You may be looking at payment systems for seasonal markets, festivals, street food stalls, pop-ups or promotional events.

As the number of non-cash payments at festivals grows, so does the number of options for alternative payment systems. An on-the-go payment solution is much more suitable than a clunky tabletop payment system.

Many of the machines below don’t have fixed monthly fees so they’re ideal if you need them for shorter periods of time. We’ve tried to get a sense of performance in terms of battery life but of course, it depends how much you use the card reader (or your smartphone) in a given day. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger names on the market.


With Elavon’s payment processors, you can link your machine via WiFi or 4G and take card, contactless or mobile wallet payments. And for behind the scenes, you can add relevant functions including stock management and staff rotas.

The payment terminals have dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and multi-currency conversion (MCC). MCC lets customers see prices in their home currency while DCC lets customers pay in their home currency.

Security-wise, you’re covered with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) measures including point to point encryption (P2PE) solutions, safe storage and tokenisation.

The readers are said to have an ‘extra long battery life’ but no specifics on how long the average machine lasts per charge.

Fees: The card reader itself is £29 and you’re looking at transaction fees of 1.75pc per payment.


MobileMerchant is Elavon’s solution for accepting card payment using your smartphone or tablet. Your funds will be in your account by the next day.

It has features like stock management, reporting functions and business analytics.

Fees: The MobileMerchantApp is free.


Worldpay pairs with an app and a small card reader that can use WiFi and mobile data to do transactions. It has an extended battery life but, like Elavon, no note of average length per battery charge.

The payment system and the app connect via Bluetooth but you’ll need at least Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 or above to operate it.

Fees: Pay as you go is 2.75pc plus 20p per transaction while pay monthly is £19.95.  Worldpay has a chargeback administration fee of £15.

Wireless Terminal Solutions

Wireless Terminal Solutions comes with the option of a GPRS/GSM terminal, WiFi terminals, portable Bluetooth terminals, integrated EPOS units, fixed line countertop card machines and contactless payment machines. WTS machines accept Apple Pay, Android Pay and UnionPay.

You have the option to rent a card machine in the short-term or the long-term, buy one outright or opt for a refurbished model. The battery life on these readers is typically 60-70 hours on average.

It takes a few days to get the card machine up and running, which is slower than the company’s competitors.

Fees: Wireless Terminal Solutions has EPOS rentals for festivals and outdoor events. Discounts are offered for multiple EPOS units.

  • One to three days – £65 per unit excluding VAT
  • One week – £75 per unit excluding VAT
  • One month – £160 per unit excluding VAT
  • Three months – £260 per unit excluding VAT


iZettle’s Go package is ideal for small businesses who want to get a payment system set up quickly. You can take payment, record sales and track inventory and deposits within one or two working days.

Battery life is on average eight hours with a transaction every five minutes or 250+ transactions from one charge.

Fees: iZettle has a fee of 1.75pc per transaction. Like some of the other offerings, the card reader is £29 and the point of sale app is free. iZettle’s Transaction Protection programme will cover you for to £250 of chargebacks per month as long as you follow best practice for accepting card payments.

> See also: Three ways to reduce chargebacks

SumUp Air

The Air model can take contactless, chip and PIN, Google Pay and Apple Pay. One battery charge lasts for up to 500 transactions.

Software includes a product catalogue and the option to add and edit VAT rates for your products, track sales and manage multiple employee accounts. Payouts to your bank account are slower than the rest of the products listed here at one to three days.

Fees: You’ll pay £29 for the card reader but it has a cheaper 1.69pc transaction fee compared to its competitors. It incurs a £10 fee per chargeback.

SmartTrade App

As this is an app, its operations are primarily done through your smartphone.

First off, your team can use their phones to take company payments – you can also assign them to jobs either using your phone or computer.

If you take payments via the Pay by Bank app you have a lower transaction rate and your money will be in your account within two days. Note that only Barclays Pingit and HSBC banking app users can access the app.

Fees: The Invoicing Plus package accepts card payments as well as giving you access to quotes, invoices and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Card transaction fees on this package are pricier than the competitors at 1.65pc + 20p per card transaction. It’s a much lower 0.45pc on the Pay by Bank app though.


Bleep was the payment system in the 2012 London Olympics and Rio 2016 Olympics as well as other events like The Open, Wimbledon and Glastonbury.

The mobile EPOS solutions let you check stock availability and incorporate other functionality based on your business.

Bleep has an extended battery life, but again, no word of how long the card readers last.

Fees: For rentals you need to request a quote, but prices generally start from £99. You can rent it for any duration – a day, a month, a year or even longer than that. It comes with flexible financing and payment options.


With the Square reader you can accept chip and PIN and contactless cards as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

It’s a very quick set-up so you can start taking payments swiftly – great if you land  a festival spot at the last minute. It has a dock and a rechargeable battery which you can connect to an Apple or Android device via Bluetooth. You can also mount it on your phone iPhone 7 or 7 Plus with an OtterBox uniVERSE case.

Again, Square is customisable with apps from the marketplace.

If you’re in need of quick cash, get your money into your account on the next working day or even instantly with Square’s instant deposit feature which incurs a 1pc fee.

The reader has an ‘all day’ battery but no breakdown of average use figures. However, it does go to sleep after two hours of inactivity to help preserve the battery.

Fees: You’re looking at 1.75pc + VAT per chip and PIN or contactless payment and 2.5pc + VAT per keyed-in transaction. The reader itself is £19 and Square’s POS app is free.

Read more

Five tips to get started taking card payments

Source link