Need to process transactions using a card machine for your small business in Milton Keynes?
Counter top card machines have long been to go-to solution for conducting card transactions at the terminal.
But much like business phone solutions, such card machines have been traditionally sold with binding contracts and transactional fees that to many small businesses have been prohibitive.
That is until recent years when the emergence of portable, contactless technology and new entrant card providers have effectively disrupted what had been a closed-shop marketplace.
Now, the modern card machines from leading providers have lowered the barrier-to -entry for SMEs offering a more affordable card payment solution.
Our in-house experts have just the know-how for guiding your purchase decision well in choosing the best card payment machine for your Milton Keynes business.
In this article, we will show what types of card machines exist, how they can benefit your business and guide you in making the right choice.
What are portable card machines?
Other wise known as mobile card machines, these are payment terminals that move, as you move.
Think of them as the fit-in-your-hand, easier-to-use and more nimble version of the classic supermarket fixed table-top card machine.
These portable card machines keep your point of sale readily accepting payments wherever you and your team are. Allowing your cash to flow regardless of your physical location.
- No wires
- held in the hand, and;
- you’re never restricted when it comes to getting paid.
Such speedy, convenient, payment terminals are just the thing for connected those otherwise disjointed dots for when a practical payment needs to be taken in a dynamic situation.
Having your own portable card machine will never leave you flat footed when a customer is inclined to tap or swipe.
A portable card machine will present your customers with 3 handy ways of paying you for your product or service:
- PIN – typing in their personal identification number (PIN), which has been the standard for many years
- NFC – near field communication (NFC) or in simple language ‘tap’
- Mobile – via mobile payment app, like Google Pay or Apple Pay
Card readers don’t store personal data. And even more so, their transmission of encrypted personal data is tightly regulated by Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Compliance is mandatory for any payment machine operators.
This means leading card machines adhere to the highest security standards issued by credit card companies.
Why should your business use card machines?
The more nimble your sales process and convenient for the customer, the less friction and the more successfully completed transactions.
But in particular, here are 5 solid reasons why your business should invest in portable card machines:
1. Paying at their premises
If you’re a local or regional service business that delivers to your customer’s premises, with a card machine you give them the peace of mind of paying face-to-face in situ. No delay, nor diversion.
2. Paying at the table or the chair
Work in hospitality? Avoid the inconvenience of having customers leave their table to make payments. Now, offer the possibility of paying their bill immediately after eating/drinking – at the table. The same goes for payments at the chair in beauty salons, barbers and more…
3. Pay as you go
No long term, pricey contracts. Portable card machines now benefit from offering pay-as-you-go terms. Simply, an upfront cost for purchasing the terminal and then beyond that your only expected costs will be % fees per transaction (which differ depending on provider).
Contactless payments are now a standard expectation by customers at the point of sale. Card machines keep more health conscious customers comfortable whilst shopping with you.
5. Universal payment options
Most card machines accept the following credit and debit cards:
- Amex (American Express),
- Diner’s Card
- Discovery Card
Plus, the following mobile payment apps:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
Introducing SumUp Card Machine
Our recommendation for the best card reader for your small business in Milton Keynes is SumUp card machine.
With SumUp portable card terminals your business will be in good company. Currently, 4 million SMEs used SumUp every day to complete their customer transactions.
And given the reliability and simplicity of the solution – you can see why:
- No contract
- Transparent fees
- Available via various premium B2B retailers
Here are some of the features that best describe what you get with the SumUp card machine:
Mobile / portable / handheld
Measuring 8.4 x 8.4 x 2.3 centimetres and weighing 0.14 Kilograms the SumUp Air card machine is compact, light and easily carried around for performing transactions on the go.
Credit card /debit
SumUp accepts all major debit and credit cards – including Google Pay and Apple Pay mobile payment apps.
There is no recurring subscription fee with SumUp. The only charge presented is a flat rate percentage per transaction, currently set at 1.69% (as of time of publishing 16.01.23).
SumUp uses near field communication (NFC) technology to enable tap and go card payments.
No wires. The SumUp is battery operated with over 12 hours charge and 500 transactions continuously, before a top-up is needed.
Over the phone
With SumUp you can take payments over the phone from customers using a virtual terminal system.
There are both 3G and 4G versions available of the SumUp card machine.
The SumUp card machine uses Bluetooth for set-up and tethering to your smart phone (either Android or iPhone).
Best card machine for small business: which one is right for you?
SumUp offers a range of 3 types of card machine:
This is the entry level / flagship model, plus both easiest and cheapest way to get started with a SumUp card machine.
- 12 hours of battery life
- Micro USB charging
- Bluetooth tethering
- Must have the SumUp smart phone app to work
The main advantage with this version of SumUp card reader is that it doesn’t require the smart phone app. It runs on your wireless signal from an in-built 4G SIM card.
