Comparing card processing companies: UTP, Lopay and Square

Utp Group Blog Comparison


Over half of all payments made in the UK are now completed using a debit, credit card or digital wallet. As we move towards a cashless society, we opt for speedy and convenient ways to pay. For small and medium businesses, it's increasingly important to take card payments. But, how do you know which card machine is best for you? In this blog, we will compare card machines from Lopay, Square and UTP.

What card machine is the best?

'How much does a card machine cost?', is often the first question asked, and rightly so. The cost of owning and using a card machine is usually split into two amounts. One being the card machine or card machine rental, and the other being the transaction rates. Both prices will vary depending on your merchant service provider.

It's easy to get confused by all the different card machines on the market. For every type of business there is a card machine with features designed to help you succeed. Some are designed to accept payments in one location, like a countertop card machine. Whilst others, like portable and mobile card machines are designed to be on the go. Before looking at card machines, you should have a clear vision of exactly what you want your card machine to do.

Here's a brief overview of the pro's and cons for the card machine providers we will be looking at today.


lopay logo

Lopay pros and cons chart

Lopay was launched in 2022, after seeing payment giants take large percentages from small UK businesses. Their most popular card machine, the Lopay card reader (Wisepad3) can be brought for £49 plus £6.95 postage. This is a one-off payment and there are no monthly charges. The Lopay Card Reader accepts payments with chip and PIN, contactless and all digital wallets. But it does not accept swipe or card-not-present payments.

This card machine has Bluetooth connection. So, you will have to download the Lopay app and connect your smartphone to accept payments. The Lopay Card Reader is portable, so it's great if you need to take payments on the go. If you wish to print receipts for your customers, you will have to purchase a printer separately. This will set you back £230 plus postage and packaging.

Lopay’s transaction rates vary depending on how you wish to receive your funds. The cheapest transaction rate is 0.79% and you will receive your funds weekly. For instant payments after every transaction you make, you will pay 1.79% on transaction rates.


square logo

Pros and cons chart square

Square launched in the UK in 2017, offering businesses different payment methods. From basic card readers to registers for over £600. Square provides payment solutions for both small and large businesses. The Square terminal is a sleek touchscreen card machine with an inbuilt receipt printer. It accepts chip and PIN, stripe cards and all contactless payments. Like Lopay, Square do not offer contracts. The Square Terminal will set you back £149 plus VAT. The Square terminal has two connection options: Wifi and Ethernet. If you require an Ethernet connection, you will need to purchase the Hub. This is an extra £39 plus VAT.

For in-person payments, you will be charged a 1.75% transaction rate. If you accept card-not-present payments, then you will be charged a 2.5% transaction fee. If you are a business making over £200,000 in card sales annually, you may be eligible for a custom rate. Square fund their businesses the next working day for free. But, if you require faster payments, you can get paid instantly for a 1% fee.


utp logo

UTP pros and cons chart

UTP were established in 2013 and are a UK-based merchant service provider. The UTP Pro Lite (Pax A920pro) is our most sold card machine, due to its versatile features and modern design. The cost of the card machine is £20 a month, over an 18-month period. The UTP Pro Lite has multiple connectivity options, including WiFi, GPRS and a roaming SIM card. 

The SIM card automatically connects to the strongest signal anywhere in the UK, ensuring you never miss a sale. Our devices accept chip and PIN, contactless and digital wallet payments. You can also accept card-not-present payments, as well as integrate the device to your existing EPOSnow till system. At UTP, our customers enjoy the latest Pax card machine, while other merchant service provides use older models. You should always double check the card machine model when looking for a provider.

At UTP, our transaction rates are predominantly based on your average transaction value (ATV). Our average transaction rate for debit cards is 0.3% and 0.6% for credit cards. We usually save our customers 33% on their transaction rates when they switch to us.

As well as our low transaction rates, our customers also receive free benefits. These include Faster Processing and UTP Shield. Faster Processing is enables you to get paid when it suits you. Choose from getting funded after every transaction, every hour or at the end of your working day. There is even an option to get paid on Sundays and Bank Holidays. To keep your business safe, all our customers are protected by UTP Shield. Our custom software understands your average transaction and alerts you if any payments look suspicious.

When picking your card machine and provider, you need to take your time and make sure the device and service is right for your business. If the UTP Pro Lite sounds like the right card machine, contact our customer service team to get your free quote.

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