SumUp is a popular mobile point of sale (mPOS) system in Europe that recently expanded to the U.S. Their payment processing rates and mPOS hardware are cheaper than major competitors like Square and PayPal. Customers who use SumUp tout its low cost and user-friendly mobile app.
A crucial step in setting up your small business for success is finding the best merchant services to meet both your and your customers’ needs. And choosing the right point of sale system for your small business can help ensure a smooth shopping experience for your customers, while also providing valuable insights for your business. One such option, SumUp, has gained impressive popularity in Europe and is now gaining steam in the U.S. as well.
Indeed, the London-based startup has experienced rapid growth since launching their proprietary mobile payments solution in 2012. Today, SumUp is available in 31 different countries, including the U.S. According to SumUp’s website, they’re the first fully certified EMV (EuroPay, Mastercard, Visa) mPOS system in the world to cover the entire payment process, including card terminals, Android and iOS mobile apps, payment processing, and risk and anti-fraud solutions.
So, is SumUp the right solution for your business? In this review, we’ll take a closer look at SumUp’s mPOS system, including features, pricing, pros and cons, as well as alternatives.
SumUp is an mPOS system that works by connecting a mobile device via Bluetooth to a SumUp credit card reader that processes transactions through the SumUp mobile app. The mPOS system can accept magstripe, chip card, and contactless forms of payment. The SumUp mobile app is available for Apple iPhones and iPads using iOS 9.0 or higher and Android devices using Android 4.4 or higher. The app can only work while connected to the internet.
To create a SumUp account, you’ll need to connect it to your business bank account and provide some basic business information like your business entity type and contact information. Note that SumUp cannot provide services for a variety of businesses that typically fall in the “high-risk” category, such as adult entertainment businesses, pawnshops, and credit repair businesses.
When setting up your account you’ll also purchase a SumUp credit card reader, which will be shipped to you within one to three business days. Once you receive your card reader, simply pair it with your mobile device through the SumUp app and begin processing payments. Processed payments will be delivered to your business bank account within one to two business days, and since SumUp provides an aggregate merchant account, you don’t need to worry about setting up your own.
SumUp accepts all major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
SumUp doesn’t offer the widest range of features, but that’s pretty standard for an mPOS system. Instead, SumUp focuses on ease of use and simplicity. Here’s what you can expect when you sign up for SumUp:
The SumUp app is as good as any mPOS software we’ve seen. Here is everything you can do within the app:
The SumUp app also features a virtual terminal where customers can punch in their credit card information to process a payment, rather than swipe it via the SumUp credit card reader. However, the virtual terminal isn’t an automatic feature of the app. In order to access it, you must email SumUp and provide some additional business information, including your EIN and a copy of your business tax returns. All virtual terminal transactions also come with a 2.95% + $0.15 transaction fee, which is lower than what you’d pay to use the virtual terminal with most payment processors.
With the virtual terminal set up, you’ll also be able to send SMS texts to customers directly from the SumUp app requesting payment. Within the text there will be a link to your virtual terminal, allowing the customer to complete the transaction.
In early 2019 SumUp acquired Shoplo, an ecommerce software that allows SumUp to integrate with a variety of different ecommerce marketplaces, including Etsy, Facebook, and eBay. Through the ecommerce API, SumUp merchants can manage their ecommerce operation directly from the SumUp app. There is also a developer suite on the SumUp website that allows merchants to integrate SumUp payments into other software.
SumUp encrypts all payments and is PCI compliant. Furthermore, SumUp does not charge merchants for meeting PCI compliance standards.
For U.S. customers, SumUp offers phone support Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. There is also an email address you can reach out to for additional inquiries. If you need an answer faster, the SumUp Support Center provides various guides on using their system—plus their blog also features helpful guides on how to get the most out of your mPOS system.
SumUp charges a straightforward 2.65% on all magstripe, chip card, and contactless payments made using the SumUp credit card reader (virtual terminal transactions cost the aforementioned 2.95% + $0.15). SumUp’s per-transaction fee is actually cheaper than that of Square (2.75%) and PayPal Here (2.70%).
SumUp’s card reader will cost you $19, which is far cheaper than other card readers that accept chip card and contactless forms of payment (Square’s card reader for chip cards and contactless payments costs $49).
