hours.
  • Contactless payments – Accepts contactless cards and digital wallets like Apple Pay. Transactions take under 5 seconds.
  • Chip and PIN – Allows chip and PIN transactions for physical cards.
  • Receipts – Can send digital receipts to customer via messaging apps, email or text.
  • Catalogue – Create product catalogue to quickly add items to bill during checkout.
  • Reporting – Can export transaction history to a CSV file. No detailed sales reports.
  • Refunds – Allows partial or full refunds on transactions. Original fees retained.
  • Mobile card reader – Compact, portable card reader connects via Bluetooth to smartphone/tablet.
  • Revolut Business account – Integrated with Revolut multi-currency business account and features.
  • Warranty – 1 year warranty included with reader.
  • Security – PCI compliant for secure payments.

Should You Choose the Revolut Card Machine?

If you’re happy to open a Revolut business account (which we rate highly) Revolut is a great option for receiving card payments but again for simpler businesses rather than, say, a complex retail or hospitality set up.

In addition to the lowest transaction fees we’ve tested, it supports over 30 currencies with extremely competitive exchange rates. If you’re a small business needing to take card payments in different EEA countries, it’s unbeatable.

Funds are typically accessible in your Revolut Business account within a 24-hour timeframe, which is also faster than average.

However, there are some caveats to consider. Its reporting tools are rudimentary, and while it’s PCI compliant it lacks fraud prevention measures like chargeback protection or tokenization.

Pros of Revolut Reader

  • Low Transaction Fees: Revolut charges 0.8% + 2p for in-person and 1% + 20p for online transactions.
  • Multi-Currency Support: Supports over 30 currencies, suitable for international business.
  • Quick Fund Access: Funds usually available in your Revolut Business account within 24 hours.
  • User-Friendly: Easy to set up and start using.
  • Strong Customer Support: Accessible through phone, email, or live chat.

Cons of Revolut Reader

  • Lack of Fraud Prevention: No built-in fraud prevention measures.
  • Limited Features: Absence of a dedicated POS app and reporting tools.
  • Geographic Limitations: Available only in select countries.

Revolut Reader Pricing

Pricing ComponentFee DetailsAdditional Currencies
Card Payments from UK Consumer CardsVariable fee: 0.8% of transaction value
Payments from Other CardsVariable fee: 2.6% of transaction value
Flat Fee per TransactionUK (GBP): £0.02EUR: €0.02, DKK: Kr 0.15, PLN: zł 0.10 etc.
Tap to Pay from UK Consumer CardsVariable fee: 0.8% of transaction value
Tap to Pay from Other CardsVariable fee: 2.6% of transaction value
Flat Fee for Tap to PayUK (GBP): £0.10
Merchant ChargebacksFee varies by currency (e.g., GBP: £15)AUD: 30, CAD: 25, CHF: 20 etc.

The Revolut Reader device itself costs £49, with no monthly subscription fees.

For transactions involving UK consumer cards, the fee is remarkably low at 0.8% of the transaction value, plus a flat fee of £0.02. For cards from other countries, the fee rises to 2.6% of the transaction value. When it comes to chargebacks, a fee is levied depending on the currency of the original transaction, ranging from £15 for GBP to $20 for USD and varying amounts for other currencies.

In comparison to other market players, Revolut’s transaction fees are among the lowest. For instance, Square charges a 1.75% fee for card transactions, and Shopify’s basic plan comes with a fee of 2.7% + 30p. Clover’s transaction fees are 2.3% + 10p. Notably, none of these competitors can match Revolut’s low rate of 0.8% + £0.02 for UK consumer cards.

How Does the Revolut Card Machine Compare with Competitors?

The Revolut Reader scores very impressively for its low transaction fees and multi-currency support. However, it lags in features like fraud prevention and advanced reporting tools compared to competitors like Square and Zettle.

Lightspeed POS: Best Business Card Machines for Well-Established Retail, Restaurant, Golf

lightspeed cart payment system

Lightspeed POS is a top cloud-based point-of-sale system designed to facilitate retail and restaurant operations.

Established in 2005, the company offers powerful solutions for inventory management, customer relations, and analytics, among other functionalities. Its user-friendly interface and seamless integration capabilities make it a choice worth considering for businesses looking for a comprehensive POS solution, especially in their three core sectors of retail, hospitality and golf.

Lightspeed’s system offers a robust set of features that can be customised to meet specific business needs. For example, its inventory management module allows for real-time tracking, low-stock alerts, and trend analysis. Moreover, the customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities empower businesses to build more meaningful customer interactions by tracking purchase histories and preferences.

Lightspeed Business Card Machine Features

Retail Features:

  • Inventory Management – Track stock levels across locations, manage suppliers, and transfer stock.
  • Omnichannel Sales – Unified commerce across physical and online stores. Integrated ecommerce.
  • Payments – Accept credit cards, contactless payments, QR codes. Lightspeed Payments are available.
  • Reporting – Customizable real-time reports on sales, products, inventory, employees.
  • Multi-Location – Manage multiple store locations from one platform.
  • Marketing – Automated email campaigns, customer segmentation.
  • Integrations – Connects with accounting software, ERP systems, ecommerce platforms.

Restaurant Features:

  • Floor Management – Interactive floor plan, table management, transfer items between tables.
  • Online Ordering – Built-in ordering for takeout/delivery. Avoid third-party fees.
  • Payments – Accept credit cards, contactless payments. Lightspeed Payments available.
  • Inventory Management – Recipe building, wastage tracking, supplier management.
  • Reporting – Sales reports, labour reports, revenue reports.
  • Reservations – Integrated with OpenTable for managing reservations.
  • Multi-Location – Centralized management of multiple restaurant locations.

