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Updated May 20, 2024

PayPal’s Mobile Credit Card Reader: What You Need to Know

PayPal Zettle allows small businesses to use a point-of-sale system to accept customer payments, including credit and debit cards, gift cards, and contactless payments.

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Adam Uzialko, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Editor
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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PayPal is best known for its payment processing services for online merchants and shoppers. But did you know the company also has a payment processing solution for in-store and mobile retailers? We’ll explain everything you need to know about PayPal Zettle to help you determine if it’s the right payment acceptance solution for your business. 

What is PayPal Zettle?

PayPal Zettle is a credit card reader and point-of-sale (POS) business solution that helps merchants accept a wide variety of mobile and in-store customer payments. It offers a full suite of POS hardware and provides free POS software. Zettle replaced PayPal’s previous mobile payment solution, PayPal Here. 

PayPal vs. PayPal Zettle: What’s the difference?

The terms “PayPal” and “PayPal Zettle” can be confusing. Here’s what they mean: 

  • PayPal: PayPal is a consumer-centric product. Its website and app make it easy for friends and family to send money to each other at no extra cost. Consumers can also use their PayPal accounts to pay businesses online and in person and make charitable donations.
  • PayPal Zettle: PayPal Zettle is a business solution for merchants who want to accept various payment types. Zettle helps retailers process payments from major credit cards, debit cards, PayPal and Venmo accounts, NFC mobile payments and more. The PayPal Zettle app has POS functions to help businesses accept and manage payments, send invoices, manage inventory, set prices, and more.
FYIDid you know
NFC technology can help you accept mobile wallet payments, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

How do you get started with PayPal Zettle?

Signing up for PayPal Zettle is straightforward:

  1. Create a free PayPal business account (or upgrade your existing account).
  2. Download the iOS PayPal Zettle app from Apple’s App Store, or get the Zettle app for Android from Google Play and continue setting up your account and product details.
  3. Visit the Zettle Shop to purchase your hardware or POS solution. 

What does PayPal Zettle cost? 

PayPal Zettle’s costs are reasonable. You’ll pay processing fees on each transaction and incur hardware costs. There are no sign-up fees, contracts or monthly fees.

Processing fees

While credit card processing fees can be pricey, PayPal Zettle’s rates are reasonable. They differ by transaction type — how you accept the customer’s payment. Here’s how it breaks down:

Transaction type

Transaction fee  percent

Additional transaction fee

Card-present transactions

2.29 percent

$0.09

Manual card entry transactions

3.49 percent

$0.09

QR code transactions

2.29 percent

$0.09

Invoicing (PayPal payments)

3.49 percent

$0.49

Invoicing (cards and alternative payment methods)

2.99 percent

$0.49

PayPal Zettle hardware costs

Accepting in-person payments with PayPal Zettle requires the Zettle app and/or some type of physical credit card machine. Here are your options:  

  • PayPal Zettle mobile app: The Zettle app is free and includes basic POS functions that help you manage products and customer information. You can accept payments via the app by keying in transactions. However, keying in transactions incurs a higher per-transaction fee. 
  • PayPal Zettle card reader: You’ll use the Zettle app to set up your card reader and sync it to your account. Once set up, you’ll use the card reader to accept card and contactless payments. Your first card reader is $29; additional readers are $79 each. 
  • PayPal Zettle terminal: A PayPal Zettle terminal hardware package costs $199. It’s a portable POS system that doesn’t require a connection to your mobile device or the Zettle app. 
  • Miscellaneous hardware: PayPal also offers various hardware accessories for additional costs, such as a Zettle dock ($49), rotating iPad stand ($159), cash drawer ($119) and barcode scanner ($229). 
Key TakeawayKey takeaway
PayPal Zettle is a great solution for mobile credit card processing. Despite persistent mobile credit card processing myths, receiving money from your customers can be affordable, straightforward and secure.

