In recent years, simplified mobile payment terminals (TPE mobile) like SumUp or iZettle have flourished everywhere among merchants. These solutions are installed in just a few minutes and then accept payment by bank card and contactless.
Today, SumUp ensures no less than 100,000 banking transactions every day via its terminals, and it generated more than $ 100 million in revenue in 2017. Armed with a team of 500 people, the company is established in 31 countries and it has prestigious investors like American Express, Groupon or BBVA Ventures. We did a test and opinion on the SumUp Air, you will find out below.
Introduction to SumUp TPE
Before entering the test and our opinion of SumUp Air, you should know that the British company offers two mobile payment terminals at the moment: SumUp Air and SumUp 3G. As you will soon understand, it is at the connection that we find the main difference between these two products.
In this case, the SumUp Air is controlled by Bluetooth from a free mobile application on an iOS or Android smartphone (which is therefore essential) while the new SumUp 3G is completely independent and includes a 3G chip (delivered with a SIM card and an unlimited plan) which makes it autonomous without the need to have a smartphone.
Except for the base price, which is higher for the SumUp 3G, the transaction pricing system is the same (1.75% per transaction, with no minimum fees). We opted for the cheapest solution, SumUp Air, which is now the best-selling product from the manufacturer, and which easily compares with competitors’ mobile TPEs.
In addition to these two mobile VSEs, the British company also offers a wide range of accessories that enhance the user experience via an online store. For those who want a complete payment solution, it is possible to request a cash register with a dedicated cash management application (€ 710).
For those who are content with a few accessories, we find a receipt and paper printer (€ 199), a barcode scanner system (€ 210) or a cash drawer (€ 49). These accessories are quite expensive, but they are not essential to keep the business going. In our opinion, SumUp is made above all to be used in a simple way, without any accessories. This is what we see in traditional shops most of the time.
Contents of the SumUp box
Whichever SumUp model you choose, you will appreciate the design of these mobile payment terminals compared to the classic austere, heavy and imposing terminals that have historically invaded small businesses. The experience begins upon receipt of SumUp Air by post since the box in which the mobile TPE is stored is aesthetically successful, and in the colors of the brand (sky blue and white). The content of the box is perfectly optimized in its space, and it is quite minimalist and our SumUp opinion is positive. We find:
- SumUp Air mobile TPE
- A (small) micro-USB cable to charge the SumUp Air
- A user guide in several languages
- A sticker with the accepted means of payment
In the latest version of SumUp Air which was released in 2016, the design has been slightly revised to allow better handling for customers who have to pay with their bank card. First of all, in terms of dimensions, the SumUp Air case is 84 x 84 x 32 mm – a size that allows you to easily take the electronic terminal in one hand (on the front of your fingers).
With this dimension, you can easily hold the case and make your PIN code with the thumb that remains available. For those who prefer, it is also possible to hold the case with two hands without being bothered by the fingers. The SumUp OLED screen that was improved in the 2016 update remains visible at all times, even in very bright light. SumUp Air is appreciated for its weight since it is only 142 grams, which gives a feeling of lightness. Below in our SumUp review, an overview of the product.
The company made another big change in 2016 by passing the credit card slot on the right side on the top of the device. This small modification greatly facilitates the handling which was previously hampered by the bank card on the side, and in our opinion SumUp did very well to modify this. The SumUp Air displays a dial with numbers for entering its PIN code which is also optimized to promote the duration of the TPE. It is entirely made of touch glass, so there is no risk of the keys deteriorating over time. It is also on this surface before you will have to put down your bank card to make a contactless payment, thanks to NFC.
As for the autonomy of SumUp Air, the company says it can hold 500 transactions before needing to be recharged. It’s the supplied small micro-USB cable that makes the link from the bottom of the device (via a discreet port) to a phone. SumUp however recommends recharging the case as soon as it shows only 25% battery. The autonomy is displayed directly on the top right of the SumUp screen by a small loading bar (see images below of our SumUp opinion). A small LED located at the bottom right of the mobile TPE flashes to also confirm that the battery is working.
Also, for those who have a very low use of mobile TPE, it is still recommended to recharge it once a month. From a technical point of view, the SumUp Air battery is a 1300 mAh Li-ion battery. It is possible to recharge the mobile TPE whether it is on or off. It can even be recharged when in use, which is pretty handy if you have heavy use and you can’t afford to unplug it.
Let’s move on to this SumUp review on how mobile TPE works.
How SumUp Air Works
Before embarking on the SumUp Air adventure, you must first make sure you have the few prerequisites to communicate TPE mobile with a phone. In this case, the devices Apple (iPhone or iPad) have at least one operating system up to iOS 8.0 or younger. On the side of smartphones Android, at least Android 4.4 or newer is required to use the app. In parallel, the smartphone must be equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 – which is today the norm in most recent phones. If you have completed all of these boxes, then you are ready to use SumUp Air.
