Square vs Zettle – compare card readers

Square and Zettle offer some of the smallest and most affordable card readers on the market, but who has the better products? We compare both card machine providers in this guide.

Compare Square and Zettle Compare providers
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Square is one of the most popular card reader providers; PayPal’s Zettle has a similarly small, affordable range. Is that where their similarities end? We’ve uncovered the details about both card reader providers to help you decide which one might be best for you.

Square vs Zettle: provider overview

Two providers, each with a range of two cards: here’s what you need to know.

Square
ProductsSquare Reader, Square Terminal
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and Pin
Alternative payment methodsPayment link,Over the phone
Apple PayYes
Google PayYes
ConnectivityBluetooth
Requires connection to a phone or tabletYes
Battery lifeDesigned to last all day
Warranty period24 months
Zettle
ProductsZettle Card Reader 2, Zettle Payment Terminal
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and Pin
Alternative payment methodsQR code,Payment link
Apple PayYes
Google PayYes
ConnectivityBluetooth,WiFi
Requires connection to a phone or tabletYes
Battery life100 sales
Warranty period12 months

The Square Reader vs the Zettle Reader 2: product overview

Two providers: two card each. Here’s what you need to know.

Square Reader

Square Reader

Zettle Reader 2

Zettle Reader 2

Compare rates and fees

One of the most important things to look at when you’re comparing card readers is the difference in the rates and fees each provider charges: not just the headline cost of each product, but the more ‘hidden’ fees too. For further explanations of the different charges you might come across in your research, use our handy guide.

The Square Reader and the Zettle Reader 2 have identical transaction fees of 1.75%, but the upfront cost of the Zettle model is £29, compared to the Square Reader’s £19.

ProductSquare ReaderZettle Card Reader 2
Product NameSquare ReaderZettle Card Reader 2
ContractNo contractNo contract
Initial cost£19£29
Monthly cost£0£0
Transaction cost1.75%1.75%
Transaction cost (card not present)2.5%2.5%
Settlement 1 working day1-2 working days
Money-back guaranteeNoNo
Chargeback cost£0£0

Compare features

They’re very similar products: small card readers suitable for use on the go.

However, one big difference is in the battery life: while a fully charged Square Reader should keep going all day, the Zettle Reader 2 can only handle around 100 sales. A charging dock will set you back an extra £39.

For a full insight into the different features you should look out for when comparing card readers, you can use our helpful guide.

ProductSquare ReaderZettle Card Reader 2
Product NameSquare ReaderZettle Card Reader 2
Networksgoogle pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icongoogle pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
ConnectivityBluetoothBluetooth, WiFi
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and PinContactless, Chip and Pin
Alternative payment methodsPayment link, Over the phoneQR code, Payment link
Requires connection to phone or tablet
Battery lifeDesigned to last all day100 sales
Printer attached
Add ons
  • Dock

  • Phone mount

  • Compatible with a range of third-party receipt printers and barcode scanners

  • Charging dock for £39

  • Zettle Reader 2 (additional reader) for £59

Bottom line

They’ll cost you less and they’ll last longer before needing to be charged: Square’s products win out as far as we’re concerned. Don’t just take our word for it, though: compare the full ranges below before you choose the best card reader for your business.

Compare the Square and Zettle range

Name Product Initial cost Monthly cost Transaction cost Contract Networks Key benefits Link
Square Online Premium
Subject to status
£20
1.4%
google pay iconapple pay icon
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Square Online Free
Subject to status
£0
1.4%
google pay iconapple pay icon
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Square Virtual Terminal
Subject to status
£0
1.4%
american express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
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View details
Square Online Plus
Subject to status
£20
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay icon
Go to site
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Square Terminal
£149
£0
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Go to site
View details
Square Reader
£19
£0
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Go to site
View details
Stripe terminal (BBPOS WisePOS E)
£179
Subject to status
1.4% + 20p
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Read review
View details
Zettle Card Reader 2
£29
£0
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Read review
View details
Zettle Payment Terminal
£149
£0
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Read review
View details
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Table: sorted by transaction cost, promoted deals first
We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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