Card Machines for Sqn/Fundraising Use

Does anyone have any experience with getting a card machine for their squadron? I’m thinking of 2 main uses:

  1. Cadets paying directly for activities
  2. Donations when out fundraising such as bag packing.

Anyone got any thoughts? Using one already?

Here is a card machine you can get: Card machine for small businesses | Zettle UK I’ve never used it but it is self explanatory and they’ve got teams of people who can help. You do have to pay a % of transactions to them, but all card reader companies charge this way, so its a case of who’s cheapest vs best for the price.

Use govpay for this. Easy to give refunds etc and payment via an online portal.

No experience of their use whilst bag packing but I am seeing them more and more on charity stands for donations etc.


I saw a post over the weekend of cadets doing some kind of sponsored drill thing. One of the photos was of the card machine system they had set up to accept donations. So some squadron’s are definitely using this kind of system. If I come across the post again I’ll share it here, but I can’t remember who it was!

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I’ve seen a SumUp machine being used and it was pretty intuitive. The fees were ok and they also allow online payment by sending a specific invoice/payment link.

How were they using it? At a fundraising type thing for small donations?

I’m trying to work out how/if it would work that way. Do they have preset donation amounts, do the donators tell you how much they want to donate and you punch it in every time, is it practical having 1 machine across a supermarket etc.

It was for clothing sales (branded t-shirts etc). For each sale, the amount was typed in, then the customer swiped their card. So you could enter any amount needed as a donation. You’d probably want a machine for 3-4 checkouts.

The only issue was access to a good mobile signal or WiFi. Without a good connection transactions can be painfully slow, which wouldn’t work for bag packing donations I’d imagine.

That was 146 Squadron, nice bunch so try dropping them an email.

We were given a card machine by the RBL to use for Poppy Collecting last year. It was a ‘Worldpay’ one, it had a choice of pre-set amounts or you could choose ‘other’ and enter your own.
It was a bit awkward to start with, especially when we had one person walk past and say ‘sorry, no cash on me’ only for the Cadet to wave the card machine and reply with ‘it’s ok, we take card’ :rofl:
We then put the card machine on the table so it was a bit more obvious. Quite a few people used it in the end. We had multiple collection points but only the one machine so it only captured those who came via the entrance point with the card machine.

All card machine providers charge a fee, we’ve just moved away from Zettle at work as they are quite expensive to Dojo. I know a lot of small businesses use Sum-up.

I was looking into this a while ago and were offering a SumUp machine for £10. I was very tempted to get one just to try it out. That deal still seems to be available.
ps I haven’t got any links to the site/company

Yes! Just checked Instagram and it was them. @pEp, got to be worth giving them a shout. They got a nice laser engraved stand for their machine too. I think I could make one of those if you wanted one :grin:

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I use Sumup for myself. Through the app you can also send payment links although off the top of my head it’s a slightly larger percentage than the machine. Both app and reader are simple. %s aren’t grotesque.

There are plenty of non subscription providers like them now - Square and iZettle come to mind.

Compare up front cost and % cut and pick. Each will have partners with discount referral links so dig up some reviews/comparisons online and you’ll find something.

Just don’t come a cropper charging different rates for card and cash.

Zettle is the system used on the RIAT camp. Pats for camp fees, canteen and bar purchases and Merchandise too.

It was even used as an ATM charging the card and offering the Cadet thr cash un return.

@Ben_Wakefield will know more as he’s on the RIAT Admin team

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We use Square, cheap units and works well.

But how do you use it? For donations or for regular activity payments?

For both. You can setup weblinks for parents to pay for activities. You can install an app on your phone and pair the Square card reader via Bluetooth.

Adhoc payments can be taken and you can setup buttons on the app for fixed payments as donations.


We use Gov Pay to create payments link for camps and trips etc, and we have a SumUp machine that we use for cashless payments “face to face” so to speak.

Anything to avoid having to take cash and cheques to the bank … which is getting further and further away …

The Gov Pay works really well and gives us a lot of reporting options, plus the option to refund, which is very useful.




Is there a way of setting up regular payments eg subs?

most use standing orders for subs…

puts it in the control of the Parents/Cadet and not in the hands of the Squadron. Also means if there are any “over payments” once the Cadet leaves (and fails to tell Squadron) it isn’t the Squadron’s fault for continuing to take the money.

One unit i was on, going back when cash was a regular thing had a two tier scale for subs, £6/month for standing order or £8/month via other means.

One a different unit the parents kept the SO in place after their daughter left as a way of recognising the impact the Squadron had on her life and thanking the unit for the opportunities offered/delivered and for moulding the person into which she became

We have some who can’t / won’t use standing orders for whatever reason so wonder if this could be an alternative. Some would rather pay for a year on a card. Probably collecting air miles.