SumUp is a popular mPOS – mobile point-of-sale system – that originated in Europe but has since expanded to the United States. The company’s website claims that it is the world’s first fully-certified EMV mPOS system (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa) to cover the payment process from start to finish. Currently, it offers services like payment processing, Android and iOS mobile apps, card terminals, and anti-fraud solutions. It is a viable alternative to providers like PayPal and Square and provides the same services at a lower cost. Here are 20 things you should know about SumUp.
1. It Was Founded in 2012
Although the idea of establishing the company was conceived in 2011, SumUp was founded in 2012. It is currently headed by Marc-Alexander Christ, who is the co-founder and CFO. Its top investors include Groupon, BBVA Ventures, American Express, Oaktree Capital Management, Crestline, Bain Capital Credit, Temasek, and Goldman Sachs. Over ten years ago, SumUp emerged as a fintech company and was one of several companies to turn smartphones into card payment terminals. The company’s services are available in 35 markets globally and used by over 4 million small and medium businesses.
2. It Is an mPOS System
As mentioned, SumUp is an mPOS system. It allows businesses to connect a credit card reader to a mobile device through Bluetooth and verify or process card payments through the SumUp mobile app. Currently, the mobile app is available for iOS phones using the 9.0 version of the OS or higher and Android smartphones using Android 4.4 or higher. It only functions on an active internet connection and can accept contactless, chip, and magstripe modes of payment.
3. It Is a Global Card Acceptance Brand
With headquarters in London, SumUp serves over 4 million merchants across 35 markets worldwide. Its services are tailored to meet the needs of the nano and micro industries, allowing businesses to accept card payments online, in-app, and in-store in a safe, cost-effective, and simple way. Thanks to its payment processing fees, which are lower than average, and zero recurring costs, SumUp has grown in popularity in markets like Brazil and the US.
4. Its Primary Product Is an EMV Card Reader
SumUp officially launched its first product in August 2012. Its primary offering is an EMV card reader that can read RFID/NFC ("contactless"), chip ("Chip and Pin"), and magnetic stripe payment cards. Through Bluetooth, the card reader can be paired with iOS and Android tablets or smartphones and used to verify card payments through the internet.
5. It Has Several Offices Across the World
SumUp launched its services officially in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Germany in 2012. In November that year, it expanded its operations to include markets in the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. December saw the company move to Portugal, Belgium, and France. In November the following year, SumUp started offering its services in Brazil. It began operations in Switzerland and Poland in May 2014 then entered the United States in October 2016.
6. It Recently Diversified Its Portfolio
COVID-19 has significant effects on many businesses, including those that relied on in-person commerce systems. Companies like SumUp – which previously drew most of its revenue from point of sale payments – were forced to diversify their services to remain in operation. Subsequently, the company invested substantial amounts of the debt it had raised to create more services and pay for acquisitions. The goal was to substitute POS payments with things like business banking and online payments. Judging by the company’s success today, SumUp’s strategy was well-advised. While other businesses in the same industry as it moved toward Cryptocurrency – Square even rebranded as Block – or were absorbed by larger firms, SumUp became a notable SMB fintech consolidator. It has since settled into a comfortable and leading position in the industry with a wide clientele.
7. It Recently Acquired Several Companies
In line with its strategy to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, SumUp acquired several companies. It announced its acquisition of Shoplo, the ecommerce platform, in February 2019 and acquired a Danish company called Debitoor. Debitoor provides invoicing software to SMEs and freelancers. In November 2020, the company acquired Goodtill, a POS software provider based in London followed by Tiller in February the following year. Acquiring Tiller cemented SumUp’s position in the hospitality sector. In February 2021, the company acquired Paysolut, a core banking system provider based in Lithuania. The two companies had been in a business partnership for two years before the acquisition. SumUp then acquired Fivestars in October the same year for $317 million. Fivestars in a customer loyalty startup based in California and its acquisition allowed SumUp to reach over 12,000 merchants and 70 million consumers in the United States.
8. It Has Raised Significant Funding
SumUp has been very deliberate about raising funding for its operations, although much of it is in debt form. It raised $895 million in debt in March 2021 to boost its B2C payments business. In June 2022, it raised $642 million at $8.5 billion valuation. According to the firm, the money will be directed toward increased organic product development, more hiring, and acquisitions. This most recent investment round was led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities and included input from Sentinel Dome Partners, Fin Capital, Crestline Centerbridge, BlackRock, and btov Partners, among others. Over the past decade, the company has managed to raise over $2 billion.
9. It Has a Global Reach
Thanks to the global expansion and acquisition of several companies, SumUp has fast become a global fintech player. As of January 2022, it employs over 3,000 employees in 23 locations. It is active in 35 countries and serves over 4 million businesses. According to a Managing Director at Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, “SumUp’s leadership team have led the company to sustained and accelerated growth through expansion to more than 30 countries where they have had a direct and positive impact on the small business ecosystem.” SumUp’s growth is further fueled by the utility and affordability of its services. Many consumers associate the company with easy and cheap card payments.