Download the SumUp app on iOS and Android
First, let’s start this test with a short SumUp Air installation tutorial. As you will understand, transaction management is done from a mobile application. It is from this that we can decide the amount to bill the client, and more generally manage his funds. It is essential to the functioning of the product. A web interface is also available (with the identifiers that were used to create the account from the SumUp mobile application) and in particular allows you to manage the frequency of payments from SumUp to your corporate bank account.
When you open the SumUp app, you first discover a multi-page guide that outlines the different features that will be available on this free mobile app. Two buttons are located at the bottom of the screen: “login” and “create account”. New users will therefore first need to create an account to manage their SumUp Air mobile POS. The registration process is very quick, however, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Once you have clicked on “Create Account”, you are then sent to a very basic form where SumUp only asks for an email address as well as a password. These identifiers will allow you to log in both the mobile application and the SumUp web interface. You should know that the web interface offers some additional features compared to the mobile application, such as managing payments from SumUp to your corporate bank account. As part of this SumUp test, I set up an address in the United Kingdom (I resided there at the time of the test), but the principle is the same for an address in France.
Once the credentials have been created, SumUp then requests more information about the activity. In this case, you will have to enter information about the company that invoices (such as its company name, legal form or the nature of the activity), on the user’s personal details (name, first name, date of birth and personal address) as well as the contact details of the account on which the payments will be credited. The process is very fast, the 5 minutes advanced by SumUp to create an account are widely respected.
The last step to definitively validate the account is to associate it with a phone number. SumUp sends a validation code by SMS in order to associate the activity with this number. The reception of the message was instantaneous, no problem on this side. A message will appear on the mobile app once the account is officially active. Then, you have to go back to the SumUp mobile application to start using the payment terminal.
Now see in our review on the SumUp how to connect it with the phone.
Connect SumUp Air with the phone
Once you have created an account on the SumUp mobile application, all you have to do is connect the small box with the phone. It could not be easier. The first thing to do is open the mobile app. On the first screen, we are asked to type any amount (in this case, this is GBP because I have defined my residence in the United Kingdom, but for a residence in France, it will be ‘euros).
Once validated, the phone will start looking for a mobile TPE in its environment, and it will then be necessary to compare the figures on the back of the SumUp Air with those displayed on the screen of the smartphone to ensure that the connection is made well between these two devices. Once validated, the pairing is complete, and in our opinion, SumUp is really excellent from this point of view there to simplify the procedure.
Once the two devices are paired, a confirmation message will appear on the smartphone screen. It is then necessary to wait a few seconds for a maintenance step to take place to finalize the link between the two electronic devices. Once this step is completed, you are officially ready to accept payments via the SumUp Air mobile payment terminal.
Mobile app management is now the next point in this SumUp review.
Mobile application management
The SumUp mobile application is very simple to use (too simple?), Which allows you to quickly become familiar with it. At the bottom of the application, there are 4 icons that allow you to go to multiple tabs:
- The first icon is a small bag that leads to the default home page. It is from here that one can request a payment. Just enter an amount and it will appear on the SumUp Air screen. The customer will only have to pay with his bank card to generate the transaction. It is possible to create products (and product categories) on the page, and then associate an amount collected with a product.
- The second icon is a small table that provides access to the sales history. The display is fairly basic since it is a simple list of the latest sales listed in chronological order. It is regrettable that there is no table which allows to measure a little the evolution of sales over time (as would do banking applications like Revolut or N26 for example), nor a system of categorization of sales pleasant.
- The third icon is a small gift, and it has only a commercial interest: to sponsor friends to earn a little money. Not very useful in daily management.
- The last icon is a small wheel, which refers to the settings. From this tab, you can for example choose whether or not to display cash payments, activate a printer for receipts, or activate the item catalog on the first page. However, we do not have access to payment management: you must go to the computer version of the interface. A real-time help system is accessible from this tab (although it was not online when we tried).
Let’s go over this SumUp Air review to the methods to make a payment request.
Make a payment request
The essential step in this SumUp Air tutorial. How do I request a payment? Nothing could be simpler: just go to the main tab of the application and enter the transaction amount there. It is also possible to create products to facilitate payments and have better tracking of transactions. Creating a product is very intuitive, and you can choose the percentage of VAT you want for each.
Once you have selected the product (or amount) for the transaction, the mobile application will connect to the SumUp Air mobile POS. It needs to be turned on, and the mobile app asks to check the numbers to make sure the smartphone is connected to the correct TPE. Once the connection is made, the customer can pay using the TPE which displays on the screen the amount of the transaction and the procedure to follow. If we wait too long, the transaction is canceled and a new request will have to be made to obtain payment.
Once the transaction is made via the TPE mobile, it is possible to send a receipt to the person who paid. For SumUp Air users who do not want to spend € 199 for the official SumUp printer (excluding the purchase of paper), it is possible to send a receipt to the person who paid by email or message. The mobile application displays a green screen where this information can be entered.
Payment methods authorized by SumUp
SumUp Air is compatible with most means of payment that can be found in France. The sticker that is provided in the starter box summarizes all the solutions that can be used: Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards (which is one of the shareholders of SumUp) and V-Pay start cards or Maestro must be placed front side in the slot located on the upper part of the SumUp Air.
