The Best Merchant Card Machines for Small Businesses in the UK

In today’s complicated and developing business environment merchant card machines can help give your business that badly needed boost. For those who are wondering how these payment terminals achieve this, read on to find out more about how your business can profit with a PDQ machine.

Regardless of the size of your business, statistics have shown that merchant card machines can help increase your customer base by as much as 70 percent. Business has become more dynamic than ever before, and if businesses don’t upgrade to the usage of these machines, they fail to benefit from these transactions.

Let’s face it, this is a consumer’s market, and customers need ease of transactions, and large cash transactions are way too inconvenient. Here, we’ve outlined everything you need to accept card payments, including the best card machine options for small businesses in the UK:

How do I Accept Card Payments in My Small Business?

If you want to accept card payments, you’ll not only need a payment terminal – there’re other things you need to sort out first.


  • Merchant Account


The merchant account is a protected account where money from clients sits while the payment is approved. It’ll be provided by your payment service provider or bank and is a requirement for receiving card payments.


  • Payment Gateway


The payment gateway is the part of the chain that authorizes the payment. Your payment service provider or bank provides this together with your merchant account.


  • Card Machine


Lastly, you need the payment terminal. There’s a range of PDQ machine options for small businesses on the market, from inexpensive budget options to feature-heavy full point-of-sale systems.

The following is a roundup of the best merchant card machines for small business in the UK:

Top 5 Merchant Card Machines

Are you on the hunt for an affordable way to start accepting card payments? Then have a look at the following 5 merchant card machines:


  • iZettle Reader


iZettle is a well-liked card machine option for small businesses in the UK. This card reader is sleek, small, and is one of the most inexpensive options on the market.


  • Battery life of up to eight hours
  • Accepts magnetic stripe, contactless and chip, and pin payments
  • 12-month warranty
  • Money deposited within 1-2 business days
  • Connects through Bluetooth with your tablet or smartphone
  • Free POS App
  • It’s incredibly fast.
  • You can send receipt through Email or SMS


  • PayPal Here


Though not as competitively rated as the iZettle payment terminal, it does benefit from integration with PayPal, one of the best online payment methods. If you already have a PayPal account set up for your business, this payment terminal might be a good option.


  • Accept contactless and card payments with no monthly fees
  • Payments reach your PayPal almost instantly
  • Works with Android Pay and Apple Pay
  • A UK-based customer support team
  • No fixed contract
  • The machine is cheap


  • SumUp


Although SumUp may be less recognizable than the two previous options, it’s the most economical app-based card machine in the UK. SumUp is the best alternative to iZettle for businesses, but their current transaction fees are slightly higher.


  • Lowest fixed fee: 1.69% per transaction
  • Very simple payment app
  • Accept all credit and debit cards
  • No fixed monthly costs
  • 100% online application with no paperwork and no contract
  • Allows Bluetooth connection and is compatible with Android and iOS phones and tablets


  • Square


This PDQ machine is the smallest, most lightweight card reader on this list. It’s literally a square-shaped plastic payment terminal that is white all over, but the technology makes it just as reliable as bigger card readers.


  • The most comprehensive free app
  • Keyed-in payments possible
  • Accepts contactless cards, chip and PIN cards, and other mobile payments
  • Accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa
  • Comes with a free point-of-sale app
  • Can also be used to sell by phone, online and collect payments via invoices


  • WorldPay


WorldPay is the UK’s biggest card processing company and also offers an assortment of other PDQ machines and merchant services for both online and offline payment processing.


  • Compatible with all iOS and Android devices
  • 24/7phone support
  • Fees depend on turnover and more
  • Accept payments over the phone or face-to-face
  • Issues receipts via SMS or email
  • Keypad comes with a 12-month warranty

What is the Cheapest Card Reader for Small Businesses in the UK?

The lowest priced card reader in the UK, in terms of upfront cost, is the iZettle reader which goes for £19 + VAT. It also offers very competitive card transaction fees (1.75% flat fee), but not the absolute lowest. To get that you either have to go SumUp (1.69% flat fee) or PayPal Here (as low as 1.00%).

Which is the Best Card Reader for Small Businesses in the UK?

While all of the 5 PDQ machines highlighted above are great and allow your small business to accept card payments, the iZettle card reader is perhaps the best choice. Not only is it the well recognized, but at just £19 + VAT it’s very cheap to try out. And they offer transparent pricing and among the most affordable fees.

Final Verdict


  • IZettle: Ideal if you just need a card reader.
  • Square: Ideal if you need more than just a payment terminal.
  • SumUp: perfect for getting started.
  • PayPal Here: Best if you need online integration with PayPal.
  • WorldPay: Best suited for businesses that need to accept phone payments or those who want to work with a recognized brand.

There is clearly a lot to process when it boils down to payment processing and card readers. Pat yourself on the back for making it this far; hopefully, you’re more confident about your knowledge of merchant card machines.

Ensure you’ve understood what each company charges for different transactions and what may be the ideal option for your business. Also, don’t ignore things like customer service repute. It’s a very competitive market, and you can make sure you get a payment terminal that can best help your small business flourish.