Card Reader Options for Small Businesses

Card Reader Options for Small Businesses



With today’s current climate and buying habits, it’s commonly accepted that most businesses accept card payments. The contactless spending limit is even due to increase from £45 to £100 later this year, the Treasury has confirmed.

However, it is often less obvious to decide how to accept card payments. There are many options available, such as fixed card terminals, portable machines, and mobile card readers. In this article, we’ll explore which type to use for your business, and why.
App-based card readers are becoming increasingly popular with small businesses and start-ups, especially those which operate a mobile business. They work by connecting the small device to Wi-Fi or a mobile phone connection to process the payment. For low-volume, low-value scenarios they are ideal with low start-up costs and no monthly fees. But their slower speed of operation and higher transaction costs mean they are not as suitable as volumes and values increase.
For larger operations, or businesses or charities who regularly accept card payments, especially where speed of operation is a requirement and/or high values are involved, traditional chip and PIN terminals are the preferred option.


These terminals include:
Countertop machines – where the machine sits on a counter connected by wires to a broadband or phone line port.
These machines are ideal for businesses or charities with a fixed location who serve customers at a till point.
Portable machines – where the machine sits in a cradle or base unit and can be picked up and used up to approximately 50 metres away from the base unit. The base unit is connected to an internet or phone line and charges the portable terminal and establishes a connection through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Portable terminals are ideal for businesses with a fixed location who accept payments from around the premises such as restaurants and bars.


Mobile machines – a self-contained portable chip and PIN machine which uses mobile internet or Wi-fi connections to complete transactions. These machines are ideal for businesses and charities who operate at a variety of locations or events. Mobile food vans, pop-up shops and market stalls as well as charities canvassing for donations in different areas can all benefit from a mobile chip and PIN terminal.


Particularly for small businesses, we have found that SumUp offers the best card reader with the lowest running costs. Their wireless card reader can facilitate contactless and chip payments, connecting to a mobile device via Bluetooth. It accepts all major card types, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple/Google Pay etc. SumUp offers the lowest transaction fees, at 1.69%. The upfront cost is £29 (excl. VAT), and there are no monthly fees like a fixed card terminal.


If you’d like any other advice on becoming self employed or forming a limited company, please contact us to book a free meeting with a Chartered Management Accountant.

0333 444 1539

The Company Christmas Party in 2020 – Time for Virtual!

The Company Christmas Party in 2020 – Time for Virtual!


The Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have put a stop to the annual office party and have forced employers to think of alternative ways to wish employees a happy Christmas and to boost morale.  


Christmas parties

Employers are allowed to host an annual event. This doesn’t have to be at Christmas, it could be held at any time of the year, the key here is that it is an annual event and is made available to all employees, or all in a particular location where an employer has more than one location, at a cost of less than £150 per head.


All costs of providing the event must be counted when calculating the ‘per head’ cost. This could include:


Food and drink

Transport and accommodation that enables an employee to attend


This list isn’t exclusive.


If the cost exceeds £150, then the whole amount will become taxable.


HMRC has now confirmed, that where all normal conditions are met, virtual events can be included when considering the £150 exemption.


An example of this may be a company holds one annual function in a tax year and does so virtually using IT. All employees are invited and each is provided with a hamper consisting of some food and drink to be enjoyed by the attendees during the party. The total cost per head is £100 which is within the £150 exemption and so the exemption applies.

This is great news to almost half of employers who confirmed in a recent poll, that they fund the full amount incurred for hosting the annual Christmas party.


Trivial benefits

The statutory exemption lays out certain criteria that must be met in order to be counted as a trivial benefit which ensure that:

The benefit is not cash or a cash voucher

The cost to provide does not exceed £50

The benefit is not provided as a contractual entitlement

The benefit is not provided in return for a normal service (or services) expected by the employee – e.g. hitting a pre-set performance target


Common examples seen include a gift of flowers on a birthday, a turkey at Christmas, or a modest layette on the birth of a child. More than one trivial benefit can be provided during the year; however, where the employer is a close company and the trivial benefits are given to a director, office holder or members of their families or households, an annual limit of £300 exists.


