Written by Rob Binns Updated on 24 October 2022 On this page Best card machine for small businesses The different kinds of card machine Best mobile card machines SumUp Air Zettle card reader 2 Square card reader Best countertop card machines Ingenico Desk 5000 Verifone V200c Castles VEGA3000 Best portable card machines Ingenico iWL series Verifone V400m Ingenico Tetra Move 5000 Verdict Our methodology FAQs Expand Our site is reader-supported. By clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referralTo accept card payments at your business’s premises, you’ll need a card machine. But with so many available on the market, which device is best for your small business?Based on our in-depth research that analyses the best card readers out there based on price, features, and customer support, we’ve selected the very best options for small businesses, so you can compare these top machines and find out which is best-suited to help you take payments.Ready to explore? Read on for the 9 best credit card machines for small UK businesses in 2023. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Our Top Pick SumUp Air card reader Zettle Square Ingenico Desk 5000 Verifone V200c Castles VEGA3000 Ingenico iWL series Verifone VX 680 Ingenico Move 5000 Card Machine Type Mobile Card Machine Type Mobile Card Machine Type Mobile Card Machine Type Countertop Card Machine Type Countertop Card Machine Type Countertop Card Machine Type Portable Card Machine Type Portable Card Machine Type Portable Best For All-round excellence Best For features Best For faster payouts Best For Fast, flexible payments Best For Personalising customer experience Best For New merchants Best For Outdoor spaces Best For Robust reliability Best For Back office functionality Hardware Cost £39 Hardware Cost From £29 + VAT Hardware Cost £16 (excl VAT) Hardware Cost £15 per month Hardware Cost On enquiry Hardware Cost On enquiry Hardware Cost Varies Hardware Cost On enquiry Hardware Cost £15-25 per month Transaction fee 1.69% cards2.5% Invoices, Online Store and Payment Links Transaction fee 1.75% Transaction fee 1.75% for card transactions2.5% for payment links and invoices Transaction fee From 1-1.5% Transaction fee Varies Transaction fee Varies Transaction fee Varies Transaction fee Varies Transaction fee 1-1.5% Customer Support 9am-5pm Mon-Fri Customer Support 9am-5pm Mon-Fri Customer Support 9am-5pm Mon-Fri Customer Support 8am-6pm Mon-Fri Customer Support 8am-8pm Mon-Sat Customer Support Online only Customer Support 8am-6pm Mon-Fri Customer Support 8am-8pm Mon-Sat Customer Support 8am-6pm Mon-Fri Compare leading card payment providers Compare Now What’s the best card machine for small businesses?According to our research (which you can find out more about by jumping further down the page to our methodology), the SumUp Air card reader is the best overall credit card machine for small businesses. It’s light, limber, and as easy to use as it is to transport, while also managing to boast some of the cheapest rates in the industry.Our other top mobile credit card machines for small businesses come from Zettle, Square, and PayPal, while Ingenico dominates the countertop and portable varieties. Models such as the VEGA3000 from Castles Technology, and the Verifone V200c and V400m, also figure prominently among our expert selections.Why not grab quotes right here, right now? Simply answer a few questions about your small business’ requirements, and we’ll match you with one or more leading credit card machine providers. They’ll then be in touch to provide free, no-obligation quotes, all tailored entirely to your business.If that sounds simple, it’s because it is. Hit one of the buttons below to get started. Compare quotes from leading card machine providers in the UK and save Do you already have a card machine? Yes No It takes just 30 seconds... What are the different kinds of small business card machine?On this page, we’ll review the best mobile credit card machines, the best countertop credit card machines, and the best portable credit card machines. Before we dive in, here’s a quick rundown of what each of these terms mean.Mobile credit card machines can function without a wifi connection or power source, so they’re ideal for taking payments in a variety of different locations, including outdoors.Countertop credit card machines are designed to sit in a fixed spot at your premises, as they need power and internet connections. You usually see these card machines on shop and cafe tills.Portable credit card machines are battery-powered and can connect wirelessly to your wifi, so can be carried around your premises. Think restaurants and bars that take payments at customers’ tables.Take payments at your customer's table with a portable credit card machine The best mobile credit card machines for small businessesMobile card machines are for anyone who needs to be able to accept card payments on the go, but without necessarily having access to an internet connection, or a stable power source.We’re talking market stall operators, tradespeople, and those who take payments from remote locations.Mobile credit card machines offer plenty of other benefits for small businesses, too. For one, they’re super simple. You’ll pay just a single fee to purchase your card reader, rather than renting it on a monthly basis (as is the case with most countertop and portable card machines).These types of card machines also come with slick, intuitive apps that help you process and reconcile payments, send digital receipts, and take stock of your inventory. Interested? Let’s take a look at our top four mobile credit machines for small