Who PayPal Zettle Is Right For
We’ve reviewed scores of POS systems, and after examining Zettle, we find it a strong mobile payments competitor to Square, the industry leader. It’s simple enough for the solopreneur and, with PayPal’s processing rates, a good option for the hobbyist.
In short, PayPal Zettle is best for:
- PayPal users wanting free POS software: While PayPal easily integrates into some of the best POS systems, Zettle needs no integration and is a logical choice if you already use PayPal for payments and need a simple POS.
- Artists, crafters, and hobbyists: Because it’s free and has great processing rates, Zettle is a terrific choice for those who sell on an irregular basis, like at craft fairs or conventions.
When to Use an Alternative
- New or growing brick-and-mortar businesses: Unlike our top-recommended free POS, Square, PayPal Zettle does not have any paid plans or add-ons to grow with your business, so you may quickly need a more robust system. See how PayPal compares to Square to learn more.
- Businesses who sell primarily through an online store: PayPal has an online store, a virtual terminal, and integrations, but they do not work through Zettle. It’s limited to four integrations, including three for online shopping carts. If you want a system that integrates sales and inventory across all channels, look at our list of the best multichannel POS systems.
- Restaurants: Zettle has some features that might work in a restaurant, like printing order numbers on receipts, but it’s not the best option. Check out our list of top-rated restaurant POS systems for better options. Zettle does have a Food & Drink solution, but it costs extra, is iOS only, and is not yet available in the US.
- Stores needing complex inventory: Zettle has some inventory functions, like low stock alerts and variants, but lacks kitting and vendor management. Check out our list of best POS inventory systems for something more advanced.
Learn more about PayPal alternatives.
PayPal Zettle Overview
|Easy to use||Limited features for restaurants, appointments|
|Free||PayPal has a reputation for freezing accounts|
|Multichannel sales||No offline mode|
|International payment processing||No age verification|
PayPal Zettle Pricing
Zettle’s software is completely free—no trials, no premium plans. PayPal Zettle rates are 2.29% + 9 cents for card-present transactions, and 3.49% + 9 cents for keyed-in transactions. The rates are extremely reasonable. Chargeback fees are $20.
PayPal Zettle Payment Processing
PayPal is a highly popular merchant service for small businesses because it works equally well for brick-and-mortar stores, tradespeople, and hobbyists who sell their wares. It processes credit cards, online and touchless payments, bitcoin, and, of course, PayPal. Learn more about PayPal as a commerce platform and about its pros and cons in our articles.
- Zettle processing fees: Its fees are often cheaper than other flat-rate payment processors—in particular, Square, which is its closest competitor. However, there are alternatives, including those that provide interchange-plus pricing, which may provide better rates if you do high-volume business. Find alternatives in our review of the best merchant services. You cannot use Zettle software with them, however.
- International sales: PayPal processes payments in over 200 countries and 100 currencies. For an additional fee, it will do cross-border transactions as well. However, we did not find any tools within Zettle to support this, such as multiple currency designations, although you can set it for your preferred currency. You can set different VAT rates, however.
- Transaction and processing limits: Zettle can process up to $500,000 in 24 hours ($10,000 per transaction) for chip and PIN transactions. For chip and signature payments, the 24-hour limit lowers to $200,000. This could be sufficient for most small businesses. Of more importance, perhaps, is the minimum transaction limit of $1.
- Deposit speed: PayPal Zettle deposits daily into your PayPal account, but transferring funds into a checking account takes two or more days. PayPal has been known to hold funds for up to 30 days, as well. The most common complaint against PayPal (which has been carried to Zettle) is withheld funds.
- No obligation: PayPal does not charge monthly fees or have contracts like many other payment processors do. That makes it easy to use when starting out, or as an additional service.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a merchant service. If you are just starting out, read our guide on merchant services and learn what they should do for you before signing up with anyone.
PayPal Zettle Hardware
Zettle card readers are $79, with the first one discounted to $29. Unlike other popular mobile payment processors like Square or Payanywhere, it does not offer a free reader. However, PayPal’s reader processes chip, tap, or swipe and has a PIN pad, which is more than most free readers offer. It runs approximately eight hours or 100 transactions between charges. It’s EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) certified as well. If you want something similar with Square, for example, you would need to upgrade to a card reader terminal, which costs $299. You can order the PayPal reader through the app, although, ironically, you cannot pay for it with PayPal.
Zettle has hardware POS kits that cost $249–$699, which makes them among the least expensive POS systems that we’ve reviewed. The kits include combinations of touch screen, receipt printer, and other peripherals. The cheapest, for example, has a reader, a dock, and a stand for an iPad. Other peripherals include receipt printers and barcode scanners.
PayPal does not sell a Zettle POS terminal. Instead, you use an iPad. PayPal can sell these as additions to the kits.
PayPal Zettle Features
Zettle’s register has a clean interface, is easy to use, and has a lot going for it, like generating order tickets, allowing customers to include tips, printing receipts, issuing refunds, and more. A small business will find it satisfactory, and its simplicity is an asset.
