Art & Design Magazine

Taking Payment Via Your Smartphone

By Ianbertram @IanBertram

In the past when I've been selling my pictures at fairs I've often lost sales, once a very large sale, because I didn't take credit cards. The problem was that the hire costs of the machines, plus line rental charges were prohibitive for small volume traders. Things are changing though and new options are now becoming available using smart phones. This post is an attempt to summarise what is currently available in the UK. If you have information about systems I've missed please add them in the comments. If you have experience of their use please also share.

So far as I can tell, all the systems I describe have apps for both Apple iOS and Android phones and tablets. I have no direct experience of these systems yet so this is based purely on information from the company web sites. I've attempted to be as complete as possible. The information offered is my interpretation of those sites based on factors I consider to be important.

I can accept no liability for any contracts you may enter into after reading this post. It is your responsibility to ensure that the device you select is suitable and appropriate for your equipment and your business.

PayPal Here

This is not currently available in the UK but is due to arrive summer 2013. It uses a separate keypad linked to an app on your smartphone, presumably using Bluetooth. No details are available yet on fees, but looks like a one off payment for the keypad plus transaction fees. It isn't clear if the transaction fees will be additional to PayPal charges. This could work out more expensive than the others, but there may be benefits from the PayPal brand. Purchasers will be able to pay by card or use their own PayPal account.


iZettle is available now. Unlike the others it is available to businesses and private individuals but on different terms. Private users are required to have a Facebook account as part of the verification process.

It comes in two versions, Chip and Signature and Chip and Pin. With Chip and Signature you swipe the card through a dongle inserted into your phone and the customer signs for the purchase with a finger on the phone screen. This is not available for Visa cards which require a cumbersome work around where the customer completes the transaction on their own smartphone. Customers without a smartphone and wanting to use Visa therefore can't purchase from you.

Chip and Signature was introduced because of apparent customer concerns about entering the card PIN into someone else's phone. To counter that and remove the cumbersome system for Visa cards the company have now introduced a separate Chip and Pin key pad that links to your smart phone via Bluetooth. You need an Airprint compatible printer to print a receipt, otherwise they are sent by e-mail. You can obviously also issue a handwritten one if required.

Both key pad and Chip & Signature 'dongle'are £49 plus VAT and fees are 2.75% per transaction. You can carry out transactions without the card reader, by manually entering card details but they are more expensive.

Refunds only appear to be possible on the same day. Printed POS material is not available but pdf downloads are available on their web site.

Payments are made (for business accounts) of up to £25000 7 days after the transaction. The balance if any is paid out in daily tranches of £25000 until the full payment is received. There appears to be a 21 day holding period on first opening the account, although this may relate to the first transaction. If this is important to you, you should check for yourself. A full transaction history is available online.


Payleven became available in the UK on February 18th 2013. It is a Chip and Pin system with the keypad linked to your smart phone through Bluetooth. It is only available for business users.

Receipts for transactions are sent by email but printing to hand held receipt printers is 'coming soon'. Refunds can be made through your online account which also gives access to your full transaction history.

Payment is made every Friday with a delay of five days. Payment is therefore made between five and 11 days after the transaction. POS display material is available.

Fees are 2.75% plus an up front cost of £49 for the chip and pin reader. I'm assuming this excludes VAT.


Unlike the others Judo does not use a card reader. Instead the transaction is completed on the purchaser's mobile phone - of any type. Judo provides the merchant with a unique six-digit judo ID. The cardholder calls judo and enters the merchant's judo ID, payment amount and their card details. Both the customer and merchant receive an SMS confirmation immediately after. Once they have completed the first transaction all they will need to enter is the 3 digit security code. They can pre-register their card with Judo before making any purchases.

Judo charges 2.9% plus 0.29 per payment. There is a £50 set up fee. You can get that discounted through the link on this site, to £35.

Getting your money requires you to arrange for a manual settlement from your Judo account to your nominated bank account. There is a minimum of five days before you can do this. You can get a full transaction history online and also check recent transactions on your own phone (as can the cardholder).

POS material is available showing your Judo ID.

The discounted fee is available here:

Judo are here:

I can accept no liability for any contracts you may enter into after reading this post. It is your responsibility to ensure that the device you select is suitable and appropriate for your equipment and your business.

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