Square Credit Card Processing Review

Square Logo

Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral.

Square is the best card processing service for faster payouts we came across in our research. This feature make it a solid choice if you run a small business not reliant on a high sales volume (like a boutique), which require money coming in fast to stay afloat.

Backed by our nearly 15 years of experience covering the market, we know that business owners are looking for card readers that are simplereliable, and come with insightful reporting tools.

With that in mind, we undertook a deep-dive into this field, in which Square scores an impressive 4.4/5 – largely backed by its extensive features and outstanding customer support.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0


Best For

Faster payouts

Monthly Fees
Varies depending on your plan

Square for Retail or Restaurants Plus: $60/month, per location

Square Online Plus: $29/month

Free: $0

Virtual terminal: $0

Afterpay: $0

In-person transaction fees

Card reader (Free plan): 2.6% + 10¢

Card reader (Plus plan): 2.5% + 10¢

Virtual terminal manual entry or payment link: 3.5% + 15¢

If you’re unsure if Square is right for you, just give our free comparison tool a try. It allows you to get custom quotes from our trusted providers so you can compare them. However, if you’d like to know more about Square in the meantime, read about our findings below.

Square: At a Glance

  • Countless third-party integrations
  • Next working day payouts
  • Free POS system
  • Comes with invoicing tool and generates checkout links
  • Support available on phone, email and live chat

Square Credit Card Processing Costs

Square’s costs can largely be divided in what you spend in its hardware and its fees. We cover them in more detail below.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0


Monthly Fees
Varies depending on your plan
  • Magstripe Reader – First one free, $10 for each additional one
  • Reader – $49
  • Stand – $199
  • Terminal – $299
In-person transaction fees
  • Card present: 2.6% + 10¢
  • Card not present (including invoices): 2.9% + 30¢
  • Keyed in: 3.5% + 15¢

Square hardware price

Square’s magstripe card reader costs $10, and is available free of charge for eligible merchants. Just provide some basic info about what you do, verify your identity, and link your bank account. Then, Square will pop your card reader in the mail, and you can be taking payments within a couple of days.

Square’s NFC contactless-equipped terminal costs $49, but for that, you get the magstripe version thrown in. Free shipping will get your card reader to you within five to seven days, or you can pay extra to have it in your hands within two.

Square processing fees

Square charges no ongoing monthly fees, which contributes to it being one of the cheapest credit card processing systems out there. However, Square does charge a processing fee: 2.6% + 10 cents of each face-to-face transaction you take through it. This applies for swiped, dipped, and contactless transactions, and to both chip and magstripe cards.

Square’s ecommerce solutions cost a little more to process, which influences how you accept credit card payments online with the provider. This is because they’re card-not-present transactions, meaning that the cardholder isn’t physically at the point of sale when the transaction takes place. So, any payments you take through Square’s virtual terminal, Card on File, or that are manually keyed-in will cost 3.5% + 15 cents. Invoices cost 2.9% + 30 cents, or 3.5% + 15 cents if sent using Card on File.

Square’s Pros and Cons


  • Simple, flat-rate pricing
  • Mobile app is easy to use
  • No credit check required


  • Not suitable for larger businesses
  • Transaction fees are quite steep
  • Readers don't come with mobile data
Take me to Square's website

Square’s Main Features

Square Card Readerssquare magstripe card reader

Square Magstripe Reader

The first type is for taking swiped card transactions. The Square magstripe card reader plugs directly into your phone or tablet, either via the headphone jack or the lightning port (for the Apple lovers out there). Square’s magstripe reader costs $10 on its own, though the company is offering it for free to ‘eligible’ merchants (you’ll have to get in touch with them directly to find out if that’s you).

square contactless card reader

Square Reader

Square’s other card reader is a terminal for accepting NFC (near-field communication) contactless and dipped card payments. It costs $49 – $10 more than SumUp’s reader – but to sweeten the deal, Square includes its magstripe reader at no extra cost.

Square Terminal

square terminalThis piece of hardware combines reader and POS system. It comes with a touchscreen, allowing you to access all the features of Square’s app from a single, intuitive interface. Unfortunately, like Square’s other readers, it also lacks mobile data, so you’ll need an external internet source to be able to run it.

Square Readers: Pros and Cons


  • Swift, hassle-free setup
  • Sleek look/interface


  • No mobile data
  • Readers could be cheaper

Square Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a piece of software that helps verify, secure, and facilitate online transactions. Square has its own native payment gateway, that you can use both in your existing website and in a newly-created one, since the provider also allows you to build your webstore in it.

square virtual terminal

That said, you don’t need a website to take payments online. Instead, you can use Square’s virtual terminal. It’s a secure webpage into which you can log in, enter your customer’s card details, and take the payment. You aren’t required to buy, download, or maintain any software, either – just accept secure, speedy payments, straight from your browser.

Sure, Square’s virtual terminal costs a little more than taking payments in-person (or through a website), but it’s ideal for businesses that need to accept credit card payments over the phone. It can also be used for face-to-face payments, turning your laptop into a ready-made point of sale.

Square Payment Gateway: Pros and Cons


  • Ecommerce integration
  • Allows for online payments even without a website


  • Transaction fees - especially card-not-present ones - are quite steep

If you want to sell online but you’re trying to keep costs low you could take advantage of Square’s Free plan which includes design software to build your own site. We found it to be the best free website builder after Square integrated technology from the high-performing Weebly platform.

