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Santander Merchant Account Review

Santander logo

Santander, a subsidiary of Spanish Santander Group banking, is a U.S. based banking organization providing merchant accounts and services through partners in the UK and the rest of the world.

In the UK, Santander merchant account services are provided through a combination of iZettle and Elavon services, with additional card machines and services provided by Clover.

In the USA, Santander works with First Data to offer the same services.

So let’s see the UK Santander review now:


In this guide you will find


Santander screenshot



If you’re considering partnering with Santander, there’s a lot to keep in mind, including whether or not Santander offers any advantages over partnering directly with Elavon or iZettle. You’ll also have to consider fees, pricing, and customer service, all of which can impact the quality of your service. Santander offers UK merchants:

  • 2.55%-3.5% + 19p transaction fees for face-to-face sales
  • 1.75% for mobile card transactions
  • 2 merchant account options geared towards small and medium businesses
  • No direct services or offerings, unlike U.S. contracts

Santander has a good global reputation for providing quality card terminals, their own payment gateway, and merchant accounts and card processing through First Data.

However, Santander does not offer these merchant services in the UK. Instead, all services are handled through Elavon and iZettle, and you will have to contract with each individually, with no third-party negotiation and no single contract offered by Santander.

This may be a disadvantage if you were hoping to work with Santander, which has a much better reputation for providing quality customer service than Elavon. However, Elavon is one of the largest merchant account providers in the world and iZettle is one of the top small-business face-to-face card processing solutions.


Santander Merchant Account Costs and Fees


Santander’s merchant account partnerships allow you to choose a contract with either Santander, iZettle, or both. Each company has its own pricing and rates, and you may be able to negotiate rates with Elavon depending on your business type, transaction volume, and other factors. However, iZettle offers flat rate pricing no matter your transaction volume.


Elavon Merchant Account Service Fees and Pricing

Elavon is one of the world’s largest merchant account providers with over 1.2 million merchant users. The service offers face-to-face sales, card machines and terminals, online payment gateway, and support for mobile sales, allowing you to contract everything you need in one place. Elavon charges custom pricing based on your business, so you won’t be able to see exact pricing until you request a quote. However, Elavon’s average rates are as follows:


Fee Cost
Setup Fee £25
Transaction Costs 2.65% + 19-3.5% + 19p
PCI Compliance £30 (yearly)
Monthly Fee (per service) £10+
Minimum Merchant Service Charge £20
Minimum Monthly Processing Fee Up to £25
Monthly Statement Fee £4.95
Card Reader £99 upfront or £10 per month
Mobile Card Reader £199 upfront or £17.50 per month
Chargeback Fee £15-£30
Early Termination Fee £0


Transaction costs are typically broken down based on how and where you are being charged:


Transaction Swiped Keyed Monthly Fee
In Person 2.65% + 19p 3.5% + 19p £10+
Mobile 2.65% + 19p 3.5% + 19p £10+


Your exact rates and quote will change based on your business, so you will have to contact Elavon directly before making a comparison.


IZettle Merchant Account Services Fees and Pricing


iZettle offers a mobile point of sale and card reader with a merchant account, allowing you to manage inventory, sales, and accept payments from a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.

The system is designed for small and micro businesses in need of easy and affordable payment processing solutions for face-to-face and on-the-go transactions. However, with no online sales solutions such as a payment gateway, iZettle is only suitable for small business selling in-person and via invoicing.


Fee Cost
Monthly £0-£20
Card Transaction 1.75%
Invoicing Fee 2.75%
Setup Fee £0
Card Reader £59 (flat rate price/one-time fee)
iZettle Store Kit £39 per month
Chargeback Insured up to £250
Termination Fee £0
PCI Compliance £0


With no other fees, iZettle can be a very cost-effect merchant account solution for any small business capable of processing transactions via a simple mobile ePoS system.


Who Are Santander?


Santander is a large multinational bank based in Boston, USA. The bank is a member of the Spanish Santander Group. Santander functions primarily as a retail and commercial bank, rather than a merchant bank, and instead routes all merchant services through partners in every country. In the USA, Santander has its own online payment gateway solutions and security but partners with First Data for actual merchant accounting.

The UK version of the bank is actually a separate company, founded in 2010 when the Santander Group bought out and merged Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley, and Alliance and Leicester banks under a single global brand. Santander operates out of London, and with 14 million active customers, is one of the largest banks in the UK. However, the company does not offer its own merchant account services, instead partnering with Elavon and iZettle to provide small business solutions.


Santander Merchant Account Offerings


Santander provides a full range of merchant account offerings through its partners, including mobile payments, merchant accounts, face-to-face payments with card readers, and Point of Sale solutions. However, with two providing companies, you will have to pay close attention to your needs, available rates, and company offerings to make the best decision.


Merchant Account

Both iZettle and Elavon provide a standard merchant account, enabling you to process card transactions. However, Elavon allows you to purchase the merchant account separately to use with any other service, while iZettle offers an all-in-one package with their card reader or mobile PoS.

IZettle starts at £0 per month with a premium account (mostly includes better customer service and technical service). Elavon charges a base rate of £10, but with additional fees, you will typically pay a minimum of £35-£60 per month.


Card Readers and Point of Sale

Both Elavon and iZettle offer card readers.

Elavon Card Readers

Elavon leases card readers through Ladco Leasing, a card terminal provider, and sells or rents two mobile models through their own services.

Desktop Card Machines – Elavon’s desktop card readers are available from £12.95-£19.95 per month, with a choice of Ingenico or Verifone machines.

  • Ingenico iCT250
  • Ingenico iCT220
  • Verifone Vx520
  • Ingenico iPP320
  • Verifone VX 820

Portable Card Machines – Elavon offers 5 portable card machine solutions.