businesses:SumUp Air card readerZettle card reader 2Square card reader SumUp Air card readerBest mobile credit card machine for small businesses SumUp Air 4.5 Pricing £39 (excl. VAT) Compare quotes Read review Quick overview According to our research, the sleek and minimalistic SumUp is the very best mobile card reader that the market has to offer. Not only does it flaunt some of the cheapest transaction rates going, we found that its card reader – which measures up at just 84 x 84 x 23mm in size – is also one of the most user-friendly around. Read more + Read less - Strengths Pocket-sized and powerful Highly affordable No fixed-term contracts No monthly or hidden fees 30-day money back guarantee Fully PCI and EMV compliant Weaknesses No customer support on evenings or Sundays Payout time is longer than some rivals Not suitable for businesses with a larger sales volume Pricing See more See less Card readerTransaction feeVirtual terminal fee £39 (excl. VAT) 1.69% 2.95% + 25p Gallery See more See less Customer review “SumUp is one of the easiest methods of collecting payments. Everything seems to be accessible; whether that’s requesting payments from customers, to setting up web sales and accepting direct card payments. I have absolutely no problem recommending SumUp’s services!” Alan O’Connor, SumUp customer Trustpilot - 29 May 2021 Zettle card reader 2Best for EPOS (electronic point of sale) integrations Zettle Card Reader 2 4.0 Pricing £29 (excl. VAT) Compare quotes Read review Quick overview Zettle (formerly iZettle) emerged out of Sweden just under a decade ago, and its pint-sized, payment-taking (and new and improved) card reader has gone from strength to strength since, including an acquisition by PayPal in 2018. Costing the same amount as SumUp’s card reader – but with a slightly larger transaction fee of 1.75% – Zettle doesn’t quite make the top spot here. Read more + Read less - Strengths Supports all 25 major currencies No monthly costs, and affordable rates across the board Offers a wide range of EPOS systems to complement its card reader Fully PCI and EMV compliant Simple to set up and use Weaknesses No virtual terminal service Ecommerce services are only available via an additional third-party integration with Selz No weekend or evening customer support Some reviews suggest that the company is still undergoing a few ‘teething’ problems as a result of the PayPal acquisition Has an average customer rating of 3.1 on Trustpilot Pricing See more See less Card readerTransaction fee (in-person)Invoicing/payment linksPayPal-generated QR codes £29 (excl. VAT) 1.75% 2.5% 1% Customer review “A superb service from start to finish. [Zettle’s] technical support team was really good, particularly when I had an issue adding a bank account – they diagnosed and fixed the issue while I was on the phone. The card reader and app work perfectly for our business, and the online tools mean that we have the complete sales and stocking system we wanted.“It’s a must for any small business, and I couldn't recommend it enough!” Lee, Zettle customer Trustpilot - 4 September 2021 So, SumUp or Zettle? We’ve summarised all the key arguments in SumUp vs Zettle – our guide to picking between two of the most clever, capable, and cost-effective card machines that money can buy. Check it out! Square card readerCheapest credit card machine for small businesses Square card reader 4.0 Pricing £16 (excl. VAT) Compare quotes Read review Quick overview With a range of versatile, mobile card machines for small businesses (and a sumptuous set of POS equipment to boot) Square is well-suited to forward-thinking merchants – particularly those with an eye for aesthetics. This reader connects wirelessly to Android and iOS devices, and can accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, as well as the usual card providers. And If you upgrade to Square’s instant deposits, you’ll see payments in your account within 20 minutes. Read more + Read less - Strengths Provides next-day deposits into your business bank account Fully PCI compliant Outstanding customer reviews Real-time sales reporting and analytics No credit check required No contracts or long-term commitments Weaknesses Because it lacks a pin pad, it’s a tad less user-friendly than other credit card machines on this list No 24/7 phone support Doesn’t currently support JCB, Union Pay, or Discover in the UK Pricing See more See less Card readerTransaction fee (in-person)Online transaction feeVirtual terminal fee £16 (excl. VAT) 1.75% 1.9% for European cards, 2.9% for non-European cards 2.5% Customer review “I have been using Square for a few years now, and find it easy to use and up to date. On the rare occasion that I’ve had to contact its customer service team, I have found them to be friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. I would certainly recommend Square.” Lynn, Square customer Trustpilot - 21 May 2021 The best countertop credit card machines for small businessesIf you do business exclusively from a bricks and mortar establishment, you won’t necessarily need a mobile payments solution. In fact, you can save money in the long-term by opting for a countertop card machine.Countertop card machines allow you to take payments from a fixed place (usually your countertop). They plug directly into your mains for power, and straight into your internet via an Ethernet cable. Handily, that means that these devices aren’t reliant on battery power – or a patchy wifi connection – to function.Countertop credit card machines are ideal for small retail businesses. Unlike the mobile card readers discussed above, you won’t buy your countertop device