If you are thinking of selling your work at a craft market or art fair, or even if you are running an independent shop or gallery it is a good idea to consider offering a card payment option for your customers.

According to figures presented by UK Finance ‘debit cards are set to overtake cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK later this year’ with just 40% of all payments in the UK in 2016 being made using cash and predicted to fall further to 21% by 2026.

Britain has well and truly embraced a cashless society because of its ease and convenience Mark Latham, director at Handepay 

Source: Revealed: Cash eclipsed as Britain turns to digital payments by The Guardian, Feb 2018

Even if you are just starting out, or have an established business that handles customer facing sales it is important to provide a solution to this growing trend.

Benefits of offering a card payment options

  • The majority of customers will want to pay by card, so you might lose out on sales if you only offer a cash option
  • Customers are more likely to buy that spontaneous purchase or buy more than they planned if there is a card payment option because of ease and convenience
  • It looks more professional and establishes you as a reputable trader
  • Holding large quantities of cash at your stall or in your shop or gallery can increase a risk of theft

There are are number of card payment options available to consider that are easy to set up and affordable transaction fees and card reader costs especially for sole traders and small businesses.

Here are our top card reader options you might want to consider for your business or small enterprise.

Card reader options for small businesses


iZettle is becoming one of the most popular card machine option for small businesses. The reader is small and is one of the cheapest options on the market.

The reader accepts chip and pin, contactless, and magstripe payments, and connects via Bluetooth to a dedicated iZettle app for smartphone or tablet. It has a battery life of up to eight hours, and just as importantly it’s very fast – contactless payments only take seconds.

Cost: Free point-of-sale app, £29 for the card reader with 1.75% card transaction fee and 2.5% for e-commerce transaction fee. Find out more

PayPal Here

This is a good option if you are already using PayPal in your business online. The card reader is affordable, and payments clear into your PayPal account almost instantly. In addition, the PayPal Here card machine has no monthly fees, and no fixed contract.

Cost: A PayPal card reader costs from £45 (excl. VAT). You just pay once for your card reader and as low as 1% per transaction with no monthly fees. Find out more


SumUp might be less recognisable than the two previous options, as it is relatively new to the market but they are worth considering, especially since the handset is also the most affordable around.

It is also a good option if you only process a small number of card transactions, as use of the terminal incurs just one flat fee. However, if you’re processing larger volumes of transactions or your business grows you might want check whether the SumUp is the most cost-effective option.

Cost: SumUp card reader is £29 (but they do offer discounts at times) plus 1.69% per transaction fee and no monthly costs.

This is just a selection of what is available on the market currently and it is important to do your own research into each option to see what fits best your business or small enterprise.

Do you use card payments options? If so, share your preferred option in the comments below.

Illustration by Bethany Lord