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8 Best Card Payment Machines For Small Businesses In 2024

8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 profile

Written by

Updated 16th Oct, 2023

Oct 16th 2023:
Updated prices and transaction fees. Removed details of some card readers (MyPOS Go and Carbon, Castles Vega, Verifone 400c, Barclaycard Anywhere) and expanded details of our recommended card machines. 

Oct 3rd 2022:
Updated the prices of the card readers

15th June 2022:
Removed £16 special offer for the SumUp Air card reader.
Replaced myPOS Mini and myPOS Smart N5 with myPOS Carbon and myPOS Combo.

When comparing card payment machines the main factors to consider are functionality, connectivity, integrations possible, device cost, transaction fees by card type and one-off charges.  

The best card payment machine for your small business will depend on your business type, typical card turnover and how mobile you need the card reader to be. 

Short on time, here’s a quick overview of the best card machines in different categories…

  • The cheapest card reader is the Square Reader available to buy outright for £19+VAT.
  • The best payment machine for small businesses looking for a countertop terminal is the Ingenico Desk 5000. This is offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard, Trust Payments, Elavon and AIB.
  • The best payment machine for small businesses looking for a portable card machine is the Ingencio DX9000. This is offered by Worldpay from £17.95+VAT with the PAX A920 a close second (available from AIB, Dojo and Takepayments).

In the table below, we’ve shortlisted what we believe are the best countertop, portable and mobile card machines suited to small businesses in the UK. 

Device Model & Cost excl VAT
Transaction Fees
Square Card Reader
2nd Generation

£19
No monthly contract
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

View Latest Offer >

Zettle Reader 2

£29 for first Reader 2
£59 each additional reader


No monthly contract
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

View Latest Offer >

SumUp Air

£39

No monthly contract
In Person: 1.69%
With business account: 1.49%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

View Latest Offer >

Ingenico Desk 5000

From £15 per month with Worldpay

12 month min contract
Offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard, Trust Payments, Elavon and AIB

Compare rates >

Ingenico Move 5000

From £15 per month with Worldpay

12 month min contract
Offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard and Elavon

Compare rates >

Ingenico Axium 8000

From £17.95 per month with Worldpay

18 month min contract
Offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard and Elavon

Compare rates >

PAX A920

£29 per month with Barclaycard on a 12 month min contract

18 month min contract
Offered by Barclaycard, Dojo (Paymentsense), Elavon and Takepyaments

Compare rates >

Clover Flex

£16.99 per month with Tyl by Natwest

12 month min contract
The Clover Flex is offered by Tyl By Natwest, Lloyds Cardnet, AIB Merchant Services, Netpay

Compare rates >

Prices correct as of October 2023

Types of card machines and typical fees

Brand
Device Model & Cost excl VAT
Transaction Fees
square-vector-logo-2022 (1)
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 square card reader uk 1
Square Card Reader
2nd Generation

£19
No monthly contract
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

View Latest Offer >

zettle_logo (1)
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 izettle reader 2
Zettle 2

£29 for first Reader 2
£59 each additional reader


No monthly contract
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

View Latest Offer >

sumup-inc-logo-vector (1)
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 Sumup air card reader
SumUp Air

£39

No monthly contract
In Person: 1.69%
With business account: 1.49%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

View Latest Offer >

Ingenico_logo
Ingenico-Desk5000
Ingenico Desk 5000

From £15 per month with Worldpay

12 month min contract
Offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard, Trust Payments, Elavon and AIB

Compare rates >

Ingenico-Move5000
Ingenico Move 5000

From £15 per month with Worldpay

12 month min contract
Offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard and Elavon

Compare rates >

Ingenico DX8000
Ingenico Axium 8000

From £17.95 per month with Worldpay

18 month min contract
Offered by Worldpay, Barclaycard and Elavon

Compare rates >

PAX_Technology_Inc_logo
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 PAX A920 Square
PAX A980

£29 per month with Barclaycard on a 12 month min contract

18 month min contract
Offered by Barclaycard, Dojo (Paymentsense), Elavon and Takepyaments

Compare rates >

clover-network-inc-vector-logo (1)
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 clover flex square
Clover Flex

