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We watched and waited for SumUp to hit the US for almost a year. When Flint went under, we looked hard for other viable alternatives and came to the conclusion that quality mobile POS (mPOS) providers were getting harder and harder to come by, and it would probably continue to be that way.
Six months later, SumUp is still here, 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. (Think of the growing pains Square in particular faced in its early days.)
Thanks to a merger with rival mPOS service Payleven, SumUp now serves one million merchants and is available in 16 countries right now (mostly European). The company announced its expansion into the US in 2015, when it began taking pre-orders for its mobile reader. For comparison, Square has an estimated two million merchants.
Because SumUp is new to the US market, there is are unknowns. It’ll be hard to fully, effectively evaluate SumUp until we get more 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 various 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. As we start to see more reports from American merchants, we will update this review accordingly.
So, does SumUp live up to our expectations? Right now, yes. A few niggling details need to be worked, but I can see that SumUp is already addressing them. I think SumUp might have caught onto how the market is shifting, with the roll out of two new interesting features. We’ll get back to that in a bit, though.
Overall, I’m content with the feature set. I like that the SumUp opted for phone support right out of the gate. It even supports omnichannel commerce. For all of these reasons, SumUp gets a 4-star rating out of 5 stars.
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!
Products & Services
The core offering for SumUp is mobile card processing. The mPOS app is free to download and available on both Android and iOS, with a 4.2-star rating based on more than 7,000 reviews in Google Play and a 4+ rating in iTunes.
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. At the moment Square is the only mPOS that offers this particular feature, so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
- 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, 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 and card 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.
- 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 below $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:
- Inventory counts
- Bulk product import/export
- Modifying items from the dashboard
I take issue with the lack of a discount feature, but SumUp did tell me that they’re planning on rolling it out sometime this year. The rest of the features make my wish list only because Square has raised the bar pretty high.
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 16 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:
- United Kingdom
- United States
So if you do trade shows, conventions, and other events abroad, this starts to look like a really good choice.
There’s another under-marketed feature available: 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 it integrates readily with some of the major shopping carts yet, but if you have your own site (on something such as Magento), you could integrate SumUp payments. I’m excited to see how this integration plays out. For a long time, Square had very limited eCommerce options, but it’s recently put a lot of effort into growing them. I would expect to see something similar happen here.
SumUp hasn’t done too much in the way of innovation. I’m sad that the year is half over and I don’t see the promised discount feature, yet. The dock and the stand we were promised also haven’t arrived, which is disappointing.
However, there are two new features worth checking out:
- SMS payments: No card reader? No problem. With the new SMS payments feature, you can text a link to your customers. They open the link on their phones, enter their card information, and you get paid! You’ll pay 2.95% + $0.15, which is lower than Square or PayPal’s keyed rate (3.5% + $0.30). As with any other third-party processor, you probably don’t want this to be the bulk of your transactions, but it’s a good option. This feels a little bit behind-the-times, but it is a viable option for CNP transactions.
- Virtual Terminal: I’m more excited to see this than I am the SMS payments feature because it puts SumUp closer to other full-suite mPOS/omnichannel providers. The virtual terminal is available by logging into sumup.me. The link is easily visible on the dashboard, and all you have to do is plug in the relevant information: amount, description, card number, cardholder name, expiration date and security code. SumUp charges 2.95% + $0.15 per transaction, which is the lowest rate I’ve seen for a virtual terminal. PayPal charges 3.1% + $0.30 plus $30 per month; Square charges 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction.
According to the help center, the SumUp app requires the following specs:
- Bluetooth 4.
- Minimum Apple iOS 7.0 or Android 4.3.
That’s it. There’s a handy tool within the app that can check whether your device is compatible.
SumUp Card Reader
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.
A couple of things to note: SumUp said it planned on launching a dock for the reader sometime in Q1 and will roll out its all-in-one setup sometime in Q2. However, I haven’t seen either. I’m still holding out hope, as both of these would be major boons to merchants.
