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SumUp Review

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Date Established
2012
Location
London, England

Pros

  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • No monthly minimums
  • PCI-compliant solution
  • Affordable chip card hardware
  • Ideal for low-volume merchants
  • Free virtual terminal

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Account stability issues
  • No in-app invoicing
  • Limited reporting

Overview

I watched and waited for SumUp to hit the US for almost a year when it first started advertising its expansion to the US. Checking the website frequently, emailing the staff with questions. So I was genuinely excited when the company officially opened for business in the US and I had a chance to test-drive and review the app and the hardware.

Well over a year later, SumUp is still operating in the US, though in a quiet way. Maybe a bit quieter than I’d hoped. All the same, SumUp isn’t just some new, untested provider angling to unseat Square or PayPal Here. The company is already well-established as a top option in Europe, which means it has experience with pay-as-you-go processing. It’s also well-accustomed to dealing with EMV cards. That should, in theory, translate to fewer growing pains and likely a bit more account stability than a brand-new hotshot processor.

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2.5% for ecommerce sales

2.5% for invoiced sales

Europe only. Does not serve US or Canadian businesses. 

Europe only. Does not serve US or Canadian businesses. 

Europe only. Does not serve US or Canadian businesses. 

Europe only. Does not serve US or Canadian businesses. 

SumUp serves merchants in 31 countries on three continents. That’s pretty impressive, actually. And it is possible to temporarily set up your account to process in one of these other countries, which is ideal for businesses that travel to trade shows and other events.

Not only that, but SumUp is the fastest-growing private company in Europe according to Inc Magazine, adding 2,000 merchants and handling 100,000 transactions per day. I can’t tell you exactly how many merchants use SumUp, but I can guarantee it’s over 1 million, which is the number of merchants the company served after its merger with Payleven a couple of years ago.

So this is a big company — big enough that you don’t need to worry about it disappearing into the night. However, because SumUp is relatively new to the US market, there are unknowns. It’ll be hard to fully, effectively evaluate SumUp until we get an adequate number reports from American merchants. (If you’re reading this, and you’ve used SumUp here in the States, please leave us your input!) It should also go without saying that the financial industry here is very, very different from European countries. That may translate into some different approaches to processing (such as a lack of manual entry).

However, we did look at reviews for the European countries where the company operates, because it’s a good way to establish a baseline for performance and quality of customer support. You can also find the first reports from merchants in the US trickling in. As we start to see more reports from American merchants, we will continue to update this review accordingly.

So, does SumUp live up to our expectations? Overall, yes. A few niggling details still need to be worked out, but overall, I’m content with the feature set. And it has all of the essentials you need for mobile processing, even if it doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles. SumUp also supports omnichannel commerce so you can sell online and in person seamlessly. Finally, I like that the SumUp opted for phone support right out of the gate, which should lead to a better experience overall.

For all of these reasons, SumUp gets a 4-star rating out of 5 stars. If we saw some improved features, it might be able to climb the ranks a little, too, But until then, it’s holding steady with a general recommendation.

Read on for a full breakdown of SumUp’s services and what we found relating to the company’s customer service and reliability. Have experience with the company, especially in the US? Leave us a comment and let us know what it’s like to use SumUp!

Visit SumUp

Products & Services

The core offering for SumUp is mobile card processing. The mPOS app is free to download and available for both Android and iOS. In the UK you’ll find a few other additional features that don’t seem to be available in the U.S.

mPOS App Features

  • Item Library: Load items into the app, then add photos, prices, and descriptions. You can create groupings called “shelves” for like products to make everything easier to sort through. There’s no count feature, however.
  • Item Variants: Specify different prices for different sizes, colors, etc. In SumUp, the variants appear in a popup screen after you choose the base item, rather than as separate entries.
  • Quick Sale Mode: Instead of ringing up items, you can enter a “quick sale” mode.
  • Refunds: While you won’t see this feature right away in the app, it is available if you go to Sales history > Details view of a transaction > Sale payment card > More options.
  • Tipping: You’ll have to contact SumUp to enable this feature at the moment, but it is available.
  • Cash Recording: After you press “Charge” in the app, you’ll have an option to choose the payment method.
  • Email And SMS Receipts: Pretty standard stuff here, but it’s always worth noting.
  • Receipt Printer Connectivity: You can also connect a receipt printer and use it with the app.
  • Analytics: SumUp’s analytics are pretty basic right now, but you can analyze sales data by date ranges, types of transactions, and average sales amounts for starters.
  • No Signature For Transactions <$25: It doesn’t seem that you can disable this feature in the app and require signatures.
  • Multiple Tax Rates: When you set up an item, you have the option to associate it with a tax rate. You can also apply multiple tax rates. However, you can’t delete a tax rate that is associated with a product. You’ll have to delete the item first, then redo it all. This is not my favorite system, but at least you can modify tax settings from within the app, which is important for mobile. Clover Go, by comparison, only let you modify tax settings from the web browser.

