Start 14-day free trial

How to Take Payments in Hair Salons


Hairdressing and beauty is a big game in the UK. We’ve all been for a basic cut and colour at some point in our lives, whereas a weekly bouncy blow-dry is some people’s holy grail. According to NHBF, the number of hair salons in 2019 was 16,559, a 21% increase over five years. Furthermore, Professional Beauty found women who visit salons regularly spend around £1,000 a month on hair, nails, beauty, and aesthetics. Therefore, payments in hair salons need to be easy and enjoyable for clients.

Do you want a piece of that pie? Then, you need to make sure you’re giving customers the experience they crave: scalp massage, Olaplex, babylights, and easy payments

In this article, you will learn how to accept cashless, convenient, and customer-centric payments for your beauty business.

  • Why contactless and card payments in hair salons
  • How to install a payment system
  • Other hair salon tips to wow your clients and keep them coming back for more
  • How Atoa can save you the hassle of a card machine

How to approach payments in hair salons

The truth is if all you do is stack up wads of notes in your till, you’re probably missing out on customers. Accepting card payments in your salon can boost your bottom line and keep clients coming back for more.

More bums on seats, more money in your pocket, after all. Imagine no more clients saying, “I forgot my cash.” Under a quarter (26%) of Britons use cash every day, meaning you could be turning away business. Card payments open your doors to everyone. Impulse is good for business, too. Clients often spend more when they don’t need to count out exact change: more haircuts mean extra treatments and even happier customers.

Digital payments happen quicker than pulling off a wax strip. But they’re definitely not as painful. You get quicker access to your earnings and less time counting out change. Plus, card or mobile payments mean less cash lying around, minimising it getting lost or stolen. 

Are you ready to ditch cash and cards and go cashless? Let’s find out more…

The benefits of digital payments for hair salons

Benefits for clients

  • Let your clients pay quickly with contactless, chip and PIN, mobile wallets or QR codes.
  • Cash can get lost or stolen, whilst mobile transactions are secure and encrypted, making customers feel safer.
  • Let regulars pay for extra treatments and upsells without needing to dash to the cash machine.

Benefits for your salon

  • Attract customers who prefer contactless and mobile payments, especially younger clients.
  • Minimise the risk of theft, errors, and time spent counting cash.
  • Need to get things moving? Faster transactions mean less waiting time for both your clients and staff.
  • Salon on fleek? Digital transactions showcase your salon as modern and tech-focused, building trust and credibility.
  • Track sales, analyse trends, and manage finances more effectively with digital records.

How to accept payments in hair salons

To truly succeed in your salon, efficiency should be your best friend. And the best place to start making things run smoother is with your payments. Businesses can get a tidy boost with payment options that go the extra mile to make customers happier, which means your profits can start ticking over nicely.

Here are a few pointers to get you on the road to success.

  • Accept credit, debit, and contactless transactions with a countertop, mobile, or portable Bluetooth card machine.
  • Explore instant, low-fee payments directly through QR codes displayed on tablets or printed receipts like ours.
  • Consider services like Klarna, which allows clients to buy now and pay later. This can be a draw for clients who want to spread the cost of more expensive treatments, like aesthetics.
  • Save time and resources with transactions that reduce manual processes, like cashing in funds at (disappearing) bank branches. 
  • Offer a smooth payment experience that keeps your clients coming back for more.
  • If you take payments online, make sure you have Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and two-factor authentication in place.
  • Explore open banking payments like ours, which use bank-to-bank payments that bypass card networks for lower fees.

Adding a card machine to your salon

We’re not the biggest fan of card payments, but we know they can simplify payments and offer flexibility. Plus, even if you’re using alternative payment methods, it’s good to have traditional options in place as a backup.

Before you dive in, there are two main types of debit card readers in the UK:

  • Standalone terminals connect to the internet using a dedicated line, mobile network, or Wi-Fi. They offer the most features and security but require a contract and can become expensive.
  • Mobile card readers connect to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth or NFC. They are more affordable and portable, making them perfect for mobile beauticians. The downside is they may have limited features for larger salons. 

Once you’ve decided which of these works better for your salon, then it’s time to get real with this user-friendly, step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Choose your provider

Consider fees and features you need, like tips and rock-solid customer support. Check reviews on provider websites or tech review sites to get real-user insights. Popular options for salons include Square, SumUp, and Worldpay.

Step 2: Get a merchant account

You need a merchant account to process card payments. If you’re unsure, then check with your provider. They will guide you through the application process, which usually involves basic business information and identification checks.

Step 3: Set up your card reader

Your payment provider will send you the reader and instructions. Unbox it, get set up and download the provider’s app on your smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, if you choose Atoa, you can skip this step and display your QR codes or stickers.

Step 4: Connect the reader and app

Follow the app’s instructions to connect the reader to Bluetooth or NFC. Create an account or log in, and then, finally, complete your business profile and settings, such as a new logo and tip options. Try some test payments to make sure the system is working correctly for customers.

Step 5: Start accepting payments!

You did it! Your salon is now ready to accept payments from customers…

Additional tips

Remember that each provider’s app and setup process may differ slightly, so always follow the instructions and contact customer service if you encounter any issues. By following these steps and choosing the right provider, you can easily add a mobile card reader to your salon to enjoy convenient and secure payment processing.

Want to go the extra mile for customers and get your payments on point? Here are a few other ways to boost your cash flow.

  • Invest in a stand for your reader for countertop use, plus a portable charger for mobile beauty transactions.
  • Train your staff to use the reader and app properly.
  • Let customers know about the different payment methods you accept (contactless, chip and pin machines, etc.).
  • Keep software updated and follow best practices for card data security.
  • Forget card payments in hair salons…and use QR codes 😉

How Atoa can help

Atoa Instant Bank Pay is a payment service that allows customers to pay directly from their bank accounts without needing a debit card. Not sure? Then here’s why Atoa is the perfect partner for your salon:

  • No contracts or hidden fees, just transparent, low-cost pricing every time.
  • Fast and easy setup with support from our dedicated customer success team.
  • Secure transactions made under an FCA-approved license from Yapily. 
  • Flexible solutions to fit your unique business needs, whether you own a salon or rent a chair.

Enjoy the benefits of QR code payments in hair salons

  • Instant settlements. Card machines make you wait. Instead, Atoa drops funds directly into your bank account within 3-5 seconds.
  • No hardware is required. Display a QR code or send a payment link, and your customers can pay with their bank app.
  • Seamless integration. Add QR code payments to your salon booking system for a flawless experience.

Don’t wait any longer!

Upgrade your salon to the future of payments with Atoa. Why not contact us today to unlock your business’s full potential? Our Trustpilot speaks volumes, too…

Book a live demo with Conor to find out how Atoa can improve your UK business payments

Join Atoa now and get
14 days of free transactions.

Atoa is the low-cost alternative to card machines, enabling you to take payment from your customers in-store, on the move or via SMS and WhatsApp.

Learn More

Related Posts

Atoa Business

Give Hair and Beauty Payments a Glow-Up


How to Open a Salon in the UK

Hair and Beauty

Hair & Beauty Trends That Will Shape Salons in 2024

Fancy a call back?