Square POS Review

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By Aimee Bradshaw | Writer and researcher

Squaring up has never been easier, thanks to Square’s simple, modern POS system


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Pros:

  • Great option for small businesses
  • Free POS software
  • Tailored POS packages available

X Cons:

  • Higher processing fees not cost-effective for larger businesses
  • POS features not as sophisticated as competitors’
What is a Square POS System? Square is an integrated merchant account and mobile payment provider that offers an easy, all-in-one POS solution to new and small businesses.

Square started out as mobile payment solution, as its founders wanted to provide new and small businesses with a quick and convenient way to start taking payments. It’s now expanded its services, offering tailored retail and hospitality POS software, a range of modern hardware, and even Square Cash, which allows you to send and receive cash for free. 

One of Square’s biggest selling points is its free point of sale software. Users benefit from PCI compliant, secure payment processing, plus all the tools they need to manage sales, analyse stats, and manage staff. Although Square’s credit card processing fees are a touch higher than other POS providers, this compensates for the free POS software, and businesses with a low to medium turnover are generally happy with the fees they pay. 

Quick Facts: 

  • Square has been available in Australia since March 2016
  • The Square app has been downloaded more than 33.5 million times

What are Square’s Features and Benefits?

The Square POS App

You can download the Square POS app completely free of charge. It’s easy to set up, and once you’re up and running, you’ll have full access to all of the app’s sales and staff management features. If you’re looking for tailored POS software, you can upgrade to Square’s retail or hospitality package. This costs $60 a month, but you can take full advantage of a free trial before you commit.

Square Register

The Square register is available to purchase for $439. It can be used instead of, or alongside, an iPad. If you don’t want to spend the cash on a Square register, you can purchase the Square stand, which gives your till area a chic, modern look. You can also choose to purchase a Square card reader printer, as well as additional card payment terminals.

Online Store

If you’re looking to take your store online, Square gives you two options. You can use Square’s online platform to host your store, or alternatively, you can integrate Square payments into one of Square’s partner website builder platforms. You can even integrate Square into an open-source website builder if you’re looking for a specific solution.

Integrations

Does Square integrate with Quickbooks and other accounting software? Yes, it does. And in addition to Quickbooks, Square also integrates with other point of sale providers, booking and scheduling platforms, inventory management tools, and more sophisticated team management software.


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To make things easy, we’ve split the cost of Square’s POS into three sections: hardware, software, and processing fees. 

The cost of Square hardware

The great thing about Square is you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want. There’s nothing stopping you from downloading the app onto your existing mobile phone or tablet, totally voiding the cost of the most expensive part of your POS system. Then the only expenses you’ll need to consider are the cost of the card reader and the processing fees.

However, if you do choose to invest in Square hardware, this is how much you can expect to pay:

Popup shop/restaurantEstablished shop/restaurant
  • Square card reader $59
  • Receipt printer $289
  • Square Terminal $439
  • Receipt printer $289
  • Cash drawer $99
Total: $348Total: $824

There are also heaps of Square accessories, including:

  • USB Barcode Scanner $99
  • Kitchen printer $289
  • Square stand with chip reader $299

The cost of Square Software

Square’s software is available completely free of charge. There are no hidden fees, and you don’t need to upgrade to access certain features. You’ll have full access to Square’s dashboard, reporting and analytics, app marketplace, and employee management tools. 

If you would prefer software that offers industry-specific features, Square does provide retail and hospitality packages. These are available at $60 a month, based on one register, then $20 a month for each additional register

The cost of Square’s processing fees

Square’s processing fees change depending on how the transaction is made – and that’s not the only factor that affects how much you’ll pay. Take a look at the processing fees in the table below to see what else changes.

In Person PaymentsCard-not-present Payments (including ecommerce)
Square Card Reader1.9%2.2%
Square Terminal1.6%2.2%

Yes, that’s right – Square actually rewards you for choosing its terminal over its card reader. So while it may be an additional expense, you’ll slowly be able to make a return on your investment thanks to the lower processing fees that come with it. 


Is Square POS Right for my Business?

So how do you know if Square is the right option for you? Ask yourself the following questions:

Does Square offer enough features for my business?

Square isn’t the most featureful POS system on the planet, but it does offer everything you need for your business to start selling – and growing. With that being the case, we think Square is great for:

  • Up-and-coming businesses
  • Cafes and coffee shops
  • Popup stands and food trucks
  • Market stall vendors
  • Mobile workers

But that doesn’t mean bigger businesses should write off Square completely. It does allow you to create a fully customised POS system, and it’ll offer you customised rates based on your predicted turnover. If your needs are basic, and you’re after a reasonably cheap POS system, Square can hit that spot. 

However, if you are looking for a more sophisticated solution, you’re better off checking out tailored retail and restaurant POS systems.

How long does Square take to set up?

Square’s all-in-one solution allows you to literally plug in and start taking payments, making it incredibly easy for you to start making money. 

In fact, Square is so easy to set up, we’ve provided you with step by step instructions below.

  1. Click ‘Get started’ on the top right corner of Square’s website 
  2. Choose your business type – select either Business or Individual
  3. Select how you’ll sell and take payments – is your business bricks and mortar, an online store, etc.
  4. Choose from a range of optional (and paid for) retail and hospitality add-ons
  5. Enter your business details
  6. Confirm your identity
  7. Choose your deposit speed (next day is free, same day incurs an additional charge)
  8. Connect your bank account
  9. Choose your card reader
  10. Download the app onto your phone or tablet – and that’s it!

What do Square POS Customer Reviews Say?

For the most part, Square’s customers are very happy with the product. They went to Square looking for a simple way to start taking payments, and that’s exactly what they received. Here’s a comment from Joseph, a small business owner:

If you’re a business owner and you sell products or services, especially if you have multiple sites and/or have a mobile sales force, this product is a must. The access is easy, the interface is friendly, and the payment system is quick.”

The only negatives are Square’s lack of features – most notably its reporting, which doesn’t offer the same level of sophistication as paid POS systems. And according to a fair few business owners, reading and interpreting the reports that Square produces can be a little difficult. Aurora, a health and fitness business owner, says:

“Square Point of Sale is excellent for receiving payments, and I don’t have any negative experiences with the platform. The only thing I wish would be that the analytics and reports that I receive for all payments and invoices would be easier to read. I have a bit of trouble understanding them. Other than that, overall great platform.”

Expert Verdict

In summary, Square POS offers new and small businesses a quick and easy way to start taking payments. Its software is free, and you can choose to upgrade to paid retail or hospitality packages if required. 

Although Square POS offers all the features you need to make a success of your business, the functionality of each feature is very top level, meaning it lacks the sophistication that larger businesses may need from their POS system. 

If you’re looking for a more sophisticated POS system, take a look at the options in the section below. Alternatively, let us find you the best POS system for your business. All you need to do is enter a few details into our system, and we’ll send you the suppliers that best match your requirements. They’ll soon be in touch with quotes and more information – it’s as easy as that. 


What Other POS Systems Should I Consider?

There’s no denying that Square’s biggest pull factor is its free software. But even paying a small amount each month can increase the amount of features you can access. These paid POS systems can grow with your business, providing you with all the tools you need in order to flourish.

Aimee profile image
Aimee Bradshaw Writer and researcher
Aimee is Expert Market’s resident telephone systems, point of sale, and field service software go-to. If she’s not writing about business products, you’ll find her daydreaming about Dorset beaches.