Golf Features:

  • Tee Time Management – Robust tee sheet management system.
  • Pro Shop – Built-in retail POS and inventory management for pro shops.
  • Restaurant POS – Cloud-based restaurant POS integrated with golf platform.
  • Online Booking – Take reservations and equipment rentals online.
  • Reporting – Sales reports, inventory reports and analytics.
  • Integrations – Add custom integrations and loyalty programs.

Who Should Use Lightspeed Business Card Machines?

Lightspeed POS is my top choice for medium to large retail businesses and restaurants. The system is scalable, meaning it can adapt as your business grows. Organisations seeking to optimise inventory levels, improve customer engagement, or gain insights through data analytics will find Lightspeed’s range of features especially useful.

The system also supports multi-location operations, making it a viable option for franchises or businesses with several branches.

Lightspeed Business Card Machines Pricing

Plan NameMonthly Cost (GBP)Included RegistersServicesAdditional Features
Lean£59124/7 Customer Support, Free Training ResourcesFor Essential Business Needs
Standard£79124/7 Customer Support, Free Training Resources, One-on-One OnboardingIdeal for Omnichannel Businesses
Advanced£119124/7 Customer Support, Free Training Resources, One-on-One OnboardingMore Tools for Businesses Looking to Go Further
EnterpriseCustom QuoteCustomDedicated Premium Support Team, API Consultation and Support, Customer Success ManagerTailored for High Volume Merchants and Large Businesses

Ingenico Best Business Card Machine for Integrations

Ingenico: Best Card Machine for Integrations

Card Machine Type: Countertop
Best For: Integrations
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: From 1-1.5%
Customer Support: 8am-6pm Mon-Fri
Visit Brand: Visit Ingenico

Ingenico is a global market lead in POS with a multi-national presence. With over 40 million terminals deployed worldwide, they specialise in large professional-level POS integrations with a huge range of models available.

Whether you want a portable POS system for use with a courier bicycle, a countertop pin pad to enhance your customer’s user-experience, or bespoke payment solutions for your particular industry, the chances are Ingenico can help.

Ingenico Card Machine Features

  • Countertop Terminals – Fixed payment terminals with a compact footprint, backlit keypad, colour LCD display.
  • Portable Terminals – Wireless, portable readers with long battery life.
  • Mobile Terminals – Fully mobile card readers with built-in SIM cards. Connects via 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi. Long battery life. Robust casing.
  • Payment Methods – Accepts chip & PIN, magstripe, contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Integration – Configured to integrate out of the box with POS and EPOS systems.
  • Receipts – Built-in fast receipt printer. Provides digital and paper receipts.
  • Security – Compliant with latest security standards like PCI DSS. Point-to-point encryption.
  • Screen – Crisp color screens on countertop and portable models. Intuitive visual prompts.
  • Connectivity – Countertop models can connect directly to phone line. Wireless models use internet connectivity.
  • Add-Ons – Can be paired with accessories like cash drawers, barcode scanners.

Who Should Use Ingenico Business Card Machines?

Ingenico POS systems are optimally designed for medium to large enterprises requiring a range of versatile payment solutions. These systems are highly customizable, providing a broad selection of payment terminals that can be tailored to meet the unique demands of various industries.

Pros of Ingenico

  • Comprehensive suite of payment solutions
  • Accepts global payment methods
  • Advanced features and customization
  • Industry-specific offerings

Cons of Ingenico

  • Expensive for small businesses
  • Steep learning curve
  • Lack of pricing transparency
  • Mediocre customer support

How Do Ingenico Card Machines Compare with Competitors?

Ingenico: Ingenico’s strength lies in its robust feature set and the ability to customize its offerings. The system is adept at handling international payments and provides solutions tailored to industry-specific needs. However, its cost structure can be a deterrent for small businesses.

Square: In contrast, Square offers an affordable, simple-to-use card reader with transparent, flat-rate pricing. While Square might lack the extensive software capabilities of Ingenico, it serves as an excellent solution for micro and small businesses.

SumUp: SumUp offers low interchange-plus rates, modern card reader designs, and built-in invoicing features. However, it lacks the ecommerce integrations that some businesses may require.

Verifone: Best Card Machines for Rapid Payment Processing

Verifone Best Card Machines for Rapid Payment Processing

Card Machine Type: Countertop
Best For: Fast Payment Processing
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: 8am-8pm Mon-Sat
Visit Brand: Visit Verifone

Verifone, founded in the US, is another huge global player in the payments market with over half a trillion dollars processed through their machines. Their services are particularly beneficial for businesses that require robust, secure, and fast payment processing capabilities, ranging from retail and hospitality to banking and digital enterprises.

You should expect to pay from about £200 to £1000 + for one of their machines, and they require long term contracts.

The company offers a wide range of card payment terminals for businesses, from basic card readers to advanced POS systems with integrated contactless, chip and PIN capability.

They have an excellent Trustpilot rating for their overall products and customer service

Verifone Card Machine Features

  • Payment Terminals – Countertop, portable, mobile, PIN pad, and multilane payment terminals to accommodate diverse business needs.
  • Payment Acceptance – Accepts all major payment types including EMV chip, magstripe, contactless payments like Apple Pay, and QR codes.
  • Software and Services – Cloud-based POS software, retail management systems, payment gateways, security solutions, and professional services.
  • Multi-Platform Support – POS software and gateways work across operating systems like iOS, Android, and Windows.
  • Omnichannel Commerce – Unified commerce solution across in-store, online, mobile to manage all sales channels.
  • Inventory Management – Tools for centralized inventory tracking across multiple locations and sales channels.
  • Loyalty Programs – Build and manage customized loyalty programs and offer rewards.
  • Analytics and Reporting – Robust reporting on sales, customers, inventory, employees across locations.
  • Security – End-to-end encryption, tokenization, PCI certified terminals, and EMV compliance for security.
  • Global Support – Accept payments in 150+ countries and multiple currencies. Available in various languages.