up front. Instead, you’ll rent the terminal on a monthly basis, but pay less in transaction fees.The best countertop card machines for small businesses are:Ingenico Desk 5000Verifone V200cCastles VEGA3000 Ingenico Desk 5000Best for fast, flexible payment processing Ingenico Desk 5000 Pricing £15 per month Compare quotes Quick overview The Desk 5000 from Ingenico belongs to a new era of credit card machines, for a new generation of small businesses. Capable of handling just about any payment method you can conceive of – including Apple and Android Pay, as well as all major card types – it’s not only fast; it’s flexible, too. Ingenico’s operating system integrates with a host of smart business apps, so you won’t just be taking payments; you’ll be getting a range of insights into sales and employee performance, too. Read more + Read less - Strengths Affordable Offers signature capture capabilities for electronic payments and receipt storage Its operating system, Telium, is one of the most security-focussed on the market Comes with the pedigree of over 30 years of experience Jumbo 3.5-inch touchscreen offers superlative levels of user experience Weaknesses Pricing information isn’t readily available No phone-based customer support Pricing See more See less Rental fee (per month)Transaction fees £15 With Santander merchant services 1% or 1.5% minimum Depending on the plan and merchant account provider you choose You’re about halfway through our list of the nine best credit card machines for small businesses in the UK – time to start comparing quotes?Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick, quote-finding questionnaire.It takes just 30 seconds to complete, and by telling us more about your small business’s specific requirements, we can help ensure that you receive the best, most personalised rates on credit card machines. Compare quotes from leading card machine providers in the UK and save Do you already have a card machine? Yes No It takes just 30 seconds... Verifone V200cBest for providing a tailored, individualised experience Verifone V200c Pricing Available on request Compare quotes Quick overview With a trendy, robust design, a powerful processor, and best in class security features, the Verifone V200c is ideal for small businesses looking to get started accepting credit and debit card payments – without breaking the bank! The V200c’s huge memory means it can support a wide range of business apps, which will help you foster greater customer loyalty, and create a more engaging experience at the point of sale. Read more + Read less - Strengths Superb online and phone-based customer support PCI and EMV compliant Flaunts a user-friendly 2.8-inch colour LCD screen Boasts a whopping 384MB of memory Works with WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet… and even dialup! Top-notch customer support Multimedia capabilities included as standard Weaknesses Pricing information isn’t readily available Not as suitable for seasonal businesses, or those with a smaller sales volume It’s not a mobile solution, either! Castles VEGA3000Best for merchants new to accepting card payments Castles VEGA3000 Pricing Available on request Compare quotes Quick overview Castles Technology’s VEGA3000 credit card machine for small business is one of the most widely-used countertop devices in the industry; which is reassuring when you’re looking for your very first reader. Boasting wifi, GPRS, Bluetooth and USB connectivity (the full house!), this reliable card machine is simple to use: an imperative for newbies. It also comes equipped with the latest high-tech software to safeguard transactions, assuaging the security concerns you might have when you’re just starting up. Its lightning-quick transaction speeds also make for a positive experience for your customers, which can only serve to help build a good reputation. Read more + Read less - Strengths PCI and EMV compliant A powerful microprocessor enables speedy payments Boasts an optional rechargeable backup battery for mobility Simple to set up and use Touchscreen model also available Weaknesses Customer support could be improved Opaque pricing You’ll have to pay extra for its PIN pad privacy shield – and the charging cradle isn’t included as standard, either The best portable credit card machines for small businessesPortable card machines afford you the flexibility to move around, taking payments and printing receipts on the go at your bricks and mortar premises – without relying on mobile network coverage. They’re the perfect choice for a restaurant or bar setting, where you’ll need to take the credit card machine directly to wherever your customer is sitting. ▶ Read more: The Best Merchant Accounts for Hospitality Typically, portable credit card machines for small businesses usually connect via your premises’ wifi connection. Most function at a range of up to 60 metres.Like their countertop counterparts, most portable credit card machines for small businesses aren’t bought outright, but rented on a monthly basis by the merchant account provider you end up choosing.For this reason, prices aren’t always freely available, and you’ll have to either get in touch with the supplier for more pricing info, or utilise our free quote-finding form to request tailored, no-obligation quotes instead.But which model is right for your small business? Let’s do a deep dive into the three best portable credit card machines for small businesses.Ingenico iWL seriesVerifone V400mIngenico Tetra Move 5000 Ingenico iWL seriesBest for outdoor spaces Ingenico iWL series Pricing Available on request Compare quotes Quick overview Ingenico’s iWL