Zettle 2 credit card reader review

The Zettle 2 card reading system offers freedom and flexibility

Zettle 2
(Image: © iZettle)

TechRadar Verdict

If you’re looking for freedom and flexibility without too many overheads then the latest version of Zettle looks to tick all the boxes and adds in the convenience of accepting multiple cards.


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    US edition now available

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    Pretty cheap

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    Fabulous app

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    Lots of accessories


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    Monthly fee for wider support

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    No on device receipts

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Zettle 2 is a new and improved version of the card reading service that has been around in one form or another for a while now, since 2010 in fact and it's also now owned by PayPal. It’s proved to be very popular and the latest incarnation is likely to boost that appeal, so much so that a tweaked version has been made available in the US.

It gives business owners increased options for accepting payments, including credit and debit cards, PayPal and Venmo QR Codes, popular digital wallets and access to PayPal's business lending solutions too. It's also is one of the simplest tools out there for taking payments

The Zettle 2 is a compact card machine that works alongside a very impressive app on your phone to make the processing of payments a doddle, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Rival options include Square, SumUp, QuickBooks Payments, Shopify, and PayAnywhere.


The Zettle card reader works in tandem with a rather good app for phones or tablets (Image credit: iZettle)


This edition of Zettle is just as attractive as the earlier model and proves to be very affordable, which means that it continues to be hugely popular with small business owners who want a cheap-ish way to process payments. 

Once you’ve bought the card reader, with pricing now set at $29 for the new US variant (additional readers cost $79) or £29 plus VAT in the UK you’ll then be charged a fixed rate for each card transaction, which will be 2.29% plus 9 cents in the US while PayPal and Venmo QR Code transactions cost 1.9% + $0.10 cents. For the UK it's 1.75%, which makes it a sensible option and monthly fee-free alternative to some of its competitors. The app, incidentally, is free. 

Meanwhile, the e-commerce card transaction fee is 2.50%. If you pick the basic Go package then you can sign up for free while the more potent Go Plus package is £29 per month plus VAT.

There’s also a Pro package for those with more sophisticated requirements for £39 plus VAT per month for each iPad device you have enabled. Restaurants, bars and cafes are the target market for the latter. Interestingly, if you want to be green then opt for the Zettle Ocean Reader made of recycled materials. It’s £98 plus VAT for both it and the Zettle Reader 2 bundle.


Pricing for Zettle is clear and concise with no hidden fees to worry about either (Image credit: iZettle)


Zettle 2 came out just over a year or so ago and, as many users have pointed out, there didn't seem to be a whole lot to differentiate it from the original incarnation. 

Nevertheless, Zettle 2 does continue its theme for being smart, simple to use and highly efficient. The compact card machine that forms the hardware part of the Zettle equation is largely unchanged when you compare it to the original machine, save for a green button where the blue one used to be. No matter, as it works as well as always.


The features and functionality of Zettle work beautifully on a tablet (Image credit: iZettle)


Another prime benefit of Zettle 2 and its associated system is the simplicity of how it works. Because the card reader is mated to the app on your smartphone or tablet, all you really need to stay in a position to process payments is a connection. 

This can be achieved using Wi-Fi or 3/4G in tandem with Bluetooth, and all that means you can be processing payments from pretty much anywhere, especially as mobile coverage and Wi-Fi and almost universally available in one form or another. 

The card reader, meanwhile, only takes a couple of seconds to power up and can last for 8 hours on one charge. Recharging it can be done via an included USB cable, by or using the Zettle Dock 2.


Zettle comes with an array of different features and functions for all kinds of business (Image credit: iZettle)

Ease of use

You’ll find that getting up to speed with Zettle 2 is simple and straightforward, so little wonder it is so popular. And, of course, one of the best things about it is the fact that it can accept all sorts of credit and debit cards. 

In fact, it’ll handle just about anything your customer wants to throw at you, including Visa, Mastercard, Visa Electron, Maestro, V Pay, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, UnionPay and Discover too. And, to underline that Zettle 2 is keeping up with the times it’ll process payments from the likes of Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay too. 

Zettle also offers lots of other physical accessories such as receipt printers and cash drawers should you need them, adding to the seamless experience for taking money.


The Zettle 2 card reader features the same simple interface as its predecessor (Image credit: iZettle)


Zettle 2 continues with the theme of providing support for customers via phone and email and, to be honest, that largely seems to suffice if you need to check something between 9 to 5 on Monday to Friday. 

If you’ve got more advanced requirements, however, there is also the step up from their Go package, with a Go Plus edition that now offers you additional support across workdays, from 8am to 8pm. Usefully, weekends are covered too with support from 9 to 6 pm. 

You’ll need to pay £29 plus VAT per month for it, but if you’ve got a business that’s going places and can justify it then this route might be worth considering.


If you fancy doing your bit for the environment then invest in the Zettle Ocean Reader bundle (Image credit: iZettle)

Final verdict

We love Zettle 2 and can see why it has become such a hit with small business types who need to work lean, but also require the power and flexibility to accept and process payments from all sources. 

You’ll find that the Zettle 2 pays for itself almost immediately and the convenience it delivers is invaluable. We also love the way you’re not locked into an unwieldy contract with Zettle, and its pay-as-you-go philosophy is wonderfully useful. You really only pay for what you use and that, when business might be slow, proves to be a real boon on top of all the other positives.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.