  • Verifone VX680G
  • Ingenico iWL250G
  • Ingenico iWL250G
  • Ingenico iWL220B
  • VeriFone VX680B

Mobile Card Machines – Elavon offers a mobile payment app (Converge) with two pin-pad and mobile card reader solutions. The Thyron Pin Pad costs £10 per month to rent or £99 per month, the Ingenico ICMP costs £17.50 per month. Both include a £25 setup fee.

  • Thyron Pin Pad
  • Ingenico ICMP


iZettle Card Readers

IZettle only offers one card machine solutions, but with multiple variations including one pin pad/card reader and one mobile Point of Sale solution on an iPad. You can also choose to connect accessories such as a till, barcode scanner, and receipt printer, which are available for sale or for lease from the iZettle shop. The iZettle reader costs £59 (total), features an 8-hour battery life, and accepts all payment options. The iZettle Store Kit point of sale costs £39 per month per tablet + additional costs for accessories.

  • iZettle Reader
  • IZettle Card Reader Lite


Online Payment Gateway

Elavon offers an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, enabling you to accept online sales and call centre sales. Both services start from £10 each plus merchant account services and other fees. You’ll also have to pay transaction fees ranging from 1%-2.7% for online sales.

The online payment gateway offers 3-D secure encryption, dynamic currency conversion for up to 100 currencies, and API or integrated hosting. If you choose to host on Elavon, you can set up and start accepting payments from most web shops and shopping carts without worrying about PCI DSS certification or security. Elavon also allows you to choose Elavon or payment gateway solutions.


IZettle vs. Elavon

While iZettle does not offer an independent merchant account solution, virtual terminal, or online payment gateway, the two services directly compete for face-to-face sales.


Feature iZettle Elavon
Monthly Fee £0-£20 £10-£60
Transaction Cost 1.7% – 2.7% 2.7% – 3.5%
Processing Time 0-3 Days 7 Days
Terminal Cost £59 £99-£199
Terminal Rental £39 (POS) £17.50 (Terminal)
Chargeback £0 to £250+ Chargebacks £15-£30
PCI Compliance £0 £30 per year
Minimum Monthly Fee £0 £20
Minimum Monthly Processing £0 £20


iZettle clearly stands out in terms of fees and lower rates. However, with fewer services, choosing the company can be difficult or impossible if you also need an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, or do not want to use an iPad-based Point of Sale.


Santander Merchant Account Reviews and Reputation


Santander has a decent reputation across all their global branches, with only a few complaints of less-than-ideal customer service. However, if you choose any of Santander’s merchant account partners, you will be dealing with them directly. This means you have to look at Elavon and iZettle customer service.


Elavon Customer Service

Elavon offers 24/7 phone and email support in the UK with dedicated account managers for larger accounts. The merchant service provider primarily offers good support, but small businesses may experience less prioritisation. Elavon also offers a 12-month contract which you can extend up to 36 months. This contract is auto-renewing, and you will have to cancel it 30 days in advance or pay a termination fee.


iZettle Customer Service and Reputation

IZettle has an extremely good reputation in the UK, with only a small percentage of negative reviews. Most negative reviews also surround technical problems such as printer connectivity rather than actual customer service or service issues, which is something to consider. If you do choose iZettle, choose your receipt printer carefully.

Others complain of iZettle sometimes freezing funds for security checks, which can cause cash flow issues for very small businesses. However, this is a standard policy among many types of businesses, and you may not be able to avoid it if you operate in a high-risk industry or are a startup business. iZettle support is available from 9-5 on weekdays.


Comparing Santander Merchant Accounts


Elavon and iZettle both offer small-business merchant account solutions for face-to-face sales, competing with dozens of similar providers across the UK. You should compare them before making a decision and signing a contract.


Merchant Account iZettle Elavon Global Payments Sage Pay Worldpay
Transaction Fee 1.7% – 2.7% 2.55% – 3.5% + 19p 1.1%-3.3% + 20p (negotiable) 1.9% credit cards / 40p debit cards From 2.75% credit cards / 20p debit cards
Monthly Fee £0-£20 £10 + (per service) £10+ (per service) £20,90+ £19.95+
Payment Processing Time 3 days 1+ Business Days 2+ Business Days 2 Business Days 7 Days
Set Up Fee £0 From £25 £150 – £250 None None
Termination Fee £0 £0 £150 – £500 Yes (Varies) Yes
Contract Length Monthly 12-36-Months 12-36 month Monthly-36 Month 36 Month

It is important to keep in mind that iZettle does not offer the full range of services provided by Elavon, Global Payments, and Worldpay.


Who Should Use Santander?


Santander links to two major UK merchant account providers but does not provide any services themselves. In addition, your contract with either iZettle or Elavon will be direct with the company you choose. Santander does not get involved, does not take a percentage, and is not on the contract.

IZettle is a good solution for very small and micro businesses looking for easy solutions and low-transaction costs. At an average of 1.7% per transaction for UK buyers, iZettle is one of the cheapest options you can choose in the UK. However, the company isn’t perfect, does not offer online payments, and does sometimes have technical problems such as receipt printer compatibility.

Elavon offers a full-service solution including online payment gateway but leases card machines and terminals through a third party, doesn’t always provide quality customer service to small business, and charges significantly higher fees to small business than iZettle. As a very small business, you will likely pay Elavon’s maximum rates. Startups and high-risk businesses also do not typically qualify for accounts with Elavon.


Final Verdict


Santander Merchant Account Review
  • Features
  • Service
  • Price


Both Elavon and iZettle have a lot to offer for merchants, although each solution best-suits a different type of merchant. However, there is no reason for you to go through Santander to apply. You will not get a discount or negotiated rates, so you might as well go directly to the site and apply through their account to simplify the process.


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