Square Review: Is Square Right for You?

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If you're a small business owner, retailer, or restauranteur, then Square may just be the powerful and user-friendly POS system you've been looking for. From its free software and cheap hardware to its paid-for options – read on to find out why our independent research team gives it a solid score of 4.8/5.

Looking for a POS system can be daunting, but if you fill in our free and simple comparison tool, we’ll quickly match you with trusted providers, who will contact you with custom and obligation-free quotes.

In this article, you’ll see the findings of our research on Square. We looked into features related to business development, stock management and ease of use – things you should be looking for when buying a POS system. Square tops our research ranking – and we’ll discuss what prompted this result below.

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0 out of 0

Square

4.8
Price

$0/month

Plus: $60/month

Best For

Overall

Key Features
  • Optimized floor plans
  • Kitchen display system
  • Online ordering

How Much Does Square Cost?

In its main iteration, Square’s software is free, but the provider charges transaction fees: 1.75% for in-store payments, and 2.5% for card not present ones. This makes it cheaper than Clover, which, depending on your plan, charges between 2.3% +10c and 2.6% +10c for in-store payments, and 3.5% +10c for card not present ones.

However, Square’s fees are higher than Shopify’s, which charges between 1.5% and 1.7% for in-store payments and 1.5% and 2% for card not present ones (again, depending on your plan). On its top plan (Plus), Shopify even waives the fee if you use its native payment platform and charges 0.3% if you use a third-party one.

Like Shopify, it doubles as an ecommerce platform and its transaction fees are slightly higher on their websites, which is worth bearing in mind.

Comparing different quotes will give you a better overview of what you could pay in total, and what for. By using our free quote tool, we will match you with the companies best suited to your needs so you can get started – it only takes a minute!

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Square’s Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Growth Add-Ons
  • Cheap Price

Cons

  • Till Could Be Better
  • Transaction Fee Build-Up
Square Loyalty graphics

Pro: Growth Add-Ons

Square offers helpful add-ons designed to drive sales and expand clientele. Square Marketing costs $11, $23, or $24 per month, depending on the number of contacts, and it enables the creation and monitoring of email campaigns.

Square Loyalty, costs $30, $53, or $77 per month, per location, depending on number of contacts. This can further deepen your relationship with regulars by offering a rewards programme.

You can also use Square to create a webstore and integrate it with your POS system – a great feature to have if you want to grow online. This is a service offered in four tiers, but  one of them is free.

Pro: Cheap Price

For what it packs into its main software suite – which is free – Square has solid cost-benefit. Not coincidentally, it scores a perfect 5/5 for price in our research. This ties it with Zettle, which also scores 5/5, and puts it in a better position than 10 other providers we surveyed, including Toast and Spoton.

If you have a compatible smartphone and one of its readers, Square allows you to start selling immediately with a low investment.. Plus, Square offers the cheapest reader among the companies we surveyed: it costs $19. All this makes it a great choice for small businesses.

Square hardware

Con: Till Could Be Better

While Square offers plenty of gear (four main pieces of hardware plus accessories), it’s not as varied when it comes to combining them. It only offers four hardware kits for you to assemble your till and, unlike Vend and Toast, it doesn’t offer a training mode.

While Square boasts being easy to use, a training feature would help with the introduction of new staff, especially in restaurants – an industry known for high turnovers.

It also only accepts seven major UK card types – three less than Zettle. Due to this, Square scored 4/5 on till in our research, one of the lowest scores this provider receives.

Con: Fee Build-up

When it comes to business owners using its free software, Square’s income relies on transaction fees.

As your business expands and deals with more sales, the fee build-up can become a hefty expense. For that reason, Square is not suitable for large businesses, which might benefit from having a merchant account and set up with custom rates.

This issue somewhat compromises Square’s scalability and should be paid attention to if you’re browsing for a POS system when your business is already large.

Square’s Key Features Explained

Business Development

Square’s main business development tools – Square Marketing and Square Loyalty – are not available with its free software, and require a monthly subscription. They do only cost  $11 and $29 per location, per month, respectively, they offer great value for money and are poised to drive growth.

