Zettle vs PayPal explained – Payment processing comparison

Updated on 25 April 2024

As technology continues to evolve, more and more businesses are migrating their operations to the digital world, especially in terms of accepting payments. Two notable companies leading the payment processing industry are Zettle vs PayPal. Understanding their features, fees, reliability, and customer support can provide a better insight into which solution fits your business needs the most.

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Zettle vs PayPal

Feature/ FeeZettlePayPal
Card reader cost£29 + VATVaries by model
Transaction fee (in-person)1.75%1% to 2.75% (based on volume)
Transaction fee (online)Varies by integration2.9% + fixed fee (UK)
4.4% + fixed fee (international)
Transaction fee (invoicing)N/A2.9% + fixed fee (UK)
4.4% + fixed fee (international)
Monthly feesNoneVaries by service
E-commerce integrationYes (e.g., Shopify)Yes
Inventory managementYesYes
Receipts (print, email, SMS)YesYes
Refund feesNo additional feesFee charged on original amount
Chargeback feesNone£14
Currency conversion feeN/A2.5% above the base exchange rate
Point of Sale (POS) appYesYes
Customer supportEmail, phone, online help centreEmail, phone, live chat
Security standardsPCI DSS Level 1PCI DSS Level 1
Zettle vs PayPal

Please note that all fees are correct at the time of writing, but they may change, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest rates on the Zettle and PayPal websites.

A quick introduction to Zettle and PayPal


Zettle, previously known as iZettle, is a mobile payment company founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010. Zettle specialises in providing small businesses with affordable, user-friendly payment processing solutions. The company offers a range of products, including point of sale (POS) systems, payment readers, and even e-commerce integrations.

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PayPal, on the other hand, is a well-established American company, founded in 1998. It is a pioneer of online payments and continues to lead the industry. Over the years, PayPal has expanded its services to include a vast array of digital payment solutions, including business loans, invoicing, and retail POS systems.

Service offerings


Zettle’s offerings are mainly focused on in-person transactions through its payment reader, which accepts chip and pin, contactless, and mobile payments. Moreover, it offers an integrated POS app, enabling you to manage inventory, track sales, and generate reports. Zettle also supports e-commerce integration with partners like Shopify, allowing online businesses to accept payments.


PayPal’s offerings are more extensive. Along with online payments, it provides options for mobile payments, in-person payments through its POS system, invoicing, and business loans. Moreover, PayPal also supports international payments, making it a handy tool for businesses operating on a global scale.

Fees and pricing

Zettle fees

Zettle operates on a pay-as-you-go model, meaning there are no monthly fees. The payment machine costs £29 + VAT, and there’s a standard transaction fee of 1.75% for card payments. For businesses with higher volumes of transactions, a custom rate can be discussed.

PayPal fees

PayPal’s fee structure is more complex. For online transactions, PayPal charges 2.9% plus a fixed fee based on the currency for sales within the UK. For international sales, the fee is 4.4% plus a fixed fee. For in-person sales using PayPal Here, the fee ranges from 1% to 2.75% depending on the monthly sales volume. There are also charges for chargebacks, refunds, and currency conversions.

Reliability and security

Both Zettle and PayPal adhere to high security standards. Zettle complies with the highest level of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), ensuring that all transaction data are encrypted and securely stored. Similarly, PayPal also complies with PCI DSS and employs fraud detection algorithms to protect businesses and their customers.

In terms of reliability, both platforms are highly dependable. However, it’s worth noting that some users have reported account freezes with PayPal, usually due to suspicious activity or violations of their service agreement.

Customer support

Zettle offers email and phone support, along with an extensive online help centre and community forum. On the other hand, PayPal provides phone, email, and live chat support. Both companies are committed to helping their customers, although some users have reported slow response times from PayPal’s customer service.

Conclusion – Zettle vs PayPal

In the end, the choice between Zettle and PayPal largely depends on your business’s specific needs. Zettle’s straightforward and affordable pricing model may appeal to smaller businesses and those mainly dealing with in-person transactions. In contrast, PayPal’s extensive suite of services, including online payments and international transactions, might be better suited for larger businesses or those operating in the online sphere.

