PayPal Zettle Review (US) 2023
PayPal Zettle POS offers ease of use, predictable pricing, and a card reader, making it a great choice for most merchants who want a simple way to accept payments.
Zettle At A Glance
- PayPal Zettle allows PayPal merchants to take payments in person while seamlessly connecting with PayPal’s merchant services ecosystem
- PayPal Zettle offers two card readers: the chip + NFC + PIN Zettle Reader ($29) and the all-in-one Zettle Terminal ($199), a mobile touchscreen device that comes with Zettle POS pre-installed
- PayPal Zettle lets you accept QR code payments, offers in-app invoicing, syncs with your online store, integrates with QuickBooks Online, and much more
- Easy-to-use interface
- In-app invoicing available
- Free sub-user accounts
- Competitive flat-rate pricing
- Ideal for lower-volume merchants
- Contactless + chip + PIN card reader
- New all-in-one touchscreen terminal
- Account stability issues
- No offline mode
- Inconsistent customer support
- Not suitable for high-risk industries
- Not ideal for higher-volume merchants
Table of Contents
- What Is PayPal Zettle?
- Businesses That Would Benefit From PayPal Zettle
- PayPal Zettle Pricing
- PayPal Zettle Features
- Customer Service & Technical Support
- PayPal Zettle Contract & Commitment
- Concerns About PayPal Zettle
- PayPal Zettle Reviews
- How PayPal Zettle Compares To Other Mobile POS Solutions
- Square POS VS PayPal Zettle
- Helcim VS PayPal Zettle
- Final Verdict On PayPal Zettle
- PayPal Zettle FAQs
What Is PayPal Zettle?
PayPal Zettle, PayPal’s mobile POS solution, combines a free mobile app with two mobile card reader options and several ready-made Store Kits complete with receipt printers, iPad stands, and other accessories. It’s part of PayPal’s comprehensive merchant services ecosystem, which encompasses PayPal’s online payment processing, business financing, POS partnerships, and much more.
PayPal Zettle offers well-designed and up-to-date card readers, an intuitive, capable app backed by the PayPal name, and a wide array of merchant services. PayPal is not without its drawbacks, though — its customer service is inconsistent, and it has less stability than you’d get with a dedicated merchant account. Despite these potential drawbacks, we’re giving PayPal Zettle a 4.5-star score and our recommendation as a capable and convenient mobile processing solution.
Businesses That Would Benefit From PayPal Zettle
A wide variety of small- to mid-sized businesses stand to benefit from using PayPal Zettle to take payments and service customers. While large high-volume businesses will pay less for processing with a POS that connects to a dedicated merchant account with interchange-plus pricing, PayPal’s flat rates for in-person payment processing are actually lower than those of competitors like Square, making Zettle a solid choice for lower-volume merchants.
Occasional sellers who sell items at fairs or markets may find an easy mobile solution like PayPal Zettle particularly appealing, with its convenient card reader that fits easily in your hand and its competitive processing rates. We just wish the Zettle app had an offline mode for when wifi access is spotty or nonexistent.
Those who operate restaurants and other eateries may find PayPal Zettle to have some appeal, but in many cases, eateries may be better served by a more specialized POS system with more foodservice-specific functionality.
PayPal Zettle Pricing
|Zettle Plans||Price||When To Use|
|Free Plan||$0/month||If you have basic retail or restaurant POS needs|
Here is what you can expect to pay when using PayPal Zettle:
- Card-Present Transactions: 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction
- Manually Entered Or Scanned Transactions: 3.49% + $0.09 per transaction
- QR Code Transactions: 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction
High-volume merchants may be able to negotiate better rates — contact PayPal for a custom pricing plan.
With PayPal Zettle, you won’t pay any:
- Monthly/annual fees
- PCI compliance fees
- Setup fees
- Equipment fees
Note that if you process a lot of American Express transactions, you could potentially save money with PayPal because of its flat-rate pricing. You’ll pay less for Amex transactions with PayPal, but you might pay a little bit more for some kinds of Visa and Mastercard transactions than you would with a full merchant account.
