The artisan selling gelato from his wooden cart, the painter selling her latest designs on a street market, the village church making their collection. They may not seem to have much in common but they all have traditionally relied on people parting with cash.
From Roman times to the 21st century, coins and cash have been standard currency. But now in a digital world, things have moved on. Walk into many shops and bars now and they will assume you will be paying by card or using a mobile payment.
Yet there is a card acceptance gap. 10% of any population are engaged in economic activity and, have a need to accept card payments but typically only 1% do because they have not been well served by traditional payment providers. Back in 2011, a group of payments industry experts, investors and entrepreneurs recognised the challenges small merchants, in particular, were facing and founded the mobile point-of-sale company SumUp.
The company, which allows merchants to take card payments using the company’s proprietary card readers, now has a presence in 31 countries, employing more than 1,500 people. It is backed by BBVA, Groupon, Holtzbrinck Ventures and other well-known venture capital investors and has attracted over half a billion euro in funding.
Enabling small companies to take card payments
SumUp is empowering small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“Card acceptance has been burdensome and expensive, especially for small businesses,” says Dimitri Gugunava, Vice President for Banking and Acquiring at SumUp. “Small businesses find maintained card terminals prohibitive. SumUp was created with a vision to empower the everyday heroes who start up their own businesses to accept card payments.”
Dimitri says, “Merchants are starting to realise that accepting card payments can be faster and cheaper than cash. You don’t have to offer change and you can cut the administrative costs. On top of that, consumers are starting to prefer contactless, whether that means physical card or mobile wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay.”
“Our business model is to provide a better alternative to accepting cash and we try to build a solution around simplicity. Traditional providers used to provide lengthy SME contracts with fixed fees, full of asterisks, and it required a degree in data science to predict true costs. With SumUp you pay once for the terminal - e.g £29- and then there is a transparent transaction fee - e.g 1.69%.” This is cheaper than current point-of-sale competitors on the UK market, and offers the advantage for merchants of not being tied to traditional bank-based accounts.”