8 payment systems for festivals, pop-ups and street food markets

Take a look at this rundown of payment systems that are ideal for festivals, street food markets, pop-ups and promotional events

You may be looking at payment systems for seasonal markets, festivals, street food stalls, pop-ups or promotional events.

As the number of non-cash payments at festivals grows, so does the number of options for alternative payment systems. An on-the-go payment solution is much more suitable than a clunky tabletop payment system.

Many of the machines below don’t have fixed monthly fees so they’re ideal if you need them for shorter periods of time.

We’ve tried to get a sense of performance in terms of battery life but of course, it depends how much you use the card reader (or your smartphone) in a given day. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger names on the market.

The 8 best payment systems for festivals, pop-ups and street food markets

Jump straight to a particular provider of read on for our in-depth review of each system.


With Elavon’s payment processors, you can link your machine via WiFi or 4G and take card, contactless or mobile wallet payments. And for behind the scenes, you can add relevant functions including stock management and staff rotas.

The payment terminals have dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and multi-currency conversion (MCC). MCC lets customers see prices in their home currency while DCC lets customers pay in their home currency.

Security-wise, you’re covered with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) measures including point to point encryption (P2PE) solutions, safe storage and tokenisation.

The readers are said to have an ‘extra-long battery life’ but no specifics on how long the average machine lasts per charge.


MobileMerchant is Elavon’s solution for accepting card payment using your smartphone or tablet. Your funds will be in your account by the next day.

It has features like stock management, reporting functions and business analytics. Evalon says that it’s best suited to services businesses, taxis, retail and cafés.

Fees: The MobileMerchantApp is free. There’s a one-off device cost of £29 and the transaction fee starts at 1.75 per cent.

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You can also easily find the right card payments provider for you with takepayments.


Worldpay pairs with an app and a small card reader that can use WiFi and mobile data to do transactions. It has an extended battery life but, like Elavon, no note of average length per battery charge.

For businesses with an annual card turnover of less than £300,000. Otherwise, you will need custom pricing.

The package comes with next day payment settlement and no hidden fees.

Fees: There’s a 1.5 per cent transaction fee for on the go, in person or online payments. The Simplicity POS package has a £17.50 card payment terminal fee (18-month minimum hire term).

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Wireless Terminal Solutions

Wireless Terminal Solutions comes with the option of a GPRS/GSM terminal, WiFi terminals, portable Bluetooth terminals, integrated EPOS units, fixed line countertop card machines and contactless payment machines. WTS machines accept Apple Pay, Android Pay and UnionPay.

You have the option to rent a card machine in the short-term or the long-term, buy one outright or opt for a refurbished model. The battery life on these readers is typically 60-70 hours.

It takes a few days to get the card machine up and running, which is slower than the company’s competitors.

Fees: Wireless Terminal Solutions has EPOS rentals for festivals and outdoor events. Discounts are offered for multiple EPOS units.

  • One to three days – £65 per unit excluding VAT
  • One week – £75 per unit excluding VAT
  • One month – £160 per unit excluding VAT
  • Three months – £260 per unit excluding VAT

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Zettle’s Go package is ideal for small businesses who want to get a payment system set up quickly. You can take payment, record sales and track inventory and deposits within one or two working days.

Battery life is on average eight hours with a transaction every five minutes or up to 100 transactions from one charge.

Fees: Zettle has a fee of 1.75pc per card transaction. Like some of the other offerings, the card reader is £29 and the point of sale app is free. iZettle’s Transaction Protection programme will cover you for to £250 of chargebacks per month as long as you follow best practice for accepting card payments.

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> See also: Three ways to reduce chargebacks

SumUp Air

The Air model can take contactless, chip and PIN, Google Pay and Apple Pay. One battery charge lasts for up to 500 transactions.

Software includes a product catalogue and the option to add and edit VAT rates for your products, track sales and manage multiple employee accounts. Payouts to your bank account are slower than the rest of the products listed here at one to three days.

Fees: You’ll pay £39 for the card reader but it has a cheaper 1.69 per cent transaction fee compared to its competitors. It incurs a €10 (£8.81) fee per chargeback. If you select SumUp’s business account as your payout account, you’ll pay a cheaper 1.49 per cent transaction fee until the end of the next month you sign up from.

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Working specifically with independents and SMEs, takepayments offers a variety of contracts, starting from 30 days. The mobile payment unit accepts Apple and Google Pay, with a next day settlement fee. A welcome team will help you to set up and the UK based support team will help with any queries. The battery lasts all day and an in-car charger is available.

Fees: Bespoke – contact takepayments for a free quote.

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Global Payments (formerly Bleep)

Global Payments was the payment system in the 2012 London Olympics and Rio 2016 Olympics as well as other events like The Open, Wimbledon and Glastonbury.

The mobile EPOS solutions let you check stock availability and incorporate other functionality based on your business.

Card readers have an extended battery life, but again, no word of how long they last.

Fees: For rentals you need to request a quote. You can rent or buy a unit.

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With the Square reader you can accept chip and PIN and contactless cards as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

It’s a very quick set-up so you can start taking payments swiftly – great if you land  a festival spot at the last minute. Again, Square is customisable with apps from the marketplace.

If you’re in need of quick cash, get your money into your account on the next working day or even instantly with Square’s instant deposit feature which incurs a 1 per cent fee.

The reader has a battery which takes 20 per cent more transactions per charge than the first generation reader.

Fees: You’re looking at 1.75 per cent + VAT per chip and PIN or contactless payment and 2.5 per cent + VAT per keyed-in transaction. The reader itself is £19 and Square’s POS app is free.

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Next steps

Want to compare prices from all the best payment systems we’ve listed above? Why not use our free comparison tool to be matched with the most suitable provider for your needs.

Simply fill in our free quote-finding form, and answer a few questions about your business (it takes less than a minute). We’ll match you with the most appropriate card payment provider.

You can also easily find the right card payments provider for you with takepayments.

Read more

Five tips to get started taking card payments

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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