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From payment processing to point-of-sale hardware, here’s what to expect from this provider.
What started as a card reader back in 2009 has since blossomed into a merchant services titan with offices across North America, the UK, Japan and Australia. From payment processing to business debit cards, Square offers a sweeping lineup of merchant services — all headed by its sleek signature hardware.
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What is Square?
Square is a merchant services aggregator headquartered in San Francisco, California. As one of the largest merchant service providers in the US, it offers an impressive suite of products, including payment processing, point-of-sale (POS) solutions, business loans — even a mobile app that allows you to send and receive funds from your phone.
Square distinguishes itself from the competition with proprietary hardware, transparent pricing and solution-oriented marketing.
Square has an extensive line of merchant services to offer:
Square Payments allows you to accept payments in-person, online or over the phone with the help of a free magstripe reader and point-of-sale software.
Square’s e-commerce accounts include a free online store builder with SEO tools, Instagram integration and developer APIs with a flat processing rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Square’s point-of-sale solutions include software designed to manage inventory, sales and employees alongside hardware options that include card readers, terminals, cash drawers and receipt printers.
Square Capital offers business loans of up to $250,000 with terms as long as 18 months through its online merchant portal.
The Square Cash app allows you to send and receive money and purchase Bitcoin from your mobile device using the Square Cash Card.
How do Square’s services work together?
Square has everything a business needs to accept payments in-person and online. It offers a range of point-of-sale packages with built-in payment processing designed for different types of businesses.
Square’s in-person payments package allows you to select point-of-sale software based on the type of business you run. You can then add the Square hardware that best fits your business.
Online payment packages include website, invoice and phone payment processing along with free online store building templates. You can also combine in-person and online point-of-sale options if you run a storefront and sell online.
Every Square account is accompanied by a free Square magstripe reader, free access to the Square Point of Sale app, sales reporting and team management features. Additional features like email marketing, payroll and loyalty programs can be added for a monthly fee.
Pros and cons
- All-in-one processing. Square offers all that you need to accept customer payments, including payment processing, point-of-sale hardware and e-commerce solutions.
- Transparent pricing. Processing rates and monthly fees by feature and account are openly listed on Square’s website.
- Free features. Square accounts come with a free card reader, online store builder and point-of-sale software features to help you run your business.
- Fast onboarding. Square advertises an onboarding process that allows you to sign up for its service and begin accepting payments in minutes.
- Limited support. Unlike many of its competitors, Square doesn’t offer 24-hour tech support — a surprising choice for a provider with such ample resources.
- BBB alert. On the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Square has been flagged for failing to respond to a number of its customers’ complaints.
- Transaction holds. A number of Square’s online customer reviews mention transaction holds.
Square reviews and complaints
Square’s Better Business Bureau page is worrisome. It lacks BBB accreditation and has an active alert for failing to respond to customer complaints. It does receive an A rating from the BBB — although this has more to do with its overall business practices and time in business than its customer feedback.
As of October 2020, Square receives 4,653 BBB complaints — an understandable figure given this provider's size. But with an unresponsive track record, this provider has some work to do to amend its BBB reputation.
Feedback on Trustpilot is more promising: Square receives a TrustScore of 4.8 out of 5 based on 2,436 reviews.
The discrepancy between Square’s BBB and Trustpilot pages is unusual, but a closer reading of customer feedback reveals several trends.
Positive reviews predominantly praise Square’s easy-to-use POS software and personable customer service. While most of the negative reviews target Square’s Cash app, with complaints of account closures and fraudulent charges.
How do I contact Square?
Square can be reached by:
- Phone. Customer support is available by phone at 800-474-3398, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., PT.
- Email. Fill out a secure online form from your Square account for an email response from the customer service team within one business day.
Square’s broad lineup of merchant services is equipped to offer almost everything a business needs to process payments. Whether you sell online or out of a storefront, you’ll find point-of-sale features designed to help you run your business. But Square’s customer support options are limited and its Better Business Bureau reputation leaves room for improvement.
Explore merchant services across multiple providers to find the best fit for your business.
Frequently asked questions
Is Square’s POS hardware proprietary?
Yes, if you plan to use Square’s services, you’ll need to purchase one or more of its hardware devices. That said, Square doesn’t require you purchase its hardware directly. Square readers and terminals are also available for purchase at Amazon, Best Buy, Staples and Target.
Does Square offer industry-specific POS features?
Yes, Square offers specialized point-of-sale support for the following industries:
- Cafés and coffee shops
- Bars and lounges
- Beauty professionals
- Health and fitness services
- Home and repair services
- Professional services
What are Square Appointments?
Square Appointments is an appointment-scheduling software that allows your customers to book appointments and services from Google, Instagram and your business’ website. The service is free for individuals and costs between $50 to $90 monthly for teams of two to 10 employees.
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