When all else fails

Otherwise referred to as a Christmas bonus, arguably a cash gift could present the employer with the most simple solution for saying thank you to their employees and spreading a little cheer during the festive season. Even a modest cash bonus can bring out the child in us (who didn’t love a £5 note from a favourite Aunt or Uncle tucked into our birthday or Christmas cards)?


A gift such as this, and for whatever reason it is given, will be subject to PAYE income tax and Class 1 NICs but the amount that the employee receives in their pay will depend upon their individual circumstances, and particular tax bands.


How do employers normally celebrate during the Christmas period?

A recent survey found that most employers demonstrated their Christmas spirit, and provided gift vouchers (4%), turkeys (1%), chocolates/biscuits (4%), a cash bonus (4%), an annual party (35%) and even some (1%) employers showering unlimited generosity (budget allowing). There remained a some Scrooge-like behaviour, with 46% of respondents admitting to being provided with nothing from their employers at Christmas. Bah Humbug!

Updated Job Support Scheme

Updated Job Support Scheme 


Are you aware of the new government support available for your business and employees?


A newly updated Job Support Scheme will replace the furlough scheme on 1 November, in an attempt to help business owners retain their staff.


If you have to close your business, your staff could receive 67% of their wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. The employee must be off work for a minimum of seven days to be eligible. You won’t have to pay towards their salary.


What if your business is open but not busy?


If your business can stay open but your employees have less work available, they can work part-time and still receive extra support. This is regardless of which tier you’re in.


You will have to pay your staff to work at least 20% of their usual hours per month. You must pay an extra 4% of total wages, and the government will pay 49% of their total salary.


In total, the employee would receive at least 73% of their salary for working 20% of their contracted hours. The maximum contribution the government will make is £1,541.75. To qualify, you must have been on your work’s payroll since 23 September.


You can be moved on and off the scheme, or work different hours, but each working arrangement must cover at least seven days. The scheme will run for six months from 1 November, and then be reviewed.


A grant available to self-employed people affected by coronavirus has also been doubled to 40% of profits, with a maximum grant of £3,750 over a three-month period.



At Integrity Accountancy Services, we are more than happy to help more businesses receive these support payments and grants. Even if you would just like to know more information about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0121 777 5361


Brexit- EORI Number

EORI Number


Is your business ready for Brexit?

EORI Number Application:
An EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) is a code required when dealing with international customs when moving goods.
If you plan to, or currently, export goods then from the 1st of January 2021 you will need an EORI Number to avoid incurring extra costs and delays.
At present, you don’t need one to move goods to EU countries but still need one to export goods from countries outside of the EU, until the UK’s Brexit transition period is over.
Do you already have an EORI Number? Ensure it starts with ‘GB’- if it doesn’t then we can help you receive a new code as required from the 1 January 2021.
It’s best to get your code sorted before next year, and we can get this to you within 1 week of application. If you are interested in this service, or have any questions at all regarding the EORI number, please feel free to contact us on 0121 777 5361.

Green Home Energy Grant

Green Home Energy Grant

If you’re a homeowner or residential landlord you can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to your home.  These vouchers are available now!  Apply here.


Improvements could include insulating your home to reduce your energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces.


You must redeem the voucher and ensure improvements are completed by 31 March 2021.


Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000.  Additionally, if you receive certain benefits, you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value is £10,000.


The voucher must be used to install at least 1 primary measure (insulation or low-carbon heating) and secondary measures (including window glazing, draught proofing etc).


For more information on the specific measures, please see the government’s website.


The voucher will cover any labour, material and VAT costs.


You must receive at least 1 quote from a Green Homes Grant registered installer in order to apply for a voucher.


Once your voucher has been issued, the installer can begin the work.


To redeem your voucher you’ll need to confirm that:

  • the installation was completed satisfactorily before the voucher expiry date
  • you have received the necessary documents from the installer
  • you have paid your share of the costs to the installer (if applicable)
  • you meet the relevant eligibility requirements


You will need to provide a dated copy of the invoice issued by the installer.



If you would like any help with applying for this voucher, or information on any other government support available, please feel free to contact us for a free meeting with a Chartered Management Accountant.

0121 777 5361