Last updated: 22/08/2018
So in this article, I’ve put the two readers to the test, comparing their functionality, pricing and performance to decide which is the best.
So, let’s get started!
What is iZettle?
iZettle is a free point of sale app that you install on a tablet or smartphone. The app works with the iZettle Reader that you buy separately and pair with your mobile device, allowing you to accept payments wherever you happen to be.
What is PayPal Here?
PayPal is a huge name in the payment industry and recently made moves into the mobile payment space. Despite acquiring iZettle in 2018, PayPal still supports its own mobile card reader called PayPal Here.
A Quick Summary
Before I dig into the nitty-gritty of the comparison, here’s a super simple table comparing all the important bits.
|Device Cost RRP (Exc. VAT)||£45||£29|
|Transaction Fees (Chip & PIN or Contactless)||1.00 to 2.75%||1.75%|
|Fees on £10 Transaction*||£0.175||£0.175|
|Fees on £50 Transaction*||£0.875||£0.875|
|Fees on £1,000 Transaction*||£17.5||£17.5|
|Settlement Period||Instant to PayPal account||1-2 business days|
|Cards Supported||MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Maestro, V pay, Visa Electron, JCB, Diners Club, China Union Pay, Discover||Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express|
|Other Payment Methods||Contactless, Apple Pay, Android Pay||Contactless, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay|
|Battery Life||~100 transactions||~100 transactions|
* PayPal Here pricing based on a business turning over £20,000 per year receiving a 1.75% transaction fee.
Build Quality and Usability
Up until June 2016, iZettle used the Miura M010 reader. That device — the M010 — is actually what PayPal Here uses now. Since 2016, iZettle sells the iconic white iZettle Reader.
As an older device, the PayPal Here looks and feels a bit more dated. The screen looks basic and the rounded pebble design is quite old-fashioned now. That said, the PayPal Here is a well-made device and it’s no surprise that many merchants are happy to stick with the card reader.
When iZettle launched its reader back in 2016, the company promised it would let merchants accept card and contactless payments faster than ever before. And in a not particularly scientific test, the iZettle Reader did feel slightly faster to use.
The iZettle device is also a bit more attractive with a clean white case, island buttons and a bright screen.
If I had to choose between the two devices, I’d go with the iZettle but that doesn’t mean I’d be unhappy if I got the PayPal Here.
This is a super interesting point as iZettle and PayPal have opted for different business models.
iZettle recently swapped to a fixed transaction fee of 1.75% for all merchants regardless of transaction volume. So if you process £10, £10,000 or £10 million per month, you pay the same 1.75% to iZettle.
PayPal Here, on the other hand, has a sliding fee scale. If your transaction volume is low, you pay a high fee. If your transaction volume is high, you pay a low high. Here are the breakpoints according to PayPal’s website.
- £0.00 to £1,500: 2.75%
- £1,500.01 to £6,000: 1.75%
- £6,000 to £15,000: £1.5%
- Over £15,000: 1.00%
As you can see, iZettle is more cost-effective at lower transaction volumes and PayPal Here is better for higher transaction volumes.
However, card readers really aren’t designed for average- or high-volume merchants. Once your turnover hits £2,000 per month, it’s almost always cheaper to go with a traditional card terminal.
With that in mind, PayPal Here’s performance at high transaction volumes isn’t quite as impressive as there are significantly cheaper options out there.
Reviews and Satisfaction
The good news for merchants is that reviews for both companies are consistently positive. Here’s how each service stacks up.
As you can see, both services are ranked four stars or more which is a great indicator of their service.
All card readers — iZettle, PayPal Here, SumUp, Square and so on — come with their own POS app. You install the app on a mobile device, hook up the reader via Bluetooth and start accepting card payments.
You use the app as you would a normal POS system to manage transactions, refund customers and so on.
Since each card reader will only work with its own POS app, the quality of the app heavily influences how usable the reader actually is.
So, how do the iZettle and PayPal Here apps perform?
Both apps are genuinely impressive and include a bunch of standard features like product libraries, barcode scanning and so on. Since iZettle has been going a bit longer, its app is a touch more developed and feels a bit slicker to use.
However, since PayPal bought over iZettle earlier this year, some of the iZettle app’s functionality might find its way over to PayPal.
Which Mobile Card Reader Is Best?
So we’ve arrived at the end of the article and we’ve still got one question left to answer: which mobile card reader is best?
If the choice is between the PayPal Here and the iZettle, I would choose the iZettle. Its reader is a bit more modern, its app is a bit slicker and its pricing is more competitive at low volumes.
Unfortunately, while the PayPal Here is an impressive service, it hasn’t quite found its niche in the market.
Also, remember that neither service is a cost-effective option for medium- or high-volume merchants. If you process over £2,000 per month, it’s almost always cheaper to pick up a traditional card terminal.