Square vs Barclaycard- compare card readers

Square and Barclaycard both offer a small range of affordable, flexible card readers, but which brand is better? We compare 2 of the most competitive card machine providers in this guide.

Compare Square and Barclaycard Compare providers
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When you’re choosing a card reader, you need one that fits in with the way you and your customers do business. Square is one of the most popular card reader providers, and Barclaycard has been offering card readers for a number of years as part of its support for business customers. So which one is better? We put both brands through their paces.

Square vs Barclaycard: provider overview

Square and Barclaycard are some of the bigger brands dominating card reader market, offering slick and afforable machines to their business customers. In this guide, we are comparing 2 of their most popular machines.

Square
ProductsSquare Reader, Square Terminal
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and Pin
Alternative payment methodsPayment link,Over the phone
Apple PayYes
Google PayYes
ConnectivityBluetooth
Requires connection to a phone or tabletYes
Battery lifeDesigned to last all day
Warranty period24 months
Barclaycard
ProductsFlex mobile card reader, Barclaycard Anywhere
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and Pin, Magnetic swipe
Alternative payment methodsPayment link,Over the phone
Apple PayYes
Google PayYes
ConnectivitySIM card,Bluetooth,WiFi
Requires connection to a phone or tabletNo
Battery life700 sales
Warranty period12 months

The Square Reader vs the Barclaycard Flex Mobile: product overview

The Flex Mobile and the Square Reader are the go-to products from each provider: how do they compare?

Square Reader

Square Reader

Barclaycard Flex Mobile

Barclaycard Flex Mobile

Compare rates and fees

One of the most important things to look at when you’re comparing card readers is the difference in the rates and fees each provider charges: not just the headline cost of each product, but the more ‘hidden’ fees too. For further explanations of the different charges you might come across in your research, use our handy guide.

The Barclaycard Flex Mobile and Square card readers are both at the less pricey end of the market, but the way they charge is quite different.

For example, Barclaycard charges no upfront fee for the Flex Mobile, while the Square Reader is £19. However, the Flex Mobile comes with a £7.50 monthly fee (plus VAT), whereas the Square Reader charges no monthly fees at all. On the other hand, the Square Reader’s monthly transaction fee is a little higher, at 1.75% compared to the Flex Mobile’s 1.6%.

ProductSquare Reader
OFFER
Barclaycard Payments Flex Mobile
Product NameSquare ReaderBarclaycard Payments Flex Mobile
ContractPay as you go18 month
Initial cost£19£0
Monthly cost£0£7.50
Transaction cost1.75%1.6%
Transaction cost (card not present)2.5%A fixed 0.25% on all CNP transactions
Settlement 1 working day1-2 working days
Money-back guaranteeNo
Chargeback cost£0

Compare features

Despite being similar products, there are some subtle differences.

For example, the Square Reader was designed with contactless cards in mind, so customers will have to use a connected device like a smartphone or tablet if they need to enter a PIN. The Flex Mobile has a keypad, so customers can enter their PIN straight into the device.

For a full insight into the different features you should look out for when comparing card readers, you can use our helpful guide.

ProductSquare Reader
OFFER
Barclaycard Payments Flex Mobile
Product NameSquare ReaderBarclaycard Payments Flex Mobile
Networksgoogle pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icongoogle pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
ConnectivityBluetoothSIM card, Bluetooth, WiFi
Payment methodsContactless, Chip and PinContactless, Chip and Pin, Magnetic swipe
Alternative payment methodsPayment link, Over the phonePayment link, Over the phone
Requires connection to phone or tablettickcross
Battery lifeDesigned to last all day700 sales
Printer attached
Add ons
  • Dock

  • Phone mount

  • Compatible with a range of third-party receipt printers and barcode scanners

Bottom line

There’s a lot to like about both providers, but we think that for many businesses Barclaycard is the way to go. This is in part because both Barclaycard’s readers offer a great ease of use for customers who aren’t using contactless, whereas if your customers need to enter a PIN with Square you’ll have to either hand over your connected smartphone if you’re using the Square Reader, or fork out for the much pricier Square Terminal.

On the other hand, if your customers are almost all contactless users, you might prefer to opt for the sleeker design of Square’s card readers. The Square Reader works out cheaper than either of the Barclaycard options if your takings are less than £6660 a month.

In the end, it’s up to you: just make sure you take the time to compare the two providers thoroughly before choosing the one that’s right for your business. Compare both ranges in full below.

Compare the Square and Barclaycard range

Name Product Initial cost Monthly cost Transaction cost Contract Networks Key benefits Link
Square Online Premium
Subject to status
£20
1.4%
google pay iconapple pay icon
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Square Online Free
Subject to status
£0
1.4%
google pay iconapple pay icon
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Square Virtual Terminal
Subject to status
£0
1.4%
american express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Go to site
View details
OFFER
Barclaycard Payments Flex Mobile
£0
£7.50 + VAT*
1.6%
18 month
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
*50% off card reader rental fees until 31 December 2024. Apply by 30 April 2024. T&Cs apply.
Go to site
View details
Barclaycard Smartpay Anywhere
£29
£0
1.6%
google pay iconapple pay iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Go to site
View details
OFFER
Barclaycard Payments Smartpay Touch
£0
£14.50 + VAT*
1.6%
12 month
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
*50% off card reader rental fees until 31 December 2024. Apply by 30 April 2024. T&Cs apply.
Go to site
View details
Square Online Plus
Subject to status
£20
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay icon
Go to site
View details
OFFER
Square Terminal
£149
£0
1.75%
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
20% off with code JANSALE20. Offer ends 13 February 2024. Terms apply.
Go to site
View details
Square Reader
£19
£0
1.75%
Pay as you go
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
Go to site
View details
Stripe terminal (BBPOS WisePOS E)
£179
Subject to status
1.4% + 20p
google pay iconapple pay iconamerican express iconvisa iconmastercard icon
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View details
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Table: sorted by transaction cost, promoted deals first
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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