Two world-class card readers, but there can only be one winner. Which will be crowned Best Mobile Card Reader for Businesses?
There are many similarities between the PayPal Here and iZettle card reader. Both pair with your Android or Apple mobile or tablet device via Bluetooth, allowing you to take card payments using a free point-of-sale app anywhere with a WiFi or 3G/4G connection.
Both offer easy sign-up, no fixed monthly charges, no contract, and competitive transaction fees. Both accept all major UK card types. Both are reasonably priced and small enough to fit into your pocket.
In essence, both card readers promise the same benefits — so how do you choose between them? Our side-by-side comparison will help you decide, and you can scroll down for a more in-depth look at pricing, user experience and customer support.
|iZettle vs PayPal|
(Contactless and Chip and PIN)
1% to 2.75% based on total sales volume
(Contactless and Chip and PIN)
Instantly to PayPal account,
Within two working days
Between 8am and 10pm on weekdays;
Between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday
All major card types
All major card types
The PayPal Here is slightly cheaper than the iZettle reader, costing just £54 including VAT compared to £70.80. These are one-off fees, and both machines are covered by a 12-month warranty.
At the time of writing, the iZettle card reader is on offer for the bargain price of £34.80. It’s billed as a special, for-one-month-only promotion, but it’s one that’s been run numerous times in the past, and one that will almost certainly be run again. So, in truth, you’re unlikely to ever pay full RRP for the iZettle.
Verdict: Promotions aside, the PayPal Here comes out on top for up-front cost. Well done PayPal.
It can be tricky to understand exactly what you’ll be charged in transaction fees by some providers. Thankfully, though, both PayPpal and iZettle are open about theirs.
PayPal card reader charges are tiered, with variable rates based on total monthly sales. Check out the table below to see what you’ll pay.
|PayPal Here transaction fees|
|Total value of card|
But beware: these rates apply to contactless and Chip and PIN Visa and Mastercard transactions only. For the luxury of processing a card through manual entry and swipe an increased fee of 3.4% + 20p per transaction applies. Let's be honest, though, when’s the last time you swiped someone’s card?
Funds are deposited into your PayPal account instantly and can be transferred to your business bank account in as little as two hours.
▶ Read more: Compare Card Fees From Top Providers
iZettle charges a simple, fixed monthly rate of 1.75% for all card and transaction types. If your business processes more than £8,000 of card transactions per month (congratulations!) you can apply to iZettle for a reduced rate. These are set on a case-by-case basis, with no indication online of what they might be. Money is deposited into your bank account within two working days.
Verdict: 1.75% is a damn competitive transaction fee for small businesses. But the variable rates offered by PayPal means that it again pips iZettle to the top spot. 2-0.
In terms of online support, there’s not much in it. Both companies have lots of helpful advice on their websites to assist you with everything from setting up your account, to handling payment disputes, and managing reporting and analytics through the free app. PayPal also has an online forum where you can pose questions to an online community of users.
You can reach a PayPal customer support agent by phone between 8am and 10pm on weekdays and 9pm and 9pm on weekends.
iZettle’s basic operating hours are 9am to 5pm on weekdays with no support at weekends. But for £30 a month you can sign up to the Go PLUS plan. As well as allowing you to sell online, this grants access to “premium support” between 8am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 6pm on weekends.
Verdict: The winner? PayPal. Obviously. This is getting embarrassing…
What do customers say?
Both companies’ apps score well on customer reviews. The PayPal Here app is rated 3.6 out of 5 in the App Store and 4.3 out 5 on Google Play. Other PayPpal card reader reviews are, however, less favourable. The company scores badly on Trustpilot. So badly. 1.2 out of 10 badly. Oh dear.
iZettle, in comparison, has an excellent Trustpilot score of 8.3 out of 10. And the free app is rated 4.7 out of 5 in the App Store and 4.2 in Google Play. Bravo, iZettle.
Verdict: Finally, iZettle gets one back.
It’s a thrashing. The PayPal Here is the clear winner. It costs less than the iZettle card reader, offers equivalent rates for businesses processing over £1,500 of card transactions monthly — better if you process more than that — and the customer support is more comprehensive. For most businesses, a PayPal card machine is the better choice.
But let’s be clear: the iZettle card reader is no slouch. If you take less than £1,500 per month it offers considerably better rates and, based on customer reviews, the point-of-sale app provides a superior user experience.
Ultimately though, when the margins on pricing and customer support are so fine, the deciding factor for most businesses is going to be transaction fees. And the only way to ensure you’re getting the most competitive rates is to compare suppliers.
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