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12 August 2020

Best Card Readers for Small Businesses

by User Not Found

As small retail businesses begin to reopen after the uncertain period brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless payments are a key way in which you can keep your customers safe. Though this has been the natural progression of customer payments, recent events have thrust the need even further into the limelight. Here at Brightside Shop Insurance, we have compiled a list of the best card readers available in the UK for small business owners to help customers make payments with ease and to help you more efficiently manage your business after reopening.

iZettle Reader 2

The iZettle Reader 2 is currently one of the most popular card readers in the UK and it’s easy to see why. Its sleek appearance houses some highly convenient features – not only does it accept all major credit cards, it also deposits money within 1-2 business days. The iZettle Reader 2 also boasts an average of 30% longer battery life than many of its rivals.

The iZettle 2 costs £59 plus VAT and although you’ll need to pay a bit extra for the dock and any add-ons, as well as factoring in a 1.75% transaction fee, this is balanced out by having no monthly fees. Simple to set up with 5-second contactless payments, the iZettle is a top choice for both business owner and customer convenience alike. iZettle are currently offering reduced fees as part of their COVID-19 support package. More information on this scheme can be found via iZettle's community hub.


Square’s reader – and its accompanying app for iOS and Android – is one of the most recognisable card readers available at present and is also a popular choice. The Square card reader itself costs only £19 plus VAT. This makes it a very cost-efficient choice of reader upfront, although there is a 1.75% fee for Chip & Pin or Contactless payments and a 2.5% fee for online, invoice or keyed-in payments. However, these fees are offset by the fact that Square charges zero fees for things such as refunds, early terminations or chargebacks. Money is usually deposited in your account the following day and Square is proud of its high-end security and encryption protection, so they are a favourite for security-focused small business owners.

Like iZettle, Square are also providing COVID-19 support, in this case in the form of an option to pause any subscription for up to three months. This is particularly useful if you find that you have to temporarily close your business as a result of COVID-19, and, like iZettle, Square are also offering reduced fees on online payments with their support package.


Shopify’s POS has been a favourite of many online stores due its seamless integration abilities, although the Shopify card reader is growing in popularity in physical shopfronts too. Once the reader is paired via Bluetooth with any iPhone or iPad that runs Shopify POS, it will be able to process payments quickly and securely via Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay, and Android Pay. While the Shopify reader itself is priced at £59 plus VAT, credit card rates are also as low as 1.6% with no hidden fees, no matter how much is processed within a transaction. The reader also comes with a one-year warranty.

SumUp Air

SumUp’s ‘Air’ card reader is a highly flexible option for small business owners who want to give their customers a wide variety of payment options with one device. Not only does the SumUp Air accept contactless card payments (including American Express), Google Pay and Apple Pay, it also has a card slot for Chip & Pin payments. SumUp’s accompanying app makes admin very simple as well. Its Product Catalogue features allow small business owners to view and add products to their shop’s catalogue, and VAT rates can be checked and edited at any time. It also allows sales tracking, employee account management, tips tracking (if applicable) and the ability to send digital receipts all from the app. The SumUp Air card reader costs £29, although a bundle including the Air reader and a charging cradle is yours for £55.

With a lower 1.69% transaction fee, no monthly fees and a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s easy to see why the SumUp Air is an attractive option to many small business owners.

No matter which of these top-tier card readers you choose for your shop, it’s vital to ensure that your small business is fully protected in the event of any incidents. Fortunately, at Brightside we offer a number of bespoke shop insurance policies through our insurance broking service, partnering with some of the UK’s most popular business insurers to help you find the coverage you need. Explore Brightside Shop Insurance today and get a quote to see how you can achieve peace of mind for your business’s security.
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