Square Marketing allows you to choose from email templates and it can run on-brand campaigns, which you can also automate. Combined with the information from the POS system, you can even track campaign performance.

With Square Loyalty, you can create a database of your regular customers and automate contacts with them, offering rewards and pushing new sales. Vend has similar tools, but it charges more for this option: $46 per location, per month.

Stock Management

Square’s inventory control features are resourceful, even if not as extensive as the competition’s, and they come with the provider’s free software. With them, you can keep track of your stock level, modify items straight from the program’s dashboard and schedule automatic restocks.

You can easily import your inventory spreadsheets into the app (and also export it), and it’ll tell you when you’re running low on items via a daily report.

Shopify offers more granular reports – you can see the history of adjustments to an item, for example – but it doesn’t offer a free plan like Square.

Ease of Use

Square’s intuitive layout is a major selling point for the provider. The set up can be completed by the user, without the need to call in a technician. An added plus is that the software updates automatically.

The interface is clear and makes it easy for new users to grasp the system. Most operations involving inventory are picture-assisted and the dashboard – crucial for managers – is all based on clear graphs, so information is available at a glance. Plus, the hardware is also straightforward – although this is in keeping with industry standards.

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What Kind of Business Is Square Best For?

Small business owners using Square

Small Businesses

Small businesses are poised to benefit from Square’s free software, their low-cost hardware and the plentiful features that come with them. With a compatible smartphone in hand, you could invest as little as $19 + VAT. This will allow you to take payments, create invoices, issue gift cards, and access detailed reports on your sales.

In our research into the best POS systems for small businesses, Square came out on top, scoring 4.8/5. This was a result anchored by its price and predictable flat-rate fees – features beneficial to startups and new businesses testing the waters.

Retail

Square POS Retail

Retailers will be appeased by Square for Retail – a variation of Square’s main software that is tailored to their needs. As it befits this type of business, it’s very focused on stock and inventory control.

While it has a free version, the bulk of its features are only offered if you sign up for the Plus ($57/month per location) or Premium (tailored pricing) plans.

These include barcode label printing, inventory counting, and auto-generated purchase orders to replenish low stock. If you’re running a business across multiple locations, it allows you to move stock across them.

Restaurants

Square restaurant software

Square also has its own hospitality-focused variation – Square for Restaurants – which makes it a pretty good match for restauranteurs. Scoring 4.7/5, it topped our ranking of best POS systems for this industry.

Like its retail counterpart, the features that make it worth it are absent from the free version, only appearing on its Plus ($80 per month, per location) and Premium (tailored pricing) plans.

The paid versions allow you to link an unlimited number of devices to the Square Kitchen Display System, which manages orders via digital back-of-house tickets.

In addition to this, you'll gain access to the advanced version of Square’s team management platform, allowing you to track the activity and performance of your staff.

How Does Square Compare to Its Competitors?

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0 out of 0

Square

Talech

Epos Now

Zettle

4.8
4.3
4.3
4.0
3.8
4.0
3.7
Price

$0/month

Plus: $60/month

Price

$0 – $99/month

Price

From $69/month

Price

From $69/month

Price

Hardware averages $484 (one-off payment)

Software starts from $17 (monthly fee)

Price
  • Starter – $0
  • Restaurants Basics – $110/month
  • Essentials – $165/month
  • Custom – bespoke
Price
  • Card transactions – 1.75%
  • First reader: $29 (additional readers: $79)
Key Features
  • Optimized floor plans
  • Kitchen display system
  • Online ordering
Key Features
Key Features
  • Scalable
  • Delivery and contactless online ordering
  • Advanced insights
Key Features
  • Loyalty schemes
  • Table monitoring
  • Process every payment type
Key Features
  • Accounting software integrations
  • Streamlined ordering system
  • Connect to major delivery apps
Key Features
  • Caters to quick & full service
  • Contactless ordering
  • Marketing
  • Payroll & team management
Key Features
  • Card/cash payments
  • Reports
  • Gift cards
  • Discounts
  • Staff management

Price

Square is one of the cheapest – and best – POS systems out there, which is something that showed up consistently in our research.