PayPal Zettle benefits 

PayPal Zettle brings numerous benefits to businesses that want to accept payments, including the following:

  • PayPal Zettle helps you accept multiple payment options. PayPal Zettle supports numerous payment types, including all major credit cards, debit cards, Venmo, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, QR codes, PayPal and more. You can record and track cash payments through the app, making accounting easier. You can even send invoices directly through the Zettle app, making it easier to track accounts receivable
  • PayPal Zettle is easy to use. Zettle’s merchant-friendly hardware and software are easy to use. You can customize the software to calculate sales tax, apply discounts, suggest tips, send invoices, run sales reports and more.
  • PayPal Zettle helps you manage inventory. The software’s POS inventory management features allow you to upload product photos to a catalog, add prices and variations, like size or color, and organize your items into categories or lists.
  • PayPal Zettle has sales reporting tools. Run POS sales reports from Zettle and choose weekly, monthly, annual or custom periods. You can also filter your sales by date, salesperson, product or payment type. Reports can be printed, emailed or exported to CSV files.
  • PayPal Zettle lets you control employee access. Add employees to your account as unique users with their own usernames and passwords. You decide which features they can access.
  • PayPal Zettle is secure. PayPal Zettle uses end-to-end encryption (in addition to providing encrypted card readers) to keep your transactions secure.
  • PayPal Zettle integrates with other POS hardware. PayPal Zettle can fully integrate with other POS hardware, like cash drawers and receipt printers, making checkout easier for small retailers.
  • PayPal Zettle has great customer service. When you sign up with Zettle, you can access PayPal’s vast array of support and troubleshooting resources. If you have trouble with PayPal Zettle, reach out to PayPal via email, telephone and even social media. For example, access the company’s X, formerly known as Twitter, account via @AskPayPal to ask questions in multiple languages. 
  • PayPal Zettle is affordable. Businesses appreciate PayPal Zettle’s flat-rate pricing and no monthly fees. 

PayPal Zettle downsides

PayPal Zettle isn’t for everyone. The following downsides may steer some businesses away from Zettle: 

  • Funds are deposited to your PayPal account. With Zettle, PayPal is your payment processor. Unlike traditional payment processors, PayPal deposits funds to the merchant’s PayPal account, not its bank account. (They can then transfer funds to their business bank account.) This may be a detriment for some businesses. 
  • PayPal’s fraud detection measures can be excessive. Some merchants feel PayPal takes an overly suspicious approach to fraud detection. PayPal may hold funds and freeze or terminate accounts because it suspects fraud or suspicious processing activity, such as abnormally large transactions, sudden spikes in transaction volume, and an excessive number of chargebacks. While many mobile payment processors, including Square, take cautious measures to protect against payment fraud, some businesses may prefer traditional credit card processors and easier access to their money. 
  • PayPal Zettle has fewer features than some competitors. Zettle’s features fall short when compared to rivals like Square. For example, Square allows retailers to scan and print barcodes, create adjustable floor plans and access marketing features.
TipTip
Restaurants will appreciate Square's durable kitchen display systems, robust customer loyalty program module, takeout and delivery options, and menu-syncing tools.

Alternatives to PayPal Zettle

PayPal Zettle isn’t the only option for merchants who want a straightforward mobile payment processing solution. Check out these alternatives:

  • Square: Square gives retailers more bang for their buck in terms of features. Its robust business tools and software help businesses manage inventory, marketing, loyalty programs and more. Additionally, its hardware is affordable, and the setup is seamless. Our detailed Square review explains more about this platform’s POS features, online store options, marketing tools and more.
  • Epos Now: U.K.-based Epos Now is an intuitive POS solution ideal for retail stores, restaurants and hotels. Setup is easy, and training staff members should be straightforward — a bonus in industries with high turnover. Our Epos Now review details this platform’s numerous integration options, which help businesses create customized solutions.
  • Shopify: Shopify is a popular e-commerce solution that offers everything businesses need to launch and manage an online store. No coding or tech skills required. It’s a great option for businesses that want to integrate their in-store and online transactions. Our Shopify review highlights the platform’s CRM and content management tools.

Convenient payment methods help you serve your customers better

An easy-to-use POS solution like PayPal Zettle can help you boost customer convenience and your bottom line. By allowing customers to pay with their preferred payment methods, merchants can increase customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Zettle is a great choice for accepting in-person payments — especially if you already have a PayPal account and want an affordable, straightforward solution. 

Sally Herigstad contributed to this article. 

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Adam Uzialko, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Editor
Adam Uzialko, senior editor of Business News Daily, is not just a professional writer and editor — he’s also an entrepreneur who knows firsthand what it’s like building a business from scratch. His experience as co-founder and managing editor of a digital marketing company imbues his work at Business News Daily with a perspective grounded in the realities of running a small business. Since 2015, Adam has reviewed hundreds of small business products and services, including contact center solutions, email marketing software and text message marketing software. Adam uses the products, interviews users and talks directly to the companies that make the products and services he covers. He specializes in digital marketing topics, with a focus on content marketing, editorial strategy and managing a team.
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