In my experience using the app, it is fairly intuitive. Whether this is your first time using an mPOS service or you’ve dabbled in them all you should be able to find your way about fairly easily, at least for the core functions.

If you’ve looked at any of our other reviews, you’ll probably notice the lack of certain features:

  • Discounts
  • Invoicing
  • Inventory counts
  • Bulk product import/export
  • Modifying items from the dashboard

I take issue with the lack of discounting, and I am disappointed that I haven’t seen this ability added yet. The rest of the features make my wish list only because Square has raised the bar pretty high. But they aren’t essential to an mPOS and certainly aren’t ubiquitous among its competitors. If you’re in the UK, you can integrate SumUp with Debitoor (read our review), but it’s not a good option for US merchants.

Other Features

In 2017, SumUp announced two features I was really excited about: a virtual terminal and SMS payments. The SMS payments feature essentials sends an SMS message to a customer, who then enters their payment details into a web form to complete the transaction.

Both would allow merchants to process card-not-present transactions in the absence of a card reader, and for a decent price, too:

  • 2.95% + €0.25/£0.25/$0.15 (currency depending on your location)

I do want to note that we received the email from SumUp at the address linked to our SumUp account. So the announcement went out to US Subscribers, and I can see the virtual terminal when I log into the SumUp.me portal.

However, it’s difficult to find a lot of information about these features, or even that they exist, unless you know where to look. They’re not referenced on the US or UK sites in any prominent way, except assumingly as part of the “omnichannel suite” mentioned on the Developers page.

The chatter from merchants is that you need to contact SumUp to ask for these features to be enabled if you don’t see them. As far as the virtual terminal is concerned, not everyone is guaranteed to be approved. Established SumUp users seem to stand a better shot at getting permission to use the Virtual Terminal. This seems to be mostly because of licensing and risk issues.

I’m honestly not sure what’s going on here, and I don’t love the lack of information. But since the Virtual Terminal and SMS payments are supplemental, this is mostly just disappointing.

Another under-marketed feature: an eCommerce integration so you can sell online and in-person. You won’t see mention of it until you head to the developer section of the website, but it is there, and it will work for US merchants.

It doesn’t look like SumUp integrates readily with some of the major shopping carts yet, but if you have your own site (on something such as Magento), you could incorporate SumUp payments with the ecommerce API.

There is one thing that will set SumUp apart from the rest of the mPOS providers, especially for companies that sometimes handle international business: It’s available in 31 countries at the time of writing this. If you contact the company in advance, they’ll enable you to process payments in the other companies where SumUp operates. Right now that includes:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

So if you do trade shows, conventions, and other events abroad, this starts to look like a really good choice. And that could possibly be a dealbreaker.

Compatible Devices

According to the help center, the SumUp app requires the following specs:

  • Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Minimum Apple iOS 8.0 or Android 4.4.

That’s it. There’s a handy tool within the app that can check whether your device is compatible with the card reader. Speaking of!

SumUp’s card reader reminds me of Square’s. It’s sleek, sexy, and minimalist. (Yes, I just called a piece of hardware sexy. Deal with it.)

The device works pretty much how a lot of other EMV card readers work these days, including Clover Go and PayPal Here. It connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and supports magstripe, EMV/chip cards, and contactless payments all in one.

I say it reminds me of Square, but it does stand out because it has an integrated magstripe reader, which is a nice touch. It’s This isn’t my favorite style of card reader (the Miura M010 holds that honor), but it works. Points to SumUp for creating a true all-in-one device, unlike Square.

Check out our full unboxing review of the SumUp reader. It’s worth mentioning that this card reader won “Best Physical or Virtual Design” in the Emerging Payments 2017 awards.

Visit SumUp

Fees & Rates

SumUp’s payment scheme isn’t anything new, but it’s a good model that works: a single standard pay-as-you-go rate of 2.65% for card-present transactions in the US. That’s actually lower than Square (2.75%) or PayPal Here (2.7%), and down from SumUp’s previous rate of 2.75%. However, unless you’re processing very large volumes, your savings are going to be quite small. So price shouldn’t be the sole determining factor.

Like Square, there are no monthly minimums, no setup fees, no cancellation fees or ETFs.

If you read the terms of use (and yes, I do, for every single mPOS review I write), you’ll see there’s a chargeback fee assessed. It’s not disclosed on the site, but I was able to confirm it’s $10 — if the chargeback is decided in the customer’s favor. You won’t have to deal with chargebacks for card-present transactions very often, if at all. So that applies mostly to online transactions.

It’s also worth noting that in the UK, SumUp’s pricing is 1.69%.

