Choosing the best card machine for small business

Whether you need a mobile card machine for your small business or a single static card payment machine, we’ll help figure it out.


Choosing the best card machine for small business


Deciding on the best card machine for your small business is a big decision.

And it depends a lot on how you’ll be accepting payments.

For example, will you need a single card machine to place at a till in your shop? Or will you want to take payments to your customers? Do you have a mobile business and need to take a card machine with you wherever you go?

These are the main considerations when choosing the best card machine for your small business.

There is the option of choosing a cheap Pay-As-You-Go card machine.

And these can be good if you’re a very small business that doesn’t take many transactions via a card or contactless. But these types of machines can quickly see you paying more in transaction fees than you would through monthly rentals on a contract.

We don’t cover PAYG card machines in this guide, but you can find out more about them in the guide.


What are the types of card machine for small business?


Countertop card machine


Countertop card machines are a standard and simple way for businesses to start taking card payments, either through Chip and PIN or contactless.

If you only need a single card machine on a till, then a countertop machine is a good option for you. You’ll typically see them in corner shops, or traditional retail stores.

As well as accepting debit and credit card payments, these payment machines allow you to accept digital payments like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay as well as other types of digital wallet.

They’re easy to maintain and manage.

They also come certified to the latest PCI security standards, so there’s no issue with security.


Card payment being processed in a shop



Owner of The Archer holding Handepay Card Payment Machine

Portable card machine


Portable card machines are very similar to countertop machines but they can be used to take payments directly to customers.

For example in restaurants, if you want to take payment at customer tables.

In this sense, they’re ideal for businesses that want to make payments even easier and convenient for customers, or in businesses when you might want to have more than one card machine in store with multiple points of purchase.

Portable card machines do connect to their base via Bluetooth and can operate within a defined area, so it’s worth considering the size of your shop and whether the payment terminals will remain in range.

They can usually stay within a range of 55m from the access point.

And there’s no need to be concerned about machines running out of battery through the day, as they can typically last between 400 and 500 transactions in between charges.

Plus, they also accept Apple and Samsung Pay (among other digital payments) and come fully secured.


Mobile card machine


If you’re a travelling business, like a mobile food truck visiting festivals or events, a mobile hairdresser or barber or a tradesperson on the go, or you need a payment system to take to conferences, then a mobile card machine is what you’re looking for.

We’re beginning to see more businesses start to use mobile card machines because they’re convenient and useful in every type of business.

They work using a roaming SIM card (much like a mobile phone) to operate, automatically scanning for the strongest available signal, so you always get the best connection.

They’re fast and easy to set up, so you start taking payments quickly, anywhere, and stop relying on carrying large amounts of cash with your business.

Mac Tools business owner with Handepay Card Machine

Choosing the right card machine


Ultimately, which of the above card machines is right for your small business is your choice and the only way you’ll really know if you’ve got the right machine is when you start to use it.

Some things you can anticipate.

If you want a payment system that’s not confined to a till, then you’ll want either a portable or mobile machine.

How reliable your connections are going to be is another. Will you have access to reliable WiFi, for example, or would you be better having a SIM card and using a roaming signal instead?

These are all things a card machine provider like Handepay can help you figure out.

We’ve helped thousands of customers find their perfect payment solution over the years, so we can give you advice and guidance to make the most out of your investment.


Two Handepay Card Payment Machines one being held shows Switch & Save on the screen


How much will my small business card machine cost?


If you’re looking for a really basic, entry level card machine, then in all honesty you might be better taking a PAYG option.

But they can quickly become more expensive than you imagined.

For example, many PAYG card machines can be purchased for around £20 - £30, just for the machine, and only for taking payments.

More advanced machines (which offer the kinds of functions most small businesses need) are closer to £200 minimum.

Then there’s the transaction fees. PAYG machines are often advertised as no monthly rental costs as a reason they’re cheaper - and there are no rental costs because you pay for the machine outright.

But, typically, the transaction rates on these machines is much higher than a machine with a contract, often coming in between 1.7% and 2.5% for every transaction. Compare that to around 0.7% per transaction from a merchant provider.

You should also be aware of the hidden charges many card machine providers will try to put on top of your bill.

These are charges like PCI compliance (or non-compliance) fees or minimum monthly service charge fees.

So make sure you know what you’re paying before signing up.