If bank cards support contactless payment, they can be used without a PIN code as well as with NFC technology. To do this, you will simply have to put the bank card on the front of the SumUp Air for one to two seconds to trigger a transaction. In France, this type of payment is limited to 30 euros maximum. Beyond that, you will have to go through the conventional route, with the PIN code. This does not harm our opinion at SumUp.
You should also be aware that SumUp can only accept payments in the country where the TPE is registered. When you give the address of your company at the beginning, it therefore commits you to the origin of the turnover. It is the same principle at iZettle, its direct competitor: it is not possible to make sales abroad with SumUp.
In recent years, mobile payment has grown in France, and solutions like Apple Pay or Google Pay have grown. It is of course also possible to pay with these two systems by simply bringing the smartphone closer to its case, to carry out a transaction by NFC (without limit of amount this time).
If you do not have to enter a PIN code, the customer must however verify his identity to validate the transaction from his mobile: facial recognition or fingerprint are necessary to definitively approve the payment. We will now come to our SumUp user management test, tutorial and review.
User management on the mobile application
On the mobile application and on the computer version of the SumUp application, it is possible to configure “employees” (equivalent to a user) who can also invoice from their smartphone. It is possible to give them different types of access: an administrator access which generates payment requests, and an access which adds the possibility of reimbursing transactions.
Indeed, you should know that it is also possible at any time to make a refund on a transaction that has been completed. To reimburse a customer, simply go to the tab that displays the transaction history, and click on the transaction to be reimbursed. We then arrive on a page which displays the details of this transaction.
By clicking on the 3 small dots at the top right of the screen, you can send a receipt, view the location where the transaction took place, or make a refund. To make this credit, you will need to enter your password to confirm the transaction. In the transaction history, we will then see a refund of the equivalent amount.
Now here is the transaction fees section of our SumUp review.
Fees and commissions
While traditional VSE providers sometimes have fairly opaque billing systems that are complicated to understand, SumUp has also chosen to offer accessible and truly transparent pricing for its customers: beyond the initial cost of SumUp (19 € for Air, 99 € for 3G), there are only variable costs: 1.75% on each transaction, and nothing else. The difference between the price of SumUp and its rival iZettle is zero.
If you don’t use mobile TPE a lot, you don’t have to pay a monthly fee that weighs on the numbers. This system is particularly interesting for small businesses which do not charge a lot by bank card and which do not want to have very high costs of TPE. Below € 10,000 in monthly payments, the SumUp Air system is truly the best option on the market.
Last point of our SumUp opinion: how to recover the funds from the mobile application?
Get your money back
As soon as a transaction is carried out via SumUp Air, the amount is confirmed on the screen of the box and it is then displayed instantly on the mobile application associated with the TPE mobile. It is possible to define from the SumUp web interface (but unfortunately not on the mobile application) how often you want to get your money back from your personal bank account: daily, weekly or monthly. Likewise, it is possible to configure daily or even monthly statements of all the transactions carried out (see image below).
In terms of transfer time, it takes between 2 and 3 working days for traditional bank cards in France, and 5 to 8 days in Switzerland. There is nothing to fear about receiving a payment: SumUp is a company that is empowered to manage money by the English FCA, the equivalent to our French regulator AMF. The money collected is placed in a separate account to which the company does not have access.
Once a request for payment into his corporate account is made, the owner of the SumUp Air will then receive an email summarizing all the transactions included in this payment. That’s when SumUp takes its 1.75% commission on the transactions that have been made. In the bank account, the name of the transfer originator is “SumUp”. Withdrawal via SumUp is very fast in our opinion, and we were fully confident from start to finish.
Conclusion: opinion on SumUp Air
In 2011, SumUp created a real revolution by facilitating the management of a payment terminal with a small box that is simple to install. It must be recognized, it does not take more than 5 minutes to have the solution in place and start accepting payments. In terms of promise, it is therefore a flawless for SumUp Air. The product is aesthetic, it has good autonomy, and the initial cost is low. We will appreciate the fact that there is no VAD contract to do with a banking establishment as is the case with conventional VSEs. It is a turnkey solution, easy to use and our opinion on SumUp Air is therefore logically very positive.
If you had to find some arguments against this product, there wouldn’t be many. Obviously, the commission that is levied could be lower – or at least declining depending on the volume of transactions carried out. This is reasonable when we see commissions levied on the internet through an intermediary like PayPal which levies up to 3.4% of fees + € 0.25 on each transaction.
The fact that SumUp Air is so easy to use still justifies to some extent the costs that are charged, and that does not tarnish our SumUp opinion. In any case, they remain lower than a traditional TPE, and above all they are much more flexible and easy to install. Still in the rates, we can also regret the high cost of accessories such as the printer (€ 199) for example. Fortunately, none of these accessories are mandatory, and we can very well do without them. So it’s an extra luxury if you want to get the best equipment.
In conclusion, SumUp Air is a very good choice – accessible and easy to use. We recommend.
You can buy the SumUp Air 19 € directly on the official website via this link. If you go through the traditional home page of the site, you will see that a single offer at 39 € for each box ordered.