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Zettle Card Reader Review msuk payment logos

Zettle by Paypal Review

What we like:

Things we don’t like:

Zettle by Paypal (previously iZettle) is an award-winning Swedish fintech and one of the most popular choices for small businesses in the UK.

It was bought for $2.2bn by Paypal in 2018 who dropped the ‘i’ and rebranded it to Zettle by Paypal in Feb 2021.

Its mobile card reader means you can accept payments almost anywhere and its excellent POS app packs a powerful collection of payment and business management tools.

If you head to review sites like Trustpilot, you’ll see that they are one of the few payment service companies with a positive reputation (4/5) although recent reviews in early 2021 have been a bit mixed.

Zettle Card Reader Review white front visa

This doesn’t mean Zettle’s mobile card reader is going to be for every kind of business, though. So, in this review, we’re going to look at the good and bad of Zettle’s card reader – and explain what kind of businesses should consider using it.

Ordering & Ease of USe

Before you can order your Zettle card reader, you’ll need to sign up for Zettle and then get your bank account approved. The signup process takes no time at all – you simply fill in some information about your business and then Zettle performs a “unique risk assessment,” including a credit check and identity verification.

First, we used a business bank account with a good history of receiving payments, paying out for expenses and making a healthy profit. Then, we registered with a sole trader account and had no problems getting approved, although some customers have told us they had to provide additional documentation when registering with a sole trader account.

Zettle Card Reader Review screen shot 2018 10 17 at 17.11.55

All in all, signing up and getting approved is straightforward and the experience is very similar to getting started with Square – both of which are faster than SumUp.

Once you’ve signed up with Zettle, you can order your card reader and it should arrive within 1-3 days with free delivery. We only had to wait two days to receive our reader and DHL sent us a text message the day before to tell us it was coming and that we’d need to sign for it.

Open the box and you’ll find your Zettle card reader with a USB cable, which you can plug in to start taking payments right away. There are three ways to take payments: you can insert your customer’s card for chip-and-pin, take contactless and mobile p

Payments by using the NFC chip on the top of the device or swipe cards in the magstripe reader at the lower-top of the device.

The card reader is really well designed and impressively compact, considering it includes a magstripe reader in the unit – unlike Square’s mobile card reader, which comes with a separate reader for swiping cards. Another key difference is you’ve got a keypad on the Zettle reader, which you don’t get with Square’s key-less mobile reader.

Zettle’s card reader is noticeably larger when you compare the two but there’s not a great deal in it. What’s more noticeable is that Zettle has managed to squeeze a keypad and a magstripe reader into a device that’s slightly larger but better equipped to take payments.

To take your first payment, you’ll need to pair your card reader with your Bluetooth-enabled iOS or Android device. This only takes a moment using the Zettle Go app and you’ll be guided through the process in-app.

Once you’re set up, you can enter the amount of the sale and tap the “charge” button. This sends all the payment details to your card reader and all your customer needs to do is insert their card to pay by chip and pin or hover their card/device over the NFC icon for contactless or mobile payments.

One of the key selling points of Zettle is that it’s the fastest mobile card reader on the market. The device only takes two seconds to power up and contactless/mobile payments should be completed within 5 seconds. Other payments may take up to 15 seconds but you’re still looking at impressive times compared to most card readers on the market.

This can make a real difference when you’re dealing with queues or customers in a rush.

With your first payment complete, your funds should be in your bank account within 1-3 business days. This is faster than SumUp but slightly slower than Square, which promises to have funds in your account as soon as the next business day, as well as offering an instant deposit feature for a 1% fee.

Compare Zettle with other card readers recommended for small businesses

What Kind Of Businesses Is Zettle Good For?

  • Small businesses (less than £1,500 in card payments per month)
  • New businesses
  • Businesses that take the occasional card payment
  • Food and drinks
  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Mobile professionals: plumbers, roofers, etc.

Much like Square and SumUp, Zettle’s mobile card reader is designed for small businesses that accept a low volume of card payments per month. If you’re in this category then using a company like Zettle to handle your card payments is going to be significantly cheaper than getting a merchant account provider and PDQ machine, because of the monthly fees and additional costs involved with taking that route.

However, if you’re processing more than £2,00 in card payments per month, then the lower fees per card transaction offered by merchant account providers could become the more affordable option.

It all comes down to how much you’re going to take through card payments per month.

Zettle Card Reader Review izettle2

Regardless of business size, if the vast majority of your transactions are cash and you only need to take the occasional card payment, Zettle is a strong contender – and the same thing goes for new businesses that aren’t ready to process high volumes of card payments yet.

In most cases, their customers are small retailers or in the hospitality business: pubs, cafes, B&Bs, etc. However, the mobile card reader makes this an ideal choice for businesses or professionals that need to visit customers on-site or in their homes – for example, plumbers, gardeners and interior designers.

Something else that’s worth bearing in mind is that with companies like Zettle, Square and SumUp is that you don’t need a merchant account to accept card payments and – aside from making this cheaper for small businesses – this makes it significantly easier to get an account than it is with traditional merchant account providers.

The downside of this is that account can be frozen without notice – normally because you’re trading in a way that’s deemed “high risk” or violates their terms and conditions. So make sure you know what your obligations are and what kind of payments could be flagged up as suspicious.


While it’s the mobile card reader that allows you to accept payments pretty much anywhere, there are a lot of other payment and business management features built into the Zettle Go app. Combine these two together and you’ve got a comprehensive payment system that should offer more than enough for most small businesses.

