Man on tightrope

Bank transfers will always be a strong option for taking payments; however, cards are being used more and more as a way to pay for goods and services of all sizes and values. The development of systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay meaning that you can now pay up to £10,000 on your phone increasing the number of transactions that are going cashless.

Offering a card payment facility has a number of benefits. If a customer wants to pay via card they can, while it may not be your preference it may secure the deal. From the customer perspective, there are benefits to card payment including cash-back, reward points and credit protection. The protection provides peace of mind and offering this may add to your credibility.

To help you understand how to take card payments we have developed the following FAQs as well as a list of some of the systems and services you can use.

All of the information below is correct at the time of writing and is designed for guidance only.

This varies massively from provider to provider from £30 to £100s or £1000s depending on the complexity of the service you use. Some systems have a monthly connection fee and all will have a payment processing fee, either as a percentage of the total transaction, a charge per transaction (often 20p) or both. 

It’s important that you are aware of the fees that you will be charged as this will affect how much you receive.

No, in January 2018 credit and debit card surcharges were made illegal.

All card readers work in a similar way. The machine reads the details from the card and contact the bank to check the funds are available before completing the transaction. The more expensive card readers are complete units and have their own internet connection. The cheaper units read the card before linking to an app on your smart phone making use of your smart phones internet connection to connect to the customer’s bank.

Yes. You will need an additional device. If you are using a system that connects to your phone they tend to be quite light and small so easy to store while you are not using them.

Most systems automatically transfer the money to your nominated account automatically in a couple of days. Paypal sends the money to your Paypal account immediately ready for you to withdraw into your normal bank account.

No, not necessarily. Some systems require you to have a merchant account but most of the app based systems take care of that for you and send the money to the account you nominate.

Most of the systems do take a few minutes to set up, but once up and running the apps are all designed to be easy to use and it may be worth trying a few out before ordering a card reader if the apps allow this. 

The following list shows providers who offer mobile card readers. By clicking on one of the links you may be able to get a discount and we may receive a fee as well.

Sum Up

This is the card reader that we use. They have low monthly fees and pay into your account in 2-3 days. Check out their website for more details.


Paypal used to offer their own card reader but have now bought iZettle and relaunched their services under the Zettle brand.


iZettle had a range of readers available but were bought out by PayPal in 2018 so check out the PayPal listing.

It is also worth investigating the other options available inside the apps. The ability to issue receipts, sell additional products and even send invoices. There may be additional charges so read the small print, but there are some real hidden gems in there for the tech savvy.

An alternative to these payment options could be to take advantage of driving instructor gift vouchers available from these are paid to you in full with no charge or can be branded for a 1% fee. These are one of many industry related products available from NDP where you can also earn affiliate fees or access support tools for your pupils from well known ADIs such as Diane Hall and Rich Rawden.

Posted by Ian

March 12, 2021

Categories: Business Guidance