£16.99 per month with Tyl by Natwest

12 month min contract
The Clover Flex is offered by Tyl By Natwest, Lloyds Cardnet, AIB Merchant Services, Netpay

Compare rates >

Minimum Contract Required
Transaction
Fees
Cost
(Excl VAT)
Card readers with no contract
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 izettle card reader
In-Person:
1.1% – 1.75%

Remote:
1.3% – 2.5%
£16 – £79 upfront per device
Card machines with no contract and built in printer 
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 MyPOS Carbon
In-Person:
1.1% – 1.75%

Remote:
1.3% – 2.5%
£149 – £199 upfront per device
Countertop card machines (Wired)
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 Ingenico Desk 3500 Square 1
Variable
£15 –  £25
per month
Portable card machines (Wifi, Bluetooth)
Ingenico-Move5000
Variable
£18 –  £50
per month
Mobile card machines (3G / 4G)
Ingenico-Move5000
Variable
£18 –  £50
per month
Merchant Account
Transaction
Fees
Cost
(Excl VAT)
Card readers

3G / 4G
No contract

Aggregated Merchant Account
In-Person:
1.1% – 1.75%

Remote:
1.3% – 2.5%
£16 – £79 upfront per device
Card terminals with printer 

3G / 4G
No contract

Aggregated Merchant Account
In-Person:
1.1% – 1.75%

Remote:
1.3% – 2.5%
£149 – £199 upfront per device
Countertop terminals

Ethernet / Phoneline
Monthly contract

Dedicated Merchant Account
Variable
£15 –  £25
per month
Portable terminals

Bluetooth / Wireless
Monthly contract

Dedicated Merchant Account
Variable
£18 –  £50
per month
Mobile terminals

3G / 4G
Monthly contract

Dedicated Merchant Account
Variable
£18 –  £50
per month

Prices correct as of October 2023

We looked at the following key factors when deciding what card machines to include in our list of the best card machines.  

  • Features: we looked at the type of payments the card machine can accept (e.g. EMV Chip & PIN, contactless, magstripe, digital wallets and QR payments)
  • Battery life: how long the card reader can last with continuous use.
  • Processing speed: This is normally determined by the processing chip used. 
  • Additional functionality offered: Existing functionality plus the ability to download additional plugins and apps.
  • Ease of integration: How easy is it to integrate the machine with tills and other EPOS systems within and outside the same ecosystem.

For fixed-price card terminals offered by payment facilitators we also factored in fees:

  • Device cost: This is a relatively minor factor as the main fees will come from transactions.
  • Transaction fees: The fees charged for in-person and card-not-present (CNP) transactions. 

Best card readers to buy (with no monthly contract and fixed transaction fees)

Advantages of no contract and fixed fees

Disadvantages of no contract and fixed fees

Company
Device
Cost
Excl VAT
Transaction Fees
zettle_logo (1)
Zettle Reader 2
£29
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

Go to website >
Zettle Terminal
£149
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 square vector logo 2022 1
Square Reader
£19
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

Go to website >
Square Terminal
£149
sumup-inc-logo-vector (1)
Air
£29
In Person: 1.69%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

Go to website >
Solo
£79
Solo & Printer
£139
MyPOS_Logo (1) (1)
MyPOS Go
£39
In Person: 1.10% + 7p%
Remote (CNP): 1.30% + 15p

Go to website >
MyPOS Pro
£179
MyPOS Combo
£179
Company
Device
Cost
Excl VAT
Transaction Fees
zettle_logo (1)
Zettle Reader 2
£29
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

Go to website >
Zettle Terminal
£149
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 square vector logo 2022 1
Square Reader
£29
In Person: 1.75%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

Go to website >
Square Terminal
£149
sumup-inc-logo-vector (1)
Air
£29
In Person: 1.69%
Remote (CNP): 2.5%

Go to website >
Solo
£79
Solo & Printer
£139
MyPOS_Logo (1) (1)
MyPOS Go
£29
In Person: 1.10% + 7p%
Remote (CNP): 1.30% + 15p

Go to website >
MyPOS Carbon
£179
MyPOS Pro
£179

Prices correct as of October 2023

Square Card Reader:
Best for low card turnover businesses

8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 square card reader uk 1

Pros

Cons

TypeSquare Card Reader Fees
Monthly feeNone
Chip, contactless, and swipe1.75%
Online store and payment links – UK cards1.4% + 25p
Online store and payment links – Non-UK cards2.5% + 25p
Keyed, invoice, virtual terminal2.5%
Instant Transfers1% in addition to the card fee
RefundsFree
ChargebacksFree

One of Square’s standout features is its transparent pricing. Businesses are charged a fixed rate of 1.75% per transaction. There are no monthly fees or contractual lock-ins.