card machine series constitutes a range of lightweight, feature-heavy handheld devices that are ideal for small businesses. You can connect using GPRS, 3G, wifi, or Bluetooth technology, and charge them easily via a set of portable, professional-looking charging ports. What’s more, the iWL card terminals are water and shock resistant, making them an ideal choice if your bar or restaurant operates in an outdoor space (which, given the COVID-19 restrictions of 2020, we’re guessing it might’ve had to!). Read more + Read less - Strengths One of the most popular and enduring credit card machine lines in the UK PCI compliant, and meets the highest industry requirements when it comes to security Powered by innovative operating system Telium, which offers additional payment services and a library of more than 2,000 applications The range’s built-in receipt printers are capable of delivering 30 lines per second – the fastest on the market Weaknesses Pricing information isn’t readily available The iWL series isn’t the most aesthetically-pleasing set of devices No phone-based customer support Verifone V400mBest for robustness and reliability Verifone V400m Pricing Available on request Compare quotes Quick overview The V400m is Verifone’s most compact payment terminal yet, but that doesn’t mean it compromises on features. It boasts Bluetooth, 4G, USB, and wifi connectivity, as well as an almost IMAX-sized colour touchscreen display (despite being, according to Verifone, the world’s smallest full-function payment device). Oh, and when you add in its Herculean battery life and quick processing speeds? Well, then the V400m weighs in as one of the most versatile mobile PDQ machines on the market – not to mention being ideal for small businesses! Read more + Read less - Strengths Durable and reliable Long-lasting battery and colour touchscreen display EMV and MSR enabled Install additional apps to fully customise your small business credit card machine’s user experience Weaknesses Pricing information isn’t readily available Not as highly rated by customers as models from some of its competitors Ingenico Tetra Move 5000Best for back office and reporting features Ingenico Tetra Move 5000 Pricing £15 to £25 per month Compare quotes Quick overview With a slick touchscreen, sleek design, and highly pushable buttons, the Ingenico Tetra Move 5000 is about as easy on the eyes as they come. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to it than meets the eye, because the Move 5000’s capabilities go well beyond the tabletop. You’ll also get access to Ingenico’s cloud-based reporting and analytical capabilities, and be able to manage your online receipts and transaction history with ease. Read more + Read less - Strengths Compatible with Ingenico’s suite of cloud services, including back office reporting and e-receipt management Large, 3.5-inch touchscreen Accepts in-person payments via contactless, swipe and sign, and chip and PIN, as well as mobile wallets PCI and EMV compliant Weaknesses Slightly more expensive than some of Ingenico’s other card terminals The higher monthly costs may not be worthwhile for seasonal businesses, or those with a smaller sales volume Pricing See more See less Rental fee (per month)Transaction fees £15 – £25 per month With Santander merchant services Minimum 1% or 1.5% Depending on your plan and merchant account provider Verdict With a competitive transaction fee rate of 1.69% and pocket-friendly ease of use, the mobile SumUp Air is our top credit card machine for small businesses. But there are plenty more we’d also recommend. The mobile Zettle card reader 2 stands out for its excellent EPOS integrations, while Square’s mobile card reader is a good option for merchants looking to spend as little as possible.If you’re in the market for a countertop machine, the Ingenico Tetra Desk 5000 offers fast, flexible payment processing, while Verifone’s V200c can help you provide your customers with a personalised buying experience. But the easy-to-use Castles VEGA3000 is our top pick for merchants who are new to credit card processing.Finally, if you’re after a portable credit card machine, the shock-proof, waterproof Ingenico iWL series is an excellent choice for outdoor businesses. The compact Verifone V400m is a great all-rounder with very reliable battery life, while the Ingenico Tetra Move 5000’s reporting features are great for businesses that plan to make the most of analytics.Ultimately, it’s best to remember that the best card machine for you depends on the unique needs and qualities of your small business. You’ll need to consider key factors including upfront costs, transaction fees and other charges, and user-friendliness.And, if you’re still stuck on which card reader is right for you, our free quote-finding tool can help. We’ll match your small business with the credit card machine suppliers that meet your requirements, and they’ll be in touch to offer free, personalised quotes and advice, with zero obligation.Try it below by answering the first question. It takes less than a minute! Compare quotes from leading card machine providers in the UK and save Do you already have a card machine? Yes No It takes just 30 seconds... Our methodologyHow we analyse and rate the industry’s best credit card machines for small UK businessesAt Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best merchant account options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the payments industry and its top companies.Here’s how we did it:We worked with two independent researchers over 60+ hours to rate 13 different merchant services providers – eight traditional (dedicated) merchant account suppliers, and five payment facilitators.We rated each provider across four key metrics.Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each merchant account supplier.Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the specific transaction and monthly fees for various transaction types, as well as any one-off costs. Our analysis also included contract length, package type, the flexibility of each providers’ pricing structure, plus the price of any hardware required.Features: we assessed each supplier on up to eight specific features. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each merchant account provider, and make specific recommendations to you.Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each merchant account supplier, in real time.We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our financial services specialist, at email@example.com. FAQs Why are credit card machines important? Today, the majority of customers expect to be able to pay by card – it’s the nation’s favourite way to pay, after all.The latest data tells us that in 2020, debit cards were the UK’s most-used payment method, with card payments accounting for more than 50% of all payments. What’s more, one in four payments were contactless.By contrast, the popularity of paying with cash is continuing to decline, with the number of cash payments decreasing by 35% in 2020. What’s the cost of a credit card machine for a small business? The costs of credit card machines for small businesses tend to vary wildly.If you’re opting for a mobile card reader, you’ll pay just a single, one-off fee to purchase the device outright – typically anywhere between £16 and £45 (excl. VAT) – plus a transaction fee of around 1.69% to 2.5% per sale.This contrasts with the monthly rental fees you’ll usually have to pay to secure the services of a portable or countertop card machine for your small business. Costs here normally come in at between £7 and £30 per month, with transaction fees ringing up at around 1% to 1.5% per sale.How much you pay for your credit card machine will also depend on the merchant account provider you pick to supply your payment processing, as well as the plan you select. Some companies offer pay-as-you-go pricing structures, while others work on a subscription basis. It’s up to you to pick the right company and plan for you – so be sure to utilise our free quote-finding form to get the best results! Where can I find the best rates on credit card machines for small businesses? The right provider for your small business will always depend on factors such as your turnover, business model, and how long you’ve been trading for.To explore the full range of fees associated with accepting card payments, and learn more how much your small business can expect to pay, we recommend getting acquainted with our guide to comparing merchant account fees. Are there free wireless credit card machines for small businesses? Unlike the other best things in life, credit card machines for small businesses aren’t free.Sure, some providers – such as Square, and occasionally SumUp and Zettle – have been known to run promotions in which they offer their card readers for free. But by free, we mean “free”, because you’ll still, of course, be eligible for transaction fees. So, while you may be scoring a £20 to £30 saving on the card reader, you’ll still be paying a cut of every sale you go on to make with said device.So rather than choosing a credit card machine based on how much you could save initially, you’ll benefit more from choosing the machine that best reflects the size, style, and unique needs of your small business.Learn more with our guide to free payment gateways, and whether they even exist. Where can I get a credit card machine for my small business? You can purchase a credit card machine for your small business either directly through the supplier (as is the case with models from SumUp, Zettle, Square, and PayPal), or rent one as part of an agreement with a merchant services provider.The reason you can’t just walk into a shop and pluck a card machine off the shelf is that – before you can start taking any kind of credit or debit card payments – you’ll first need a merchant account. This is where funds go after they’ve left the customer’s pocket, but before they’ve reached your bank account.You can acquire a merchant account through a third-party company (such as Fiserv, Handepay, or Retail Merchant Services), or with some high street banks, such as Barclays and HSBC. How do I set up my small business credit card machine? Most credit card machines (particularly those of the small business-oriented variety) are fairly simple to set up.You’ll usually only have to connect a few cables, and get your terminal ready to go by following a few on-screen prompts. You’ll also want to make sure your card machine (and its charging port) is located in the most optimal location for serving the customer; whether that’s on your countertop, or – in the case of a bar or restaurant – somewhere your servers can easily access it. Can I get a small business card machine without a contract? Yes! Contract-free plans are usually more common among mobile card readers than any other kinds. Square won’t ask you to sign a contract to use its card reader, and the SumUp Air doesn’t come with fixed-term contracts, so you’ll have the flexibility to opt out when you want to. Compare quotes from leading card machine providers in the UK and save Do you already have a card machine? Yes No It takes just 30 seconds... Written by: Rob Binns Senior Writer Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.