Its $0 price tag for its software puts it in the same league as Toast and Zettle, but makes it cheaper than all the other nine companies we surveyed, like Epos Now, which charges $39/month. Plus, it greatly reduces the overall cost of the POS system.

Even in its paid variations, Square still offers great value for money. For instance, Square for Restaurant’s Plus costs $69/month, the same as TouchBistro, but it includes features like the Kitchen Display System, which TouchBistro charges extra for.

Features

When it comes to features, Square offers a lot of industry standards, but it does so in an extensive way.

Its reports, which include sales summary, employee sales, and payment trends, are comprehensive when compared to that of Lightspeed and Talech.

It also has more staff performance tracking tools than Epos Now and Toast, although they don’t include payroll details, like TouchBistro’s do.

For a monthly fee, you can develop a loyalty programme on Square, something that Toast and Zettle lack.

In addition, Square allows you to build an online store from scratch and integrate it with its POS system. Among the 12 companies we surveyed, this trait is only shared with Shopify.

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Does Square Have Good Customer Reviews?

Square ranks consistently high among several customer review databases, scoring 4.1/5 on Trustpilot, for example.

However, customers did report issues when trying to integrate with pre-existing websites. A few recent reviews on Trustpilot also mention Square’s alleged seizing of funds.

Customer review

I trusted Square would be fit for purpose but have found the transactions, although registering on my Square are not registering on my reports and I am not receiving the money for items sold. No money has gone into my bank all week and as money has not been registered it has disappeared. In effect, many customers are paying for items but not arriving in my account and no record of it. […] I can't trust Square, my money is going somewhere but not in my account. The reports are not accurate and the system is not fit for purpose! (sic)

Janette Donoghue, Square user
- Source: Trustpilot

That said, Square consistently replies to reviews, both good and bad, and its response to the one quoted above was this:

Customer review

Hi Janette. Thanks for taking the time to write this review. We're sorry to hear you have not yet received your transfers. It sounds like there may be an issue with your linked bank account. Square requires that all accounts have a transactional bank linked with a direct debit mandate in place that allows for transfers and withdrawals. Any payments taken on your Square account will remain in your Square balance until you have a linked and verified bank account. (sic)

Square, customer service representative
- Source: Trustpilot

The majority of reviews on all the databases we looked into was positive, praising Square’s ease of use and quick set up. Its ability to create and send invoices was also highlighted.

Customer review

It's just so intuitive! This is a very well designed system, beautifully integrated and customisable to your business needs. Yes, you might pay slightly more on fees than stand-alone card readers, but to have everything linked eliminates a lot of paperwork. It's so easy to update, even remotely, that means you can adapt quickly to changing business conditions. Excellent system. (sic)

Michael Pickford, Square user
- Source: Trustpilot
Verdict

Combining low price and detailed reporting, it should come as no surprise that Square scores a superb 4.8/5 in our research into the best POS systems in the UK. It’s easy to use and its business development tools are excellent for driving growth.

We would highly recommend this POS system to small businesses and, because it includes industry specific variations, it would also be a great choice for retailers and restaurateurs.

To support our own research, we also gathered feedback from Square’s user base. Taking into account the scores provided across five major review aggregators, it averaged an impressive 4.1/5.

If you’re still unsure if Square’s the right POS system for you and your business, use our quick and free comparison tool. We’ll then match you with the providers most suited to your needs. They will be in touch with tailored, obligation-free quotes!

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Square Review FAQs

Is Square trustworthy?
Yes. Square has been up and running for 13 years and operates in several countries. The reviews we gathered online give Square an overall rating of 4.1/5, showing their satisfaction and trust in the provider. This is one of the reasons why we’re not shy to recommend it.
Is Square a good app to use?
Yes. It scored 4.8/5 in our research and its ease of use was praised by customers. It includes many reporting and growth features for a low investment, which is particularly appealing to small businesses.
How do I get my money from Square?
Square transfers money from payments directly to the account you link it to within one business day – and no action from you is required. If you need the money faster than that, you can request an instant transfer and have it within 20 minutes. For this service, Square charges you a fee of 1% (on top of the regular transaction one). It’s worth noting that the provider only accepts these requests for amounts between $50 and $2,500.