Square Mobile App

All of Square’s products are underpinned by Square’s POS system, which can be managed by its sleek mobile app. As well as taking (and tracking) sales and tips, the app also lets you send invoices, add and customize your products (pictured), and action refunds. You can also send receipts via email, manage your inventory, and log cash payments with ease.

Beyond its base functionalities, it also packs useful add-ons, such as Square Loyalty, its customer relationship management tool. With prices starting at $45 per month, Square’s dashboard tells you exactly who’s spending the most at your business, what they’re buying, and how much cash they’re parting with each time. You can then use this info to grow your business.

square point of sale app interface

Square Mobile App: Pros and Cons


  • Very intuitive and easy to use
  • No contract


  • Cost of add-ons can easily build up
Take me to Square's website

Square Point of Sale (POS)

Any business owner taking payments from behind a counter knows it’s not just about the card machine. You’ll also need a way of recording sales, managing inventory, and providing your customers with receipts. Here’s where Square’s range of accessories for creating a stunning POS system comes in.

Take a look at what’s on offer below.

Square Register ($799)

Square calls it “the first fully integrated point of sale system”. We just call it convenient. With a second detachable screen, the Square Register allows your customers to view the payment amount, insert their card, and pay securely, stylishly, and with ease.

Cash drawer ($129 to 249)

You’ll be taking lots of card payments, but you’ll still need to accept cash, too. Square offers both USB and printer-driven cash drawers for even the most demanding of point of sale setups. Better still, a feature in Square’s app allows you to record cash transactions at no extra charge.

Receipt printer ($299)

Generate receipts quickly and efficiently with Square’s printer, available as an add-on. Packs of 25 rolls of the paper can also be purchased through Square for $49 (although you can probably find a cheaper deal elsewhere).

Square’s receipt printers connect to your device via USB, though a Bluetooth/Ethernet-equipped model is available for $359.

Barcode scanner ($119)

Scan barcodes, quickly find products, and streamline your whole sales process… In essence: it does what it says on the tin.

square review

Does Square Have Good Customer Reviews?

Square is highly rated by its customers online. It boasts an impressive Trustpilot rating of 4.5/5 (‘Excellent’), with 86% of reviewers awarding Square five stars, and a further 5% opting for four.

Here are a couple of reviews that really sum it up.

Customer review

My business has benefited immensely from using Square. It is everything at my fingertips. I can create estimates while out in the field and collect payments after invoicing. A great hassle free way to interact with my clients. Square has helped my business by way of their excellent products and services. (sic)

Alfonso Moore, Square user
- Source: Trustpilot
Customer review

As a salon owner having easy, quick and reliable service to help us keep our business running smoothly is very important. We have had square for 5 years and are very satisfied with every product that we have used. Our customers love the ease in checking out and making purchases. Very happy user!! (sic)

Chelsea Gibson, Square user
- Source: Trustpilot
Take me to Square's website

Our Methodology

Our research team compared 11 different card readers to find the best on the market. We focused on scoring each provider in the following areas:

Price – hardware fees, transaction fees, account fees, flexibility, and early termination fees were all taken into account to determine how affordable the provider was.
Payment options – the team assessed whether the provider offered a physical machine, online payments, virtual orders, and payment links.
Features – the features we focused on were invoicing, integrations, reporting, and multi-currency.
Compliance – this area looks at how compliant each provider is based on fund transfer times, PCI compliance, and fraud prevention measures.
Help and support – our team identified how much help and support each provider offered. This includes email, phone, and live chat support.
Customer score – this score is based on customer reviews and comments. The average of all of these scores is combined to make up an overall score for each provider.


We recommend Square for small businesses that want access to a comprehensive system. Square’s numerous integrations, insightful reporting, and invoicing tool make it suited to businesses owners that want something more than just a card reader. These feature helped it score an impressive 4.4/5 in our independent research.

If you’re still not sure Square is the provider for you, use our quick and free comparison tool. Through it, we’ll match you with the providers most suited to your needs, and they’ll be in touch with custom quotes for you to compare!

Square Review FAQs

Is Square credit card processing a good deal?
Square packs an extensive and insightful range of features in its readers. While it could have cheaper fees, it does provide a good deal for business owners looking to scale their business aided by data reports.
How much does Square charge for credit card transactions?
Square charges 2.6% + 10¢ for card present transactions, 2.9% + 30¢ for card not present ones (including invoices), and 3.5% + 15¢ for keyed in ones.
How much does Square cost per month?
Square charges no monthly fees in its Free plan, $29 per month in its Plus plan, and a custom price in its Premium plan.
How do I avoid Square fees?
There’s no way of avoiding Square’s fees while using their card readers. While certain payment methods can make you incur cheaper fees, there’ll always be a charge.
Is Square credit card processing safe?
Square is PCI-compliant, which means they take the standard security measures of the payment industry to protect your (and your customers’) data. Furthermore, Square’s proprietary tokenization scheme ensures that unencrypted payment data never touches the merchant’s hardware or software.
Written by:
Rob Binns
Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.
Reviewed by:
Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.