Thousands of small to medium-sized businesses across the UK use these portable readers rather than a traditional rented card machine. Picking the right one for your business depends on what you value in terms of functionality, cost, and support.
In this review, I’m going to see who comes out on top in the battle between SumUp vs iZettle.
Overview of SumUp vs iZettle
SumUp is based close to home in London. From their launch back in 2011, they’ve successfully pushed their way to join the top 4 contenders in the market.
With SumUp, you can choose from two card readers and their POS mobile app offers basic features to help you carry out transactions with ease.
They have an attractive pricing structure with one of the lowest transaction fees on the market and no monthly subscription fees.
iZettle come from further afield — Sweden to be exact — and has been operating since 2010.
The iZettle Card Reader 2 is one of the most sophisticated available and the POS app is excellent, providing the user with a massive range of checkout payment and reporting features.
They employ a simple fee structure and the reader can support all major card types and NFC payments.
Which has the best product offering?
SumUp has adopted a no-frills approach to its product offering, keeping their range to a minimum and focussing on quality. Its simple range is perfect for small businesses looking for the basics.
- SumUp Air: Whilst they have one of the smallest product selections out of the companies on the market, they are the only one that offers a choice of two mobile card readers. The original reader is the SumUp Air, a dinky reader that still squeezes in enough room for a screen, magnetic strip reader, and 10-digit keypad.
- SumUp 3G: Their second reader relieves you of the need to use a POS mobile app, using an inbuilt SIM card with unlimited data instead. It’s perfect for avoiding those challenging times when your phone or tablet runs out of juice.
- POS Register: To streamline the service experience, SumUp offer a full POS system, combining a tablet, cash drawer, receipt printer, and SumUp Air in one neat bundle.
Whilst a limited range, the choice between 2 different card readers gives SumUp a lot of value.
How does iZettle square up?
iZettle have taken the opposite approach and set out to bring out a large range of products to capture the interest of bigger businesses:
- iZettle Card Reader 2: iZettle are on their second generation of card reader, one of the best card readers around, moving away from their previous third-party model. The reader comes in your choice of black or white.
- Stands: Prop up your iPad, tablet, or card reader to make your set-up look a little tidier.
- Cash Drawer: When taking cash payments, you’ll be able to keep coins and notes safe and sound in a sturdy iZettle cash drawer.
- Receipt Printer: Hook your mobile card reader up to your choice of receipt printer easily via Bluetooth or WiFi.
- Store Kit: Ranging from £259 to £729, get your hands on a full store kit, a catch-all product that functions as a full POS system.
It’s a tough call picking who wins in the SumUp vs iZettle product range, but it all depends on your unique business needs and wants.
If you want to be spoilt for choice, iZettle is your go-to, but SumUp’s two separate card readers might add a lot of value to your business, and their full POS system package is fantastic.
Which card reader is easiest to use?
As I’ve already mentioned, SumUp has two card readers to choose from — the SumUp Air and the SumUp 3G.
The SumUp Air is slightly larger than the Square reader but still smaller than the iZettle and PayPal Here readers.
It’s incredibly straightforward to use. Load up your transaction from the POS app and have your customer tap, swipe, or enter their PIN on the reader and, voila, payment made. The battery is long-lasting too, capable of managing 500 transactions before it exhausts itself.
SumUp 3G has a SIM card built-in to it and with unlimited data so you can process card payments without connecting it to your mobile device. It’s self-sufficient and great if you don’t need all the fancy functions of the POS mobile app.
Payment processing takes slightly longer with the 3G reader, as you’ll need to manually key in the transaction balance rather than selecting a product from your inventory on the app.
Both readers accept most major debit and credit cards, including Mastercard, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, American Express, Maestro, UnionPay, V Pay, Diners Club, and Discover, but not JCB. It’s also capable of taking NFC payments from Apple Pay and Android Pay, but not Samsung Pay.
Let’s turn our attention to iZettle. They upgraded their reader to its current model in June 2016, parting ways with their former third-party Miura M010 reader.
The iZettle Card Reader 2 is one of the best on the market. It’s a small yet sturdy reader that accepts an extensive range of payments, including chip & PIN, contactless, and magnetic strip. It’s also said to work 25% faster than any other available card reader.
It can support transactions from a wider variety of major credit and debit cards and NFC payments, able to take JCB and Samsung Pay, unlike SumUp.
Both SumUp and iZettle have great card readers but when it comes down to functionality, iZettle is just that bit better.
Which POS app is better?
Unless you’re using the SumUp 3G reader, the point of sale mobile app is your best friend when processing payments.
The SumUp POS app works well but is quite basic. You can do all your elementary tasks, like creating a product library with images, prices, and categories. It’s simple to add them to your current transaction.
It lags behind competitors in terms of checkout payment options. Only cards and cash can be accepted. There is currently no option to add gift cards, vouchers, or even split payments. To the horror of those in hospitality, there’s also no means of adding a tip to a transaction.