The stand is made from sustainable oak. It uses an iPad mini and has a built-in thermal receipt printer in addition to the SumUp reader. It’s all very sleek and hip, and I look forward to seeing it hit the market. A solid register setup will put SumUp in the realm of viable POS replacement, although it’s already pretty close to that.
In all, I like what I see here. There’s a little room for growth, but SumUp will give you everything you need with more (hopefully) features are on the way. I look forward to seeing how the eCommerce aspect will grow as SumUp gains traction in the US because omnichannel commerce is becoming a huge draw.
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 2.75% for Card Present transactions. That’s exactly what Square charges. And like Square, there are no monthly minimums, no setup fees, no cancellation fees or ETFs.
Remember, if you use SMS payments or the virtual terminal, you’ll pay 2.95% + $0.15 instead.
PayPal’s rate is marginally lower at 2.7%, but the only way to get substantially lower rates is to go with a merchant account or look at Intuit or Spark Pay, which offer lower rates for merchants who meet a monthly minimum, but don’t necessarily have the versatility that any of these other options have. In all, this is absolutely a good deal. SumUp’s virtual terminal rate is lower than most anything else on the market short of what you’d get with a traditional merchant account.
SumUp will deliver your funds (minus its fees) to your bank in 1-2 business days. There’s no instant deposit, but this 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, which is about right in the middle for pricing, and a fair deal for a device that can process magstripe, chip, and NFC transactions. You can now use SumUp’s virtual terminal and SMS payments as alternatives — though you’ll pay a bit more for them.
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).
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 and lots of questions. It’s also searchable, and the search works.
You can also get hold of SumUp via phone at 1-888-246-5604 between 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern Time. 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. There is one offer — get $2500 in free processing. That’s the equivalent value of the card reader ($69), so basically they’re giving you a rebate on the reader. This is absolutely fair and nothing to be concerned about.
SumUp also has social media. There’s a Facebook page, as well as a Twitter account (@SumUp). Surprisingly, I don’t see a Twitter support channel, which is fairly common in this industry. In fact, I don’t particularly see any requests for support on the Twitter account at all.
There’s also an Instagram account. All in all, I think SumUp is doing pretty well in the social media department, though I am very curious to see what changes as SumUp spreads across the US.
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 and 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 and nothing unique or even uncommon (which is usually an indicator of something problematic.)
Negative Reviews & Complaints
I honestly didn’t find many complaints about SumUp. Part of this is because they’re likely found on non-English sites (I did find one such site and was able to pick of the gist of the complaints, despite them being in French, Spanish, and German). However, SumUp is still based in the UK, so it’s very likely they have a solid base of British merchants, too. I’d expect to see some English language complaints, but there’s just not a lot of complaints out there, and some are several years old now.
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. Most of them were old as well. Given that this is a new market, we’re going to have to wait and see how this goes. Implementing phone support from the get-go is a promising sign to me because it’s often the biggest complaint rallied against mPOS services that don’t offer it.
Positive Reviews and 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.
There are several institutions that already work with SumUp in Europe. You can see the list of names and a handful of short testimonials on the Partners page.
Again, it’s too early to tell with SumUp being new to the US. We’ll have to wait and see how things go. But I like that SumUp already has the infrastructure to partner up with other institutions. It means it has the potential to catch on a lot faster.
Despite a few small shortcomings, I’m still excited about SumUp. It’s definitely an app that you can use right away — we’re not saying you should wait and see if the company rolls out its missing features. We know they’re in the works, and in the meantime, you still have access to everything you need to run a mobile business. You can even sell online, and now there’s support for SMS payments and virtual terminal, to boot.
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.
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. That makes me think we’re going to see similar stability to Square or PayPal Here right off the bat, and hopefully not any sudden purges of hundreds of merchants as a result of growing pains. We’ll be watching to see what US merchants have to say, though, and we’ll adjust our rating accordingly.
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!