Square payments review

A popular on-the-go payment processor offering flat fees.

Square revolutionized payment processing in 2009, introducing its small plug-in credit card reader now used at millions of small businesses around the world. But its payment processing is just the start — it offers so much more than its signature white card reader.

  • Choose this provider if you process up to $250,000 annually and want in-person and online support.
  • Consider something else if you run a large business and need a dedicated merchant account.
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Details

SolutionsIn-store, Mobile, Online
ProductsPayment processing, POS software, POS hardware, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software
Monthly fees start atNone
Processing fees start at2.6% + 10¢
Contract required?No
Processing timeNext day
High-risk merchants accepted?No

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Best of 2021
Finder experts pick Square as a 2021 best brand for payment processing.

How does Square stack up against competitors?

Square is one of the better-equipped e-commerce platforms on the market. It’s transparent about its prices, has an impressive point-of-sale hardware lineup and offers month-to-month billing. Did we mention the free card reader it hands out to newly onboarded merchants?

Square has plenty going for it, but it’s far from faultless. For example, unlike competitors Stripe and Shopify, it doesn’t offer 24-hour support. It also has its fair share of complaints about transaction holds, though — to be fair — this complaint has been lodged at almost every payment processor we’ve reviewed.

What makes Square unique is its ability to perform as a true all-in-one-processor. It offers payment processing, point-of-sale solutions and business checking accounts. Precious few processors offer all four of these services, which means most merchants have to saddle up with multiple providers to cover all their bases.

Bottom line? Square made our best processors list for a reason. It’s a flexible, well-rounded platform that can cater to businesses large and small. But its limited support and transaction holds may put a damper on your processing experience.

Square services

Square helps businesses sell products online or in person with a range of services:

  • Payment processing. Accept customer payments by card reader, tablet, mobile device or computer.
  • POS software. Customizable point-of-sale software to help you process payments, manage inventory, keep track of customers and schedule employees.
  • POS hardware. Square's signature point-of-sale hardware lineup includes accessories like registers, terminals, card readers and barcode scanners.
  • E-commerce solutions. Sign up for a free online store with no monthly fees and integrated payment processing.

Features

You’ll get plenty of what you’d expect from a processor, including inventory management, payroll, employee scheduling and loyalty programs. But Square goes above and beyond the standard features:

  • Square installments. Offer customers the option to cover the cost of big-ticket items through monthly payment plans.
  • Multichannel selling. Integrate your online and brick-and-mortar stores with synced orders and inventory levels across selling channels.
  • Invoicing. Send invoices and automated payment reminders from the Square Invoices mobile app for iOS and Android.
  • Business debit card. Link a Square business debit card to your POS system for immediate access to transaction funds.
  • Gift cards and loyalty programs. Offer customers the opportunity to earn rewards and purchase gift cards online and in person.
  • Square KDS. Customize tickets, print orders across multiple selling channels and route orders to their respective kitchen stations.

How easy is it to use?

If its online customer reviews are anything to go by, Square’s software is easy to set up and navigate. Numerous merchants report a sleek point-of-sale user interface and online merchants say its website design templates make it easy to plug in product catalogs and start selling.

Square's point-of-sale hardware

Square’s proprietary point-of-sale hardware options include:

Reader for Magstripe

Reader for magstripe

Mobile POS

Plug in or Lightning connector to phone or tablet

No screen

Magstripe

Free for eligible merchants (first reader)

Reader for contactless and chip

Reader for contactless and chip

Card reader

Wireless

No screen

Chips, tap-and-go

$49

Stand

Stand

Countertop POS

Wi-Fi

No screen

Chips, tap-and-go

$169

Terminal

Terminal

Card reader

Wi-Fi, Ethernet

L 5.6" H 2.5" W 3.4"

Magstripe, chips, tap-and-go

$299

Register

Register

Countertop POS

Wi-Fi, Ethernet

13.25 in. (diagonal)

Magstripe, chips, tap-and-go

$799

Square offers more than 30 accessories and bundled hardware kits with everything you need to get up and running.

Square pricing and fees

Square clearly lists its products and pricing on its site, so you know what to expect when you sign up.

Square suggests its rates are best suited to businesses processing less than $250,000 annually at an average $15 transaction. For larger businesses, Square customizes its products and services based on payment volume and transaction size.

Each of Square’s four point-of-sale systems come with its own set of processing rates.