Who Should Choose Verifone Card Machines?

If you’re happy to enter into a longer term contract and want the security of a big name brand, Verifone would be a decent choice. They’ve proven themselves a manufacturer of good machines, are fairly priced and backed by reliable customer support.

Verifone Card Machines Pricing

A small business using Verifone should expect to pay the following:

  • Contract Length: Options are available for 12, 24, or 36 months, offering flexibility to align with your business plans.
  • Setup Fee: There is no initial setup fee, which reduces the upfront investment.
  • Monthly Fee: A monthly charge of £9.99 is applicable for the use of a mobile card machine.
  • Early Termination Fee: Should you wish to exit the contract prematurely, an early termination fee equivalent to the remaining monthly fees of the contract will be levied.
  • Transaction Fees:
    • Visa Debit, V Pay, Mastercard Debit, Maestro: 0.4% per transaction
    • Visa Credit, Visa Electron, Mastercard Credit: 0.9% per transaction
    • Commercial & Corporate Cards: An additional 1.3% per transaction
    • Non-EEA Cards: An additional 1.6% per transaction

How Do Verifone Card Machines Compare to Competitors?

  • Zettle: Simplistic and user-friendly, Zettle is tailored for small businesses. Verifone, with its diverse terminal options and enhanced security features is much more complex
  • Revolut Reader: Revolut offers cost-effective transaction fees and integrates seamlessly with Revolut’s banking services. Verifone offers more terminal options and is not confined to users of a particular banking service.
  • Square: Known for its feature-rich ecosystem, including inventory tracking, Square may incur higher costs for businesses with high transaction volumes. Verifone provides a focused payment terminal solution with robust security features.
  • Ingenico: Offers a range of payment terminals and has a more global reach. Verifone provides similar versatility but places a stronger emphasis on security features.
  • Takepayments: Provides tailored pricing and short contract terms, making it flexible but potentially confusing with multiple pricing structures. Verifone offers standardized, yet versatile, payment solutions.
  • Worldpay: Offers a comprehensive set of features and tiered pricing but may involve long-term contracts. Verifone offers more flexibility in terms of contract length and terminal options.
  • Tyl (by NatWest): Focuses on small to medium-sized businesses and offers basic analytics. Verifone’s range is broader, catering to businesses of all sizes with more advanced features.
  • SumUp: Known for its low-cost and straightforward transaction fees, SumUp is ideal for smaller businesses. Verifone, with its more comprehensive services, caters to a broader range of business sizes.
  • Dojo Go: Offers competitive pricing and an easy-to-use interface but lacks the extensive terminal options that Verifone provides.
  • Smartpay Anywhere (by Barclaycard): Provides a basic, mobile payment solution geared towards small businesses. Verifone’s offerings are more diversified and can cater to complex business needs.

Takepayments A920: Best Card Machine for Medium Business

Takepayments A920: Best Card Machine for Customised Pricing

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Bespoke Plans
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: Business hours
Visit Brand: Visit Takepayments

Takepayments A920 is a mobile machine suitable for businesses looking for customised pricing plans. While the hardware cost and transaction fees are not standardised, this allows for tailored financial arrangements. Customer support is available during regular business hours, which may be adequate for most small to medium enterprises.

Takepayments Card Machine Features

  • Flexible pricing structure – Can negotiate monthly fees and custom transaction rates based on business needs.
  • Affordable monthly hardware costs – Competitive monthly fees for hardware compared to competitors.
  • Competitive transaction fees – Bespoke transaction fees tailored to each business.
  • Excellent list of features – Includes real-time inventory tracking, employee sales tracking, and more.
  • No set-up fee – No extra set-up costs when signing up.
  • Early termination fee – £30 per remaining month on contract if canceled early.
  • Longer contracts – 12 month minimum contract length.
  • Ongoing monthly fees – Monthly costs for service in addition to transaction fees.
  • Countertop, portable, and mobile card readers – Various reader options to suit business needs.
  • Payment gateway – Online payments available through integrated Barclaycard gateway.
  • GPRS, 4G, and WiFi connectivity – Card readers offer flexible connectivity options.
  • Real-time card processing – See approved transactions instantly.

Who should choose Takepayments Card Machines?

Firstly, medium-sized businesses with moderate transaction volumes stand to gain considerably from the Takepayments comprehensive reporting tools and multi-currency support.

Secondly, the platform is excellent for retailers and restaurants. The real-time inventory and sales tracking capabilities offer valuable insights into stock levels and staff performance.

Lastly, businesses with an average transaction value exceeding £10 are likely to find Takepayments cost-effective. Higher transaction values can offset any associated payment processing fees, meaning it’s a solid choice.

Pros of Takepayments

  • Tailored Transaction Fees: Competitive pricing structures are customised to the specific needs of each business, offering value and cost-efficiency.
  • Zero Setup Costs: The absence of initial setup fees reduces the barrier to entry, making the system more accessible.
  • Exceptional Customer Support: The quality of customer service and support is often cited as excellent, ensuring swift resolution of queries or issues.
  • Flexible Contract Terms: With an 18-month contract duration, Takepayments offers a shorter commitment period compared to industry standards, affording businesses greater flexibility.
  • Comprehensive Reporting and Tracking: Features such as real-time sales and inventory monitoring offer a robust set of tools for effective business management.

Cons of Takepayments

  • Potential Cost Burden for SMEs: The monthly fees may prove prohibitive for smaller businesses with limited revenue streams.
  • Restricted Support Hours: Unlike some competitors, Takepayments does not offer 24/7 phone support, which could be a limitation for businesses operating outside conventional hours.
  • Limited System Integrations: The platform may not integrate seamlessly with certain external POS systems, potentially complicating operations for businesses already invested in other software solutions.
  • Early Termination Costs: Exiting the contract prematurely incurs financial penalties, which could be a deterrent for businesses seeking short-term solutions.