This straightforward pricing model is often appealing to start-ups or small businesses wary of hidden fees or complex pricing structures (although in reality, most businesses may make significant savings through lower transaction fees by going with other payment providers)

Square Payment Options and Processing

Square supports a wide range of payment methods, including contactless cards, mobile wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, as well as chip and PIN and chip and signature cards. It accepts major card brands such as Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, and American Express. Payments are typically deposited into the merchant’s bank account the next working day, with an option for immediate payouts for an added 1% fee.

Square Reader Key Features

  • Connectivity: WiFi or SIM. It used Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for wireless connections.
  • Battery life: Designed to last a full day of trading. The new 2nd generation reader stays connected for up to 30 days after inactivity (much improved on the 1st gen reader which only lasted 8 hours).
  • Charging: Uses a USB-C to USB cable for the 2nd generation and takes about 2-3 hours to charge fully.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with most Apple iOS devices and many Android devices with built-in BLE.
  • Processing speed: Chip card transactions take around 6-7 seconds to process.

Is the Square card reader right for my business?

If you take payments in person and process less than £25,000 in card payments per year then the square card reader would be a safe choice.

The square card reader is best suited to single-site cafes, restaurants, bars and service-based businesses. It will also be a good choice for sole traders and service businesses on the move where payments can be made without WiFi or an ethernet connection.

How does Square compare with its competitors?

The square card reader is commonly seen as an alternative to the Zettle or SumUp card readers. They are similar in terms of price (hardware and transaction fees) as well as functionality. What differentiates Square is that they have a larger selection of other POS hardware (e.g. the Square Register kit, cash drawer, printer) and their restaurant and retail POS systems are more popular than similar offerings from SumUp.

Read our comprehensive Square Card Reader review here. You may also be interested in our comparison or the top 3: Square vs Zettle vs SumUp card readers.

SumUp Air:
Best card reader and business account package

sumup air

Pros

Cons

Launched in 2012, SumUp has become one of Europe’s most successful FinTech companies by meeting the payment processing needs of smaller retailers and service businesses. The SumUp Air card reader is its entry-level POS model and is often spotted in independent shops and cafes across the UK.

SumUp app includes standard features such as quick-sale mode, tipping, cash recording, basic analytics, email/SMS receipts, and QR code payments. It also supports remote payments, including payment links and virtual gift cards.

SumUp Features

  • Payment methods accepted: Accepts chip and PIN, contactless NFC payments, and mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
  • Keypad: Unlike its rival, the Square Card Reader, it includes a keypad for pin entry.
  • Till features: Can carry out essential till functions, such as splitting bills and customising receipts.
  • Fast access to funds: Next-day access to funds if the complimentary business account with a Mastercard is used. If it isn’t used payments are typically transferred to the merchant’s bank account within 2-3 days.
  • Reporting: The SumUp software platform can provide simple business reports such as sales, profits, wastage, and refunds.
  • Stock management: Ingredient-level inventory and low stock warnings are available.
  • Business development: Users can create loyalty programs or analyse purchase history if they pay the £18 per month loyalty add-on package.
  • Battery life: Up to 12 hours of battery life or around 500 transactions on a full charge
  • Online payment options. Provides tools for taking remote payments, including a basic online store, payment links, and invoicing.
  • Customer support: Offers customer support on weekdays and weekends, which is a step ahead of some competitors.

SumUp Card Machine Fees

SumUp offers 2 card readers, the SumUp Air (SumUp Plus in the US) and the SumUp Solo.

