Square is unique among merchant services providers in that it does payment processing and develops its own hardware. When you sign up with Square, you get access to all Square’s hardware (including the free POS app), a fixed per-fee transaction, and a stack of extra POS features and merchant services. Square is the top choice of millions of small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those in low-risk industries like retail and hospitality.
Free Square POS app
Same fixed rate for every card
Stacks of features
No high-risk merchants
New accounts can be suddenly frozen
Monthly fee: None
Per swipe fee: 2.6% + $0.10
Setup fee: None
PCI compliance fee: None
Best for: Retail, restaurants, ecommerce, low-risk businesses
Square is unique among credit card processing companies in that it also develops and manufactures hardware. It offers five devices:
- Fully integrated point-of-sale terminal/register, for $799 or $39/m for 24 months.
- All-in-one credit card machine for payments and receipts, for $299 or $27/m for 12 months.
- iPad stand for contactless or chip, for $199 or $18/m for 12 months.
- Reader for contactless and chip, for $49.
- Free reader for magstripe that lets you accept credit cards on your smartphone or tablet.
Square is the only payment processor to offer the Square point-of-sale system. The Square POS software is free to use, with no setup fees or monthly fees whatsoever. You only pay for credit card processing.
Highlights of Square POS include:
- Contains stacks of ecommerce features and automatically syncs across your POS and online store.
- Integrates with numerous apps, including accounting (e.g. QuickBooks), ecommerce (e.g. Wix), and inventory management (e.g. Homebase).
- Connects with multiple printers and scales.
- Inventory management, with real-time stock count updates based on sales from the Square app.
- Dedicated POS platforms for retailers and restaurants.
- Powerful analytics with customizable, real-time reports that show you what’s selling best and what your busiest hours are.
With the following features, it’s easy to see why Square markets itself as a one-stop run-your-business shop.
- Business loans. Access to next-day merchant cash advance for up to $10,000.
- Payroll. Full-service payroll solutions, including ability to import timecards and click and pay employees automatically.
- Debit card. Square Card, a business debit card that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
- Email marketing. Software that lets you set up automated campaigns and track performance from your Square dashboard.
- Customer loyalty program. Lets you enroll and reward customers from your POS without adding any additional software or hardware.
- Team management. Built into Square POS, this software tracks and manages employee hours.
- Square gift cards. Complete online and in-store gifting program.
Square’s pricing structure is as straightforward and transparent as they come. While most credit card processors have tiered pricing, Square charges the same fixed fee of 2.6% + 10c per tap, dip, or swipe. It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in, how many sales you make, or what card the customer uses – the price always stays the same. What’s more, there are no other fees to worry about. That means no monthly fees, no setup fees, no PCI compliance fees. Square really is as simple as can be.
The great thing about Square is it has no minimum monthly revenue requirement, no contracts, and no cancellation fees. The one downside is that Square has been known to freeze accounts of customers that it deems to be non-compliant. Therefore, if you’re in a high-risk business, Square probably isn’t for you.
Square, Inc. was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey (also co-founder and CEO of Twitter) and Jim McKelvey. It has been traded on the New York Stock Exchange since November 2015 and was generating $4.7 billion in revenues annually as of 2019. Based in San Francisco, Square serves businesses in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Square offers 24/7 support to its customers via phone, email, live chat, and social media. Its website contains a massive library of resources, including how-to guides and video tutorials. It also hosts a ‘Seller Community’ where users can connect with fellow business owners and learn how to grow their business using Square.
There’s a reason Square is so popular with so many businesses: it is one of the few companies to offer a complete payment processing solution encompassing fixed pricing, hardware for every situation, and a full suite of merchant services. Square is and will continue to be the processor of choice for low risk SMBs.