SumUp Review: Is It Right for Your Business?

SumUp card reader review

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If you’re a mobile business owner, you know connectivity is a must when it comes to choosing your card reader. On that note, SumUp is a provider with great 3G connectivity that can boost your venture and scores 4.2/5 in our independent research into the best card readers out there.

We analysed SumUp backed by our nearly 15 years of experience in the market and were impressed with its intuitive software and straightforward pricing. These are particularly helpful for businesses keen on foregoing the rising energy costs associated with brick and mortar shops – especially since the end of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in April 2023.

That said, one of SumUp's competitors could suit you better depending on your needs. The best way to find out is to use our free comparison tool. Through it, we'll quickly match you with trusted providers. They’ll then be in touch to provide bespoke quotes. However, if you'd like know more SumUp, just head to our research-backed review below.

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SumUp

Score
4.2
Best For

3G connectivity

Cost

From £39 + VAT

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

SumUp: At a glance

  • No signup fees
  • 1.69% transaction fee
  • Three options of hardware (which you can buy outright)
  • Comes with an invoicing tool and generates checkout links
  • Allows you to create and integrate with an online store for free
  • Highly-rated customer support available through phone and email
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How much does SumUp cost?

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SumUp Air card reader

SumUp Solo

SumUp 3G and Printer

Cost

From £39

Cost

From £79

Cost

From £129

Transaction fee
Transaction fee
  • 1.69% cards
  • 2.5% Invoices, Online Store and Payment Links
  •  

     

Transaction fee
  • 1.69% cards
  • 2.5% Invoices, Online Store and Payment Links
  •  

Unlike the range of complex (and often confusing) fees associated with traditional merchant accounts, SumUp’s pricing is refreshingly transparent.

You won’t be charged for any payments that don’t go through. You also won’t be charged for any cash payments you log with SumUp, and no VAT is levied on its transaction fee. No monthly fees apply, nor any for PCI compliance or early termination. If you've been wondering what is PCI compliance, read our in-depth article to learn everything you need to know.

SumUp's pros and cons

Pros

  • Low transaction fees and no hidden or monthly costs
  • PCI DSS and EMV compliant

Cons

  • Does not accept high-risk customers
  • Lacks live chat support

✔️ Pro: Low transaction fees and no hidden or monthly costs

SumUp's low fees and lack of hidden or monthly costs make it a suitable payment processor for businesses of all sizes. Whether you're just getting started, or you want to switch to SumUp, affordable and transparent pricing means you won't face any shocking bills.

✔️ Pro: PCI, DSS, and EMV compliant

Using SumUp will protect you from fraud and data breaches. A compliant payment processor doesn't just protect your business, it also protects your customers and their data. A secure payment gateway will also help protect your business's reputation.

SumUp scores a 4.6/5 for compliance in our research, and these compliance and fraud mention measures come at no extra cost to you as a merchant.

❌ Con: Doesn't accept high-risk customers

SumUp doesn't accept high-risk merchant accounts, and it runs credit checks on potential merchants. This can be an issue for your future credit checks, or if you don't currently have great credit.

Payment providers that don't run credit checks on new customers, include Square, Tyl, and Stripe. These might be a better option if your business is considered high-risk.

❌ Con: Lacks live chat support

SumUp scores a 3.5/5 for its help and support. SumUp offers phone and email support, as well as an online knowledge base.  However, its lack of a live chat causes its score to drop.

SumUp is the only provider out of all the mobile payment gateways we looked at that doesn't include a live chat function. Other providers such as Square, Zettle, and Stripe offer live chat. You can read more about Zettle's pros and cons in our in-depth review.

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SumUp's key features explained

Connectivity

SumUp is the only payment processor in our research that comes with a built-in SIM card. When taking payments with Square or Zettle, you need to be connected via a mobile phone to take payments via 3G.

The SIM card provides free, unlimited mobile data. To access this, you'll need to purchase the SumUp 3G and Printer (from £129).

Speed

Whether it’s getting through a queue of customers or receiving payouts to your bank account, quicker is almost always better. And that’s what SumUp does best – you can order your card reader now, and have it arrive in your letterbox within five days.

