Alternative payment schemes

Although most card-present sales are still carried out using a traditional chip-and-pin terminal connected to a telephone line, there are an increasing number of alternatives offering flexible and portable solutions, designed for small businesses with low card volumes. We look at some of these new options:

At the time of writing, all three are offering similar prices for transactions and pinpads.

Paypal Here


Worldpay Zinc

PayPal Here

Online retailers with a low or irregular sales volume have long benefited from PayPal’s simple payment gateway, allowing them to accept card payments direct to a PayPal account. Now PayPal have expanded their service with the launch of the PayPal Here.

PayPal Here consists of a smart phone app and a simple Chip and Pin card reader that is linked to the phone via Bluetooth. There’s also an iPad app available.

paypal herePros:

  • The familiar PayPal brand name reassures customers.
  • Can be linked to the retailer's online Paypal account.
  • Low start-up costs and no monthly fees.
  • Products can be set up in the app.


  • Single rate fees, no volume discounts.
  • Doesn’t support JCB or American Express
  • No display on the card reader

Recommended for:

Traders who use Paypal to accept online payments, but occasionally need to take face-to-face payments e.g. at fairs or events.


iZettle are a rapidly growing Swedish company who are committed to making it simple to accept card payments. Like PayPal, their basic solution is a mini Chip and Pin reader that connects via Bluetooth with an app running on a smartphone or tablet. Transaction pricing is calculated on a sliding scale, and there are no other fees.

The iZettle app also offers a full point-of-sale system which can be connected to peripheries such as cash drawers and receipt printers and provides accounting reports.

izettle pin readerPros:

Accepts all card types, including JCB and American Express

Low start up costs and no monthly fees

Transaction pricing based on volume

Fully functional POS app.


No support for tips

Only supports card present payments.

Recommended for:

Small retail businesses who need to offer card transactions as an extra, rather than as their main method of payment. Ideal for cafés and market traders.

Worldpay Zinc

An offshoot of Worldpay, Zinc offers a full-featured service, similar to iZettle’s but with the backing of a one of the major card processing companies. Pricing is either on a pay-as-you go account with no commitments, or on a monthly contract with a fixed fee and lower transaction cost, but there are no other volume discounts.


  • Backed by a major card processor, with full UK-based support
  • Supports card-not-present payments
  • Keypad available from a number of UK retailers.
  • Compatible with Bluetooth receipt printers.


  • Cannot be linked to an existing Worldpay account.
  • Only accepts Visa, Mastercard and Maestro.

Recommended for:

Small retail businesses who need to offer card transactions as an extra, rather than as their main method of payment. Ideal for cafés and market traders and for retailers who take a mixture of telephone and card-present orders.

Have you tried out any of these devices? Do you want to add your thoughts, or find out what other retailers like you are using? Add your comments or join in the debate on our forum.