Takepayments Card Machine Pricing

Fee TypeDetails
Contract Duration18 months
Setup FeeNone
Card Machine RentalBespoke
Merchant Account FeesBespoke
Transaction RatesVaries; 10p online after first 400 free transactions
Monthly Minimum Charge£20
PCI Compliance Fee (Takepayments)£35 per year (optional)
PCI Compliance Fee (Barclaycard)£15 per month (mandatory)
Payouts (Barclaycard)Next day: Free
Payouts (Elavon)30p each
Refunds30p each
Chargebacks£9 each
Early Termination Fee£30 per month for each month remaining
Administration Charge£40

The pricing structure for Takepayments is tailored to the specific needs of each business, rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach. As such, the company offers bespoke pricing for card machine rentals and merchant account fees. The contract duration is set at 18 months, with no setup fee.

Transaction rates vary based on the custom quote package offered to each business. Importantly, the first 400 online transactions are free, followed by a 10p charge per transaction. A monthly minimum charge of £20 applies across the board. For PCI compliance, Takepayments charges an optional £35 per year, while those opting for Barclaycard will incur a mandatory £15 per month.

In terms of payouts, next-day transactions with Barclaycard are free, but if you choose Elavon, each payout costs an additional 30p. Refunds and chargebacks are not free either, costing 30p and £9 per instance, respectively. Should you decide to terminate the contract early, you would be liable for a fee of £30 per remaining month on the contract along with a £40 administrative charge.

How Does Takepayments Card Machines Compare with Competitors?

  • Zettle: Known for user-friendliness and no monthly fees, Zettle is more aligned with small businesses.
  • Revolut Reader: Offers cost-effective transaction fees and is ideal for businesses already using Revolut banking services. Takepayments, on the other hand, provides more comprehensive reporting tools and supports 170 currencies.
  • Square: Renowned for its comprehensive features like inventory tracking, Square could be cost-prohibitive for high-volume businesses. Takepayments offers competitive transaction fees and shorter 18-month contracts.
  • Ingenico: Provides a variety of payment terminal options and has a global reach. Takepayments focuses more on customizable online checkout pages and various card reader options.
  • Verifone: Known for a broad range of terminal options and high-level security features. Takepayments offers more in terms of real-time sales and inventory tracking, as well as customizable online checkout options.
  • Worldpay: Offers tiered pricing and long-term contracts along with a comprehensive feature set. Takepayments provides more flexibility with its shorter contract lengths and tailored pricing based on individual business needs.
  • Tyl (by NatWest): Geared towards small and medium-sized businesses with basic analytics offerings. Takepayments provides more advanced reporting tools and multi-currency support.
  • SumUp: Ideal for small businesses due to its straightforward and low-cost transaction fees. Takepayments offers a more comprehensive set of features including real-time reporting and a variety of card readers.
  • Dojo Go: Features competitive pricing and an easy-to-use interface but lacks extensive options for payment terminals. Takepayments provides a broader set of features, including eight reporting tools like accounting reports and SMS receipts.
  • Smartpay Anywhere (by Barclaycard): Offers a basic mobile payment solution, ideal for small businesses. Takepayments has a more diversified offering suitable for various business sizes, including real-time sales and inventory tracking.

Worldpay Reader: Best Card Machine for Customer Service

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Customer Service
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: 24/7
Visit Brand: Visit Worldpay

Worldpay is a leading global payment processor that offers a wide range of services to businesses of all sizes. With over 250,000 UK SMEs and 26 million transactions processed daily.

It stands out for the extensive integration capabilities it offers: businesses can seamlessly connect Worldpay with over 100 different applications, from e-commerce platforms to point-of-sale systems and accounting software.

Worldpay is highly secure, employing state-of-the-art technologies, including tokenization and 3D Secure, to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of your data.

Transaction fees are competitive, ranging from 0.75% to 2.75%, depending on the payment method and selected pricing plan. Customer service is excellent and available 24/7.

Worldpay Card Machine Features

Payment Processing – Accepts a wide range of payment methods, including credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, and contactless payments.
Multi-Channel Support – Unified platform for in-store, online, and mobile payments.
Security Features – Includes fraud protection, encryption, and PCI compliance.
Reporting & Analytics – Advanced data analytics for tracking sales, payments, and customer behaviour.
Inventory Management – Real-time inventory tracking and management.
Invoicing – Create and send digital invoices with ease.
Fast Settlements – Quick transfer of funds to your bank account.
Customer Profiles – Store customer information for more personalized service.
Gift Cards – Offer and track digital and physical gift cards.
Tax Calculation – Automated tax calculation for streamlined checkout.
Employee Management – Role-based permissions and time tracking.
Hardware Options – Variety of POS hardware like card readers, terminals, and registers available.

Who Should Use Worldpay Card Machines?

Worldpay POS is versatile, catering to a wide range of business sizes and types—from small retailers to large enterprises.

  • E-commerce businesses: Worldpay offers a variety of payment options for e-commerce businesses, including credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. The company also offers fraud protection and other security measures to protect customer data.
  • Retail businesses: Worldpay offers a variety of point-of-sale (POS) solutions for retail businesses, including countertop terminals, mobile POS devices, and e-commerce integrations. The company also offers fraud protection and other security measures to protect customer data.
  • Service businesses: Worldpay offers a variety of payment options for service businesses, including credit cards, debit cards, and ACH payments. The company also offers fraud protection and other security measures to protect customer data.
  • Businesses with high transaction volumes: Worldpay offers a variety of pricing plans to fit the needs of businesses with high transaction volumes. The company also offers discounts for businesses that process a certain number of transactions each month.
  • Businesses that need a variety of integrations: Worldpay integrates with over 100 different applications, including e-commerce platforms, point-of-sale systems, and accounting software. This makes it easy for businesses to connect their payment processing to their existing systems.

