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Consider fees, tech support and account stability when comparing these three point-of-sale and e-commerce solutions.
Square is spear-headed the mobile payment processing in 2009 and has since branched out into point-of-sale and e-commerce services. But since it’s a payment aggregator, you’ll likely see transaction holds. And its limited tech support leaves room for these three Square competitors to steal the show.
3 alternatives to Square
Square combines a point-of-sale (POS) system and e-commerce solutions, without monthly fees and a flat processing rate. These three platforms offer similar solutions, each with distinct advantages, but they may cost you extra.
- Best for brick-and-mortar businesses that want more processing stability with a merchant account
- Pricing: From $69 monthly
- Free trial: Not available
Like Square, ShopKeep has useful app integrations from accounting apps to expanded e-commerce features. But ShopKeep sets itself apart with merchant accounts, which requires going through an extensive underwriting process and risk assessment. Once you have a dedicated merchant account, your transactions should go through with fewer hiccups than through a third-party payment processor.
- 24/7 support. Get in touch with ShopKeep support by phone anytime.
- No contract. ShopKeep bills your processing fees monthly, and there are no cancellation fees if you change your mind.
- Merchant account. Unlike Square, ShopKeep isn’t a third-party processor. Instead, it issues merchant accounts, which generally mean fewer transaction and account holds.
- Lack of transparency. ShopKeep keeps its processing fees under wraps. Unlike Square’s flat processing rate, ShopKeep uses an interchange model that varies monthly. And you’ll need to sit through a demo of its software before getting a quote.
- Tech support wait times. Although service is available 24/7, many users report waiting over 30 minutes to speak to a rep.
- E-commerce integration costs extra. Unlike Square’s free website builder, you’ll need to upgrade your plan to design a website and accept e-commerce sales.
- Best for businesses with small-ticket items
- Pricing: No monthly fee
- Free trial: None
Like Square, PayPal Here has user-friendly software for mobile and POS transactions. But PayPal has more competitive fees for in-person transactions with sales less than $100.
- POS system. PayPal offers in-person payments by partnering with third-party POS providers, like Vend and Touchpoint. Your PayPal account can streamline your business by unifying your online and in-store sales.
- Transparent pricing. PayPal’s website publishes its fees for its products and services. No jumping through hoops to find out what you’ll be charged.
- Customize employee permissions. Manage up to 1,000 user-access levels, so you control who sees what.
- No hosted e-commerce. You’ll need to build your own online store before adding PayPal to checkout.
- Transaction holds. Like Square, PayPal Here is a third-party payment processor and may experience transaction and account holds.
- Limited perks. No integrations or marketing extras, like customer loyalty programs.
- Best for businesses that want 24-hour tech support
- Pricing: From $9.95 monthly
- Free trial: 90 days
Like Square, Clover offerings include payment processing and inventory tracking. But Clover takes the cake with its tech support, offering day-and-night assistance even on its lowest service tier. Square only provides 24/7 customer service on specific plans that start at $60 a month.
- 24-hour tech support. Get day-and-night phone support. Live Chat is available Monday through Saturday.
- Robust app market. Expand Clover’s features with software integrations such as QuickBooks and Nav.
- Virtual terminal. Accept over-the-phone payments without any hardware or connect Clover with your BigCommerce or Ecwid online store.
- No free hardware. Unlike Square, Clover doesn’t offer a free card reader to new merchants. And each reader is pricier than its competitors.
- Monthly fee. Clover’s lowest service tier, when you sign up on its website, will run you $9.95 a month on top of transaction fees. Square has no monthly cost — you simply pay the transaction fees from your sales.
- Price differences. Clover also sells its services through financial institutions, such as Citi and Wells Fargo. You may see different prices for its services. And customer service wasn’t the most forthcoming when we tried to ask about its different software fees.
- Extra online store costs. Unlike Square’s free online shop, you’ll need to upgrade your Clover subscription to access the Clover Online Store app to build an e-commerce store.
Compare other alternatives to Square
These Square alternatives help unify your in-person and online sales. Take a look at their extra features to see which solution is best for your business. But if you’re not convinced, compare a few other POS systems.
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