SumUp vs Square: Business Card Reader Showdown

sumup logo and square logo

All providers have been reviewed and tested by our Research team. By requesting a quote, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral

SumUp and Square are two major players in the payment taking market and, according to our in-depth analysis, Square is the best of the two.

Off our audience research findings and backed by our nearly 15 years of experience in the market, we know business owners look for card machines they can easily integrate and have support with. Square ticks those boxes with gusto: its reader ranks among the best card machines for small businesses and the provider itself scores an impressive 4.4/5 in our research. Not that SumUp is a weak contender: it offers great connectivity on its readers, landing a 4.2/5 score.

If you’re unsure about which to choose, simply fill in our free comparison tool to receive bespoke quotes from our trusted providers. However, if you want the specifics on SumUp and Square, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve researched both providers and have the gist at hand, so read on.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0
Score
4.2
Score
4.4
Best For

3G connectivity

Best For

zero-contract fast payouts

Cost

From £39 + VAT

Cost
Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Native EPOS system?
Native EPOS system?
Invoicing tool
Invoicing tool
Readers with mobile data
Readers with mobile data

SumUp vs Square: Battle breakdown

According to our research, we found that Square has cheaper hardware, more third-party integrations, and better customer support when compared with SumUp. For its part, SumUp does offer cheaper transaction fees and boasts better customer reviews online than Zettle. Overall, Square’s 4.4/5 score outdoes SumUp’s 4.2/5.

Both providers offer native EPOS systems along with their card machines, but Square edges out SumUp by offering its EPOS service for free. SumUp charges a minimum of £9 per month for a similar offering.

Square’s payout time is also way faster than SumUp’s. While it pledges to transfer funds by the next working day, SumUp can take up to five working days to do so. Those factors, combined with Square’s plentiful features, make it one of the best mobile card machine providers for small businesses.

SumUpSquareWinner
Price3.6/53.3/5SumUp: Lower in-person transaction fee
Features3.7/54.7/5Square: More third-party integrations
Compliance4.6/53.5/5SumUp: More readers with mobile data
Customer support3.5/55/5Square: More help channels (inc. live chat)
Customer score4.9/54.4/5SumUp: Better reviews in online aggregators
SumUp
4.2
Pricing From £39 + VAT
Quick overview

SumUp's is a merchant account best suited to small, mobile business. Like Zettle, it doesn’t bind you to a contract: once you buy the hardware you need (its cheapest reader costs £39 + VAT), you’re good to go. It also allows for web building and EPOS integration, like Square.

SumUp's crowning jewel is its offering of mobile data-enhanced hardware. Its mid- and top tier readers (Solo and 3G, respectively) run on their on data and aren't reliant on an external connection to take payments. This made SumUp the best merchant account for connectivity among the ones we researched.

However, on the support end, its lack of a live chat channel is a substantial flaw. Because of that, it only scores 3.5/5 in customer support in our research.

Pros

Great connectivity

EPOS integration

Cons

Reporting could be better

Support isn’t available via live chat

SQUARE LOGO
Square Reader
4.6
Pricing £22.80 (incl. VAT)
Strengths

Provides next-day deposits into your business bank account

No credit check required

Versatile and scalable EPOS system

Weaknesses

No built-in SIM card, uses bluetooth to connect to app on phone

Doesn’t accept UnionPay, JCB, Diners Club or Discover

Customer support isn’t great

Pricing
Card machineTransaction feeMonthly fee
£22.80 (incl. VAT) 1.75% None

Best value: Square

While neither of the brands charge monthly fees, Square offers its reporting tools for free. SumUp, on the other hand, charges £29 per month for this feature. Despite this, SumUp outperforms Square in price in our research, scoring 3.7/5 and therefore narrowly beating Square’s 3.3/5. With these results, the fine print makes all the difference.

For starters, Square’s transaction fee for in-person payments is 1.75%, pricier than SumUp’s 1.69%. It is worth noting that they both charge 2.5% for keyed-in and invoice transactions. On the other hand, Square’s hardware starts at a lower price (£16 + VAT against SumUp’s £39 + VAT), which helps keep the initial investment down and makes it appealing to small business owners.

However, when it comes to card readers, SumUp gives Square a run for its money. SumUp has a mid-tier offering, Solo, which retails at £79 + VAT. Also, by having mobile data in two of its three card readers, SumUp has better connectivity than Square. This allows you to keep your business running without being dependent on Wi-Fi or your phone’s data. In contrast, none of Square’s two readers come with this feature, which is essential to mobile business owners.