- Works via your Wi-Fi signal (no need for smart phone tethering)
- 4G SIM card, in-built
- No buttons, all touch screen
- Purpose built charging station
- Only 8 hours of battery life (vs. 12 hours of the Air model)
The winning quality of the SumUp 3G with charging station is that you can print your receipts on the go. A great all in one standalone solution for your mobile point of sale.
- Charging station with built-in receipt printer
- Station doubles up as counter top stand
- Wi-Fi connectivity via in-built SIM
- Physical buttons – if you prefer
- High contract white text on black background screen display
- Reduced 8 hour battery capacity
What’s the best value card machine for your small business?
If you’re at the stage of wanting to buy a card machine for your Milton Keynes business, your decision wouldn’t be complete without a good old fashion price comparison.
Here’s how the two best value budget options line up against each other: SumUp vs. Paypal.
SumUp vs. Paypal card machine comparison
The best way to assess the cost of the SumUp card machine is to view it in light of a versus, side-by-side cost price comparison with a like-for-like competitor, which in this case we’ve chosen the PayPal Card Reader.
Winner: SumUp is both cheaper that the PayPal card reader and is generally known for being one of the cheapest card machines overall for small business.
SumUp works out very affordable, if not the cheapest card machine solution on the market overall.
There are two cost elements to using the SumUp:
When you sign-up for SumUp, you pay a cost to acquire the device. This is currently £39+VAT for the entry level SumUp Air card machine. The PayPal card reader is more expensive at £45+VAT.
Compared with Paypal card which charges 2.75% for all Chip and PIN or contactless transactions, SumUp costs less at just 1.69% per transaction (transactions by QR code are currently free 0%). SumUp will save you money in the long run.
No minimum sales
SumUp has no minimum monthly transactions qualifier. Whereas with PayPal you must transact a minimum of £1,500 sales via the terminal per month. That said, there is a sliding scale on transaction fees with PayPal according to transaction value per month, beginning at 2.75% per transaction and going down to 1% per transaction at the highest tier of monthly sales value.
No monthly fees
Neither SumUp nor PayPal card machines charge monthly fees.
vs. Rental card machine
Whilst both SumUp and PayPal card machines are owned solutions i.e. you pay to own the machine outright, there are rental card machines out there. Solutions like the WorldPay card machine (from FIS) is a higher end terminal and will cost £19.95+VAT per month plus transaction fees of 0.75% – 2.75%, depending on value of sales.
As for a direct cost comparison, it could be cheaper to use WorldPay in the long run if you do enough sales, but if not, the SumUp or PayPal would definitely be the better option.
In the case of most small businesses, the SumUp card machine is the best option – especially if you’re just starting out, or are more small than medium sized in the value of your monthly sales. SumUp works out cheaper, easier and more portable for many.
Sign up for your card machine
Want to get started with your very own SumUp portable card machine?
You’ll be glad to hear it’s actually very simple. All done via their customer service website, within just a few intuitive steps, your SumUp card reader will be on its way to your address.
Here’s how to sign up:
If you prefer written instructions, read on:
- Visit the *SumUp sign-up page and select your business type.
- Book your free demo by submitting your details via the web form:
- Phone number
- Company name
- Look in your inbox for confirmation and next steps from SumUp.
Setting up your card machine
Once you’ve received your SumUp card machine, you’re next steps will be to unbox it and set it up for taking your first customer transaction.
Good news? It only takes a few minutes, and here’s the proof:
Here are the steps from the video:
- Charge the SumUp device.
- Download and open up the SumUp mobile phone app.
- Hit the ‘More’ button on the app.
- Turn on the device and wait for the screen to initialize.
- On the app, click ‘Payment methods’ in the list of functions.
- Click ‘Card reader’ in the app, ‘SumUp Air’ device.
- Click ‘Set-up’ on the app under the ‘Air’ heading.
- Watch for the Bluetooth logo to take over your mobile screen.
- Once the app has recognised the card machine, it will notify you of this on your mobile screen in the app.
- Click ‘Connect’ on the app.
- Then, click ‘Done’ on the app.
- Make sure you see the Bluetooth connectivity logo on the device screen.
And that’s it, you’re now ready to begin taking card payments with your new SumUp card machine.
FAQs before buying your SumUp card machine
Is SumUp secure?
SumUp Payments Limited, parent company, is an authorised entity registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
The company is regulated under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011. Their registration number is 900700.
Do I need a business bank account for SumUp?
If you don’t already have a bank account, you can set one up during the SumUp sign-up process online.
SumUp card machines are used by some of the world’s most recognisable brands, including:
Still need help in deciding which card machine is right for your small business in Milton Keynes?