First, here’s what you get from your Zettle card reader:

  • Payments: Chip-and-pin, contactless and swipe payments.
  • Mobile payments: Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • Wireless: Connect to Apple or Android devices via Bluetooth.
  • VAT and discounts: Add VAT to receipts and customised discounts in fixed amounts or percentages.
  • Tipping: Recently added a tipping feature for food and drinks businesses (previously only available with Square).
  • Receipts: Send by text, email or print if you have a compatible printer.
  • Refunds: Full refunds for the entire bill or individual items (tips can’t be refunded and no partial refunds for individual items).
  • 8-hour battery life: Comfortably runs for a full business day.

You’re covered for card payments from the following issuers:

Zettle Card Reader Review card providers

Other Apps & Software Features

Aside from the card reader itself, Zettle also offers a range of payment and software features in its two POS apps. First, you have the Ziettle Go app, which gives you the following features for free:

  • Product libraries: Create an inventory of products, tap to add them to your bill and keep track of your stock.
  • Cash payments: Cash payments can be registered in the app to help you keep on top of accounting.
  • Xero integration: Zettle Go integrates seamlessly with accounting platform Xero.
  • Barcode scanning: Has barcode scanning feature that allows you to scan products using your smartphone camera.
  • Invoices: You can create, send and track invoices for free  but you’ll pay 2.5% for each payment received.

There’s also a paid version of the app, called Zettle Go PLUS. The key difference is the PRO version comes with eCommerce features that allow you to accept payments on your website and you’ll need to pay £29/month for the privilege and 2.5% per transaction.

If you’ve already got a website up and running, paying that monthly fee to accept online payments might seem a bit steep. That said, if you haven’t yet got an online store, the Zettle Go PRO app comes with a drag-and-drop store builder and some great tools to help you create and manage your online store.

You also get premium support and a lifetime guarantee for your card reader, as well as analytics and some more advanced inventory options. You can find the full list of features on the its website and decide whether the monthly fee is worth it for you.

As far as we’re concerned, it’s a little disappointing that you can’t accept payments on your website with the free version of Zettle Go – something you can do with Square at no extra cost. In fairness, Zettle offers the stronger set of eCommerce and inventory options if you pay for the PRO version but there’s no virtual terminal at all.

So, if you want to accept payments on your website and over the phone, you should probably take a look at Square’s mobile card reader as the accompanying app offers both of these for free.

How Much Does Zettle Cost?

Zettle is instantly off to a good start with its transparent pricing model, which means you don’t need to worry about hidden costs, contract termination fees or getting stung for having to refund your customers.

This transparent approach to pricing is a relatively new trend among the more online and mobile-focused payments service providers and you can expect similar things from Square, SumUp and PayPal.

Zettle is one of the few payment service providers operating on a flat rate per transaction. Last September, it dropped these fees down to 1.75% from a variable 2.75-1.00%, putting it more in line with rivals Square (1.75%) and SumUp (1.69%).

Aside from that, you don’t need to worry about monthly fees (unless you choose to pay for the Go PRO app), contracts, cancellation fees or any hidden surprises. You also won’t be charged for refunds and they’ll even refund your transaction fees if you run into any problems with customers.

Another big plus is you won’t be charged any extra for taking payments from foreign cards and this makes their extensive support for card issuers all the more impressive.

Customer Service

Payment services companies can really let you down when it comes to customer service but

You’ll also find a fairly thorough support section on the website, which will guide you through all of the basics of using Zettle and the most common problems customers run into. However, it’s worth noting you won’t get an instant response over the weekends.

We’ve heard some complaints about their support team not being available or being a little slow to deal with technical issues. If you need to speak to someone, you can call support Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm or fill out the contact form on the their website.

Aside from these two potential issues, their reputation among existing customers is very positive and there aren’t many payments service companies we can say that about.

Zettle vs Square vs Paypal Here vs SumUp

 SquarePayPal HereZettle by PaypalSumUp
Device cost£19 + VAT£45 +VAT£59 + VAT
£19 + VAT
£29 + VAT
Transaction fees (chip-and-pin)1.75%2.75%-1.0% (depending on sales volume)1.75%1.69%
Settlement timeInstant (1% fee) or as soon as the next business dayInstant to PayPal, withdrawal times vary1-2 business days2-3 business days

While SumUp offers the cheapest flat rate, PayPal Here can work out as the most affordable option if you’re processing enough payments. The problem with PayPal is it has by far the worst reputation for customer service among these companies, receiving quite a lot of complaints about funds being held for an extended period of time.

Then you have Zettle and Square, which are essentially going to cost you the same on a monthly basis. What sets these two apart, though, is they also provide free, heavily-featured POS platforms in addition to their card readers.

If you don’t already have a POS system on board and these two can provide the features you need, you’re probably looking at the best overall packages for small businesses with low volumes of card transactions.

Zettle Verdict: Possibly The Best Card Reader On The Market Right Now 

Its compact reader crams everything you need to accept card payments into a truly mobile device that you can take anywhere. Square’s mobile card reader is significantly smaller but it doesn’t have a keypad and it also comes with a separate magstripe reader, which can make swiping cards a little awkward.

However, Zettle and Square both offer their own impressive POS applications which may offer all the features you need as a small business. If this means you don’t need to pay for POS software from somewhere else, these two may be the most cost-effective options for you.

In this case, it really comes down to what features you need from a POS platform because this is where Zettle and Square differ the most. Square offers more features for free but the paid Zettle Go PRO app comes with a number of eCommerce solutions you can’t get from Square.

To sum up, Zettle is a solid choice for small businesses with low volumes of card transactions (less than £2K in card sales per month).

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