Cost TypeSumUp FeesDetails
SumUp Air (Device Cost)£29 +VATOne-time purchase cost for the device.
SumUp Solo (Device Cost)£79 +VAT One-time purchase cost for the device.
Transaction Fee (Standard)1.69%Fee per transaction using the SumUp Air card reader.
Transaction Fee (Business Account)1.49%Reduced fee for transactions with the SumUp Business Account.
Remote Transactions (Invoice/Link)2.50%Fee for transactions processed through payment links or invoicing.
Monthly Costs£0No monthly fees or rental costs associated with the device.
Virtual Terminal2.95% + 25pFee for card-not-present transactions processed without the card reader.
Online Payments2.50%Fee for transactions processed through the online store or payment links.

The SumUp Air, priced at £39 (excluding VAT), connects via Bluetooth and supports magstripe, EMV/chip cards, and contactless NFC payments. It has an OLED display and a PIN pad, unlike the Square reader.

The SumUp Solo, priced at £79 (excluding VAT), is a standalone terminal similar to the Square Terminal. It’s battery-operated with a colour touchscreen and accepts EMV and NFC-based payments. Connectivity is through Wi-Fi or a built-in SIM card.

There is also the option to have SumUp Solo with a printer which is currently priced at £139 (excluding VAT). This external printer attachment also acts as a separate battery pack extending periods between charges.

The standard transaction fees are 1.69% for card reader & business account transactions. However, if you also sign up to aSumUp Business Account, the card reader transaction fee is reduced to 1.49% and payments are typically received in just one business day compared to 2-3 with a normal account.

For remote transactions, such as those processed through payment links or invoicing, there’s a 2.50% fee. If you’re using the Virtual Terminal for card-not-present transactions, the fee is 2.95% + 25p. Finally, for online payments processed through the online store or via a payment link, the fee is 2.50%.

What differentiates the SumUp Air from its main rivals?

The main USP of the SumUp card reader compared to its rivals is that it reduces transaction fees by 0.2% and processing times by 1-2 days for customers who also sign up to its business bank account.

However, we believe the Square Reader is a better choice. You can read out full SumUp Air review here.

Zettle Reader 2:
Best card reader for occasional use

zettle card reader

Pros

Cons

Since PayPal bought out iZettle in 2018 (breaking competition rules) they have retired their Paypal Here card reader and focused on the recently rebranded Zettle range of card readers (previously iZettle). 

Like other card readers from payment facilitators, its user interface is on its app that users install on their Apple or Android smartphone or tablet and connect via Bluetooth.

Using the Zettle Reader 2 is intuitive and straightforward although you will need to ensure you have registered for PayPal Business account before you can use it.

If you want more details, check out our Zettle review here or our comparison of the Square vs Zettle card readers. 

How much is a Zettle Reader 2?

The Zettle Reader 2, available in black or white, is priced starting from £29+VAT for the first machine and then £59+VAT for each additional one

Zettle also includes shipping, bank transfers, refunds and protection against chargebacks up to £250 per month with no additional charges.

Other Zettle Hardware Available:

  • Zettle Reader & Dock: This combo is available for £89 +VAT.
  • Zettle Terminal: The standalone terminal is priced at £149 +VAT or £199 +VAT with a barcode scanner or printer. A bundle of all 3 (reader, dock, scanner, printer) is £249 +VAT.

Best card payment machines available to lease

The card machines listed below are typically offered by merchant service providers that require a minimum term contract. The approval and onboarding process is more cumbersome than the fixed priced card reader suppliers above but they offer more functionality, a better user experience, extensive integration options and typically lower transaction fees.

If you are interested in comparing the transaction fees for card machine payments, fill in our short form and our payment experts will get you bespoke quotes.

Ingenico Move 500:
Best mobile card machine

The Ingenico Move 5000, and the Desk 5000 covered below, are available on a monthly contract with Worldpay, Trust Payments & Elavon.

The Move 5000 was launched in the UK in 2019 to replace the very popular iWL series. It has a number of improvements on Ingenico’s iWL range including a new Telium Tetra operating system and a faster processor.

Like its rivals, it can process all the most popular payment methods like traditional EMV Chip & PIN, magstripe, contactless payments, digital wallets, and QR-code transactions. The device features a relatively small 3.5-inch colour touchscreen and offers 4G, 3G, GPRS, Dual SIM, Bluetooth, and WiFi connectivity options.

