9 Mobile Card Readers That Will Destroy Apple Pay in Europe

By Annifer Jackson

Apple Pay is huge news in the US. And there's a lot to love. This virtual wallet app gives users the power to pay securely with one touch of their iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus.

Now available at a rapidly growing number of real life stores, the Near Field Communication antenna at work in these latest iPhone models (not to mention the Apple Watch) makes splashing out incredibly easy. With more security features than Fort Knox, and 1 million registrations in the first 3 days after its launch, surely this mobile payment app is The Future?

READ MORE: When will Google Wallet and Apple Pay Arrive in Europe?

Well, hold your horses. Apple may talk the talk in the USA, but on European shores, Apple Pay doesn't seem to be set for world domination just yet. Under EU regulation, any provider issuing e-money or offering payment services is subject to rigorous license requirements stipulated in the EU's 2009 E-Money Directive (EMD) and the Payment Services Directive (PSD) rolled out in the same year.

This is a huge roadblock for Apple Pay. The app is set for a UK launch in 2015, but doing battle with the EU's tight rules and regulations is going to make this target date pretty tricky to hit. This leaves the European market wide open for already-regulated, up-and-running mobile payment systems, free from the tyranny of Apple.

Meet 9 mobile card readers which are already taking EU payments and could give Apple Pay a serious run for its money:

1. Payleven

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa, Visa Electron, Visa Pay, MasterCard, & Maestro, debit and credit cards

With a pretty mid-market, one-off card reader cost of £59.99 and a cost per transaction (CPT) ranging from 1.5 percent-2.75 percent, Payleven isn't extraordinary, but does offer all of the features you'll likely be looking for from your mobile card reader. A maximum payment limit and daily transaction limit of £10,000 gives most businesses plenty of room for manoeuvre, but the 7 day wait for payment following the transaction leaves a little to be desired.

2. iZettle

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa, Visa Electron, Visa Pay, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, JCB, & Diners Chip Club

Another mid-priced offering with a 1.5 percent-2.75 percent transaction fee and a £59.99 price tag for the card reader. There are a few features which make iZettle stand out. For instance, this mobile card reader has a high daily transaction limit of £200,000. This substantial figure contrasts slightly confusingly with the maximum payment limit of £1,500 for private users and £5,000 for business accounts. A variable processing time of 4-15 days leaves when to expect your payment somewhat up in the air.

3. PayPal Here

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa, MasterCard, Maestro & the PayPal Check-in app

Immediate payment following the transaction is the biggest PayPal Here claim to fame. Otherwise, this system is fairly similar to other offerings: a £69.95 card reader, a 2.75 percent transaction fee and a daily transaction limit of £3,000 (personal) and £200,000 (business).  Watch out for extra charges which can be incurred if you use manual entry or receive payment using the magnetic strip.

4. SumUp

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, & American Express

Taking just 1.95 percent in transaction fees, SumUp is a pretty competitive card reader. The reader itself will set you back £79.00, but a smooth online dashboard makes everything pleasantly transparent. You can expect payment in 3-6 business days.

5. mPowa

Available via: Android, iOS, BlackBerry & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa & MasterCard

mPowa is one of only two mobile card readers on our list that are compatible with BlackBerry. But it's also got a steeper transaction fee of 2.95 percent + 25p. That said, the card reader itself is competitively priced at £49.99. Again, watch out for those extra charges for manual entry, but expect payment to clear in just 1 day.

6. Intuit

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa & MasterCard

Intuit takes a more tailored approach to taking mobile payments, with daily limits and maximum transactions varying from user to user. However, the rest of its service is fairly standard: £79 card reader, 2.75 percent cost per transaction, payment in 5-7 days.

7. WorldPay

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa, MasterCard and Maestro debit and credit cards

A slightly faster payment time of 3-4 days is the main thing to write home about WorldPay. Otherwise you're looking at a pretty industry standard £79.99 card reader and transaction fees ranging from 1.95 percent-2.5 percent.

8. SagePay

Available via: Android, iOS & Bluetooth
Compatible with: Visa, Maestro, American Express, GiroPay and PayPal

A 2 day turnaround on payment makes SagePay one of the swiftest in the biz, after PayPal Here and mPowa. Transaction cost are also lower than your average, coming in at 1.6 percent-1.9 percent. With this system you'll pay for your card reader monthly at a cost of £18. Meanwhile, manually entering personal credit cards and debit cards will cost you a little extra.

9. Pay A Trader

Available via: Android, iOS & BlackBerry
Compatible with: Visa, Maestro, American Express, MasterCard and PayPal

This mobile card reader is slightly unusual in that it's compatible with BlackBerry devices, but not via Bluetooth. The system is also a little different – it was set up to cater specifically to traders. It costs £99 to join, after which you will pay £74 for the reader and between 2.30 percent-2.95 percent on each transaction. If you do things manually, there will be an extra charge of 30p.

Interested to see how these mobile card readers stack up against each other? This detailed infographic will give you all the facts: https://www.choice-loans.co.uk/mobile-payments/   

Pete Campbell is the content strategist for Choice Loans, specialists in alternative finance options for businesses big and small.



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