SumUp will deliver your funds (minus its fees) to your bank in 1-2 business days (2-3 business days in the UK). There’s no instant deposit option, but this timeframe is pretty standard for any kind of card processing.

You can’t manually enter card information into SumUp, which means you’ll need to buy the SumUp card reader to process payments. That’ll run you $69 (£59 in the UK), which is about right in the middle for pricing, and a fair deal for a device that can process magstripe, chip, and NFC transactions.

Visit SumUp

Contract Length & Cancellation

SumUp is, as I’ve said, a pay-as-you-go third-party processor. You can sign up or terminate your account at pretty much any time. There are no termination fees. That said, if your account is inactive for two years, SumUp will terminate it and follow standard procedure in your state for disposal of any funds in the account if there are any (there probably won’t be).

The terms of use are pretty standard for a mobile processor. Nothing of concern here, though you’ll want to note that, like Square and PayPal Here, SumUp’s terms of use include the right to implement a reserve fund on your account and the right to hold funds if it notices something suspicious.

I know most of you probably scroll on past the terms of use when you sign an agreement (I’m usually guilty where software is concerned), but when it’s your money on the line, be diligent. Read the agreement. Understand what you’re getting into. This goes for any payment processor you sign with.

Customer Service & Technical Support

SumUp offers email/ticket based support. You can access it through the mPOS app as well as through the website. Before, I noted how basic the FAQ part was, but SumUp has really stepped it up, with a US-based support center site that has answers to lots of commonly asked questions. It’s also searchable, and the search works. It’s still not as extensive as Square, but Square also has a boatload of features that SumUp doesn’t.

You can also get hold of SumUp via phone at (888) 250-2164 between 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. I haven’t found much information about the quality of phone support, but I also didn’t find a string of complaints about how awful it is, either. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

It looks like SumUp US is working toward expanding some of the content on its site, which is nice to see. The new and improved help center makes a big difference. There are no gimmicky offers on the site, no undeliverable promises.

SumUp also has social media, like any business operating in 2018 should. There’s a Facebook page that’s rarely updated, as well as a much more active Twitter account (@SumUp). I don’t see a Twitter support channel, which is fairly common in this industry. But SumUp does have support reps fielding questions and helping to resolve issues. There’s also an Instagram account, which seems a bit eclectic in its content. All in all, I think SumUp is doing pretty well in the social media department.

Like most other mPOS providers, SumUp mostly relies on word of mouth and online advertising. You’re not going to encounter a sales team in the field offering demos. I really like this approach, because independent resellers and sales reps tend to promise the world to merchants — but they rarely deliver.

Overall, I have every reason to believe that SumUp is straightforward and transparent in its operations. The pricing is clearly laid out. Contract terms are clear and fair. The complaints against SumUp (which we’ll get to soon) are the standard fare. They’re not unique or even uncommon, which are the sort of problems that usually indicate something problematic.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

There’s a lot more data now from US- and UK-based merchants, which is both nice to see and always a teeny bit worrisome. But you should always consider the number of complaints versus the overall size of the company. With SumUp adding 2,000 merchants a day across the world, it’s not too surprising that the overall amount of chatter about the company has increased.

The few reviews I did find are pretty all over the place. The biggest complaints I’ve seen are the same complaints I’ve seen from processors here in the states:

  • Account Holds And Freezes: I didn’t see many of these, but I did find them. Most are a few years old (the company launched in 2012, for the record). But as a third-party processor, SumUp is always going to have to carefully assess risk. Square and PayPal Here are exactly the same way. We’ll wait to see how this plays out and keep an eye on the complaints.
  • Unreliable Customer Support: I didn’t find a lot of complaints about this, and none were very specific. Some merchants had trouble finding the phone numbers, others say the reps were unhelpful, others were annoyed at the verification process.
  • Hardware Glitches: Again, this isn’t something that I see a lot of complaints about, but a few people have mentioned that they’ve had hardware that failed or glitched out. The SumUp reader does come with a 1-year warranty, and I’ve seen reports from merchants who were able to replace their readers with minimal fuss. The biggest problem here is that if the card reader fails, there’s no manual-entry option so you won’t be able to process payments at all. This does stand in contrast to most other US-based mPOS providers, which do offer support for card-not-present transactions.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

SumUp’s mPOS definitely has press coverage, which is more than we can say for a lot of mPOS providers. Mostly it relates to announcements of new features and isn’t necessarily a glowing endorsement (it’s certainly not a scathing review, either!). You can check out some of those articles on SumUp’s press page.

You’ll find positive reviews scattered around the web on various websites, but I find the most helpful information usually comes from app store reviews. The SumUp app in the Google Play store has 500,000 downloads with a 4.2-star rating on just over 9,500 reviews.