Is Handepay the right card machine provider for you?


Here’s what a few customers have said about their experience working with us...

“The service I’ve received from Handepay and my advisor has been brilliant. Everything has been so simple, honest and transparent. If I ever need any advice, I know he is only a phone call away.

“Handepay enabled my café to start taking card payments at a great price.”

Diana Sutherland, Harbour Way

“Our local Business Development Manager made an appointment with us to look over a recent bill. When he explained the Handepay Price Challenge to us, we quickly emailed our statements to be analysed, and were thrilled to discover that our total monthly saving totalled £104.22.

“Saving over £1,200 per year on card processing fees has allowed us to invest more money growing our business. In my opinion, taking the Handepay Price Challenge is a definite must for all business owners.”

Chris Vidler, The Lane

If you sign up for a card machine for your small business with Handepay, you can firstly be assured that you won’t get any of the hidden fees you get from other providers.

We’ll help you to set up a merchant account too, overseeing the whole process right through from the start to the end.

You’ll get access to a full support team to deal with any issues you might have and we’re always on hand to provide advice or guidance on how to get the most out of your card payment machines in your small business.

If you’re already using a card machine, why not take our free price challenge to see how much you could save by moving over to Handepay?


If you’re ready to up your small business payments game, get in touch with us and let’s get to work.


How card machines fit into a small business

Almost every small business you go to now has at least one card machine.


And with more customers than ever wanting to pay using a card, or contactless through a smartphone or device, it’s never been more important that you have the technology available to offer these types of payments to your customers.


With card machine technology developing and becoming more affordable, it’s never been easier to bring a card machine into your small business.


Whether you’re an independent trader who wants to use a mobile or portable card machine to take payments at events or on site with customers, or you have a small store and just need a basic countertop machine, there’s a card machine that will fit your needs.


And if you choose Handepay as your payment solution provider, you can make savings and benefit from reduced additional fees, which can quickly build up with other providers.


Plus, if you’re not sure which card machine is best suited to your business, our expert advisors can help you figure out the best solution so you get the most return out of your investment.


Handepay Card Payment Machine being held in hand


Shop owner holding Handepay Card Payment Machine

Start taking more payments with a card machine for your small business

Your customers value choice when it comes to how they shop and pay for goods.


Are you limiting and cutting yourself off from customers by only offering some ways to pay?


Maybe you’re still reliant on cash and Chip and PIN?


With a modern card machine in your small business you can adapt to take every type of payment your customers want.


Whether it’s contactless debit or credit cards, or digital wallets using a smartphone or device, you’ll be ready to accept payments quickly and securely with your new card machine.

Financial disclaimer:

Terminal hire contracts are provided by Merchant Rentals Limited, who is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for Consumer Hire under FRN 720500. Terminal hire can be for consumer hire and non-regulated hire contracts. Please check your contract carefully for details. Regulation of all consumer hire fall under the control of the FCA.

Handepay Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA for Consumer Credit under FRN 673564. Handepay is a credit broker for consumer hire not a lender.

Handepay acts as an introducer of card acquiring services on behalf of EVO Payments UK, the card acquiring service provider. EVO Payments UK is the trading name of EVO Payments UK Ltd, a payment institution that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN number 959332).

Existing Cards Businesses- The one-month rolling terminal hire contract from Merchant Rentals is only available to businesses that are switching from their current acquirer to EVO Payments UK arranged through Handepay.

New to Cards Businesses- The 12-month terminal hire contract from Merchant Rentals is only available to businesses that are new to card payments and wish to receive acquiring services from EVO Payments UK, arranged through Handepay.

The Next Day Banking Settlement service provided by EVO Payments UK incurs an additional fee of £4 a month on top of your acquiring service charges and fees. Provided your card machine performs a reconciliation before 12am (midnight), you’ll receive settlement of funds the next banking day.

Editorial disclaimer:

The information we provide does not constitute financial advice and might not apply to your business. Always carry out research into your business’ needs when choosing a new merchant services provider.

Sometimes, we link to other third-party websites to provide you with additional information. At the time of publication, we consider the information accurate, however, we do not have control over their content and are not responsible if any information on these websites change.

The products we display on our website are for illustrative purposes only - if your business requires additional facilities, you may receive a different model than advertised.

All of the information contained on this website, including fees, services and functionality, are correct at time of publishing. E&OE.