Square

Compare Square card readers

Find out how Square card readers work to see if they are right for you and your business.

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The Square range

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Name Product Initial cost Monthly cost Transaction cost Payment methods Networks Key benefits Link
OFFER
Square Terminal
£149
£0
1.75%
Contactless, Chip and Pin, Magnetic swipe
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Get 20% off your first Square device. Start taking payments with hardware that’s easy to set up and use. Use code IESQUARE20 at checkout. Offer ends 16 September 2022. Terms apply.
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OFFER
Square Reader
£16
£0
1.75%
Contactless, Chip and Pin
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Get 20% off your first Square device. Start taking payments with hardware that’s easy to set up and use. Use code IESQUARE20 at checkout. Offer ends 16 September 2022. Terms apply.
Go to site
View details
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Table: sorted by transaction cost, promoted deals first

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 £16 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:

Square Reader

  • Upfront fee of £16 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

Square Terminal

  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

Our verdict

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 3.9 stars out of 5, based on 1,794 reviews. This is considered a “great” rating overall.

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 300,000 ratings.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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