Pros of Worldpay

  • Broad Payment Acceptance: Worldpay supports a multitude of payment methods, including credit/debit cards and digital wallets, making it easier for businesses to accommodate diverse customer preferences.
  • Global Reach: With multi-currency and multi-language support, Worldpay is well-suited for businesses that operate internationally.
  • Fraud Protection: Advanced security measures and fraud protection tools help safeguard transactions.
  • Integrated Solutions: Worldpay offers integrated payment solutions that can be embedded into a business’s existing operational workflows, including e-commerce and mobile platforms.
  • 24/7 Support: Customer service is available around the clock, providing timely assistance when needed.

Cons of Worldpay

  • Complex Pricing: Worldpay’s pricing can be complex and may include various fees such as setup fees, monthly fees, and transaction fees, making it challenging to estimate overall costs.
  • Long-Term Contracts: Unlike some competitors, Worldpay often requires long-term commitments, which may not suit businesses looking for more flexible arrangements.
  • Limited Customization: While Worldpay offers a range of services, the scope for customization is limited compared to some more modular platforms.
  • Usability: Some users find the interface less intuitive, which can result in a steeper learning curve for staff.
  • Early Termination Fees: Exiting a contract before the term completion may incur substantial early termination fees.

Worldpay Card Machine Pricing

PlanMonthly CostIncluded TransactionsSetup FeePayment MethodsFraud ManagementSupportCustomisationAccount Management
Gateway Standard£19350NoVisa Checkout, PayPalStandardStandardNoNo
Gateway Advanced£45850NoInternational, Apple PayStandardStandardNoNo
Gateway BespokeBespokeBespokeBespokeBespokeAdvanced24/7YesYes

Worldpay’s pricing structure is designed to cater to a broad range of business needs through its three main plans: Gateway Standard, Gateway Advanced, and Gateway Bespoke.

The Gateway Standard plan, priced at £19 per month, offers a solid foundation for smaller businesses with features like 350 included transactions, Visa Checkout, and PayPal support. For those looking for an enhanced package, the Gateway Advanced plan costs £45 per month and includes 850 transactions, international payment methods, and additional options like Apple Pay.

For businesses with specific or high-volume needs, the Gateway Bespoke plan offers customised pricing and features, including advanced fraud management tools and 24/7 support.

All plans come with a minimum contract term, and Worldpay is transparent about additional costs—there’s no setup fee across all plans, and the only extra charge you might incur is a £15 administration fee for chargebacks.

Tyl (by Natwest)Card Machine

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Fast Payment Processing
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: 8am-6pm Mon-Fri
Visit Brand: Visit Tyl

Tyl by NatWest is a payment solution service offered by Natwest bank. Starting at a monthly fee of £6.99 + VAT, Tyl provides 4G connected card readers, allowing businesses to take payments without being tied to a fixed location. With transaction fees set at 1.50% for Visa and Mastercard, and custom rates for American Express, the service is competitively priced.

Tyl also offers strong customer support through phone and live chat, ensuring businesses have timely assistance when needed. The service integrates with popular accounting software such as Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, and FreeAgent, easing the burden of financial management for businesses. Adhering to Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, Tyl provides a secure environment for transactional data and offers guidance to businesses for achieving PCI compliance.

Additional considerations include basic but sufficient reporting tools for businesses that require simple insights into their payment data. However, it’s worth noting that fund transfers can take up to three working days, which may be a limitation for businesses requiring quicker payment processing.

Tyl Card Machine Features

  1. Monthly Fee: Starts from £6.99 + VAT/month for card readers.
  2. Transaction Fee: 1.50% for Visa and Mastercard; custom fees for Amex.
  3. 4G Connected Readers: Various types of card readers with 4G connectivity options.
  4. Customer Support: Available via phone and live chat.
  5. No Credit Checks: Tyl does not perform credit checks on businesses.
  6. Fund Transfer Time: Up to 3 working days.
  7. Accounting Integrations: Compatibility with Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, and FreeAgent.
  8. PCI Compliance: Steps taken to secure data to industry standards, with additional guidance provided.
  9. Optional Payment Gateway: £14.95 + VAT per month, waived for the first three months.
  10. Custom Authorisation Fees: Applicable on the Over £50K plan.
  11. No Hidden Fees: Transparent pricing structure.
  12. Two Reporting Tools: Limited but functional analytics and reporting features.

Who Should Use Tyl Card Machines?

Tyl by NatWest is particularly well-suited for UK-based medium to large businesses that are in search of a cost-effective yet comprehensive payment processing solution backed by a reputable financial institution.

Pros of Tyl

  1. Competitive Pricing: With hardware costs starting at £6.99 + VAT per month and transaction fees at 1.50% for Visa and Mastercard, Tyl offers a compelling pricing structure that could be more cost-effective for many businesses.
  2. Bank-Grade Security: Being under the NatWest umbrella, Tyl offers a level of security and trust that independent providers may not be able to match. This can be reassuring for businesses concerned about the safety of their transactions.
  3. Flexible Connectivity: Tyl’s 4G enabled card readers allow businesses to operate in various settings without relying on a fixed internet connection, making it ideal for mobile or pop-up businesses.
  4. Customer Support: Offering support via phone and live chat, Tyl ensures businesses have access to immediate help, which can be particularly beneficial during peak trading hours.
  5. Custom Transaction Fees: For businesses generating over £50K in revenue, Tyl offers custom transaction fees, allowing for a more tailored cost structure.
  6. Accounting Integrations: Tyl supports integrations with popular accounting software, facilitating easier financial management for businesses.

