When the time comes for your business to start taking money, there are many payment apps for small businesses to choose from.

That’s because the number of payment platforms in the UK offering such services is growing at a ferocious pace. Fintech is the UK’s strongest start-up sector, with more than 1,400 high-growth firms in the sector currently active.

These payment apps are essential for small businesses and customers alike. With more consumers choosing to pay via contactless and suppliers invoicing online, businesses no matter how small need to be ready to process transactions.

>See also: Best mobile phone payment for self-employed

Payment apps for small businesses 

Payment apps for small businesses can be used to make bank transfers, mobile payments, online card payments and point of sale payments.

This list comprises of payment gateway apps and point of sale (POS) payment apps. For businesses that are taking in more than £10,000 per month and in retail, it is best to use a more concrete point of sale app, which can come with a card reader.

Online payment gateway apps

PayPal Business

Price Free
Transaction fee 1.9% plus 20p
Set-up fee No
Terminal PayPal Here and Zettle card readers

PayPal is known to be one of the most secure and trusted payment apps available and works well if you deal with business internationally. Its strong encryption technology is known worldwide.

With the PayPal Business app, you can make and accept payments in one place, send invoices, issue refunds and view customer information to streamline business operations. It isn’t required that the client has PayPal to make a payment to you, either.

You can also receive payments in all forms: in person with the PayPal card reader, by QR code, by phone or email as well as online.

If you do set up a free account with PayPal though, ensure you fully intend on using it as you can be charged a £9 inactivity fee if not used in 12 months.


Price Free
Transaction fee 1.4% plus 20p
Set-up fee No
Terminal Stripe terminal

Stripe is a popular choice for freelancers as it’s more geared towards accepting payments from clients rather than money transfer. The app is perfect for sending invoices, regular billing and for getting paid quickly.

The payment gateway allows you to request payment and use payment links to sell or start a subscription service. It follows a two-day rolling pay-out system, so you get paid daily for the work completed two days ago.

Customers can pay with their debit card straight to your freelancers’ business account and it has a marginally cheaper transaction rate to its rival PayPal at 1.4 per cent but still offers 24-hour support.

One thing to keep in mind however is the 20p transaction fee – there is no threshold on this so if you make many small transactions, this can become costly.

Point of sale payment apps

Zettle Go

Price Free – but you’ll need to buy a Zettle reader at £29 plus VAT
Transaction fee 1.75%
Set-up fee No
Terminal Zettle

Zettle has shot up in popularity to rival Square and SumUp in the POS market. It has a simple interface to manage payments and there are no monthly fees of contacts.

The transaction fees with Zettle are competitive when paying through contactless or PayPal – at 1.75 per cent at time of publishing. But when it comes to invoice transactions, the cost of using Zettle can become relatively high at 2.5 per cent.

Zettle has an app, Zettle Go, available either on Apple or Google, which turns your phone or tablet into a mobile POS system for taking bookings and tracking sales – including a feature showing which user is selling the most. Cue added rivalry between salespeople.

The app also allows you to customise receipts and collect customer email addresses. It has received some glowing reviews over its simplicity and ease of use for small business owners, but some have cited sporadic connectivity issues.


Price Free
Transaction fee 1.75%
Set-up fee No
Terminal Square

Square is cheap and simple to set up. The software itself is free but you’ll need a reader which costs a very reasonable £16 (you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper reader on the market).

Advantages of using Square include the fact it pays relatively quickly – you can expect payments to reach you within one to two days and there’s the option of a 30-day trial period to test whether it is suitable for your business.

In terms of the app, it is one of the most sophisticated on the market. It integrates seamlessly with the reader and all POS transactions go through it: you click on the item you wish to charge for, state the price, and then it will appear ready for payment on the reader.

The app also keeps CRM, payments and analytics in one place and allows you to customise receipts. It also integrates well with a host of third-party apps.

Again, there are no monthly fees or set-up fees here, but you will need to have a Square card reader to use the app.


Price Free
Transaction fee 1.69% or 2.5% for invoices
Set-up fee No
Terminal SumUp Air card reader

SumUp is incredibly quick and easy to set up so you can get on with creating customised invoices, share secure payment links and view your business’s transaction history without much hassle.

It can be a cheap option, too. It has no long-term contracts or monthly fees and the SumUp card reader costs £29, which is the same as Zettle but nearly double Square’s £16 offering.

For freelancers, SumUp Invoices offers customisable templates where all you need to do is add your logo and business details. There is a 2.5 per cent transaction fee for these invoice payments.


Price Request quote
Transaction fee 0.3% to 2.5%
Set-up fee Request quote
Terminal Takepayments (various models)

Takepayments can act as a payment gateway or POS system.

The payment gateway is a customisable checkout page on your website, so it acts and feels like your brand, but hosted by Takepayments. Contactless and easy to set up, payments take 24 hours to be paid into your account.

Takepayments also has two apps, beepaidGO and Order and beepaid.

BeepaidGO doesn’t require a terminal but allows you to send payment requests via email or text message. You can then manage these payments through the app dashboard.

Order and beepaid lets hospitality businesses take orders and payments from the table or offer a collection or delivery service. It includes a QR code that can be printed and handed to customers for contactless ordering.

More on payments

Best payment processors for UK small businesses – 11 of the best

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