Can I have a card machine without a business account?

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Sunny Avenue
Sunny Best (Product Reviews) Sunny Avenue
29 Feb 2024

In today's fast-paced world, having a card machine is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Even if you're a freelancer or sole proprietor without a business account, you can still get a card machine to accept payments from customers.

Thanks to technology and fintech companies, individuals can now easily obtain a card machine without a traditional business account. In this article, we'll explore your options and the benefits of getting a card machine as an individual.

If you want to simplify your payment process and offer customers a convenient way to pay, keep reading to find out how to get a card machine without a business account.

Can I Have a Card Machine Without a Business Account?

Yes, individuals can now have a card machine without a business account thanks to fintech companies. They have developed mobile card readers that can be connected to smartphones or tablets, making it easy for people to accept card payments on the go.

These companies recognise the growing demand for card payment solutions amongst individuals and offer innovative products and services for this market. The mobile card readers provided by these companies support contactless and chip and PIN transactions, and they come with user-friendly mobile apps that link to your personal or sole trader account to manage transactions and access sales insights.

What Mobile Card Machines Are Available?

Sumup AIR Mobile Card ReaderBest Card Machine for Craft Fair

★★★★★ 4.5   £38.99
With the SumUp Air card reader, you’ll be able to receive card payments on the go, wherever you’re working – anywhere, anytime.
If you’ve got this SumUp card reader, you can accept all major debit and credit cards as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and is so simple to use with your smartphone or tablet. 
  • One upfront cost and then a small fee per transaction of 1.69%.
  • Quick install time of just 5 minutes.
  • Works via bluetooth.
  • Runs on batteries (provided) without a charging function.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why is Sumup Air Suitable for individuals?

  • The low transaction fee of just 1.69% per transaction is ideal for sole traders, especially craft fair vendors who often make smaller sales. With this low fee, you can retain a significant portion of your earnings, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • As a sole trader, you don't have to worry about long-term contracts or commitments. SumUp allows you to make a one-off purchase for the card reader device, giving you the flexibility to use it whenever you need without any ongoing obligations.
  • SumUp's simple and quick installation process ensures that you can get started within 5 minutes, saving you time and hassle during the event.
  • Being able to accept various payment methods is crucial for sole traders, as it maximises their potential customer base. SumUp allows customers to pay with cards, contactless, chip and PIN, and digital wallets like Google and Apple Pay, ensuring you won't miss out on any sales opportunities.
  • As a sole trader, you often operate in various locations, such as craft fairs and events. The Bluetooth connectivity of SumUp's card reader to your smartphone enables you to accept payments anywhere, providing convenience for your customers and increasing your sales potential.
  • Timely access to your earnings is essential for sole traders. SumUp offers fast payouts, with money transferred directly to your bank account in just 1-3 working days, eliminating any unnecessary waiting periods.

Square Contactless Card Reader

Best card machine for craft fairs

★★★★★ 4.3   £22.80
With the Square Contactless Card Reader Air card reader, you’ll be able to receive card payments on the go, wherever you’re working – anywhere, anytime.
If you’ve got this Square contactless card reader, you can accept all major debit and credit cards as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and is so simple to use with your smartphone or tablet. It's ideal for Craft Fairs.
  • Cheaper upfront cost compared with the Sumup Air
  • Quick install time of just 5 minutes.
  • Works via bluetooth.
  • Slightly more expensive ongoing charges of 1.79% per transaction.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why is Square Contactless Suitable for individuals?

  • Enables contactless, chip and PIN, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, offering flexibility and smooth transactions.
  • Flat rate of 1.75% for each transaction, no hidden fees, and no long-term commitments, making it straightforward for craft fair vendors.
  • Connects wirelessly via Bluetooth LE 5.3 to accept payments on the go or at the counter, providing flexibility for customers.
  • Easy-to-use, customisable Point of Sale system, with options for no-cost or premium plans like Square for Retail, Square Appointments, or Square for Restaurants.
  • Get funds as fast as the next working day, with instant payouts available for quick access to earnings.

Pros and cons of having a business account

While it is now possible to have a card machine without a business account, there are still benefits to having a dedicated business account. Let's explore some of the pros and cons of having a business account.


  • Separation of personal and business finances: Having a business account allows you to keep your personal and business finances separate, making it easier to track your business expenses and income.
  • Professionalism: Having a dedicated business account adds a level of professionalism to your business. It shows your customers that you take your business seriously and are committed to providing them with a reliable and secure payment method.
  • Access to additional banking services: Business accounts often come with a range of additional banking services tailored to meet the needs of businesses. These services may include business loans, overdraft facilities, and merchant services.


  • Additional costs: Business accounts often come with fees and charges that may not be suitable for individuals or small businesses with limited budgets.
  • Complexity: Managing a business account can be more complex than managing a personal account. There may be additional paperwork and requirements that need to be fulfilled, which can be time-consuming and cumbersome.
  • Limited flexibility: Some business accounts may have restrictions on the number of transactions or the amount of money that can be processed. This can be a drawback for businesses with high transaction volumes or those that operate in industries with higher average transaction values.

Alternative options for accepting card payments

Now that we've explored the pros and cons of having a business account let's look at the alternative options available for accepting card payments without a business account.