Cons of Tyl

  1. Limited Reporting Tools: Tyl only offers basic reporting features, which could be a limitation for businesses that rely on in-depth analytics to make data-driven decisions.
  2. Fund Transfer Time: With a fund transfer time of up to three working days, Tyl could be less suitable for businesses that require quicker access to their funds for operational needs.
  3. Limited Third-Party Integrations: Tyl lacks extensive third-party integrations, particularly in the realm of e-commerce, which could be a drawback for businesses looking for a more comprehensive solution.
  4. No Multi-Currency Support: Businesses that deal with international transactions may find Tyl less suitable due to its lack of multi-currency support.

How Do Tyl Card Machines compare with competitors?

  • Revolut Reader: Offers lower transaction fees but lacks the bank-backed security that Tyl provides.
  • Square: Features more robust reporting tools but comes with higher hardware costs compared to Tyl’s monthly fee structure.
  • Ingenico: Provides a diverse range of hardware options but may have a more complex setup and less accessible customer support than Tyl.
  • Verifone: Well-suited for high-risk industries and custom solutions but may have a less transparent cost structure compared to Tyl.
  • Takepayments: Offers more flexible contract lengths but may not provide customer support as comprehensive as Tyl’s.
  • Worldpay: Provides a wider range of payment solutions, including online and international, but has a more complicated fee structure compared to Tyl.
  • SumUp: Features a straightforward fee structure and lower upfront hardware costs but lacks Tyl’s depth in accounting integrations.
  • Dojo Go: Provides next-day funding for businesses with immediate cash flow needs but lacks Tyl’s 4G connectivity options for mobile businesses.
  • Smartpay Anywhere (by Barclaycard): Offers the trust and security of being backed by Barclaycard but may include setup fees and fewer integrations compared to Tyl.

SumUp Card Machine

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Ease of Use
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: Business hours
Visit Brand: Visit SumUp

SumUp offers a user-friendly mobile card machine, ideal for businesses that require a straightforward payment solution. While hardware costs and transaction fees are not publicly disclosed, their focus on ease of use suggests that they aim to make the experience as seamless as possible. Customer support is available during regular business hours.

Dojo Go Card Machine

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Flexibility
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: Business hours
Visit Brand: Visit Dojo

Dojo is a portable credit card machine gaining a lot of market share in the UK. Their entry level DojoGO unit is as light as an iPad, has mobile connectivity and boasts a 10-hour battery life.

For businesses with an annual card turnover below £150,000 or those new to card payments:

  • The contract duration is 6 months, transitioning to a rolling contract per month thereafter.
  • The transaction fee is set at 1.4% plus 5p per transaction.
  • A monthly terminal fee of £20 applies.

For businesses exceeding £150,000 in annual card turnover:

  • The contract is on a monthly rolling basis.
  • Customised pricing plans are available.

Smartpay Anywhere (by Barclaycard) Card Machine

Card Machine Type: Mobile
Best For: Brand Familiarity
Hardware Cost: Available on request
Transaction Fee: Varies
Customer Support: 8am-6pm Mon-Fri
Visit Brand: Visit Smartpay Anywhere

Smartpay Anywhere by Barclaycard capitalises on the brand’s established reputation in the financial industry. While specific pricing details are not publicly disclosed, Barclaycard’s reputation for reliability could make this an appealing choice for businesses. Customer support is available during extended business hours, offering added convenience.

July 2023 card reader regulations
New regulations introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, are designed to improve card reader services and choices for small businesses. The specific impacts will depend on your current contract and your payment needs. However, some general impacts to consider include:

Reduced costs: The regulations are designed to make card reader services more competitive, which could lead to lower costs for businesses.

More flexibility: The shorter contract lengths and reduced early termination fees give businesses more flexibility to switch to a different provider if they find a better deal.

Improved customer service: The regulations require providers to be more responsive to customer inquiries and to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.

Best Card Machines for Charities

When choosing a card machine for a charity, it is important to be aware of the sector-specific limitations imposed by some providers. Not all card machine companies allow for donations, which can exclude non-profits, community groups, and individual fundraisers from their list of acceptable clients.

However, there are a few providers that offer more flexibility for charitable organizations. For example, SumUp is happy to work with non-profits. Square accommodates charities by allowing them to sign up under the “Partnership” option, which enables them to link a bank account to receive donations. Zettle also supports charitable donations, but limits them to transactions where the cardholder is present.

Best Card Machine for Market Stall

In a bustling market environment where quick and efficient transactions are crucial, choosing the right card machine can be pivotal for market traders.

Here are some of the top contenders in this space and what they offer:

  • Zettle: Zettle is a popular choice for market traders thanks to its versatility and competitive pricing. It is compatible with a wide range of payment methods, including chip and PIN, contactless, and Apple Pay. Zettle also offers a range of features that are designed to make it easy for market traders to accept payments, such as a mobile app.
  • SumUp: SumUp is another popular option for market traders. It is known for its low fixed card rate, which can help traders to maximize their profits. SumUp also offers a range of features that are designed to make it easy for market traders to accept payments, such as a mobile app.
  • Square: Square is a good option for market traders who are looking for a budget-friendly option. It offers a free card reader and a mobile app that makes it easy to accept payments. Square also offers a range of features that are designed to help market traders grow their businesses, such as the ability to accept online payments and the ability to create loyalty programs.

Best Card Machine for Festivals

Festivals are a great place to sell your wares, but they can also be a logistical nightmare. One of the biggest challenges is accepting payments quickly and efficiently. A slow or unreliable card reader can mean lost sales, so it’s important to choose the right one.

