Do Banks Provide Card Machines?

Home Do Banks Provide Card Machines?
Sunny Avenue
Sunny Best (Product Reviews) Sunny Avenue
31 Jul 2023

Are you a business owner in the UK looking to accept card payments? If so, you may be wondering, do banks provide card machines? Well, you're in the right place! However, getting a card machine from a Bank may not be an easy task, and certainly not a cheap one. Depending on how many transactions you're planning, you may be better off looking at alternative options. Don't worry, in this insight, we will cover if banks provide card machines, how to obtain one, and alternative (cheaper) options to get started with taking payments sooner.

Key Takeaways

  • Banks do provide card machines, but you need a business account and merchant contract, which can be expensive.
  • Consider low-cost alternatives like Sumup Air or Square Contactless Card Reader for quicker setup and budget-friendly options.
  • Banks offer different types of card machines (countertop, portable, mobile), each with its features and benefits.
  • Compare the pros and cons of bank-provided card machines and third-party providers to make an informed decision based on your business needs and budget.

Do Banks Provide Card Machines?

Yes, you can get a card machine through your bank. However, you must have a business account with them and enter into a merchant contract with their payment providers. These contracts can often be expensive so assess your options carefully.

An alternative option would be to opt for a low up-front cost card machine without a contract. You pay a small transaction fee and a one-off purchase cost for the device, which can normally be purchased through Amazon and set up with a smartphone.

Alternative Options To Bank Card Machines

if you're considering going down the route of a low upfront cost card machine, these are the options available that you could get started with within a day of the device arriving:

1) Sumup Air Mobile Card Terminal

bank card machine alternative 2

check price on amazon

  • Affordable Transactions: SumUp charges only 1.69% per transaction, so on a £20 sale, the fee is just £0.34. This means you keep £19.66 in earnings, making it budget-friendly for craft fair vendors.
  • One off Payment: No contracts making Sumup ideal for craft vendors. You can make a one-off purchase for the device and use it as and when you wish.
  • Easy Setup: Get started quickly! The SumUp card reader is simple to install and ready to use in 5 minutes, saving you time.
  • Accept All Payments: Customers can pay with cards, contactless, chip and PIN, and even digital wallets like Google and Apple Pay. You won't miss out on any sales.
  • Go Anywhere: With Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, you can accept payments wherever you are at the craft fair, making transactions convenient for customers.
  • Fast Payouts: Get your money in just 1-3 working days directly to your bank account. No waiting around for your earnings.
  • Helpful Support: English-speaking customer service is available to assist you during the event, ensuring a smooth payment experience for you and your customers.
2) Square Contactless Card Reader

Bank card machine alternative 1

check price on amazon

  • Accept Various Payments: Easily accept contactless, chip and PIN, Apple Pay, and Google Pay from anywhere. Enjoy improved connectivity, extended battery life, and enhanced security for smooth transactions.
  • Transparent Pricing: Pay a flat rate of 1.75% for every contactless or chip and PIN transaction. No hidden fees or long-term commitments, making it straightforward for craft fair vendors. Although it is a cheaper upfront cost, there is a higher transaction percentage fee.
  • Wireless Convenience: Connect wirelessly to your phone or tablet using Bluetooth LE 5.3. Take payments on the go or at your counter, providing flexibility for customers.
  • User-Friendly POS: Use the included, easy-to-use, and customisable Point of Sale (POS) system. Alternatively, choose from no-cost or premium plans like Square for Retail, Square Appointments, or Square for Restaurants to get started.
  • Fast Payouts: Get your funds in your bank account as fast as the next working day. If needed, instant payouts are available for a small fee, ensuring you have quick access to your earnings.

Types of card machines offered by banks

Banks in the UK offer a range of card machines to suit different business needs. The most common types of card machines provided by banks include countertop, portable, and mobile card machines. Countertop card machines are typically connected to a phone line or internet connection and are ideal for businesses with a fixed location, such as retail stores or restaurants. Portable card machines, on the other hand, are wireless devices that can be carried around within a limited range, making them suitable for businesses that require mobility, such as cafes or pop-up shops. Lastly, mobile card machines use a SIM card and can be used anywhere with a mobile network, making them perfect for businesses that operate on the go, like food trucks or delivery services.

Each type of card machine comes with its own set of features and benefits. For example, some card machines may have built-in contactless payment capabilities, while others may offer additional features like tipping functionality or cashback options. It's important to assess your business requirements and choose a card machine that best aligns with your needs.

Countertop Bank Alternative:

3) Square Register

countertop bank card machine alternative

check price on amazon

  • The Square register is a counter top card machine with a built-in till, perfect for cafe's and coffee shops. 
  • Uses Wi-Fi and Ethernet.
  • In-built digital till.
  • You do need Square's software installed to use.