Its multiple mobile connectivity options also make it a popular choice for businesses that don’t have fixed payment stations (e.g. restaurants with table service).

Ingenico Desk 5000:
Best countertop card machine

The Ingenico Desk 5000 is the countertop version of the Ingenico Move 5000. Both offer mobile connectivity via 4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth and WiFi but the Desk 5000 can get online via an ethernet cable. It also does not have a Dual SIM like the Move 5000.

It can also have wired connections to other POS devices making it ideal for integrating with EPOS systems at the checkout point.

Ingenico Axium DX8000:
Best all round card payment machine

The Axium DX8000, also offered by Trust Payments, is positioned as a response to previous criticisms about Ingenico’s outdated designs and an attempt to compete with the stylish and feature-rich PAX A920.

The PAX A920 has seen significant growth and adoption in the UK market, while the Ingenico Axium DX8000 is still emerging, especially among larger multi-site retailers.

PAX A920:
Best battery life for a Smart POS terminal

The PAX A920 has a sleek design with a large 5-inch HD touchscreen that removes the need for a physical PIN pad. It also has a rear camera for scanning QR codes and barcodes. It supports all major payment methods including chip and PIN, contactless, magnetic stripe, NFC, and QR code payments.

This Smart POS terminal operates on an Android system, allowing users to install and use other Android applications in addition to its standard features like reporting, sales tracking and customer loyalty functions that are included as standard.

Popular payment processors offering card machines (and how much they cost)

The merchant service providers below all offer one or more of the highly rated card machines above on a monthly contract.

If you are interested in comparing the transaction fees for card machine payments, fill in our short form and our payment experts will get you bespoke quotes.

Worldpay Card Machines

Worldpay offers three highly-rated card machines for UK businesses manufactured by Ingenico; the Axium DX8000, the Move 500 and the Desk 5000. The pros and cons below relate to all these Ingenico machines and Worldpay.

Pros

Cons

Worldpay Card Machine Prices

Worldpay charges a fixed fee each month for their card machines.

  • Fixed Monthly Plan: £49.99/month per card machine with a set threshold (which they don’t publish online).
  • Custom Plan: £17.95/month per card machine and no transaction limit.

Both monthly plans will have variable transaction fees that are agreed on a bespoke basis for each business and some card types will have higher fees (e.g. AMEX).

Each plan also requires a minimum contract term of 18 months. If you wish to accept payments over the phone, there’s an added cost of £9.99 per month.

Transaction fees will vary but you can see a indicative guide to Worldpay transaction fees here

Other suppliers of the Move 5000 include Elavon (£18 + VAT per month), Barclaycard (£15 + VAT per month on an 18-month contract) and Trustpayments.

How do Worldpay card machines compare to its rivals?

The table below shows how the two Worldpay card machines compare to the PAX A920, the Smart POS terminal offered by Dojo, Barclaycard and Takepayments.

Feature/SpecificationIngenico Move/5000Axium DX8000PAX A920
Operating SystemTelium TETRAAndroid 10Android 7.1
Display3.5” backlit, HVGA (480×320 pixels)6-inch HD+ touchscreen5-inch HD touchscreen
Connectivity4G and/or 3G with fallback, WiFi, Bluetooth4G, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi (2.4G and 5G)4G, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth
Payment MethodsEMV Chip & PIN, Contactless, Magstripe, Digital Wallets, QR-codeEMV Chip & PIN, Contactless, Magstripe, Digital Wallets, QR-codeEMV Chip & PIN, Contactless, Magstripe, NFC
Battery CapacityUp to 3100mAh Li-ionLong-lasting Li-ion battery (specific capacity not mentioned)5250mAh rechargeable Li-ion
Battery LifeNot specified (but given the capacity, it should last a full business day depending on usage)Not specified (but designed for lengthy working days)Not specified (but typically lasts a full business day)
SecurityPCI PTS 6.0PCI PTS v6PCI PTS 5.x
ProcessorCortex A5ARM Quad-core Cortex A53Quad-core Cortex A53
Memory512 MB Flash, 512 MB RAMUp to 32GB Flash and 3GB RAM1GB RAM, 8GB Flash
CameraNoneFront and rear (Up to 2MP front, 8MP rear)5MP rear camera
Additional FeaturesIntegrated thermal printer, 1D/2D barcode scanner option, GPS tracking optionIntegrated thermal printer, power-saving features, optimized performanceIntegrated thermal printer, built-in GPS

Please note that the exact battery life can vary based on usage patterns, settings, and other factors. It’s always recommended to refer to the official datasheets or product documentation for the most accurate information.