SumUp pays out to your business bank account within three to five working days. This is a longer wait time than when compared with Square, which transfers funds the next working day; or Zettle, which transfers it between one to two working days.

Simplicity

SumUp’s card readers are easy to set up and even easier to use. The bonus here is that it offers straightforward pricing, a 30-day money-back guarantee, no lock-in contracts, and no hidden fees – you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

Reliability

When you’re doing a day’s business in a remote location, the last thing you need is for your card machine to run out of juice. It’s fortunate, then, that SumUp boasts Mo Farah-like endurance when it comes to the battery – you’ll get up to a whopping 500 transactions on a single charge.

Integrations and invoicing

SumUp includes over 11 integrations including Quickbooks and Xero. It also allows you to send invoices to customers, which cost 2.5% per transaction.

This is less integration than competitors such as Square which offers countless integration and Zettle which has over 21 integrations. However, it is more than Stripe and Tyl which only offer a few integrations.

What kind of business is SumUp best for?

SumUp offers relatively low fees, plus a range of tangible benefits for businesses. But it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, we think SumUp is best for start-ups, small businesses, and mobile businesses.

Start-ups and small businesses

With no monthly fees and low transaction fees, SumUp is a good fit for small businesses because you'll only need to pay a percentage (1.69%) of what you actually take in card sales.

You will need to purchase a card reader, but with costs starting from £39, it’s not the cheapest card reader available. Square’s card reader starts from £16, Zettle’s from £29, and Tyl offers an unbeatable price of £6.99.

Mobile businesses

Whether your business is fully mobile or has a mobile aspect, SumUp's 3G card reader is a great choice. The battery life covers up to 500 transactions and the hardware itself is sleek and small enough to carry around.

If your business doesn't always require you to make face-to-face sales, SumUp’s app will allow you to send payment links to your customer’s mobile device, or they can be shared via text or on a messaging app. The link takes just a few clicks to send, and all your customer has to do is follow it to  make a payment via a secure webpage.

Most mobile card reader providers offer payment links, so this isn't a unique feature. However, the payment links, in addition to the 3G connection, make SumUp a great choice for a mobile business.

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How does SumUp compare to its competitors?

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0 out of 0

SumUp

Revolut

Zettle

Tyl

Square

Stripe

Score
4.2
Score
4.8
Score
4.8
Score
4.4
Score
4.4
Score
4.0
Best For

3G connectivity

Best For

Cheap transaction fees

Best For

Convenience

Best For

Low-cost hardware

Best For

Faster payouts

Best For

Reporting

Cost

From £39 + VAT

Cost

£49 + VAT

Cost

From £29 + VAT

Cost

From £6.99 + VAT/month

Cost

From £19 + VAT

Cost

From £49 + VAT

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

Transaction fee

From 1% + 20p online
0.8% + 2p in person

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Transaction fee

1.50%

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Transaction fee

Bespoke online
1.4% + 20p in-person

Price

SumUp isn't the cheapest provider, however, it's still fairly affordable. If you process a lot of card transactions, it would be wise to opt for a provider with a lower transaction fee. Our research points to Revolut as having the lowest transaction fees, from only 0.8$ + 2p for in-person transactions.

It's tough to beat this price, however, SumUp's transaction fees, starting from 1.69% won't break the bank for startups or small businesses.SumUp’s transaction fees are lower than Square and Zettle’s 1.75%.

SumUp's PDQ machine costs start from £39, but its main attraction, the 3G card reader, starts from £129. This is fairly pricey, especially when compared to Tyl's pocket reader, which starts from £6.99 per month and includes 3G/4G connectivity.

Features

SumUp includes over 11 integrations, but not quite as many as Square, Zettle, or Revolut. The integration it does have includes QuickBooks and Xero. It also packs a virtual terminal, which allows you to take payments online. This feature made our expert team find SumUp one of the best payment gateway providers around.