I’m surprised by the fact that there is only one review for SumUp in the iTunes store (at the time of writing, at least). Clearly, this is an app favored by Android users.

Here’s what I’ve seen from merchants who praise the service:

  • Easy To Use: SumUp is definitely a very intuitive app. While the features are basic, that does play into the simplicity of things. Apart from creating an inventory library (if you want to) the only other settings you need to play with are the tax rates and maybe tipping. That adds to the simplicity.
  • Low Fees: SumUp’s pricing is straightforward and absolutely competitive both in the US and the UK, and that always goes over well.
  • Good Customer Support: To balance out the complaints about lack of support, I do see plenty of merchants saying that support is answering their questions accurately and quickly. I can’t tell yet whether the complaints about poor customer service follow the same trend as Square, where the unhappy customers are merchants whose accounts were terminated for various reasons.

SumUp has also landed an assortment of partners, from retail businesses to financial institutions and more.  You can see the list of names on the Partners page, but I am sad to say the testimonials that used to be on that page are now gone, and there aren’t any others on the US site.

Final Verdict

Despite a few small shortcomings, I’m still excited about SumUp. It’s an app that you can use right away — we’re not saying you should wait and see or try at your own peril. It’s not the fanciest system out there, but if you’re a small business that’s just getting started or you only process infrequently, this is a good fit.

What will be interesting is to see how SumUp will carve out its own niche in an industry that is both growing and weeding out the inferior competitors at the same time. I think it’s taking all the right steps, and there’s certainly no shortage of merchants who feel slighted by Square or PayPal, who might be drawn to the simplicity of SumUp.

As with any other third-party processor, there’s a small inherent risk in using SumUp. If you’re not comfortable with that risk, we recommend looking into a merchant account from one of our top-rated providers. Only time will tell exactly how stable SumUp will be in the US, but we at least know that the company has 4+ years of processing experience in other countries and it’s growing. That makes me think we’re going to see similar stability to Square or PayPal Here right off the bat. We’ll be watching to see what US merchants have to say, though, and we’ll adjust our rating accordingly as we get more data.

We’re happy to award SumUp 4 stars. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s definitely got a lot going for it right now.

Are you using SumUp to process payments? Leave us a comment and let us know about your experiences!

Visit SumUp

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson has been writing about payment processing and mobile payments since 2014, and has been quoted in articles for Credit Karma and The Next Web, among others. She graduated from The University of Kansas in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in English and journalism.
Melissa Johnson

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10 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Trent Rose

    Organization Name: Wooster Taxi

    I had to update my banking information I sent it in on 05/10/2018 the information wasn’t updated until the 21 very poor customer service and resolving issues on account

    1
    • Organization Name: Wooster Taxi
    Jan

    Excellent write-up Melissa. Surprisingly they have no information on their website I can find re: SMS payments or the virtual terminal. Not sure how Jessica found the link.

    You might want to update a few things.

    2.65% per transaction now. That’s even listed on the virtual terminal page. If correct that makes SumUp competitive with both Square and Stripe.
    Operating in 31 countries.

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for letting us know! We’ll look into the info you’ve provided and we’ll update our review accordingly.

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

        clint

        the review mentions virtual terminal, but when i go to log in i see nothing about a virtual terminal. all i see (on the left hand side) is: Overview, Transactions, Shop, Employees, Support
        and clicking on any of those does not give me any option to use a virtual terminal

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

          Jessica Dinsmore

          Hi there Clint,
          You may need to reach out to customer support to have it enabled, but according to their website SumUp does offer a virtual terminal. I hope that helps!

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

            clint

            They do, but you must REQUEST IT, otherwise it does not show up on your account at all.
            I asked about it over a week ago, they replied with steps on how to request the virtual terminal to be activated. however the steps they provided were 100% wrong. For example they told me to go to a certain part of my account and submit some info, none of which was actually on my account. Literally the section they said to submit the info to request the virtual terminal did not exist lol.

            so then i wrote customer support and informed them that the info they provided was wrong. and i heard nothing from them for 5 days. then i submitted another ticket asking why it was taking so long to respond, and what could i do to get the virtual terminal to be activated…

            I finally got a reply saying i never requested the virtual terminal to be activated. WTH??

            so now i am on my second attempt to get it activated. We’ll see how it goes.
            But so far their customer support seems clueless and not very prompt in their response time.

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

              clint

              I don’t see anything on their website about the $2500 offer
              I think there should be a link to that in this article, or have that taken out if it is no longer valid

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                Jessica Dinsmore

                Hi Clint,
                Thanks for pointing that out. We will get the review updated.

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                  Spyros

                  The green link on top of the page “Visit site” doesnt seem to work :)Overall great article as always – keep up the good work.

                  5

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                    Tom DeSimone

                    Thanks Spyros! Fixed now.

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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