That said, by packing plentiful features without charging monthly fees, Square offers better overall value than SumUp, scoring 4.4/5 against SumUp’s 4.2/5. Square also provides faster payouts than SumUp, While SumUp promises to transfer funds in up to five working days, Square can get them to you by the next working day, which benefits business owners who depend on dynamic cash flow.

For a full breakdown of Square’s costs, head over to our guide.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0
Cost

From £39 + VAT

Cost
Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Fund transfer time

3-5 working days

Fund transfer time

By the next working day

Invoicing fee

From 1.25%

Invoicing fee

2.5%

Best for features: Square

Our research shows that Square offers more overall features than SumUp, so it wins this round – something reflected in its 4.7/5 score in this category in our research, against SumUp’s 3.7/5. Both companies provide sales reports, easy invoicing, and a native ecommerce platform. However, Square enables team and inventory management tools, unlike SumUp. Square also packs countless integrations, while SumUp only integrates with 11. This makes Square a better fit for business owners keen on syncing up many segments of their ventures. That said, SumUp has a plus in that it accepts 10 different major cards, which is six more than Square.

SumUpSquare 🏆
Score3.7/54.7/5
Key featureAllows 11 third-party integrationsAllows countless third-party integrations

Best for compliance: SumUp

SumUp beats Square in compliance due the credit checks it runs on new merchants and the mobile data it packs on its readers, which Square doesn’t do. Accordingly, SumUp scores 4.6/5 in this category while Square gets 3.5/5. For its part, Square has a faster payout time than SumUp, transferring your money by the next working day. SumUp takes up to five working days to do so. However, both providers encrypt their users’ data to prevent fraud and comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standard, which is great because this means they take steps to secure the data of the transactions they process.

SumUp 🏆Square 
Score4.6/53.5/5
Key featureReaders come with mobile dataPays out by the next working days

Best for customer support: Square

Square secures a victory here, scoring 5/5 against SumUp’s 3.5/5. Both providers offer support between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, via phone, and email. They also provide a knowledge base while lacking a community centre. However, unlike Square, SumUp’s support is not contactable via live chat and that proved fatal in this category. In fact, SumUp is the only mobile merchant account we looked at during our research that lacks this feature – a real Achilles’ heel.

SumUpSquare 🏆
Score3.5/55/5
Key featureAvailable on phone and email onlyContactable via live chat as well as phone and email

Zettle vs. SumUp vs. Square

These providers put up a good fight against each other on several fronts. At £16 + VAT, Square has a cheaper entry reader than Zettle (£29 + VAT) and SumUp (£39 + VAT). Befitting the standards of the mobile card reader market, none of them charge fixed account fees.

Square and Zettle offer the same amount of reporting tools (five), beating SumUp’s three. However, Square beats both Zettle and SumUp for integrations: it offers countless, which is better than Zettle’s 21 and SumUp’s 11. This is a great feature to have if you’re a business owner keen on syncing up many parts of your venture.

By being PCI certified, Zettle is more secure than SumUp and Square, which are only PCI compliant. That said, they all offer their compliance procedures at no extra cost. Accordingly, Zettle bags a whopping 4.8/5 score for compliance in our research, trumping SumUp’s 4.6/5 and Square’s 3.5/5. Zettle also ties with Square for its number of support channels (three), besting SumUp, which has only two.

Note

Unsure how you’d even use a Square POS if you got your hands on it? Read our easy guide on how to operate a Square card reader.

Alternatives to SumUp and Square

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0
Score
4.8
Score
4.8
Score
4.4
Score
4.4
Score
4.2
Score
4.0
Best For

Cheap transaction fees

Best For

Convenience

Best For

zero-contract fast payouts

Best For

Low-cost hardware

Best For

3G connectivity

Best For

Reporting

Cost

£49 + VAT (one-off fee)

Cost

From £29 + VAT

Cost
Cost

From £9.99 + VAT/month

Cost

From £39 + VAT

Cost

From £49 + VAT

Transaction fee
  • 0.8% + 2p in-person UK cards
  • 2.6% + 2p in-person non-UK cards
  • 1% + 2p online UK cards
  • 2.8% + 2p online non-UK cards
Transaction fee
  • 1.75% in-person
  • 2.5% payment links and invoicing
Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Transaction fee
  • 1.39% + 5p UK and European personal cards
  • 1.99% + 5p international and commercial cards
  • Variable for Amex
Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