Barclaycard Card Machines

Barclaycard offer the a pay-as-you-go card reader,  the Smartpay Anywhere, and also the Ingenico Move 5000 and PAX A920 on monthly contracts.

 We don’t recommend Barlcaycard’s entry-level pocket-sized card reader, the Smartpay Anywhere card reader. This white-labeled card reader has had some issues with Bluetooth connectivity and the app is basic compared to its competitors (the app has not been updated since mid-2018). If you are looking for a card reader with no contract we’d recommend those offered by Square, SumUp or Zettle are better.

You may also be interested in our Barclaycard Merchant Services Review.

The pros and cons below relate to Barclaycard as a provider of card terminals and not the specific hardware.

You need a Barclays bank account to qualify for faster settlement times:

Pros

Cons

Barclays card machine fees

Barclaycard offer the PAX A920 for £29 per month plus VAT on an 18-month contract. They also offer the Ingenico Move 5000 for 15 +VAT on a 12-month contract.

Card Reader Monthly Rental Fee Contract Length Transaction Costs
Ingenico Move 5000 £15 +VAT 18 Months Bespoke
PAX A920 £29 +VAT 18 Months Bespoke

It is worth noting that Takepayments (an ISO of Barclaycard) also offers the Pro version, the PAX A920Pro, for £25 + VAT per month on an 18-month contract.

Did you know:

Worldpay stopped offering the PAX A920 in 2021 as they had security concerns and lost confidence in the manufacturer, PAX Global Technology based in China. At the time, it was reported that the FBI began investigating PAX after a major U.S. payment processor (thought to be Worldpay) believed the terminals were being used both as a repository for malicious files (a malware “dropper”) and “command-and-control” locations for collecting user information.

Tyl By Natwest

Tyl is the brand NatWest launched in 2019 in order to gain a larger foothold in the lucrative small business merchant service industry.

They aim to appeal to a range of business types and sizes by offering 2 transaction fee structures (fixed fees and custom) and 4 card machines plus a stand-alone payments app. 

Tyl by Natwest card payment machines fees

Card Machine Description Connectivity Monthly fees
Free for the first 3 months
PAX A50 Pocket sized portable card reader Wi-Fi + 4G + Bluetooth £6.99 +VAT
Purchase outright: £75 +VAT
Clover Flex Smart portable POS terminal 4G + Wi-Fi £16.99 +VAT
Ingenico Move 3500 Portable card machine 3G or Wi-Fi Wi-Fi: £19.99 +VAT
3G: £21.99 +VAT
Ingenico Desk 3500 Countertop card machine Ethernet £13.99 +VAT

For a business taking less than £50,000 per year in card sales, Natwest charges 1.5% transaction fees (excl Amex cards).

Their ecommerce gateway is free for the first 12 months (normally £14.95+VAT per month) and their card machines have no fees for the first 3 months.

For businesses taking less than £50,000 per year in card sales, they will offer 5 bespoke card rates (the exact rates will depend on your business type, sales volume, average transaction size etc) and the same special offers on the card machine and payment gateway.

Dojo Go:
Best customer support for small businesses

Dojo is a trading name of Paymentsense Ltd and was set up to focus on small businesses which predominantly carry out face-to-face transactions. They only offer the PAX A920.  

Pros

Cons

Dojo Fees

Dojo’s pricing is tiered depending on the annual card turnover of the business. If your business takes more than £150,000 in card sales each year you will be offered bespoke transaction fees based on your business.