The app also has a rudimentary reporting function but these can only be exported as CSV files on Excel. They don’t provide much depth.
With iZettle, you can add tips, carry out refunds, and send email invoices or receipts via the app. With the app, you can also turn your phone into a barcode scanner so you don’t need to splash out on another piece of equipment.
The reporting functionality on the iZettle POS mobile app is more mature and you can connect it with any existing bookkeeping software you use, like Xero, simplifying your accounts management.
If you’re a small business looking for something very simple, SumUp will serve you fine but iZettle is more comprehensive so I’d say it’s your safer option long-term if you decide you would like extra functionality.
How do they compare price-wise?
Neither SumUp nor iZettle charge monthly fees or ask you to enter into a contract with them. There are no extra hidden monthly costs like rental charges. You just buy your card reader outright then pay your transaction fees.
Card reader cost
SumUp Air costs £29 plus VAT but through the Cardswitcher affiliate deal, you can pick one up for just £19 plus VAT.
The SumUp 3G is much pricier, costing £99. It’s up to you whether you think it’s worth the investment not to have to use your phone.
Ordinarily, the iZettle Card Reader 2 comes in at £59 but you can grab one for £29 (excluding VAT) on their website at the moment. They also work with affiliates so Cardswitcher has bagged you a deal that racks up at £25 before VAT.
In terms of cost, SumUp Air is your cheaper choice, but with the iZettle affiliate price, you’re really not far off, plus you’re getting a superior model.
Both companies charge processing fees per card transaction rather than a set monthly cost.
SumUp customers pay a fixed 1.69% fee for all debit and credit card types, no matter what your total monthly turnover is.
The only time that this processing fee alters is when you’re processing a payment via the virtual terminal fee — that’s where the customer or merchant manually enters card details into the reader. This is charged at 2.95% + £0.25.
With iZettle, you always pay a flat payment processing fee of 1.75%.
SumUp is certainly cheaper in regards to overall running costs so is the best bet for very budget-conscious business people, but be sure to properly balance out the low costs against other factors.
How quickly are funds deposited into my bank account?
You’ll be happy to hear that both our contenders here have short settlement delay periods with iZettle just taking the lead here.
Funds will be transferred into your bank or merchant account within 1 to 3 business for SumUp and 1 to 2 business days for iZettle.
Which is safer?
Despite the increasing presence of mobile credit and debit card readers in our shops and restaurants, some businesses and customers still raise concerns over security.
SumUp is PCI-DSS compliant (Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard) and uses SSI (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) to encrypt all data as it is processed. They cover everything so you don’t need to worry.
At a glance, it’s clear that iZettle take security very seriously.
They comply with the highest industry standard for hardware and software security, PCI PTS 4.1 and employ comprehensive encryption.
What I love about iZettle is their tamper-proof card reader design. If there are any signs of tampering, the device will automatically shut-down, in what they call “self-destruction”.
You will have no worries about security with either SumUp or iZettle but I prefer iZettle’s cautious approach.
Which has the best customer support?
SumUp put heavy emphasis on their online Support Centre, a library of guides that cover most potential issues you’ll come across.
If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, they have a ticket-based email service, which can be a bit slow. For speedier contact, their phone lines operate extensively, from 8 AM to 7 PM on weekdays and 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays, one of the few companies to offer Saturday support as standard.
iZettle also has an extensive written resource section and ticket-based email system. Their phone lines operate between 9 AM and 5 PM on weekdays.
If you sign up for iZettle Go PLUS membership (an extra £29 a month), you have access to phone line support until 8 PM on weeknights and on a Saturday.
In terms of accessibility, I think SumUp is more attuned to customer demand here. They’re more available and they don’t charge you a premium for the privilege.
So, who reigns supreme?
SumUp has a very simple product offering, which might suit small businesses, but if you’re a larger merchant or want to kit yourself out with a really comprehensive professional POS set-up, iZettle has got you covered.
SumUp is unique in that they offer two readers, so if their 3G mobile phone-free reader is something that appeals to you, then it’s a great choice, but the iZettle Card Reader 2 is one of the more advanced on the market and can support a wider range of payment types than SumUp.
Both POS apps have good functionality but again, iZettle just has that edge. With detailed reporting capabilities and more checkout features, it’s the best option for a growing business.
Price-wise, SumUp actually works out cheaper, but not by a great deal, and both have similar settlement delay periods.
iZettle has more security features but both are very secure, and their customer support services are reviewed similarly. SumUp, however, is on-call more frequently.
Experts and current customers rave about both. Just check these iZettle and SumUp reviews:
Ultimately, both mobile card readers are fantastic, but I think the winner in the SumUp vs iZettle battle is iZettle. SumUp is good for the highly budget-conscious who don’t have a need for all the snazzy extra features that iZettle comes with. iZettle, on the other hand, is best suited to businesses set on growth, and who are looking for a simple way to keep their accounts and inventory in order whilst taking payments with ease.