For any small business, accepting payments in an efficient manner is key. Whether you’re running a coffee shop, a clothing manufacturer, or a barbershop, the way you process payments has a large impact on the success of your business.
Payments have always been a key component of business success. But today, the way many businesses are accepting payments is changing. Gone are the days of expensive merchant accounts through a handful of large institutions. Today, business owners have more choice than ever when it comes to choosing a payment processing solution; just as customers have more choice when it comes to how to pay.
Dozens of payments startups have launched in recent years, with the goal to simplify payments. Square is one such company – and indeed, one of the most popular. Square offers a suite of business services, with Square Payments being their core offering.
In this Square Payments review, we will go over everything that you need to know about the service. We will cover pricing, features, pros and cons, and more.
Square Payments overview
Square Payments is a payments processing service from Square. It aims to help business owners accept card payments via credit card and debit card quickly, easily, and securely, using modern technology.
Like most payment processing platforms, Square charges a percentage of each transaction, starting at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. Their fees are in line with industry standards. Fortunately, there are no additional fees – no setup fee, no refund fees, no subscription or monthly costs. Square has no long-term contracts, so you are free to cancel at any time.
Square Payments offers payment solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes. For in-person transactions, a variety of payment hardware is available, from simple card readers to full-size point-of-sale systems.
With Square, you can accept in-person payments, online payments, remote payments, manually entered payments, and more. All major credit cards are accepted, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and more, whether they are chip cards or traditional swipe cards. Depending on the terminal you use, you should also be able to accept Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other contactless payments solutions.
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How Square Payments is different
There are hundreds of payment solutions available to small businesses. What makes Square different?
Setup in minutes
With Square, you can open an account online in just a few minutes. There are no lengthy applications, complex merchant accounts, or background checks. You can open a Square account and start accepting payments quickly, helping you focus on actually running your business.
Square charges a percentage of every transaction (processing fees), just like all competitors in the space. Their rates are very competitive with other options. Where they excel ahead of the competition is in other fees. There are no “hidden” fees, no monthly subscription costs, or other random fees. It’s very easy to know exactly what you will be paying with Square. That said, there are optional add-on services that can add additional costs (see pricing section below).
Many payment solutions lock you into multi-year contracts, but Square does not. There are no subscription costs, and no minimum time to use Square. You are free to cancel at any time, should you wish to use a different company, or your business closes down.
For many businesses, having quick access to cash flow is key. With Square, you can access funds immediately with the Square Card. Or, transfer funds to your bank account as soon as the next business day (for free), or instantly for a small fee.
Who Square Payments is best for
Square makes it incredibly easy to get set up and start accepting credit card payments. It’s an approachable service for new business owners. And since there are no startup costs (besides buying a Square POS or Square Stand – or opting for the free Magstripe reader), Square is feasible even for businesses that don’t yet have any revenue. And there are no monthly fees to worry about!
Businesses of any size
Square offers solutions for businesses of all sizes. Their primary offerings are designed for companies with up to $250,000 in revenue per year. For larger companies, Square offers custom pricing, which is often cheaper than their already-low rates.
In-person and online businesses
Whether you’re an in-person service provider, eCommerce shop, or physical retail operation, Square has solutions for you. Square makes it easy to accept payments online or offline, and even accept mobile payments on the go at farmer’s markets, events, and more.
Square Payments features
Square Payments offers many exciting features that are well worth exploring. Here are some of the most notable:
- Fast setup – Square can be set up in minutes, with no startup fees or lengthy application process.
- Fast access to funds – Use the free Square Card to access funds instantly, or transfer money to your bank in as little as one business day (or instantly, for a fee).
- Secure data transmission – Square uses the latest technology to ensure that every transaction is secure and private.
- Dispute management – For chargebacks and customer disputes, Square steps in to help for free. They cover the fees for issues they dispute.
- Fraud prevention – Square uses the best possible system for fraud prevention on every transaction.
- Free square reader – Square offers their basic Square Reader for free to new customers. More advanced POS systems cost extra.
- Offline mode – If you lose signal or connection, you can still run payments, and Square will process them once your device has a signal.
- Accounting integrations – Square integrates with accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero, making tax-time simpler.
- Full suite of business services – Square is much more than just a payments processing solution. They offer payroll services, loyalty programs, inventory management tools, and more.
Square Payments pricing
Square Payments has a simple, transparent pricing structure. There are no hidden fees or monthly subscription costs. The basic pricing structure depends on what type of payment is made.
In-person payments – 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
For all in-person payments, whether it’s a swipe, tap, or a dip, you will be charged 10 cents, plus 2.6% of the transaction.
Online payments – 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
For all online payments, whether it’s an invoice payment or a purchase made through Square Online Checkout, Square Online store, or an eCommerce transaction, you will be charged 30 cents, plus 2.9% of the transaction.
Manually entered – 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction
For payments where you manually enter the card information, like over-the-phone payments or card-on-file payments, you will be charged 15 cents, plus 3.5% of the transaction.
Custom pricing – contact for quote
For larger businesses with annual revenues of more than $250,000, custom pricing may be available. Rates depend on the type of business, the average sales volume, the previous relationship with Square, and other factors. You can contact Square for a custom quote at any time.
Equipment/point-of-sale – from $49
You’ll need to buy a payment processing system, whether it’s a simple Square Reader ($49) or a more advanced Square Terminal ($299), or Square Register ($799). Alternatively, some businesses can go with the Reader for Magstripe (free), which allows for swipe payments and requires the use of a mobile device such as an iPad.
Add-on service pricing
In addition to the standard per-transaction costs, Square has some optional add-on services. Keep in mind that these are all optional: There are no mandatory monthly costs with Square.
- Employee payroll – from $29/mo + $5 per employee per month
- Contractor payroll – from $5 per contractor per month
- Loyalty program – from $45 per month
- Email marketing – from $15 per month
- Gift cards – from $0.80 per gift card
Square Payments customer service
Square offers customer support, available via phone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time. However, they can be difficult to reach at times. Many users have complained of customer service contact info being buried on the website. In most cases, Square encourages customers to research and solve the issue themselves, before turning to support. There is an extensive help library available with FAQs, guides, and more. There is also a Merchant Community where you can ask questions and talk with other Square merchants.
The good news is that Square’s services work quite well, and are intuitive to use. The company is well rated on TrustPilot, Capterra, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Pros and cons of Square Payments
In most cases, businesses will want to choose a single payment provider to stick with long-term. As such, it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of Square Payments.
- Simple, transparent pricing
- No monthly costs
- No long term contracts
- No hidden fees
- Simple to use
- Free Square app
- Variety of POS systems and terminals available
- Secure and PCI compliant payment system
- Customer service representatives can be difficult to reach
- Costs are higher for card-not-present payments (like over the phone payments)