Therefore, it’s essential to assess your business needs, transaction volumes, and the geographical reach of your operations before making a decision. Both Zettle and PayPal are reliable, secure, and well-established payment processing platforms that can support your business’s growth and evolution in the digital world.

FAQ – Zettle vs PayPal

What is the main difference between Zettle and PayPal?

Zettle focuses primarily on affordable, user-friendly payment processing for small businesses, including point of sale (POS) systems, payment readers, and e-commerce integrations. PayPal offers a wider range of services, including online payments, mobile payments, in-person payments through POS, invoicing, business loans, and international payment support.

Which is cheaper to use for small businesses, Zettle or PayPal?

Zettle generally has a more straightforward and cost-effective pricing model for small businesses, charging a standard transaction fee of 1.75%. PayPal’s fees are more varied, with charges for online and international transactions that may be higher, depending on your business model and sales volume.

Can I use Zettle and PayPal together for my business?

Yes, some businesses use both Zettle and PayPal to optimise their payment options. For example, Zettle could be used for in-person transactions while PayPal handles online payments and invoicing.

Is the security level the same for both Zettle and PayPal?

Both Zettle and PayPal adhere to the highest level of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), ensuring the secure handling of credit card information.

Does Zettle integrate with PayPal?

Yes, Zettle integrates with PayPal, allowing customers to pay using their PayPal account when using Zettle’s payment reader.

Are customer support services similar between Zettle and PayPal?

Both Zettle and PayPal offer phone and email support. However, PayPal also provides live chat support. Response times can vary.

How does the speed of transaction processing compare between Zettle and PayPal?

Both Zettle and PayPal typically process payments almost instantly, although bank processing times may affect when the funds appear in your account.

Do Zettle and PayPal have the same refund policies?

No, they differ slightly. Zettle does not charge additional fees for refunds, while PayPal charges a fee based on the original transaction amount.

Does Zettle offer as many features as PayPal?

While Zettle offers a range of features suitable for small businesses, PayPal’s service offering is more extensive, including features like business loans and support for international transactions.

Are there any compatibility issues between Zettle and PayPal regarding hardware?

No, both Zettle and PayPal payment readers should work with most modern smartphones and tablets, regardless of whether you are also using the other service.

What’s the setup process like for Zettle and PayPal?

Both Zettle and PayPal have straightforward setup processes. You’ll need to create an account, complete some basic business information, and purchase any necessary hardware (like a card reader).

Can Zettle and PayPal handle different types of payments?

Yes, both Zettle and PayPal can process chip and pin, contactless, and mobile payments. PayPal also supports online and invoice payments.

Can I switch from PayPal to Zettle (or vice versa) easily?

Yes, switching between payment processors is typically straightforward, although you may need to update your hardware (like card readers) and software integrations.

Are there industries where Zettle performs better than PayPal, or vice versa?

Zettle often works well for smaller businesses and those with brick-and-mortar stores thanks to its straightforward fee structure and focus on in-person transactions. PayPal might perform better for businesses operating primarily online or on a global scale due to its extensive online and international payment support.

Do Zettle and PayPal support invoicing?

Zettle doesn’t currently support invoicing. However, PayPal does, allowing you to create and send invoices directly within the PayPal platform.

Do Zettle and PayPal offer business loan services?

Zettle does not offer business loans. On the other hand, PayPal does offer a business loan service, known as PayPal Working Capital, which is based on your sales history with PayPal.

Are Zettle’s card readers better than PayPal’s?

Both Zettle and PayPal offer high-quality card readers. Your preference may depend on specific features or the pricing model.

Can I use Zettle in countries where PayPal is not available, and vice versa?

Both Zettle and PayPal are available in many countries around the world. However, the availability may vary, so it’s essential to check whether your preferred service is supported in the country where your business operates.

Do Zettle and PayPal have similar integrations with e-commerce platforms?

Zettle integrates with various e-commerce platforms like Shopify. Similarly, PayPal integrates with most major e-commerce platforms, making it easier to accept online payments.

Can I use Zettle and PayPal concurrently on the same e-commerce platform?

Yes, many e-commerce platfo rms allow you to use multiple payment processors, so you could potentially offer both Zettle and PayPal as payment options to your customers.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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