8+ Best Card Machines For UK Business 2023

cheapest card payment machine
Photo by Kampus Production

If you don’t have one of the cheapest card payment machine in an increasingly cashless environment, you risk losing sales. There are numerous card machines for small companies on the market today, with the majority allowing you to accept chip-and-pin, contactless, and mobile payments.

However, there are variances in features, fees, and upfront charges that make some more or less appropriate for your business than others.

This article will dissect the hardware and functionality of the top payment machines now on the market to assist you in selecting the best one for you.

What is a Card Payment Machine?

If you own a business, you should be allowed to accept debit and credit card payments. Consumers are carrying less cash, and some companies no longer accept cash.

Simply said, a card payment machine is a gadget that allows you to accept card payments. However, typical terminals found in larger stores require a physical connection to connect to a phone line or the internet and are costly to set up and use.

Portable card readers have transformed payments for small enterprises, as they may now purchase a low-cost device that connects to their cell phones. They are also simple to use for businesses, whether they have fixed premises or work in multiple locations.

You may be a mobile hairdresser or masseur who comes to people’s homes, or you could run a market booth, a pop-up shop or a food truck. There are additional card machines intended for permanent installation or that connect with a computerised till.

Whatever your business, you can purchase a cheap card machine that accepts contactless as well as chip and PIN payments and can be set up fast and effortlessly.

Choosing the Best Card Payment Machine for You

Times have changed, and so has the way people pay for products. According to the latest recent numbers, 59% of payments are now made by card, with contactless payments accounting for more than a third of all card payments made in the UK.

However, while having a card machine is becoming increasingly important, there are other solutions available.

Your options now range from simple card readers that simply connect to an app on your phone to full-service tills.

To choose the best payment machine for you, consider what features you require, then compare fees and charges to ensure you aren’t paying more than necessary.

Top Cheapest Card Payment Machines to Select From in 2023

The top cheapest card payment machines listed below are excellent choices for small businesses, with minimal costs and excellent features. Let us examine them:

#1. Zettle Reader 2.

The Zettle Reader 2 is a small (130g) device that you can pair with your Apple or Android smartphone and use right away with the Zettle app. It takes all major debit and credit card payment methods and has a reasonable eight-hour battery life – albeit this only lasts for about 100 transactions, which isn’t enough to compete with SumUp’s 500.

Where the Zettle Reader 2 truly stands out is in its emphasis on security. Zettle’s tamper-proof device, which claims to be one of the safest card readers on the market, adheres to the highest industry standards and is fully secured by HSMs cryptographic servers.

In the event that a questionable charge is discovered, Zettle’s transaction insurance covers up to £250 in chargebacks every month. There are no monthly fees; instead, you pay a flat cost each transaction, which is slightly higher than its competitor at 1.75 percent.

However, at £59 + VAT, the Zettle Reader 2 is more expensive than the SumUp Air, and the in-dock charger will cost an additional £39 + VAT.

#2. SumUp Air Card Reader

This elegant and lightweight portable card reader is now one of the most popular card readers for small businesses due to its ease of use and functionality. It’s simple to set up and use. To begin receiving contactless, Chip & Pin, and mobile payments from all major providers, simply pair the device with your smartphone, which takes only a few minutes.

The SumUp Air can then be used anywhere there is Wi-Fi or data coverage, and it can perform 500 transactions on a single charge – at 12 hours, it has the best battery life on the market.

It’s also quite reasonable, with a one-time fee of just £39 and a reduced transaction fee of 1.49 percent. They have also reduced the time it takes for payments to appear in your account to just one day. You also get a smartphone app with a dashboard that lets you examine your product catalogue, track sales, and send digital receipts.

#3. Square Reader

The Square Reader is the most stylish, straightforward, and reasonably priced card reader on the market. This correctly square-shaped device costs only £19 + VAT, which is far less than competitors.

And with a weight of only 56g, it’s not just the price that’s inexpensive. Simply connect it to your phone over Bluetooth and begin selling. You may then use Square’s free app to track and manage all of your sales. All money are deposited the following business day.

Specially built POS dashboards for restaurants, restaurants, and mobile businesses that require appointments, such as hairdressers or masseurs, are among the useful features.

Square also sells a variety of alternative payment kits that can be used to build a comprehensive POS system, including terminals, registers, and other hardware and accessories. The transaction costs aren’t the lowest at 1.75 per cent, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more lightweight and cost-effective option to begin accepting payments.

Additionally, firms that sell more than £200,000 in card sales per year pay a lower transaction cost.

#4. Dojo Go

Dojo Go bills itself as the “ultimate all-rounder,” a compact business card machine that can function as both a mobile (3G/4G) and a portable (Wi-Fi) device. The main selling point of Dojo Go is its speed: the business claims that its gadget can accept card payments in roughly two seconds, which is 80 per cent faster than the industry norm. Using the Dojo Go app, you can keep track of all those payments in real-time.

Dojo is so confident in its product that if you switch from an existing provider, it will cover your exit fees up to £3,000 in total. (Before Dojo decides on the transfer value, you must exchange your most current statements with another provider.)

We also appreciate Dojo’s assistance and support, which is available 24 hours a day. If you can’t resolve the issue over the phone, Dojo can remotely take over your device to investigate. All payments are transferred to your account at 10 a.m. the following working day, which it claims is faster than the standard of any other supplier.

If your annual card turnover is less than £150,000, your credit and debit card rates will be less than 1.4 per cent, with a monthly terminal rental fee of £15 per month. If your annual card turnover is greater than £150,000, your credit and debit card rates will be less than 1.4 per cent, with a monthly terminal rental fee of £15 per month.