SumUp Air is a great option for festivals. It’s a small, portable card reader that’s easy to set up and use. It also has a long battery life, so you won’t have to worry about it running out of juice in the middle of the day.

SumUp Air is also very affordable. The one-time purchase price is £39, and the transaction fees are very competitive. You can also use SumUp Air to accept contactless payments, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Here are some of the features that make SumUp Air a great choice for festivals:

  • Long battery life: Can process up to 500 transactions on a single charge
  • Portable and easy to use: Weighs just 2.5 ounces and fits in the palm of your hand
  • Competitive transaction fees: 1.69% for chip and PIN transactions
  • Accepts contactless payments: No need to swipe or insert cards
  • Built-in product catalogue software: Easily keep track of your inventory
  • Ability to manage multiple employee accounts: Ideal for large festivals with multiple vendors

Overall, SumUp Air is a great choice for festivals. It’s affordable, reliable, and easy to use. If you’re looking for a card reader that will help you make more sales, SumUp Air is a great option.

Best Card Machine for Pubs

One of the challenges of running a pub is accepting payments quickly and efficiently. A slow or unreliable card machine can mean lost sales, so it’s important to choose the right one.

SumUp is a great option for pubs. It’s a small, portable card reader that’s easy to set up and use. It also has a long battery life, so you won’t have to worry about it running out of juice in the middle of the day.

SumUp is also very affordable. The one-time purchase price is £149, and the transaction fees are very competitive. You can also use SumUp to accept contactless payments, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Here are some of the features that make SumUp a great choice for pubs:

  • Low transaction fees: 1.69% for chip and PIN transactions
  • No long-term contracts: You can cancel your subscription at any time
  • Accepts contactless payments: No need to swipe or insert cards
  • Durable and reliable: Can withstand the rigors of a busy pub environment
  • Easy to set up and use: Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you can get up and running quickly

Overall, SumUp is a great choice for pubs. It’s affordable, reliable, and easy to use. If you’re looking for a card machine that will help you make more sales, SumUp is a great option.

How Does a Card Machine Work?

Understanding the mechanics of a card machine can offer valuable insights into its capabilities and limitations, which in turn informs your decision-making process. Essentially, a card machine facilitates the electronic transfer of funds from the customer’s account to the business’s account. While the underlying technology has evolved significantly over the years, the fundamental steps involved in a card transaction remain consistent.

Authorization

When a customer inserts, swipes, or taps their card, the card machine reads the card’s information and forwards it to the payment processor. The processor then seeks authorization from the card-issuing bank to ensure the customer has sufficient funds or credit.

Transaction Confirmation

Upon receiving authorization, the card machine confirms the transaction, usually by displaying a message or printing a receipt. At this stage, the transaction amount is reserved but not yet transferred.

Settlement

At the end of the business day, or at a predetermined time, the authorized transactions are batch-processed. The payment processor facilitates the actual transfer of funds from the customer’s bank to the business’s bank account.

Security Measures

Modern card machines come equipped with robust security features, including end-to-end encryption and tokenization. These measures protect sensitive card information during the transaction process, safeguarding both the business and the customer from potential fraud.

Types of Card Acceptance

Card machines today are designed to accept a variety of payment methods, including magnetic stripe, chip and PIN, and contactless payments such as NFC (Near Field Communication). Some machines also integrate with mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Connectivity

Card machines require a stable internet connection to function effectively. Depending on the device, this could be through a wired Ethernet connection, Wi-Fi, or mobile data (3G/4G).

What Types of Business Benefit from a Card Machine

Card machines can be adapted to a wide range of business settings, making them suitable for both small and large enterprises. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, from supermarkets to boutique shops, benefit from the streamlined payment process that these devices offer. In the hospitality sector, restaurants, hotels, and bars find card machines indispensable for handling diverse payment options efficiently.

Service providers such as medical practices, salons, and consultancy firms also find value in offering card payments as it provides convenience for clients and potentially accelerates the settlement of invoices.

Moreover, mobile and pop-up businesses, like food trucks or market stall vendors, can utilise portable card machines to facilitate transactions on the go. These devices often connect via mobile networks or Wi-Fi, providing flexibility in a variety of locations.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Card Machine

FeatureDescription
Payment methods supportedThe different types of payments that the card machine can accept, such as magnetic stripe, chip and PIN, and contactless payments.
Speed of processingThe time it takes for the card machine to process a payment.
Connectivity optionsThe types of internet connections that the card machine can use, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or mobile data.
User interfaceThe ease of use of the card machine’s interface for both employees and customers.
PortabilityWhether the card machine is portable and can be moved easily.
Integration capabilitiesThe ability to integrate the card machine with other business systems, such as inventory management or accounting software.
Hardware durabilityThe ability of the card machine to withstand physical wear and tear.
ScalabilityThe ability of the card machine to grow with the business, such as by handling a larger volume of transactions or supporting additional payment methods.
Reporting and analyticsThe ability of the card machine to provide reports on sales trends, payment types, and customer behavior.

How Does a Card Machine Work?

To use a card machine, customers can tap, insert, or swipe their card, depending on the technology supported by their card (contactless, chip, or magnetic stripe). For transactions requiring verification, they enter their PIN or provide a signature. The machine encrypts the card details and sends them to the merchant’s acquiring bank, which then routes the information through the relevant card network (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) to the cardholder’s issuing bank for approval.

This process involves checking the card’s validity, ensuring sufficient funds are available, and applying fraud detection algorithms. Upon receiving authorization from the issuing bank, the acquiring bank sends an approval code back to the card machine, confirming the transaction. The funds are then earmarked for transfer, and the amount is typically deposited into the merchant’s account within one to three business days. The transaction is securely logged, and a receipt is generated for the customer, completing the process. This entire procedure is supported by secure cryptographic protocols to safeguard the transmission of sensitive financial data.