10. It Offers Several Other Products
In addition to the EMV card reader – SumUp’s primary product – the company also offers other payment-related products. This includes a 3G Chip & Pin and NFC card terminal, which is a 3G card reader that does not require a smartphone app to work. The reader features an inbuilt SIM card with data and allows merchants to process card payments over a local network connection. Additionally, SumUp offers a point of sale system. The POS system, which is only available in select countries, includes a Wi-Fi router, cash drawer, receipt printer, iPad stand, pre-configured iPad, and SumUp card terminal. SumUp had to move away from this last product during the COVID-19 lockdown.
11. It Launched Payment Links in 2020
SumUp launched a product called Payment Links in 2020. Payment Links allows small merchant businesses to receive payments remotely and securely through payment links sent through smartphones. That same year, the company launched Gift Cards in partnership with Google to allow small businesses to add gift cards to their business profiles using Google My Business. In 2021, it relaunched its SumUp Online Store. This e-commerce platform allows users to create free online businesses. These moves were made to diversify the company’s product offerings.
12. It Supports Third Party Integration to End-to-End Payment Infrastructure
SumUp launched Business Account in 2021 to enable businesses to keep personal and business SDKs and APIs. Through this tool, the platform enables third parties to integrate card terminals and end-to-end payment infrastructure through the SumUp Terminal Payment SDK and API, for Android or iOS users and developers, respectively. This means that third parties can accept card payments through their browser-based or native applications. Moreover, the platform supports acceptance of several local debit card schemes, Android Pay, Apple Pay, American express, Maestro, MasterCard, VPay, and Visa.
13. It Is Growing Steadily
SMB fintech is a very fragmented industry but this has not stopped SumUp from expanding quite rapidly over the years. The company has expanded and complemented its card payment platform by acquiring companies like Fivestars, Tiller, Goodtill, and Payleven. As a result, its revenue has grown by 60 percent annually for the last several years as CFO and co-founder Marc-Alexander Christ confirms. 10 percent of SumUp’s 4 million merchants do not use its banking service, making it the “biggest neobank for SMBs” in the world, according to Christ. Furthermore, the company hit profitability in 2016, a mere 4 years after its launch .
14. It Is Involved in Environmental Conservation
SumUp is concerned about the current environmental crisis. It partnered with the Zoological Society of London in April 2021. The Zoological Society of London is an international charity that conserves Whipsnade and London Zoos. Thanks to the partnership, visitors to the charity’s sites can perform contactless fundraising. In November that year, SumUp also pledged to donate 1 percent of the annual Net Payment Revenue earned by its Solo devices to businesses and non-profits that offer effective and long-term solutions to the environmental crisis.
15. It Does Not Cater to High-Risk Businesses
Anyone can create a SumUp account by connecting it to their business bank account and entering basic data like contact information and business entity type. However, the company does limit the reach of its services. It does not cater to several businesses that can be classified as high-risk, including credit repair businesses, pawnshops, and adult-entertainment businesses.
16. It Offers a Virtual Terminal
The SumUp smartphone app includes a virtual terminal through which users can process payments by entering their credit card information instead of swiping it at a SumUp credit card reader. Unfortunately, this feature is not automatically available on the app. You will need to email the company and supply them with business details like tax return copies and your EIN for consideration. It is also important to note that virtual terminal transactions are billed at a 2.95 percent plus 15 cents fee. This figure is significantly lower than those touted by competitor virtual terminals.
17. Its Services Are Fairly Priced
According to NerdWallet, SumUp is among the most competitively priced mPOS systems available today. The company charges a 2.65 percent fee per transaction, which is lower than its main rivals. This means that you can make great savings with SumUp if you process high volume transactions. When it comes to the virtual terminal, the cost is 2.95 percent plus 15 cents, Square charges 3.5 percent plus 15 cents. The card reader is also available at much lower than competitor card readers, at only $19.
18. Its Major Market Is Europe
Although SumUp has penetrated the global market and continues to enter emerging spaces, its largest geography remains to be Europe. Michael Schrezenmaier, SumUp’s CEO for the European region explains that “The powerhouse clearly is Europe, with EMEA still the driving force for new revenue.”
19. It Merged with Payleven
In April 2016, SumUp announced a merger with Payleven, a previous competitor. Payleven is a mobile payments provider based in Berlin that was designed at Rocket Internet as a Square clone.
20. It Is PCI Compliant
SumUp is PCI compliant and encrypts all payments using 256-bit encryption, which is the highest encryption currently available. Even better, customers do not get charged for PCI compliance.
SumUp emerged as a promising fintech startup in 2012 and has since grown into a card payment giant. Most recently, the company expanded its product offerings to include the SumUp Business Account – a free online current account that allows you to manage, send, and spend your money easily. The account is free to create and use and does not include any fees or minimum balances, making it ideal for merchants and personal users alike. It is these and more features that make SumUp the desirable card payment provider it is today, even as it continues to expand its global reach.
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Written by Allen Lee
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