Which Is the Cheapest Mobile Card Reader in the UK?

Which Is the Cheapest Mobile Card Reader in the UK?


In the past, it used to be quite expensive to set your business up with a card terminal or machine. This meant that many small businesses had to survive without them, often passing up potential sales as a result. 

These days, though, it has become much cheaper and simpler to take mobile payments via a mobile card reader or machine. There are now quite a few companies selling mobile card readers in the UK, but which is the cheapest? 

In this post, we’ll discuss which of the big companies – iZettle, SumUp, Square and PayPal – offer the best deal. We’ll be looking at the upfront cost of each reader and also the ongoing cost.


Let’s start with the reader which we feel is by a slim margin the cheapest on the market, SumUp.

SumUp are one of the most recognised names in the mobile payments market. Many small businesses trust them with their card payment needs. How do they fare when it comes to pricing, though?

In our opinion, SumUp offer the best deal for small businesses looking to take mobile card payments in the UK. If you take advantage of one of their special offers, you can pick up a SumUp Air Card Reader for just £19 + Vat*. This is the same price as the card readers from both iZettle and Square. Paypal, however, charge a huge £45 if you want to buy a card reader from them.

SumUp card reader

You may be wondering why we are recommending SumUp over iZettle or Square if their card readers are the same price? The reason for this is the ongoing transaction cost charged by SumUp.

SumUp only charge 1.69% per transaction with no monthly fees or hidden costs. While this is only a slightly cheaper rate than the 1.75% charged by both iZettle and Square, it is still cheaper. I for one would rather have that extra money in my pocket. 

PayPal structure things slightly differently, which we’ll discuss later in this post.


Now let’s talk a little bit about iZettle.

Back in 2018, IZettle were bought by a name we all know, PayPal. 

PayPal already sold their own card readers but obviously they saw an opportunity to supercharge their place in the space with the purchase of iZettle. So, how do iZettle stack up in our look at the various UK mobile card readers?

iZettle currently match SumUp and Square in the upfront cost of their most basic terminal. The iZettle card reader costs £19 plus VAT, which is the same price as the other two companies mentioned.

The difference comes in the ongoing costs. iZettle charge 1.75% per transaction compared to SumUp’s 1.69%. While this is a small difference, it is a difference nonetheless. 


As we’re only discussing the upfront and ongoing costs of the various card readers in this post, I hope you don’t mind me simply stating that Square currently offer the same pricing structure as iZettle, so please refer to the iZettle subheading to see how they measure up.


It may seem odd that we are discussing PayPal last in this post, but I’m sure the reasons for this will become clear.

For a start, the PayPal mobile card reader is much more expensive than the others on our list. It comes in at £45 plus VAT, versus £19 plus VAT for all of the other readers discussed here. 

Then we have the ongoing percentage PayPal charge. For low volume accounts, PayPal charge 2.75% per transaction. This is a big jump on the 1.69% charged by SumUp and the 1.75% charged by iZettle and Square. 

As the volume of transactions increases, however, this percentage does gradually decrease to a possible 1% per transaction if you take over £15,000 in payments via the PayPal reader.

Time to SumUp?

We hope that this post has given you a good idea of which UK mobile card reader is the cheapest. Currently, SumUp offer the best deal for businesses who are expecting a relatively low transaction volume. The SumUp card reader* is also joint cheapest!

If you’re expecting to take over £15,000 in card sales, however, then PayPal might be worth a look if you don’t mind paying £45 + VAT to buy their card reader at the outset.

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