PayPal Zettle’s in-person transaction rates are more competitive than PayPal’s online transaction rates, making PayPal a good choice for merchants who have an online presence but do the bulk of their sales in person. To learn more about pricing for credit card processing and how PayPal Zettle fees compare to other options, check out our guide to credit card processing rates and fees.
You should also be aware of the $20 chargeback fee. That’s pretty standard in the industry because dealing with chargebacks is a headache for any payment processor. Check out our article on how to avoid merchant account holds, freezes, and terminations to learn more about how to protect your account and minimize chargebacks.
Because PayPal Zettle offers low POS processing rates and doesn’t charge hidden fees, the company has earned an excellent score in this category.
We’ll discuss Zettle’s card readers further in the Features section, but here’s how much these readers will set you back:
- Zettle Reader: $29 + tax for the first device, $79 + tax for all subsequent devices
- Zettle Terminal: $199 + tax when purchased on a standalone basis, $239 + tax when purchased with a built-in barcode scanner, and $269 + tax when bundled with a printer and dock
Extra PayPal Zettle Costs & Fees
|Zettle Extra Costs||Price|
|Additional Zettle Readers||$79 each|
|POS Store Kits||$249-$699|
Paypal Zettle Transaction Limits
PayPal Zettle’s transaction limits are as follows.
Chip & Tap (Includes Contactless)
- $500,000 limit per 24 hours
- $50,000 limit per card payment
- $50,000 limit per card per day
Manual Card Entry & QR Code Payments
- $10,000 limit per payment
The minimum amount for a single payment is $1 in all circumstances.
Note that the above pricing pertains to US merchants only. For pricing in other countries served by PayPal, check out PayPal’s full merchant fee schedule.
PayPal Zettle Features
PayPal Zettle makes for quite an attractive mobile POS package. It’s easy to get started, and if you use PayPal for anything else, your information gets consolidated in one place. And along with the mobile card reader, you’ll get the option to have a full countertop register.
I can say from my experience with the PayPal Zettle app that it is intuitive and easy for non-techies to operate successfully. Functions are easy to access, and nothing threw me for a loop.
Let’s go through the features you’ll get with Paypal Zettle.
While there’s nothing particularly new or innovative about the PayPal Zettle app itself, its well-designed, easy-to-navigate features fit the bill for almost any need you’d encounter on the go. As a bonus, most of the features are also easily managed right from within the app, making it a truly mobile option. Plus, connecting to a PayPal POS device is a cinch. However, it’s missing a few key features that may be a deal-breaker for some merchants.
As I said before, I’d like to see PayPal add an offline mode. This would let you securely add all of your customer’s credit card information into the app without an internet connection. Whether you’re offline temporarily due to an outage or you’re offsite, you shouldn’t have to stop business due to a bad connection. While a Zettle reader can be a very handy tool for taking payments at farmer’s markets and conventions, wifi at such events can be spotty at best.
PayPal offers two great mobile readers, some handy accessories. and four all-in-one Store Kits, earning it a good rating from us in the products and services category. This could be bumped up to excellent if the readers had an offline mode, but other than that, there’s very little to complain about here.
Customer Service & Technical Support
|Dedicated Support Representative|
|Knowledge Base or Help Center|
|Videos & Tutorials|
With PayPal Zettle, you’ll be using PayPal’s main support system. PayPal has several different customer service/support options, including:
- Community Forum: The PayPal Community has over 5 million members with over 2 million posts and over a thousand people online at any time. You can ask any question and likely get a quick response. However, keep in mind that PayPal doesn’t guarantee the answers here. You’ll find a dedicated spot for business owners called the PayPal Merchant Community, with subsections on merchant products and services, business tools, reporting, managing risk and fraud, and more. It also features a searchable knowledgebase.
- Help Center: You can search and find answers for issues, including password and account access, account setup, payments-specific matters, such as holds and declines, as well as other how-tos.
- Phone/Email: Sadly, PayPal’s phone support is notoriously inconsistent. If you have an account-related issue, you’ll have to call. For most other questions, concerns, or problems, you can find help through one of PayPal’s other support channels. To be fair, while my experience involved a considerable wait for a callback, the help I received was reasonable.
- Social Media: Besides the primary Twitter account and Facebook, there’s a support Twitter account where PayPal will field your service and support questions.