 Below £150k in annual card turnoverAbove £150k in annual card turnover
Contract Duration6 months (then rolling per month)Monthly rolling
Monthly Terminal Fee£20 pm£15 pm
Minimum Monthly Payment Charge£24.95£24.95
Refund Fee£0.50£0.50
Secure Transaction Fee5p5p
Card Charges (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro etc)1.4% + 5pBespoke
American ExpressVariable% + 5pVariable% + 5p
Card not present1.9% + 5pBespoke
Business Card Charges (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro etc)1.99% + 5pBespoke
  • Pricing notes:
    The 5p added to each transaction is an authorisation fee to cover payment security and fraud detection.
  • The Minimum Monthly Payment Charge of £24.95 is only applied if the total transaction fees during the month are under £24.95.
  • Card-not-present payments refer to payments taken when the cardholder isn’t physically present, such as over the phone or online payments.
  • The American Express transaction fee structure requires more information about the business before a rate can be provided.

How does the Dojo Go compare to rivals?

The Dojo Go doesn’t sit into a clear card reader category as it offers fixed and variable fees depending on annual card turnover. In terms of hardware, the PAX A920 device is superior to the relatively basic card readers offered by SumUp, Zettle and Square.

Should you buy or lease a card machine?

When you need a credit card machine (aka a card reader), you essentially have two choices:

1. Lease your credit card machine(s) from a merchant account provider.

You will need to sign a contract (typically for 12 months or more) and pay a monthly fee for each terminal. The transaction fees are not fixed and will be agreed in advance with your merchant account provider (they will depend on several factors).

2. Buy a mobile card reader from a payment facilitator.

You will not need a dedicated merchant account and the transaction fees are fixed and transparent.

The best route is typically determined by your business type, annual card turnover and typical transaction size. You can compare the typical fees you are likely to pay for buying or renting credit card machines here.

Payment Facilitators
Merchant Account Providers
Examples
Square, SumUp, Zettle
Worldpay, Lloyds Cardnet,
Elavon, Evo Payments
Dedicated Merchant Account?
Monthly Contract?
Card Machine Manufacturer
Own brand
Normally 3rd party suppliers (e.g. Ingenico, Verifone, PAX)
Card Machine Pricing
One upfront cost
Monthly hire for the length of the contract
Transaction Fees
Fixed

Relatively high (typically 1.6% – 1.75% for in person transaction)
Varies by business

Most competitive rates
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Best for?
Small businesses with annual card transactions under £25K
Businesses with annual card turnover above £25K

How much does a card payment machine cost?

The costs of a card payment machine can be split up into the cost of the device itself and the fees paid by the payment processors (e.g. the transaction fees, chargeback fees etc). 

The card reader will either be offered to purchase outright (with prices ranging from just £16 +VAT to £199 +VAT for pay-as-you-go card machines) or available on a monthly contract (with prices ranging from £6.99 +VAT per month to £49.99 +VAT). 

Transaction fees will vary by card type, payment type and payment processor. As a guide, we’ve managed to secure transaction fees for in-person payments at just 0.29% for a debit card transaction with credit card rates below 1% but it will very much depend on your business, the merchant account provider and the card type being used (i.e some providers  will charge 3%+ for business credit cards). 

Businesses requiring a high-risk merchant account will have the highest transaction fees for in-person and remote payments.

You can get more information on fees in our guide to card machine costs.  

Other popular card machines to consider

The table below shows other POS terminals from Castles and Vega to consider and the payment processors offering them on a monthly contract. They are good PDQ machines but didn’t make it on to our recommended list. 

Brand
Device Model & Cost Excl VAT
Transaction Fees
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 Verifone Logo 1
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 Verifone 400c square
Verifone V400c

Countertop
Ethernet or phone-line
Varies by provider. Offered by Adyen and Opayo (Elavon).

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PAX_Technology_Inc_logo
8 Best Card Machines For UK Small Businesses In 2024 Castles Vega 3000m
Castles Vega 3000C

Countertop
Ethernet or USB
Varies by provider. Offered by Trusted Payments, Adyen, Netpay, Evo Payments.

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FAQS

Portable card machine terminals connect via Wireless or Bluetooth. They are well suited to businesses that take payments from customers away from a till or across a number of locations. You will see restaurants and other hospitality venues using portable card machines inside and outside the venue, while a hotel may choose to take the portable route to facilitate payments anywhere on-site.

