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Zettle Card Reader 2 vs SumUp Air ms payment logos

Zettle Card Reader 2 vs SumUp Air

The Zettle Card Reader 2 and SumUp Air are two of the most affordable card readers for small businesses after a portable solution for taking card payments in-person. If you want to accept chip and PIN, contactless and mobile payments at your business, both of these card readers have you covered.

That being said, the two companies offer slightly different payment solutions beyond their card readers and this head-to-head comparison will tell you which one is better suited to your business.

Zettle 2 vs Sum Up Air

Zettle Reader 2 Pros

Zettle Reader 2 Cons

SumUp Air Pros

SumUp Air Cons

Features & Products

The Zettle Card Reader 2 and SumUp Air offer very similar features but, as the table below shows, the SumUp Air doesn’t have wireless connectivity. Technically, WiFi allows faster transfer speeds and better security but, for the purpose of a mobile card reader, the difference is negligible.


Zettle 2

SumUp Air

Chip and PIN


Mobile payments

Swipe strip

Free POS

Virtual terminal




The bigger difference between Zettle and SumUp is software and hardware availability. While Zettle provides a free basic POS system (as well as paid versions for retail and hospitality) the SumUp mobile app doesn’t include a full POS system. The company does offer a paid POS system, starting from £29/month and several add-ons for hospitality, food and drinks, retail, etc.

The other big difference between the two companies is that SumUp doesn’t provide much in the way of hardware beyond its card readers.


Zettle 2

SumUp Air

Charging dock

POS station

iPad stand

Cash drawer

Receipt printer

Barcode scanner

Receipt rolls

Receipt rolls

Bundle kits

There is the SumUp Solo, which includes WiFi connectivity, for £119 and the SumUp 3G card reader, which includes a built-in receipt printer, for £149 – but that’s it.

Specs comparison


Size and weight


Zettle 2

SumUp Air


134 x 133 x 34 mm

84 x 84 x 23 mm






Zettle 2

SumUp Air






Zettle 2

SumUp Air


iOS 12 +

iOS 10+


Android 5 +

Android 4.4 +

Battery life


Zettle 2

SumUp Air

Full charge

~100 transactions

~500 transactions

USB charging cable



Charging dock



The Zettle Card Reader 2 is quite bigger and heavier than the SumUp Air but it’s still a compact reader and the build quality is superior. It’s also got a better keypad and wireless connectivity but the SumUp card reader has significantly better battery life – up to 500 transactions from a single charge.

Supported Cards

With 82% of all card payments in the UK made using Visa cards, both of these card readers offer excellent coverage although Zettle edges it with support for JCB cards and Samsung Pay.


Zettle 2

SumUp Air

American Express




Visa Election




Diners Club

V Pay

Apple Pay

Google Pay

Samsung Pay

Usability & Third-Party Integrations

Zettle produces better hardware and provides more software for free but SumUp’s POS system, called Goodtill by SumUp, is far more capable and intuitive than Zettle’s free and paid options.

Zettle’s paid software for retail and hospitality businesses is solid enough but SumUp bought out the excellent iPad POS system Goodtill in 2020. Prices start at £29/month and you can add specialist features for different business types with add-ons ranging from £9-£19/month.

If you’re willing to pay up to £37/month for a restaurant POS system, Goodtill by SumUp beats anything Zettle has to offer.

Security & Customer Support


Zettle 2

SumUp Air

Tamperproof design

Data encryption

PCI compliance

24/7 support

Weekend support

Online documentation

Phone support

Email support

Zettle and Sumup both provide industry-standard security, including PCI compliance and data encryption. They also have similar online support systems with email channels and help centres on their websites. 

You can get technical support over the phone with Zettle links being open between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays only while SumUp has lines open from 8 am to 7 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 5 pm on Saturdays.

Those extra couple of hours and Saturday support can make all the difference when you run into technical problems.

eCommerce Capabilities

Zettle integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop and Shopware to support online stores but its software doesn’t provide any eCommerce features, aside from processing online payments.

SumUp, on the other hand, provides dedicated tools to help you start selling online, including a free website builder, complete with an online checkout system and a payment gateway.

Understandably, the website builder is quite limited and you’re not going to launch the next Amazon using SumUp. But, if you mainly accept payments at your business premise and want to branch out into online selling (food orders, table bookings, etc.), SumUp is a great way to get started.

Fees Comparison


Zettle 2

SumUp Air

Card reader



Transaction fees (in-person)



Online transaction fee



Keyed-in transaction fee


2.95% + 25p

Chargeback fee



Charging dock



Their transaction fees are similar but are high compared to other payment processing providers that require a contract to be signed (with a minimum term of of at least 12 months) and provide card machines charged at a fixed monthly fee. 

Due to their relatively high transaction fees these card readers will really only make commercial sense if you are transacting less than £2,000 per month on cards. After that point the savings you’d make on the lower transaction fees from other merchant account providers will make it tempting to switch to them. 

Zettle vs SumUp FAQs

What Businesses are Zettle and SumUp best for?

Zettle and SumUp are both suited for small businesses that need a portable system for accepting card payments and don’t want to sign up to monthly contracts: independent retailers, food and drinks businesses, art galleries, etc. 

How quickly are funds deposited into my Bank account via each card reader?

Both Zettle and SumUp say it can take between 1-3 business days after the payment to see funds appear in your account.

What are Zettle’s and SumUp’s scalability capacities?

Zettle and SumUp are designed for smaller businesses so you’re going to outgrow either of them if you start opening branches across the country. The transaction fees are affordable at low-mid volumes of card payments but they become expensive if you’re processing thousands of card payments every day – if this sounds like your business, fill out this form to find the right payment solution for you and the best rates available.

Zettle vs SumUp: Final Verdict

If you only need a basic card reader for accepting card payments at one small business location, either of these options is a good fit. However, if you want several POS points in your store, Zettle provides the better hardware while SumUp is the clear winner for selling online and its POS software – if you’re willing to pay for it (the Square reader includes free POS features that may be a better option for some businesses). 

Further Reading

Process More Than £2,000 Per Month? You will typically be better off avoiding Zettle, SumUp and Square which have relatively expensive transaction fees. Click below and we’ll find you better rates. 

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