Transaction fee
  • 1.4% + 10p in-person
  • 1.5%+ 20p online
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan

Revolut and Tyl are competitors worth a mention. Revolut scores 4.8/5 overall in our research, topping our mobile card machine provider analysis. At 0.8% + 2p, Revolut has a cheaper in-person transaction fee than both SumUp and Square. Also, with 16 integrations, Revolut beats SumUp while losing to Square, which has countless.

Read our review of Revolut for more information.

With a 4.4/5 overall score, Tyl ties with Square in our research. However, Square’s countless integrations made it score higher than Tyl for features. Unlike SumUp and Square, Tyl usually rents its readers for a monthly subscription – the minimum being £6.99 + VAT. This makes it a better fit for medium-sized and large businesses, for which the subscription won’t be bank-breaking. However, like those providers, Tyl lacks multi-currency support.

Our methodology

To find out the best between SumUp and Square, we researched them in five categories: price, features, compliance, customer support, and customer score. We also looked at four of their direct competitors to know how SumUp and Square compare against the wider market. We then consolidated the data into the scores we discussed throughout the article.

Square beats SumUp in two categories: features and customer support. In the first, we looked into the providers’ integrations and reporting tools. In the second, we scored them based on their number of support channels as well as the quality of their knowledge base.

Securing these categories proved to be crucial for Square’s victory, as they are the most heavily weighted ones in our mobile card machine provider analysis. This reflects the insights we gathered by interviewing business owners to discover their priorities when choosing a payment taking platform. This also explains why, despite not beating SumUp in most categories, Square wins.

And the winner is... Square

While SumUp’s as good a runner-up as any, Square owns this battle and is the overall winner. Unsurprisingly, it scores 4.4/5 in our research against SumUp’s 4.2/5. Square’s combination of low-cost hardware and wide features makes it stand out against SumUp.

You can use Square as a merchant account and an EPOS system with no extra cost, while you’d have to pay more for SumUp to perform this double duty. That said, both providers come with native ecommerce platforms. Square also packs countless integrations, against SumUp’s 11.

However, SumUp’s offering of two readers with mobile data makes it the best payment taking system for connectivity in our research. We would recommend this provider for… In comparison, Square doesn’t offer readers with mobile data.

If you’re still unsure about the right card machine provider for your business, use our quick and free quote comparison tool. We’ll match you with the providers most suited to your needs, and they’ll be in touch with tailored, obligation-free quotes!

SumUp vs Square FAQs

Which is better: SumUp or Square?
Square beats SumUp in our research, scoring 4.4/5 against SumUp’s 4.2/5, and is the better of the two. Square is a high performer in features and customer support, scoring 4.7/5
Which payment system is better than Square?
Revolut and Zettle are better mobile payment systems than Square according to our research. Both providers score 4.8/5 in our market analysis, beating Square’s 4.4/5. Revolut offers transaction fees starting at 0.8% + 2p – way cheaper than Square. Also, both Revolut and Zettle pack multi-currency support, which Square lacks, and are PCI certified, which is a higher security level than the one Square has (PCI compliant).
What percentage does SumUp take?
SumUp’s transaction fee is 1.69% for in-person payments and 2.5% for keyed-in and invoice payments.
What percentage does Square take?
Square’s transaction fee is 1.75% for in-person payments and 2.5% for keyed-in and invoice ones.
Does SumUp have monthly fees?
SumUp doesn’t charge monthly or setup fees. Once you buy one of its readers, you’re free to start taking payments, only paying transaction fees: 1.69% for in-person payments and 2.5% for keyed-in and invoice ones.
Does Square have monthly fees?
Square doesn’t charge monthly or setup fees. Once you buy one of their readers, you’re free to start taking payments, only paying transaction fees: 1.75% for in-person payments and 2.5% for keyed-in and invoice ones.

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:
Lucas Pistilli author headshot photo
Lucas is a Brazilian-born journalist and Expert Market’s go-to writer for all things EPOS systems, merchant accounts, and franking machines. Having covered business, politics and technology for many years, he’s driven by his passion for the written word and his goal to help people make well-informed decisions.
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.