- Payment types: You can accept credit cards, gift cards, PayPal, and Venmo. The card reader is EMV certified, which is now required by law in the US. (For manual card entry, you need a PayPal Business account.) While PayPal also accepts bitcoin, there’s no setting for this on Zettle. You can also record cash transactions.
- QR codes: A feature that’s growing in popularity with POS software is generating a QR code that your customer can scan in order to pay. You need to activate this feature on Zettle to use it.
- Sell by units: You can set your prices in the inventory section to sell by units, such as ounces, cases, etc. Keep in mind that there’s no kitting capability.
- Partial refunds: Zettle recently added partial refunds, allowing you to refund the cost of one or more items on a receipt rather than the entire transaction.
- Multiple logins: you can set up logins for your employees to track sales. You can also handle multiple accounts on one device, switching between them as needed. This is one way to get around the fact that Zettle, unlike Square, does not have multilocation functions.
Zettle’s inventory software is very simple but has several features that can make it a powerful tool. However, it does not handle vendors, create kits, or build menu items.
- Bulk actions: You can load, assign categories, and delete items in bulk.
- Low-stock alerts: Zettle tracks items and issues low-stock alerts. These show up in the shopping cart when you are selling a low-stock item.
- Variants: You can add up to three options. These are pre-defined as Color, Size, Style, Material, and Finish. Once you set the variant, you create different values and assign a price to each.
- Gift cards: You can manage gift cards that are premade, emailed, or physically created by you. These are tracked in inventory.
While PayPal is known for its vast number of integrations, Zettle only has four: BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce for online sales, and QuickBooks for accounting. However, you can use the PayPal app just about anywhere, from social media to eBay.
Zettle only offers basic sales reports, including an overview of a particular period, sales by product or category, staff performance, payments made, fees paid and refunds granted. You can export your reports or data in PDF or Excel format.
PayPal’s Zettle mobile app requires iOS 10, or Android 5.0, or higher. It has a complete register and backend system, from ringing up credit card sales to analyzing sales reports. Recent complaints include the card reader not connecting, changes due to the acquisition by PayPal, and problems with a recent upgrade making it hard to log in. However, the majority of the reviews say it’s easy to use.
As of this writing, the apps have these scores:
Fraud Protection and Chargebacks
Zettle is EMV-approved and complies with the strict Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for handling card data. Zettle uses advanced, machine learning systems to monitor every transaction being processed, 24-hours a day, to flag suspicious activity.
When a customer files a dispute, PayPal gives you a chance to address the issue, and if it can be resolved, then there are no charges. You have 20 days to work with the customer to fix any problems, but if either you or the buyer escalates the dispute to a claim, PayPal gives 10 days. If it cannot be resolved, and the customer is refunded their money, PayPal charges you a $20 chargeback fee. There is no fee for bank reversals.
PayPal Zettle Ease of Use
- 24/7 email support
- PayPal is still transitioning to Zettle
- Help section is not always easy to search
- No offline mode
- Very easy to use
- Complex payment structure when using international sales
Like most of PayPal’s products, Zettle is easy to use and popular. For daily use, the lack of offline mode may cause problems if you are away from data or Wi-Fi.
PayPal is still supporting Here and transitioning to Zettle in the US, so there’s not as much information about it as about PayPal Here. We did have some issues finding definitive answers to questions when using the search in the help section, but the articles themselves were clear, albeit unillustrated. Support is 24/7 but by email.
Top PayPal Zettle Alternatives
Best for: Free and easy POS without using PayPal
Best for: Restaurants
Best for: Multichannel sales
Plans from: $0–$60
Plans from: $0–$340
Plans from: $9–$299
Payment processing from: 2.6% + 10 cents
Base monthly fee from: Custom
Payment processing from: 2.9% + 30 cents
Hardware from: $299
Hardware from: Custom
Hardware from: $179
What Users Think About PayPal Zettle
The only reviews we found were on Trustpilot, where Zettle has about 3,000 reviews and a score of 3.6 out of 5. There were complaints about PayPal taking it over, and particularly about accounts being frozen. Of all the complaints about PayPal services, this is the most common. Another common complaint was the lack of support, either live or in the form of help articles.
On the other hand, people said the system itself was easy to use. There are a few shining stars in the support department who were mentioned by name. The card reader also received praise.
When reading through user reviews, here are some of the trends that I noticed:
Users Don’t Like:
Easy to use
Poor customer service
Professional, aesthetically pleasing interface
Previous iZettle users said services were interrupted, support went down, and readers stopped working after PayPal took over
PayPal is a remarkably versatile payment processor that works in online stores, social sites like Facebook, multichannel sales like eBay, and more. However, its POS app, Zettle, is somewhat limited. You can use it for basic inventory, ringing up sales, and gift cards. Nonetheless, it is free to use, and with low transaction rates, it’s a good tool for solopreneurs or small businesses.
If you have a PayPal account, go to my.zettle.com and sign up now.