SumUp doesn't include multi-currency, which is limiting if your business aims to expand its global reach. Zettle, Stripe, and Revolut are alternatives that all accept multiple currencies.

SumUp's reigning feature is that it provides a card reader with a built-in SIM card to sustain connection, even when in remote locations. Its only true competitor in this market is Tyl. However, Tyl does lack a large number of integrations. Starting from £6.99 per month and 1.5% transaction fees, it's much more affordable than SumUp but is less compliant.

Does SumUp have good customer reviews?

SumUp receives a customer score of 4.8/5 in our independent research, which makes it the top scorer in this category. Many of its customers found the readers easy to use and the customer service super helpful. Others did run into issues, such as the hardware not working as it should, and authorisation issues that crop up once you hit £5,000 transactions.

SumUp says it has this limit in place to allow merchants to onboard as quickly and smoothly as possible while they carry out relevant checks. When customers aren't aware of this, they can face snags when it comes to making sales after hitting the limit.

Customer review

SumUp is amazing. Sales by card are easy. I've had my SumUp machine for about a year now and have never had an issue. The sales money is always in my bank the next working day. The fees are the most competitive on the market. My sales have increased thanks to SumUp. Highly recommended (sic)

Cheryl Scott, SumUp user
- Source: Trustpilot
Customer review

When you reach your pre verification limit of £5k your transactions are declined. Notice to verify should be given sooner to prevent being stopped accepting payments. This resulted in 6 days lost trade from declined payments.(sic)

Nigel Gray, SumUp user
- Source: Trustpilot
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Our methodology

Our research team carried out interviews with 12 business owners to find out what was most important in their merchant account provider. This research helped us identify the most important factors for businesses. We focused on scoring each provider in the following areas:

  • Price –  hardware fees, transaction fees, account fees, flexibility, and early termination fees were all taken into account to determine how affordable the provider was.
  • Payment options –  the team assessed whether the provider offered a physical machine, online payments, virtual orders, and payment links.
  • Features –  the features we focused on were invoicing, integrations, reporting, and multi-currency.
  • Compliance –  this area looks at how compliant each provider is based on fund transfer times, PCI compliance, and fraud prevention measures.
  • Help and support –  our team identified how much help and support each provider offered. This includes email, phone, and live chat support.
  • Customer score –  this score is based on customer reviews and comments.

The average of all of these scores is combined to make up an overall score for each provider and find the best mobile card reader.

Verdict

SumUp is best suited to businesses on the go. Its low transaction fees, lack of monthly costs, and 3G connectivity make it a great choice for tradespeople, market stalls, and startups.

SumUp receives a high score for compliance (4.8/5) and, without any extra costs for fraud prevention measures, you can confidently receive payments and provide customers with a secure experience.

It’s worth noting that SumUp does carry out credit checks on new merchants, which can be limiting if you have a poor or no credit history. Another negative is that it lacks a live chat function. Despite this, its card readers are simple to use and reliable, plus it offers over 11 integrations which is higher than competitors such as Stripe and Tyl.

If you want to compare SumUp to other payment processors, you can use our free quote tool. Through it, we'll quickly match you with trusted providers. They’ll then be in touch to provide bespoke quotes.

FAQs

Can SumUp be trusted?
Yes, SumUp has the highest compliance rating out of all of the providers in our independent research with a solid 4.6/5.
Does SumUp have a monthly fee?
No, SumUp does not have a monthly fee. You'll only need to purchase a card reader upfront, you’ll then be charged 1.69% for every card transaction processed.
Which is better: Zettle or SumUp?
Our in-depth research into a host of providers sees Zettle score 4.8/5 and SumUp score 4.2/5. Zettle performs better in features, price, and customer support, making it a better provider overall. However, SumUp offers a true 3G card-reader whereas Zettle users can only access this by connecting the reader to their smartphone.

Our site is reader-supported. Some featured providers are our partners, so we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through our site. This is at no extra cost to our readers, and this doesn’t affect the independence of our reviews. Whether or not we have a partnership with a company does not affect our rating and review of the service.

Written by:
Zara Chechi
Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts.
Reviewed by:
Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.