Those are the only real costs to consider when working with SumUp. There is no signup fee, PCI compliance fee, statement fee, payout fee, or fee to use the SumUp app. If you experience a chargeback, however, you will have to pay a $10 fee. In terms of contracts, you can use SumUp month-to-month and cancel at any time for no additional fee.
Now that you know how this mPOS works, here are some benefits of using SumUp:
Between the minimalist website and the glowing customer reviews, it’s not hard to see that SumUp is a very user-friendly product. A business owner can sign up for SumUp and start processing payments within a matter of days. And the app’s clean interface combined with the Support Center’s useful guides make it very easy to learn how to leverage all of SumUp’s features.
As previously mentioned, SumUp is one of the most competitively priced mPOS systems on the market. Its per-transaction fee of 2.65% is slightly less than its main competitors, meaning if you process a high volume of transactions, you could see some significant savings. The virtual terminal price (2.95% + $0.15) is also significantly less than the virtual terminal of a service like Square, which charges 3.5% + $0.15. Plus, SumUp’s card reader is available for just $19, which is much lower than comparable card readers on the market.
SumUp also has some drawbacks, including:
SumUp isn’t the most feature-rich service, but then again, most mPOS systems aren’t. The idea is to have a simple and easy way to accept payments on the go, not to have a complex software that allows you to manage your business from your phone. Still, there are some things it would be nice for SumUp to have, such as a customer relationship management function, the ability to apply discounts, or the ability to bulk upload product catalogues. We don’t view these things as dealbreakers, but if you need them, you may consider investing in a countertop POS system.
According to user reviews, SumUp has had some issues with account holds and freezes. This can be common with payment processors that aggregate their merchant accounts, as suspicious activity with one merchant can have repercussions for all merchants in the account. Therefore, payment processors that aggregate tend to have shorter leashes with their customers, and will issue an account hold or even a termination if your account experiences fraudulent charges or chargebacks. Keep this in mind if you sign up for SumUp.
Here is how customers rank SumUp on popular review platforms:
The general sentiment toward SumUp is positive. Users who were pleased with SumUp touted the simplicity of the system and its low cost. Many negative reviews focus on a poor customer service experience. Of course, there are also many reviews praising SumUp’s customer support. We suggest taking these criticisms with a grain of salt. Another somewhat common complaint is that the SumUp card readers cannot handle a lot of wear and tear, so handle yours with care.
Here are some other popular mPOS systems to compare SumUp to:
The Square mobile card reader was revolutionary when it came out, as it was one of the first technologies that enabled merchants to take payments from a mobile device. Today it is arguably the most popular mPOS system on the market in the U.S. As previously mentioned, the card reader costs $49, and payment processing will run you 2.75% or 3.5% + $0.15 for virtual terminal payments (you get a magstripe reader for free when you sign up). The Square app will also give you most of what the SumUp app provides, including inventory management, digital receipts, and tipping functionality.
There are also a few things that Square provides customers that SumUp does not, such as 24/7 customer support, the ability to set up recurring payments, and the ability to operate offline.
If you already use PayPal merchant services to handle online, invoice, or subscription payments, PayPal Here is a good option because it allows you to seamlessly track your entire payment history in one place. When you sign up you’ll get a free magstripe card reader, but a card reader that can also accept chip cards and contactless payments will run you $79.99. Payment processing fees cost 2.7%, and 3.5% + $0.15 on a virtual terminal. The PayPal Here app features most of what SumUp has, including inventory and employee management functions, and the ability to send an invoice.
SumUp is an exciting alternative to popular domestic mPOS providers like Square and PayPal. They can do most of what the other major mPOS systems can do, but at a lower cost. Furthermore, SumUp has ambitious plans for growth, meaning more features and functionality should be coming. Getting on board now seems like a savvy move for the business owner looking for low cost mobile payment processing.
Matthew Speiser is a former staff writer at Fundera.
He has written extensively about ecommerce, marketing and sales, and payroll and HR solutions, but is particularly knowledgeable about merchant services. Prior to Fundera, Matthew was an editorial lead at Google and an intern reporter at Business Insider. Matthew was also a co-author for Startup Guide—a series of guidebooks designed to assist entrepreneurs in different cities around the world.