#5. myPOS Go

MyPOS Go 2’s design isn’t as sleek and elegant as its competitors, but under the hood, it’s another very practical and tiny mobile card reader. The device costs £29 + VAT, and the transaction fee is only 1.10% + 7p, although it can be much lower (depending on the amount taken).

Other characteristics distinguish the Linux-powered myPOS Go 2 card reader from competitors. You receive a free e-money merchant account with a dedicated IBAN in 14 currencies, making international payments simple.

Unlike other providers, card payments are processed in your account in less than three seconds, and you have rapid access to funds via your free VISA business card. We really enjoy the multi-operator mode, which lets you track individual employee performance and divide tips accordingly.

#6. Barclaycard Smartpay Anywhere

Barclaycard Smartpay Anywhere is geared at hospitality and retail establishments, with the “app” transforming it into a POS system. It does not work with cash drawers or barcode scanners, but it does work with wireless printers, an app, and a web portal.

It offers next-day settlement and takes Amex and Diners Club (Discover) in addition to Mastercard and Visa. This is the lowest transaction fee of any major provider, at just 1.6 per cent.

It is also supported by a feature-rich app and access to a web portal that provides real-time data and insight into your business’s performance. If you require assistance, there is a customer support team available 24/7, and it is PCI compliant without costs or the requirement for attestation.

However, unlike some competitors, when applying for Smartpay Anywhere, you must go through an online vetting process to be accepted for a device, which Barclays claims assures the device is suited for your business before you pay for it. The advantages are that it is a small and inexpensive card reader with low transaction costs and payments that are settled the next business day.

#7. TakePayments

Stockport-based For over 30 years, TakePayments has provided card terminals and internet payment solutions. With approximately 64,000 customers, it is one of the fastest-growing card payment providers in the UK.

Its new mobile card reader is a rebadged PAX A920 card machine with a 10-hour battery life and a countertop dock for when it’s not in your hand. There is also a receipt printer built in.

Takepaymentsplus does not charge a startup cost and offers an integrated product library, sales and inventory reports, and itemised receipts.

#8. Paymentsense

Paymentsense is a well-known brand with over 70,000 UK consumers. It creates long-lasting and functional mobile card readers.

Paymentsense’s mobile devices, unlike most of its competitors, only feature GPRS SIM and no Wi-Fi access, which is sufficient for most users when they are out and about. It accepts all major credit cards and payment methods, and monies should be put into your account the following business day.

Paymentsense’s pricing is entirely specific to your business – how many devices you require, how many card payments you will accept, and so on – thus, the only way to find out pricing is to get a free personalised quote.

#9. Shopify WisePad 3 Reader

Although it is exclusively available to Shopify clients, we believe it is worth mentioning Shopify’s WisePad 3 Reader. It’s light (130 grammes) and takes all major credit cards and payment methods. However, you must subscribe to Shopify in order to use it, and it only works with an iPad or an iPhone.

Shopify’s Wisepad 3 card reader includes three subscription levels: Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. The Basic plan is £19 per month, Shopify is £49 per month, and Advanced is £259 per month. All are billed on an annual basis.

Countertop vs Portable vs Mobile Card Readers

Countertop, portable, and mobile are the three categories of card payment machines.

These Countertop card machines are intended to be used at specific points of sale in your store. Although they lack portability, they are usually quite reliable in terms of connectivity. They are ideally suited for businesses that have a fixed payment point, such as grocery stores or small retailers.

Portable credit card machines are battery-powered devices that accept card payments anywhere on your property over Wi-Fi. They are ideally suited for cafes and restaurants.

Mobile card readers are even more tiny, battery-powered devices that accept card payments wherever you are by using a GPRS (3G or 4G) signal. They usually feature Wi-Fi capability as well. They’re ideal for pop-up shops, marketplaces, festivals, street food trucks, and just about anywhere else.

This essay will mostly focus on mobile card readers because they are the most cost-effective and provide the greatest flexibility to expanding small enterprises.

How Long Will It Take for Your Payment to Show Up in Your Account?

It can take up to three days for the payment to appear on your account, depending on the time of day and whether it occurred on a weekend or a bank holiday.

Do I Need a New Account?

No, however, you might discover that using one is less expensive. This is because when someone uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase, the payment service transfers the funds to a merchant account. This can be yours or one operated by the card payment machine, which then transmits the money to you. The first one may take longer to set up and may include a price, but it should be less expensive if you make a lot of sales. The second may be set up in a matter of minutes, but it frequently has greater transaction expenses.

How Fast Can You Get One Delivered?

You may apply online for a pay-as-you-go machine and have it delivered within a few days – or even pay more for same-day delivery in some circumstances – with most taking little more than a few minutes to set up once it arrives. If you apply for a pay monthly service, it may take a bit longer because checks are sent and accounts are established by the supplier.

Can UK Card Payment Machines Accept Foreign Cards?

They should work as long as the payment provider is accepted, such as a Visa or Mastercard. Transaction processing, on the other hand, may take longer.

Can You Have Multiple Card Payment Terminals?

This is determined by the card payment machine you select. Pay monthly machines commonly have numerous phones tied to the same account – even across different business locations – however, certain pay-as-you-go machines require a separate account to be set up for each terminal.


You’ve either found the ideal card reader for your business, or you’ve been perplexed by a bewildering array of different card payment devices, cost structures, and extra features.

Don’t worry if it’s the latter. For most small businesses, we recommend selecting any of the options listed above.

All of the above card payment machines were chosen for their versatility, simplicity, and practicality, and each would be an excellent choice for your small business. Good luck selling.


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