How Much do Business Card Machines Cost?

Understanding the cost structure associated with card machines is paramount for any business, as these expenses directly impact your profitability. The costs can be broadly divided into two categories: upfront hardware costs and ongoing transaction fees.

Upfront Hardware Costs

The initial investment in a card machine varies considerably between brands and models. Some offer competitive pricing, with costs starting as low as £19 + VAT (e.g., Square Reader), while others require custom quotes based on your specific needs (e.g., Ingenico and Verifone models). It’s vital to balance the upfront cost with the features and long-term viability of the machine.

Ongoing Transaction Fees

Transaction fees are a recurring cost that you’ll incur with every card payment processed. These fees range from fixed percentages (e.g., 1.75% with Zettle Reader 2) to variable rates that may include additional charges per transaction (e.g., Revolut Reader). It’s essential to understand the complete fee structure, including any additional costs for premium services or high-volume transactions.

Bundled Pricing

Some vendors offer bundled pricing that includes the hardware and a set number of transactions for a monthly or yearly fee. While this can simplify budgeting, ensure that the package aligns with your average transaction volume to avoid overpaying.

Contractual Obligations

Be cautious of long-term contracts that may come with early termination fees. Some providers offer more flexible terms, allowing you to change or cancel your plan without incurring additional costs.

Additional Costs

Keep an eye out for other potential costs, such as setup fees, monthly maintenance fees, or charges for premium customer support. These can add up over time and should be factored into your overall budget.

Card machine transaction fees

Transaction fees are a critical component in the overall cost structure of a card machine and can significantly affect your business’s profitability. These fees are levied by the payment processor for each transaction processed through the card machine. Understanding the nuances of these fees is crucial for making an informed decision.

Fixed Percentage Fees

Some card machines charge a fixed percentage fee per transaction. For example, the Zettle Reader 2 charges a consistent rate of 1.75% for all transactions. This straightforward model offers predictability but may not always provide the best value for high-volume businesses.

Tiered or Sliding Scale Fees

Certain providers implement a tiered or sliding scale fee structure, where the transaction fee decreases as your volume of transactions increases. This model can be advantageous for businesses that experience significant transaction volumes.

Variable Fees

Some machines, like the Revolut Reader, have a variable fee structure that depends on the type of transaction. In-person transactions may have a different rate compared to online transactions, requiring a comprehensive understanding of your business’s transaction profile.

Additional Charges

Be vigilant for any additional charges that may apply, such as fees for chargebacks, international cards, or premium services. These can add to the overall cost and may not be immediately evident.

Bundled Transaction Packages

As mentioned in the previous section, some providers offer bundled transaction packages, often including a specific number of transactions for a set monthly or annual fee. While this offers budgetary certainty, ensure the package aligns with your transaction volume to avoid overpayment.

Contractual Considerations

Some providers may offer lower transaction fees in exchange for long-term contractual commitments. Assess the stability and projected growth of your business before entering into such agreements, as early termination could result in penalties.

How Secure are Business Card Machines?

With cyber fraud at an all time high, you’ll want to ensure your card machine delivers state of the art security, as follows:

Security featureDescription
End-to-end encryptionThe process of encrypting data at the point of entry and decrypting it only at the point of exit, ensuring that the data is protected throughout its journey.
PCI complianceThe adherence to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a set of security standards designed to protect cardholder data.
TokenizationThe process of replacing sensitive card data with a unique identifier or token, which can then be used to process payments without exposing the underlying card data.
Secure customer authenticationThe use of multiple factors to authenticate a customer during a payment transaction, such as a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition.
Software updatesThe regular release of new software versions to address security vulnerabilities and improve the overall security of the card machine.
Physical securityThe use of physical security measures to protect the card machine from unauthorized access, such as tamper-evident seals and remote disabling.
Vendor reputationThe reputation of the card machine provider in the market, which can be an indicator of the quality of the security features offered.

Tips for Choosing the Right Business Card Machine

When choosing a card machine for your business, there are many factors to consider, such as the features, costs, transaction fees, security, and customer support. Here are some tips to help you make the best decision:

  1. Assess your business needs. What type of business do you run? What is your average transaction volume? What payment methods do you need to accept? Once you understand your needs, you can start narrowing down your options.
  2. Consider the total cost of ownership. The upfront cost of a card machine is just one factor to consider. You also need to factor in the transaction fees, monthly fees, and any other hidden costs.
  3. Choose a machine that can grow with your business. As your business grows, you may need to upgrade your card machine. Make sure to choose one that can handle your future needs.
  4. Test and demo the machine. Before you buy a card machine, try it out in person. This will give you a chance to see how it works and make sure it’s a good fit for your business.
  5. Read reviews from other businesses. Online reviews can be a helpful way to get feedback from other businesses that have used the same card machine.
  6. Check the warranty and service agreement. Make sure you understand the terms of the warranty and service agreement before you buy a card machine. This will protect you in case something goes wrong.
  7. Be wary of long-term contracts. Some card machine providers offer long-term contracts with high cancellation fees. Avoid these contracts if you can.
  8. Consider the vendor’s reputation. Choose a card machine provider with a good reputation and a history of providing good customer service.

Our Methodology for Testing Business Card Readers

Business Card Machine FAQs

Do I need a business bank account to use a card machine?

Can I switch card machine providers easily?

How do I set up my business card reader?

Can my business card reader accept contactless payments and digital wallets?

Are there monthly or annual fees associated with using a business card reader?

Can I process payments offline with my business card reader?

How quickly can I access funds processed through my business card reader?

Can multiple employees operate the same business card reader?

Is additional software required to operate a business card reader?

Can I issue refunds directly through my business card reader?

Is there a transaction amount limit on my business card reader?