As a sole trader, you need a mobile card reader to accept contactless payment on the go. But how fast do they work, can you afford one and are they safe to use?

Here you have the ultimate guide to the top 5+ providers, including information on payment systems, fraud prevention, pricing and much more. All in easy to understand language. Read to the end for some exclusive advice!

Top 5+ UK Contactless Mobile Card Payment Readers

  1. SumUP

SumUp provides a pocket-sized card reader which enables businesses of all shapes and sizes to accept contactless payments from all debit and credit cards in circulation. This affordable and user-friendly card reader offers a full POS service and is a great option for new converts to contactless payment. In addition to it’s tidy physical size, the device is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones and can connect via bluetooth.  

The SumUP Air Card reader offers:

  • Bluetooth capability & Li-ion battery lasts up to 500 transactions.
  • NFC compatible payments including Google Pay and Apple Pay.
  • SumUp mobile app & dashboard including digital cashier & catalogue management.
  • Fast contactless transaction payment service.

For more information you can visit the dedicated SumUP UK website.

Product reviews & customer testimonials are available on the independent website TrustPilot.

  1. Paypal Here

Paypal operate a worldwide online payments system and provide sophisticated mobile card readers which can process contactless payments safely and securely on the go. The device is unique as the only reader on the market which can send payments directly to your existing Paypal account. It accepts all major credit and debit cards and Paypal do not charge a monthly rental cost for its device or account setup fees.  

The Paypal Here card reader provides: 

  • Instant transfer of funds directly to your Paypal account.
  • World class security and encryption technology.
  • Integration with free PayPal POS App possible.
  • Card reader accessories including lanyards and cases.

For more information on the Paypal Here Card Reader visit the Paypal UK website.

  1. Barclaycard

Barclaycard was founded in 1966 and its ‘Anywhere’ card reader allows salesmen, taxi drivers and home delivery representatives take payments with flexible connection by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPRS. This portable device supports all major credit and debit cards including Visa, Matercard, Diners Club International, Discover and American Express. 

Barclaycard contactless card reader offers: 

  • Pay as you go option easily connects to your smartphone or tablet.
  • Fees solely based on transaction volume.
  • No contract or monthly rental fee.
  • Easily process payments and refunds on the go.

More information on the Barclaycard ‘Anywhere’ card reader is available on their UK website.

Independent reviews are available here on the TrustPilot website.

  1. Shopify Card Reader

This Ottawa, Ontario based e-commerce company supply the ‘Tap, Chip and Swipe’ card reader to a broad range of merchants across the UK. Their card reader represents a good option for store owners and small businesses who wish to accept face-to-face contactless payments. The device itself meets the strict standards set down by the EMV payment method which assists in preventing credit card fraud.  

The Shopify mobile card reader provides the following functionality: 

  • Accepts all major credit cards and contactless payments including Android Pay & Apple Pay.
  • Low transaction fees & 24/7 UK-based Customer Support.
  • Wireless connection to smartphone, tablet or Android device.

Further information on this device and associated services is available from the Shopify website.

  1. Square 

Square are an international financial services and mobile payments company which provides a mobile card reader for accepting contactless payments using a variety of services. They have had some difficulty differentiating themselves and standing out from competitors, which has led to low takeup of their device. 

The Square contactless reader offers: 

  • Built-in magstripe to facilitate payments, invoices and inventory planning.
  • Compatible with all major cards and Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • 1 year warranty included at purchase.
  • Free Invoicing software provided.

For those interested in purchasing this mobile card reader, further information is available on the Square UK website.

The website TrustPilot provide independent reviews of the Square card reader here.

  1. iZettle

This Stockholm-based and award-winning financial technology company offer a compact contactless card reader which has proven popular throughout the UK. After completion of a rather painless registration and credit check, merchants get access to a device which currently boasts the lowest price on the market.   

iZettle provides a comprehensive contactless card reader which includes:

  • Contactless payments using a substantial number of services including Visa, Mastercard, Amercian Express, JCB, Maestro, V Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • Seamless integration with accounting application ‘Xero’
  • Built-in stock management system.
  • Battery life lasts for 8 years – covering a business day.

Additional information on the portable card reader and iZettle is available on the company website.

A complete list of independent product reviews are available on the TrustPilot website.

  1. SmartTrade

SmartTrade offer their innovative iOS and Android payment app when downloaded turns any smartphone into a card payment machine – eliminating the need for a physical card reader. The French-based company provide a transparent pricing structure and a limited free trial for those merchants wishing to test out its functionality before purchasing the system.

The SmartTrade App provides businesses with the following: 

  • VIP email and phone support offered.
  • Supports a wide range of payment types. 
  • Unlimited card payments face-to-face or over the phone.
  • Ability to send paylinks to customers via email.

For more information on the company and their payment solution, please visit the SmartTrade website.

The independent review website TrustPilot offers further product insights on their website.

Data: The Cost Comparison

Company Device Cost Buy/Rent? Debit Card Fees Credit Card Fees  Fun Fact
SumUP £29 + VAT Buy 1.69% 1.69% No Contract
PayPal Here £45 + VAT Buy *1 – 2.75% 1 – 2.75% Tracked Sales
BarclayCard £15 + VAT Monthly Rental Bespoke Service  Bespoke Service Tailored Plan
Shopify  £59.99 + VAT Buy 1.5% 1.5% 24/7 Support
Square £29 + VAT Buy 1.75% 1.75% Easy Invoicing
iZettle *£29 + VAT Buy 1.75% 1.75% Free POS App
SmartTrade Not applicable Rent 1.65% 1.65% App-Based System

(*iZettle – time limited offer, usual price of £59.99 + VAT)

(*PayPal Here – varies by volume)

(Please note: All Information accurate at the time of publication)

Our Verdict

There has never been a greater time for businesses of all shapes and sizes to cash in on the almost 644 million contactless transactions reported every month across the UK. Any one of these mobile card payment readers would be able to effectively and securely process a transaction from the ever growing number of active contactless-enabled cards, estimated in February 2019 to be more than 119 million across the country. Our advice to every merchant is to purchase a suitable mobile card reader without delay.