What is your Pay As You Go card machine really costing you?


When it comes to using a card machine for your business, you have two options:

  • Take a card machine on a contract with a monthly rental fee for the machine
  • Buy a PAYG machine and own the machine outright

In both instances, you’ll have other fees like transaction fees to deal with, but these are typically the options you have.

When it comes to card machines for small businesses, many opt for a Pay As You Go (PAYG) system from Handepay, the trusted specialists in this field.

It’s easy to see why.

These devices usually come with a cheap-looking price tag of around £20.


But they can actually end up being significantly more expensive than taking a card machine on a monthly contract - especially when these contracts can be just as flexible and only require you to sign up to one month rolling.

In this article, we’ll be looking at why you should be cautious about the promises of cheap PAYG card machines and why you might be better looking at other options.

What is a Pay As You Go (PAYG) card machine and why do people use them?

PAYG machines consist of a one-off payment for the actual unit and then charges per transaction.

These machines are often appealing for businesses just starting out with card payments, as they don’t require any sort of contract and once you’ve paid the upfront fee, you own the card machine.

But you shouldn’t be too drawn in by the cheap-looking price.

Usually, this just covers the cost of the base unit and only a basic one at that.

If you want a machine that accepts contactless, and comes with the necessary add ons and backend technology to make card payments work, you’re actually looking at closer to £200+ for a PAYG machine.

Plus, they quickly become even more expensive when you start to bring money in.

That’s because the transaction fees with these cheaper card machines are significantly higher than those offered by other providers.

The transaction fees can easily reach 2.5% per transaction, regardless of the card used.

That’s compared to the fees associated with a contract card machine (which can be lower than 1%)

It might not seem like much, but when you’re dealing with higher volumes of transactions, especially high-value transactions, these fees can quickly mount up and start eating into your profits.

Plus, many of the PAYG providers have a minimum transaction fee.

This means you’ll pay a minimum fee every month, regardless of whether you actually use the card machine.

A lot of small businesses quickly outgrow their PAYG systems when they start trading.

And that’s why it could be a better idea to start with a flexible monthly contract instead.

Benefits of using a contracted card machine 

Pay As You Go options may seem good at first but contract card machines are much more affordable and better in the long run.

For one, owning a card machine outright means you’re responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the machine - which can be costly given the technology being used.

When you get a card machine on a contract, it usually comes with the required hardware and tech support.

This means if you do run into a problem, you’ll get immediate help to either rectify a problem or have a new machine delivered to you quickly - and all as part of your contract.

Then there are the fees involved, particularly the transaction fees.

Although they still have added charges per transaction, they’re a lot lower than PAYG machines, 

Ultimately, starting out with a PAYG machine could be a good option if you think your initial payment volume will be low.

But you could quickly see your transaction costs rocketing as soon as you start to grow and deal with higher volumes of card payments.

With a flexible rolling contract instead, you could avoid these unnecessary costs and get a card machine that helps your business grow, rather than punishing you for it.