Factors to consider when choosing a card machine from a bank

When selecting a card machine from a bank, there are several factors to consider to ensure you make the right choice for your business. Firstly, you need to assess the connectivity options available in your area. Different card machines require different types of connections, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or GPRS. It's essential to check the availability and reliability of these connections in your location to ensure seamless card transactions.

Secondly, you should consider the transaction speed and reliability of the card machine. Slow transaction times can lead to frustrated customers and potential loss of sales. Additionally, the card machine should be reliable and able to process payments without any technical glitches or downtime. It's worth researching the reputation and reliability of different card machines before making a decision.

Another crucial factor to consider is the cost associated with the card machine. Banks usually charge a variety of fees for their card machine services, including rental fees, transaction fees, and setup fees. It's important to understand the fee structure and calculate the total cost of ownership over a specific period to ensure it aligns with your budget and financial goals. Additionally, some banks may require businesses to sign long-term contracts, so it's important to carefully review the terms and conditions before committing to a particular card machine.

How to apply for a card machine from a bank in the UK

Applying for a card machine from a bank in the UK is a relatively straightforward process. Most banks have dedicated merchant services departments that handle card machine applications. To apply, you will typically need to provide some basic information about your business, such as your business name, address, and nature of your products or services. You may also need to provide financial documents, such as bank statements or tax returns, to demonstrate your business's financial stability.

Once you have submitted your application, the bank will review it and assess your eligibility. This process may take some time, so it's important to be patient. If your application is approved, the bank will provide you with the necessary paperwork and guide you through the setup process. They will also assist you in integrating the card machine with your existing point-of-sale system, if applicable. Once everything is set up, you'll be ready to start accepting card payments from your customers.

Fees and charges associated with bank-provided card machines

While banks can provide card machines to businesses, it's important to be aware of the fees and charges associated with these services. Banks typically charge rental fees for card machines, which can vary depending on the type of machine and the length of the rental contract. In addition to rental fees, banks may also charge transaction fees for each card payment processed. These transaction fees are usually a percentage of the transaction value or a fixed amount per transaction. It's important to carefully review the fee structure and calculate the potential costs to ensure they align with your budget and profitability goals. Additionally, some banks may have hidden fees or additional charges, so it's crucial to ask for full transparency before committing to a card machine from a bank.

Benefits of getting a card machine from a bank

Getting a card machine from a bank offers several benefits for businesses in the UK. Firstly, banks are well-established financial institutions with a solid reputation, so you can trust the security and reliability of their card machines. This can provide peace of mind for both you and your customers, knowing that their card payments are being processed securely. Secondly, banks often provide comprehensive customer support and technical assistance to ensure smooth operation of the card machine. If any issues arise, you can rely on the bank's support team to resolve them promptly. Moreover, having a card machine from a bank can also help build trust and credibility with your customers, as they perceive banks as trustworthy and secure when it comes to financial transactions. Finally, banks offer the convenience of having all your financial services, including card payments, under one roof, making it easier to manage your business finances.

Comparison of bank-provided card machines and third-party providers

When deciding between bank-provided card machines and third-party providers, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Banks offer the advantage of trust and reliability, as well as the convenience of having all your financial services in one place. However, they may have higher fees and more rigid terms and conditions. On the other hand, third-party providers may offer more competitive rates and greater flexibility, but they may not have the same level of trust and brand recognition as banks. It's crucial to assess your business needs, budget, and priorities to make an informed decision.


In conclusion, banks in the UK do provide card machines to businesses. These card machines come in various types, such as countertop, portable, and mobile, to suit different business needs. When choosing a card machine from a bank, it's important to consider factors such as connectivity options, transaction speed and reliability, and associated fees and charges. Applying for a card machine from a bank involves submitting an application and providing the necessary information about your business. While banks offer several benefits, such as trust and reliability, there are alternative options available, such as third-party providers, which may offer more competitive rates and greater flexibility. Ultimately, the decision of whether to get a card machine from a bank or a third-party provider depends on your business requirements and priorities. So, take the time to evaluate your options and choose the card machine solution that will best serve your business and help you thrive in the digital payment landscape.

Read More: 


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.

  • The content on this page is regularly checked by our onboarded advisers and experts.

Be notified when we add new articles




Our website offers information about financial products such as investing, savings, equity release, mortgages, and insurance. None of the information on Sunny Avenue constitutes personal advice. Sunny Avenue does not offer any of these services directly and we only act as a directory service to connect you to the experts. If you require further information to proceed you will need to request advice, for example from the financial advisers listed. If you decide to invest, read the important investment notes provided first, decide how to proceed on your own basis, and remember that investments can go up and down in value, so you could get back less than you put in.

Think carefully before securing debts against your home. A mortgage is a loan secured on your home, which you could lose if you do not keep up your mortgage payments. Check that any mortgage will meet your needs if you want to move or sell your home or you want your family to inherit it. If you are in any doubt, seek independent advice.