Zettle vs SumUp – compare card readers

Offering cost-friendly pocket-sized card readers, we compare the most popular products from SumUp and Zettle.

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SumUp and Paypal’s Zettle (formerly known as the iZettle) both launched with the same intention, offering cheaper and more accessible card payment options for SMEs, but that is essentially where their similarities lie. We compare what their best products have to offer.

SumUp vs Zettle: provider overview

SumUp aims to offer simple and quick payments for its customers and with 3 very different products, it is ticking a lot of boxes. Whilst Zettle currently has 2 products on the market, one offering quick card and contactless payments for in-store and on-the-go sales and the other a payment terminal aimed at larger merchants.

SumUp
ProductsSumUp Air, SumUp Air and Cradle, SumUp Solo, SumUp 3G and Printer
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and Pin
Alternative payment methodsQR code,Payment link
Apple PayYes
Google PayYes
ConnectivityBluetooth
Requires connection to a phone or tabletYes
Battery life500 sales on a full charge
Warranty period12 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 SumUp Air vs the Zettle Reader 2: product overview

Although both card reader providers offer other machines, the SumUp Air and the Zettle Reader 2 continue to be the “go-to” products in their range.

SumUp Air

SumUp Air

Zettle Reader 2

Zettle Reader 2

Compare rates and fees

When comparing card readers, rates and fees are some of the most important factors in deciding what machine will work best for your business. Use our guide for further explanations of the different charges you might come across in your research.

SumUp is known for having some of the cheapest rates on the market, and when compared to the Zettle’s 1.75% transaction fee, the SumUp product is a clear win. However, transaction costs are not the only rate you will need to be wary of, SumUp charge a fee of £10 per chargeback, compared to the free cover for changebacks under £250 a month Zettle charge. Compare the full rates below.

Product
OFFER
SumUp Air
Zettle Card Reader 2
Product NameSumUp AirZettle Card Reader 2
ContractNo contractNo contract
Initial cost£39£29
Monthly cost£0£0
Transaction cost1.69%1.75%
Transaction cost (card not present)2.5%2.5%
Settlement 1-3 working days1-2 working days
Money-back guaranteeYesNo
Money-back guarantee details30-day money-back guarantee
Chargeback cost£10£0

Compare features

Each of SumUp and Zettle’s card readers have unique features for the different machines they offer. The SumUp Air and the Zettle Reader 2 are both of these providers on-the-go machines, perfect for smaller merchants or those looking for a mobile payment device.

When comparing features of card readers, you will need to search for those little nuggets of gold that will make for a positive experience for your business’s needs. This can be battery life, connectivity or even what type of cards the machine accepts.

If you would like to learn about all the different features you should look out for when comparing card readers, you can use our helpful guide.

At a glance, although both of these machines come with options to add a cradle (or docking station) to help with battery life, on one full battery the SumUp Air does outcompete the Zettle Reader. However, if battery life isn’t your buying point and you’re looking for a machine that offers multiple connectivity options, the Zettle Reader is the clear winner.

Compare the features of both card readers below.

Product
OFFER
SumUp Air
Zettle Card Reader 2
Product NameSumUp AirZettle 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 methodsQR code, Payment linkQR code, Payment link
Requires connection to phone or tablet
Battery life500 sales on a full charge100 sales
Printer attached
Add ons
  • Charging dock for £39

  • Zettle Reader 2 (additional reader) for £59

Bottom line

Both SumUp and Zettle are offering great, cost-effective machines with the aim of making the payment process simpler and faster.

The SumUp Air is a popular product amongst SMEs, with its competitive transaction fees and integrated app, this pocket-sized device packs a powerful punch. But, if you’re a merchant with a high volume of transactions and a professional countertop set-up, one of SumUp’s other machines might suit you better.

Whilst the Zettle Reader 2 offers a similar promise to SMEs, you have to watch out for its transaction fees. Zettle’s transaction charges are on the higher end of the card reader spectrum, but it does offer one of the cheaper products on the market.

A drawback to both the SumUp Air and the Zettle Reader is that they require a connection to an additional device (e.g. a phone or a tablet), this could cause a bit of a faff if you’re a merchant that has limited space or even on-the-go.

Ultimately, the winner of this battle of the card readers really depends on you and your business’s needs. And whilst the SumUp Air and the Zettle Reader both offer great machines, you can see that the areas where one fails, the other succeeds.

Compare the SumUp and Zettle range

Name Product Initial cost Monthly cost Transaction cost Contract Networks Key benefits Link
SumUp Virtual Terminal
Subject to status
£0
Subject to status
visa iconmastercard icon
Go to site
View details
OFFER
SumUp Solo
£79
£0
1.69%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
When you buy a SumUp card reader with a SumUp business account, get reduced transaction fees from 1.69% to 1.49%.
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View details
OFFER
SumUp Air
£39
£0
1.69%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
When you buy a SumUp card reader with a SumUp business account, get reduced transaction fees from 1.69% to 1.49%.
Go to site
View details
SumUp Tap to Pay on iPhone
£0
£0
1.69%
visa 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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