Mobile card machines work via a SIM card (GPRS/GSM). They’re ideal for businesses that need to get take payments on the go such as plumbers, taxi drivers and builders. Some hospitality businesses also prefer them to portable machines which may lose their WiFi or Bluetooth connection due to being too far from the base station or having obstructions blocking the signal.  

Most portable card machines come with a SIM card option to also give them mobile functionality. They will switch between 4G, 3G, GPRS, Dual SIM, Bluetooth or WiFi automatically to ensure there is no drop-off in connectivity.  All the models below have this option but this typically adds to the monthly fees. 

If you sign up with a payment processor that provides card machines the models available will typically be made by Verifone, Ingenico, Pax Technology, Clover, Spire Payments, Datecs or Miura Systems.

They will either be classed a countertop, portable or mobile card machines (we are discounting EPOS systems as they fall into a different subset).

In most cases, it is best to obtain a card terminal through your merchant account provider rather than source one from a dedicated card machine supplier. 

Before you decide on the merchant account provider to use you should decide on the type(s) of card terminal(s) you require. So in summary:

  • Assess how many countertop, portable or mobile card machines your business would require.
  • Discuss the brands and models of card machines available from your preferred merchant account provider. 
  • Sign up and order your card machines. Your terminals will usually be sent by post with everything you need to start taking payments. 

Card readers without a contract offered by payment facilitators are the cheapest in terms of hardware as they only incur a one-off upfront fee as low as £16+VAT.

However, for most businesses, the cheapest way to take card payments in person will be signing up for a monthly contract with a merchant service provider and leasing their countertop, portable or mobile credit card machines. Countertop machines will be cheapest of these types. 

Only businesses with a relatively low annual card turnover (below about £25,000) and/or a low average transaction value will likely be better off with a no-contract mobile card reader like those offered by SquareZettle or SumUp.

Whilst these are the cheapest card machines in terms of hardware, they charge expensive transaction fees (the most popular card readers range between 1.60% – £1.75% per face-to-face transaction and 2.5% for remote payments).

If your business takes over £2,000 per month in card transactions per month (or expects to) it normally makes commercial sense to sign up with a merchant services provider (i.e. Worldpay, Elavon etc) that can offer significantly lower transaction fees.

Fill in the form here and will find you the best one for your business. 

A contract will need to be signed (typically with a minimum term of 12 months) but on balance, the benefits will make this the best option when you process more than £25K per year.

If you believe the ‘pay as you go’ mobile card readers are the way to go there are only a handful to consider.

Yes. Many card machines will connect seamlessly to your till or using cloud-based software. This allows you to integrate your card payments with your EPOS system ensuring all transactions are tracked and accounted for.

Yes. The machine can be used for cardholder-not-present (CNP) payments. 

The steps for doing this will vary slightly depending on your terminal but they remain more or less the same.

  1. Key in the amount of the transaction and follow the prompt to enter customer card details. Some terminals will have a dedicated CNP option usually found within the menu.
  2. Enter the following information in the order your card machine prompts
    1. Card number (the long number on the front of the card)
    2. Expiry date (MM/YY)
    3. Security code/CVV number (last three numbers on the back e.g. 123)
    4. Customer address (usually just the house number)
    5. Customer postcode (usually just the numbers e.g. 156)
    6. The terminal will connect to the provider for approval and either approve or reject the transaction.

CNP transactions are processed in essentially the same way as an online transactions. Since the cardholder is not physically present, the software on the physical terminal allows it to contact the acquiring bank and process the transaction remotely.

  1. Small Retailers: Single sites or chains with a handful of sites.
  2. Hospitality: From sit-down restaurants, bars, coffee shops to mobile food trucks.
  3. Service providers: Professionals such as hairstylists, makeup artists, masseuses, and personal trainers can benefit from the portability and access to 3G and 4G.
  4. Sole Traders at events and markets: Vendors at craft fairs, farmers’ markets, or other events can use card readers to process sales on the spot.
  5. Tradespeople: Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and other tradespeople can accept payments on-site after completing a job.
  6. Healthcare professionals: Dentists, chiropractors, therapists, and other healthcare providers.
  7. Taxis: Drivers often use small card readers and connect via their smartphones

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