Bye-bye PayPal Here, Hello SumUp

Regular readers will know that I have been taking card payments from my pupils since 2013. It’ll be ten years this September! How time flies.

I originally used iZettle, which I was happy with. I’d initially wanted to use PayPal Here, but their sales rep got something wrapped around his neck at the time, and so I decided against it and went with iZettle.

Everything was fine for a couple of years, but one time there was an app update which wouldn’t install on my phone (which had worked perfectly well up until that point). I contacted iZettle and they told me my phone wasn’t supported. When I questioned that, pointing out it had always worked before, their precise words amounted to:

Your phone isn’t supported. Goodbye.

iZettle Support in 2015

I’m not making that up. It is precisely what they said. And it nearly destroyed my business overnight, since I had no way of taking most of my payments.

I contacted PayPal, who by now knew what their system actually did, and quickly purchased one of their readers. It worked like a charm, and it was better than iZettle in that money went into my PayPal account instantly, instead of after (3 days + not weekends + not bank holidays (UK) + not public holidays (Sweden)).

iZettle got back to me some time later (quite a long time later, in fact) after I had left withering reviews in various places about their awful service, and it turned out that the reason the app wouldn’t install was that the incompetent prats had put out a package on the Google Store that had the same filename as the previous version. That was the cause of the problem.

I basically told them to f**k off, and I’ve been happy with PayPal Here ever since.

A cool wind of apprehension blew over me in 2018, when PayPal took over iZettle. The wind blew a bit stronger when PayPal stopped supplying the PayPal Here card reader, and began pushing the iZettle (or Zettle) terminal. I’d taken a sacred vow never to use iZettle again, and it didn’t matter anyway, because I already had four PayPal Here readers to cover any breakages, so didn’t worry too much. I didn’t think it would affect me for a long time, as PayPal had never told me the Here service would stop, and I’d only had one terminal fail in ten years, so I was pretty much set until I retired. But it turns out I was wrong – and I am not happy with PayPal for not telling me in advance.

In fact, the first I knew of it was early March, when I had a voicemail which informed me in an American accent that the PayPal Here card readers would stop functioning from the beginning of April 2023. I tried to contact them, but they haven’t bothered to respond in the two weeks since I tried. This is annoying when you consider that I must have taken around £100k using PayPal Here since 2015.

So I immediately took action to ensure I can continue taking card payments.

Zettle can still f**k off. They are the same Swedish company that tried to put me out of business, even if PayPal now owns them. I would not use them again under any circumstances. And now PayPal is pencilled in on my list of people I don’t trust anymore.

So it came down to either SumUp or Square. And then it came down to either an all-singing, all-dancing standalone 3G terminal, or one that connected via an app to my phone. I was a bit concerned about some users complaining about signal strength on the 3G devices (if a pupil lives in the sticks, that can be an issue even with my 5G phone), so I went with an app-based one. And the SumUp one looked better, so it was decision made.

I’ll review it separately in a few days. Right now, it is set up and ready to take payments, but I am waiting for my business Mastercard to arrive so that I can gain the ability to transfer money to my bank account on a (almost) daily basis.

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