Square Point of Sale

  • 2.6% + $0.10 for all tapped, dipped and swiped payments
  • Free

Square Invoices

  • 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee for card payments
  • 1% processing fee for ACH payments

Square for Retail

  • 2.6% + $0.10 for all in-person payments with the Free plan
  • 2.5% + $0.10 for all in-person payments with the Plus plan
  • 2.9% + $0.30 for all online transactions

Free plan

  • $0 monthly
  • Unlimited items
  • Basic inventory tools

Plus plan

  • $60 monthly per location
  • Advanced inventory tools and retail reports

Premium plan

  • Customized for larger and scaling businesses
  • Custom domains start at $12 monthly
  • Marketing and payroll tools available as add-ons

Square for Restaurants

  • 2.6% + $0.10 for all tapped, dipped and swiped payments

Free plan

  • $0 monthly
  • Unlimited devices and locations
  • Support available Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT

Plus plan

  • $60 monthly/location + $40/ additions POS device
  • Advanced restaurant-specific tools, including seat management and shift reports
  • Unlimited KDS devices
  • 24/7 support

Premium Plan

  • Custom options for large and scaling businesses

Delivery

  • $0.50 per order for in-house delivery.
  • $1.50 per order for third party delivery.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Upfront pricing. Square’s site breaks down fees for its products and services, so you won’t be fooled by hidden costs.
  • Free features. Sign up for a Square account and get a free card reader and access to Square’s online store-building software.
  • Monthly billing. With no contract, you’re free to leave with no cancellation fees.

Cons

  • Limited support. Unlike major competitor Stripe, Square doesn’t offer 24/7 tech support.
  • Transaction holds. Since Square is a payment aggregator, its acceptance rate is high — but so are reported transaction holds. If you run a high-risk business, read Square’s terms of service before you apply to reduce your risk of sudden account closure.

Square reviews and complaints

Square feedback is deeply divided. As of January 2021, it has accumulated a staggering 4,898 complaints with the Better Business Bureau. But its Trustpilot reputation is an entirely different story. Square boasts an impressively high TrustScore of 4.8 out of 5 based on 2,660 reviews.

Why the drastic contract between Square’s high TrustScore and unfavorable BBB reputation? Well, the discrepancy could be a result of complaints lodged against Square’s Cash app.

Long story short, an overwhelming amount of Square's negative BBB feedback is about the Cash App, with numerous complaints of declined transactions and fraudulent charges. Square's Trustpilot score isn't impacted by Cash App complaints because on Trustpilot, the Cash App has its own dedicated page.

Complaints about the app aside, Square customers praise an easy onboarding experience and user-friendly tools, but are frequently frustrated by transaction holds and the company's slow-to-respond support team.

How do I open an account with Square?

Sign up with Square in minutes online:

  1. Go to Square’s site and click Start a Square account.
  2. Enter your email address and create a password.
  3. Review Square’s terms, privacy policy and e-sign consent form. Click Continue.
  4. Select your business industry and indicate whether you plan to sell in person, online or both. Click Continue.
  5. Enter your full name, business address, date of birth, phone number and Social Security number. Click Continue.

What other products will I need?

None. Square offers what you need to accept customer payments, including payment processing, POS systems and a business checking account to immediately access your funds.

How do I contact Square support?

Touch base with Square by:

  • Phone. Call 800-474-3398 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.
  • Email. Complete an online form for a response from the support team within one business day.

Compare other providers

Name Product Monthly fees start at Processing fees start at Processing time High-risk merchants accepted?
Chase Merchant Services
Chase Merchant Services
None
2.6% + 10¢ per swiped credit card
Next day when you deposit into a Chase business checking account
No
Accept, process and deposit customer payments in your store, online or on-the-go.
Stax
Stax
$99/month
$0.08 + interchange per transaction
Next day for qualified businesses
No
Businesses that process more than $10,000 monthly can save with Stax's interchange+ pricing.
Square
Square
None
2.6% + 10¢
Next day
No
Square is a one-stop shop with both e-commerce and in-person solutions.
Helcim
Helcim
$20/month
1.92% + $0.08 per transaction
Two business days
No
Conveniently packaged into three service tiers for in-person and online sales.
Payline Data
Payline Data
$10/month
0.2% + interchange + $0.10 per transaction
Next day
Yes
Accepts high-risk merchants and offers discounted rates for nonprofits.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Square’s merchant services can help you run your small business with integrated payment processing, industry-specific point-of-sale systems and a free online store builder. But its tech support isn’t available on weekends, and many of Square’s features cost extra. And because Square is a payment aggregator, high-risk businesses will want to look out for transaction holds and potential account termination.

If you’re not sure if Square is right for you, compare other payment processors to find a fit with your business and budget.

Frequently asked questions

Are credit card company fees included in Square’s fees?

Yes. You won’t pay credit card companies any fees when you use Square.

What are Square’s deposit options?

Deposit your funds at no cost in one to two business days. For faster deposits, choose instant on-demand or close-of-day deposits for a 1% fee. Unlike the free option, these deposit options process on holidays and weekends.

Can I refund payments — and how much do refunds cost?

Square allows full or partial refunds for free, including processing fees. Refunds are processed within 14 business days. You also have 60 days from the invoicing date to issue your refunds.

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