The biggest mark against PayPal is the customer service via phone — numerous users have had a poorer phone experience than my own. When you need help, you probably don’t have time to worry about inconsistent phone service. While we love all of the ancillary support options, a company as large as PayPal could do better, so it gets a fair rating in this category.
PayPal Zettle Contract & Commitment
PayPal is a third-party payment processor, which means it aggregates accounts instead of creating individual merchant accounts for each business. This model makes signing up more accessible since approval is also a simpler process with fewer hoops to jump through. Most merchants can sign up and start processing on the same day. As far as additional fees, you won’t face any added monthly costs or early termination fees with PayPal Zettle.
If you already have a PayPal business account, it’s fairly easy to start using PayPal Zettle — though you’re not automatically guaranteed access. You’ll have to apply and wait for approval.
While you won’t need to sign a three-year contract, you will be signing a contract, so take the time to understand what you’re signing. All in all, we’re happy to give PayPal an excellent rating in this category because of the freedom it gives you to change your mind or scale when needed.
Concerns About PayPal Zettle
As a POS, PayPal Zettle, beyond the aforementioned lack of an offline mode, there really isn’t much to warrant concern. The card reader and touchscreen terminal are both capable and reasonably-priced devices for taking payments, and the POS software is solid and versatile.
The real concern regarding PayPal Zettle is on the payment processing side of things; in particular, it’s the frequency with which user experience withheld funds and account freezes/terminations.
As a third-party processor, PayPal aggregates all its merchants into one single merchant account, which means there’s an inherent amount of account instability. You can get set up almost right away, but PayPal analyzes your individual transactions that much more closely to make sure you’re not conducting prohibited business activities or processing fraudulent transactions.
Upticks in processing volume — common for seasonal merchants — may also trigger an account review, followed by a hold/reserve, a freeze, or even an account termination. However, that’s the risk of using an aggregator; you’ll find these issues with Square and Stripe as well. I should note that a majority of PayPal business users experience no such issues.
PayPal Zettle Reviews
PayPal Zettle-specific reviews can be hard to find amidst the avalanche of PayPal reviews posted by both consumers and merchants. However, PayPal Zettle currently gets an average rating of 3.0 out of 5 at the Apple store based on 644 ratings and an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 at the Google Play store based on over 42,400 reviews.
Negative PayPal Zettle Reviews & Complaints
There aren’t too many PayPal Zettle reviews, as the service doesn’t typically get specific attention from review sites. PayPal doesn’t have a separate BBB account for PayPal Zettle. However, Zettle’s Apple and Android app stores reveal some Zettle-specific complaints:
- Connectivity issues
- Software glitching
- Can’t set permissions for staff members
- Delayed reporting
You’ll also see complaints surrounding funding holds and account freezes/terminations as well.
Other consistent complaints about PayPal include the following:
- Inconsistent customer service
- Glitches and syncing issues
Positive PayPal Zettle Reviews & Testimonials
Zettle receives praise from users regarding the following:
- Easy-to-use app
- Quality card reader
- Fair pricing
- Seamless integration with PayPal business account
Overall, PayPal Zettle earns a good rating in the user review category.
How PayPal Zettle Compares To Other Mobile POS Solutions
PayPal Zettle is a strong contender in the mobile POS and processing fields, but how does it stack up against its competitors? We decided to compare PayPal Zettle to two competitors whose products are targeted to a similar audience in the mobile processing/mPOS space: Square and Helcim.
Square POS VS PayPal Zettle
With a free POS app, mobile card readers, an all-in-one touchscreen terminal, and flat-rate pricing for credit card processing, Square POS looks extremely similar to PayPal Zettle on the surface. Dig deeper, and while you’ll still see lots of similarities, key differences emerge.
Unlike PayPal Zettle, Square offers a free card reader to new subscribers. However, this reader is magstripe-only, so it’s only appropriate for very occasional/light sales. For most business activity, you’ll at least want the $59 Square Reader for contactless and chip. While this device takes chip and contactless/NFC payments just like the Zettle Reader 2, it doesn’t have a display or PIN pad like the cheaper Zettle reader, so PayPal Zettle has the edge here.
