The Square range
Square offers both card readers and point of sale (POS) for your business.
Compare other card readers
As rising numbers of people turn to card payments instead of cash, investing in a card reader for your business is becoming increasingly essential if you don’t want to miss out on vital sales.
Square offers 2 types of card reader: Square Reader which is a compact device and costs £19 plus VAT, and Square Terminal which is a larger device (but still portable) and costs £149 plus VAT. Here, we take a closer look at both of them to see how they compare.
More about Square card readers
Below are the key features for each of the Square card readers:
- Upfront fee of £19 plus VAT
- Compact device, making it ideal for transactions on the go
- Connects wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth
- Accepts Chip and PIN, contactless, Apple Pay and Google Pay (customers must enter their PIN on your smartphone as there is no option on the card reader itself)
- 1.75% transaction fee
- Real-time inventory and reporting via the app
- Add devices and team members as you go, with sales synced to 1 account
- Upfront fee of £149 plus VAT
- Portable device with powerful battery
- Accepts Chip and PIN, contactless, Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Touchscreen for ease of use
- 1.75% transaction fee
- Ability to print receipts and issue refunds
- Real-time sales data and searchable transaction history
- Ability to accept gift cards
How to order a Square card machine
After you have researched and chosen the best card reader for you or your business, you can start the application process.To apply for a Square card reader, head over to Square's online application, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Once your application is accepted, your card reader will be couriered to you.
All you need to do is add the device to your basket, select any compatible accessories you require, such as a Square Reader dock (£15), paper receipt rolls (£19) or a Hub for Square Terminal (£29), and make your purchase.
Pros and cons of Square card readers
- Portable devices, ideal for on the move transactions
- Accepts all payment types
- Advanced app to track payments and sales
- Ability to print receipts (with Square Terminal)
- Easy to purchase
- Hefty upfront fee for Square Terminal
- Transaction fees apply
- Customers may be reluctant to enter PIN on your smartphone with Square Reader
Square Reader vs Square Terminal
There are a number of key differences between Square Reader and Square Terminal that you should consider.
For a start, Square Reader has no screen, no receipt printer, no PIN pad and no app features on the reader itself. Instead, you must connect it to the Square point-of-sale app on your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.
In comparison, Square Terminal connects directly to the Internet and customers can enter their PIN directly on the screen. It can also print receipts and carry out refunds. However, Square Terminal is a much larger device, which means it’s less convenient for on the go transactions.
Square buy now pay later
In 2022, Square started collaborating with Clearpay to provide buy now pay later (BNPL) functionality to sellers. The payment option allows customers to pay for their purchases in 4 interest-free instalments over a period of 6 weeks, whether they are paying in person or online.
You, as the business, still get paid in full as soon as the next working day. However, a processing fee of 6% + 30p will be deducted from each order. This is only charged at the time of the sale; there are no further fees on the remaining customer instalments. There are also no subscription or start-up fees to pay if you want to enable Clearpay with Square.
To see if you are eligible for Clearpay and to enable it for your business, log into your Square Dashboard and review your payment methods. You’ll need to be in an approved merchant category and be based in the UK. If you’re eligible, you can process Clearpay payments:
- With Square Online. Your website will automatically be enabled for Clearpay transactions between £1 and £2,000.
- With Square Online Checkout. You can create payment links allowing customers to select Clearpay as a payment method for transactions between £1 and £2,000.
- In-person. This is available straight away. Your Square hardware will automatically allow for customers to pay for in-person goods and services using their contactless Clearpay card via digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
- Invoices. With Square Invoices, you can enable Clearpay acceptance when sending digital invoices and estimates via your online Square Dashboard, Square POS app or Square Invoices app.
- Virtual Terminal. With Virtual Terminal, you can send payment links directly to your customers via text message and customers can choose to checkout via Clearpay.
Square Online is Square’s ecommerce platform made to make online sales, including social media, easier to accept and manage. By integrating a Square POS with Square Online, you can oversee both online and instore sales through a single system.
|Price||£0||£20 per month (billed annually)||£64 per month (billed annually)|
|Transaction fee (UK)||1.4% + 25p per UK card||1.4% + 25p per UK card||1.4% + 15p per UK card|
|Transaction fee (non-UK)||2.5% + 25p per non-UK card||2.5% + 25p per non-UK card||2.5% + 15p per non-UK card|
Square card readers certainly have a lot to offer, but you’ll need to consider your business needs before deciding whether they could work for you. Due to its compact nature and low cost, Square Reader is likely to be particularly handy for tradespeople, market traders and pop-up stores, or even start-up businesses who don’t want to fork out expensive monthly fees.
In comparison, Square Terminal is likely to be well suited to restaurants, cafes and small retailers who might rely on portability and need functions such as the ability to print receipts and issue refunds with ease, as well as track transactions.
Square customer reviews
On the whole, Square scores well on Trustpilot, with a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5, based on over 2,000 reviews. This is considered a “great” rating overall (updated August 2023).
A total of 82% of Square customers gave it an “excellent” rating, with positive comments focusing on the ease of use, low cost and efficient customer service. However, other customer reviews reported poor customer service, delivery delays and issues with accounts being deactivated without warning.
The Square point-of-sale app scores 4.8 stars out of 5 on the App Store, based on more than 9,000 ratings (updated August 2023).
You can contact Square’s customer support on 0800 098 8008. Lines are open from Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Frequently asked questions
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