2013, cardreaders, izettle, markets, payleven, payments -

iZettle vs. Payleven payment solutions...

So you’re a small trader.  You sell at markets and specialist fairs/expos and are noticing that you sometimes lose sales because people have run out of cash, or just prefer to pay by card.  All the big traders take card payments so why shouldn’t the little guys too?

The big payment providers like Worldpay and Sagepay offer portable card payment systems, but they charge monthly fees which are unrealistic for the volume of transactions carried out by your average market trader. Recently, though, a couple of low-cost, secure alternatives have come into the market, namely iZettle and - more recently - Payleven.

On the face of it the iZettle and Payleven payment systems are hard to tell apart.  They use identical chip and pin card readers, charge the same fees, and both connect to an App available on iPhone and android phones.

Yep, you guessed it – we’ve tried them both and here’s where we’re at so far…

Payleven pride themselves on having UK-based customer service, in fact when they popped by our market stall in Brick Lane (on a Saturday) they were keen to emphasize this!  As it turns out, though the customer service team are in the UK, they are only available 9-5 weekdays*, not exactly ideal for weekend traders, oh, and it’s not a UK company; they originated in Germany…

…iZettle don’t seem to make any claims regarding their customer service, and it’s all on email, but from our experience they’re very efficient and helpful and even told us how to get a better deal on their cardreader!

Payleven have recently signed a deal with Apple to sell their chip and pin cardreaders in Apple stores across the UK.  This arrangement will no doubt be lucrative for Payleven, as an association with such a well-regarded and successful retailer improves their profile.  This also benefits you as the customer as the cardreaders are easy to get hold of, and you can return them within 14 days – no questions asked.  On the flip side, trying out the iZettle reader is not as straightforward.  Their cardreaders are now available to buy in some EE stores, as well as online, though during our efforts to source a chip and pin reader we only managed to track down the cheaper chip and signature version on the high street.  In addition EE seem to have a no-returns policy, so they’ll only exchange for store credit, even if there’s a problem.

The main differences in our experience come down to three things: the App, payment arrangements, and card compatibility, on all of which iZettle comes out on top.

Firstly, the App.  iZettle is much slicker and easier to navigate.  It holds up when you’re under pressure and there’s the ability to take card payments without the card reader in a really straightforward way if you’re having trouble (though the daily transaction limit is £100).  You can also record cash payments within the iZettle app to keep track of all your sales electronically.

Secondly, Payleven only make payments into your bank account once a week, which means it can sometimes take up to 2 weeks for a payment to be processed through their system and into your account… while iZettle make payments every day so as soon as transactions are confirmed the cash is in your account within a couple of days.  We can’t really understand why the Payleven system is different (unless they’re just cashing in on interest) and as a new business, when cashflow is key, this is bound to cause trouble!

And finally, iZettle, in addition to the VISA, vpay, Maestro and Mastercard accepted by Payleven, allow you to accept payments by Amex, JCB and Electron. Handy!

All in all we’re unconvinced by the hard sell given us by Payleven, and despite the slightly higher price tag (£99 + VAT rather than £89 + VAT) have decided to go with the tried and tested iZettle, if we can get hold of a chip and pin reader!! And if we can’t – as newcomers to the cardreader environment, where we very rarely go over £100 per day, the free app with nominal charges (3.5% +10p) is sufficient.

So guys, in this case, Coke does taste better than PEPSI!

Over and out.


*update: Payleven support is now available on Saturdays – apparently.

1 comment

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