Square also offers an all-in-one touchscreen terminal — Square Terminal — that offers very similar functionality to the Zettle Terminal. Both devices are impressive, modern credit card machines, but the Zettle Terminal starts at $199 while the Square Terminal starts at $299 — a $100 difference. Advantage: PayPal Zettle.
As for the POS software, Square’s basic POS stacks up well against the PayPal Zettle POS while having one big advantage: an offline mode. This alone will make Square’s POS a more attractive proposition than Zettle for some merchants. But if you don’t particularly need that, PayPal Zettle’s main point of advantage here is that its processing rates (2.29% + $0.09 per chip/contactless card transaction) are cheaper than Square’s in-person rates (2.6% + $0.10 per card transaction).
Strictly comparing Square’s free POS to PayPal Zettle, Square’s main advantage is that it has an offline mode, while PayPal Zettle offers less expensive equipment and processing, so the best choice for you depends on which of these attributes you value most.
Beyond this comparison, I should note that Square also offers specialty paid POS packages: Square For Restaurants, Square For Restaurants, and Square Appointments. If your business has complex, specialized needs, these POS packages will be a better fit for you than PayPal Zettle, but keep in mind that to get the most out of these specialty POS offerings, you’ll have to pay between $29 and $69 per month per location.
Check out our full Square VS PayPal comparison piece for a full rundown of how these two processing giants stack up.
Helcim VS PayPal Zettle
Helcim is a month-by-month pay-as-you-go processor with no monthly fee, and it offers a handy free POS with card reader options, all of which give it a very close resemblance to PayPal Zettle — on the surface, at least. Let’s dig deeper.
With its PIN pad, display, and chip + contactless functionality, the Helcim Card Reader is extremely similar to the Zettle Reader 2. The difference is the cost — the Helcim reader sells for $109, while your first Zettle Reader 2 is just $29, giving PayPal Zettle the advantage here. Helcim is also set to release the all-in-one touchscreen Helcim Terminal sometime in the summer of 2023. It will offer very similar functionality to the Zettle Terminal, but again, it will be more expensive, selling for $349 compared to the Zettle Terminal’s $199. And again, the Zettle Terminal is not yet available as I write this.
Feature-wise, Helcim’s POS and PayPal Zettle offer very similar functionality — neither has an offline mode, but both capably cover the basic POS functions most small businesses will need. The big difference here lies in the fact that while PayPal Zettle offers third-party processing with flat-rate pricing, Helcim offers full merchant accounts with interchange-plus pricing.
What does this mean? It means that while it may take a bit longer for you to sign up for Helcim, if and when you’re approved, you’ll enjoy more account stability, which can be particularly important for merchants with significant sales volumes but who sell seasonally and therefore see big revenue spikes and valleys throughout the year.
And with interchange-plus pricing, businesses earning upwards of $5K-10K/month will see significant savings on payment processing. Businesses processing under $5K/month, on the other hand, will likely save money with PayPal Zettle’s flat-rate pricing. That, combined with the cheaper Zettle equipment, make PayPal Zettle a better choice for most smaller merchants. But again, whether Helcim or PayPal Zettle is best for your business depends on your individual business needs.
Final Verdict On PayPal Zettle
|Zettle Review Summary|
|Choose If You Need||
PayPal Zettle has everything most new and mid-sized businesses need to take payments, whether on the go or as part of a full retail setup. We can wholeheartedly recommend PayPal Zettle to anyone interested in standalone, pay-as-you-go processing. PayPal Zettle gets a robust 4.5 stars for its ease of use, great hardware, transparency, and overall dependability. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s among the top mPOS apps on the market today.
If you already have an online store or want to start one, PayPal has a lot to offer in this area. Check out our full PayPal review for a thorough rundown of the company’s online credit card processing and the other myriad tools in PayPal’s payments arsenal.
Before making a final decision, however, check out some of your other options to compare features and decide what’s best for your particular business type. To that end, our payment processing reviews are a great place to start. You may also want to check out our list of top-rated merchant account providers and mobile processors. And if you prefer to avoid PayPal, look at the top PayPal alternatives for businesses.
PayPal Zettle FAQs
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Zettle for yourself.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Zettle for yourself.