Mobile card readers

As mentioned earlier, mobile card readers are a popular choice for individuals who want to accept card payments without a business account. These devices are compact, portable, and easy to use.

They connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and allow individuals to accept card payments anywhere, anytime. Mobile card readers are often provided by fintech companies that offer payment solutions for individuals.

They typically come with a user-friendly mobile app that allows individuals to manage their transactions and access valuable sales insights.

Online payment gateways

Another option for accepting card payments without a business account is through online payment gateways. Online payment gateways are platforms that facilitate online transactions by securely processing customers' card details. They act as an intermediary between the buyer, seller, and the financial institutions involved in the transaction.

Many online payment gateways offer solutions for individuals, allowing them to accept card payments through their website or online store. These solutions often come with features such as invoicing, recurring payments, and the ability to accept payments in multiple currencies.

Peer-to-peer payment apps

Peer-to-peer payment apps have gained popularity in recent years as a convenient way for individuals to send and receive money. While these apps are primarily used for personal transactions, some of them also offer solutions for individuals to accept card payments.

These apps allow individuals to generate invoices, send payment requests, and accept card payments from their customers. While they may not offer the same level of features and functionality as dedicated card machines or online payment gateways, they can be a viable option for individuals who only occasionally need to accept card payments.

How to choose the right card machine for your needs

Now that you're familiar with the alternative options available, how do you choose the right card machine for your needs?

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Cost: Consider the upfront cost of the card machine, as well as any ongoing fees or charges associated with using the device or service. Compare the costs of different providers to ensure you're getting the best value for your money.
  • Features: Assess the features and functionality of the card machine. Does it support contactless payments? Can it process chip and PIN transactions? Does it integrate with other systems or software you use for your business?
  • Ease of use: Look for a card machine that is user-friendly and intuitive. Consider factors such as the size and weight of the device, the clarity of the display, and the ease of navigating the menu and options.
  • Customer support: Check if the provider offers reliable customer support in case you encounter any issues or need assistance with the device or service. Look for providers with positive reviews and a reputation for excellent customer service.

Setting up a card machine without a business account

Setting up a card machine without a business account is typically a straightforward process.

Here are the general steps involved:

  • Once you've chosen a provider, you'll need to apply for the card machine. This usually involves providing some personal and business information, such as your name, address, and contact details.
  • Once you receive the card machine, you'll need to set it up according to the instructions provided by the provider. This typically involves downloading the mobile app, connecting the device to your smartphone or tablet, and completing any necessary account setup steps.
  • Once the device is set up, you're ready to start accepting card payments! Make sure to test the device to ensure it's working correctly and familiarise yourself with the features and functionality of the mobile app.

Legal and financial considerations

When accepting card payments as an individual, there are some legal and financial considerations you need to be aware of.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Tax obligations: Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be required to report and pay taxes on the income you generate from accepting card payments. Consult with a tax professional or accountant to ensure you fulfill your tax obligations.
  • Data protection: When accepting card payments, you'll be handling sensitive customer data. It's important to ensure that you comply with data protection regulations and take appropriate measures to safeguard customer information.
  • Fraud prevention: As with any financial transaction, there is a risk of fraud when accepting card payments. Familiarise yourself with best practices for fraud prevention and consider implementing additional security measures, such as using secure payment gateways or implementing two-factor authentication.

Tips for using a card machine without a business account

To make the most of your card machine without a business account, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Promote your payment options: Make sure your customers are aware that you now accept card payments. Update your website, social media profiles, and other marketing materials to include information about your new payment method.
  • Offer incentives: Consider offering incentives, such as discounts or loyalty rewards, to encourage customers to use the card payment option. This can help drive adoption and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Keep track of your transactions: Regularly review your transaction history and reconcile your payments to ensure accuracy. This will help you identify any discrepancies or issues and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Stay up to date with technology: Keep an eye on advancements in payment technology and consider upgrading your card machine or adopting new features as they become available. This will help ensure you're providing your customers with the best possible payment experience.


In conclusion, having a card machine without a business account is indeed possible. Thanks to advancements in technology and the rise of fintech companies, individuals can now easily obtain a card machine to accept payments from their customers.

Whether you choose to go with a mobile card reader, an online payment gateway, or a peer-to-peer payment app, there are plenty of options available to suit your needs. By embracing these alternative options, you can streamline your payment process and offer your customers a convenient and secure way to pay.

So, if you're a freelancer or a sole proprietor looking to accept card payments, don't hesitate to explore these options and find the solution that works best for you.

Read Related:


What legal and financial aspects should I be mindful of as an individual accepting card payments?

Stay informed about tax obligations, data protection regulations, and fraud prevention measures. Seek professional guidance to ensure compliance and implement robust security measures to safeguard both your business and your customers' sensitive information. Being proactive in addressing these aspects can bolster trust and credibility in your business endeavours.

How Can Solopreneurs Craft a Personalized Card Payment Strategy for Success?

With a plethora of options available, how can solopreneurs tailor their card payment strategy to suit their individual circumstances, optimising cost, features, and usability to unlock new avenues for growth in the digital landscape?



Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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