Square is a major global payment processing platform that allows businesses to accept payments in person, online, and over the phone. They process over $100bn annually.

Square is one of the best ways to start taking payments for your business because they’re:

  • Simple – All of their card machines are easy to set up and operate, even with no prior experience.
  • Affordable – Square offers competitive transaction fees of 1.7% with no monthly fees or long-term contracts.
  • Versatile – Get paid in-person, online, via an invoice or over the phone.
  • Quick to Pay – Square offers fast next-day funding so you can get access to your earnings quickly.
  • Secure – Strong encryption and fraud prevention tools protect your data and keep customers safe.
  • 30-Day Trial – Try Square’s subscription services for free for 30 days.

Below, my detailed review takes a much closer look at Square’s features, pricing, and security to help you decide if it is the right way for your business to take payments.

As someone who has examined the business payments marketplace very closely, I will also let you know how Square compares to major competitors like Zettle, Revolut or Dojo so you can make the best decision.

Visit Square
  • Ease of Use
  • Affordability
  • Hardware
  • Security

Or you can read our article here summarising the best card machines for business in 2023.

Square Review: Payments and POS

Square Review: My Verdict

Square’s range of payment options is great for small and medium-sized businesses; in fact, it’s one of my top choices. You can take payments in-store, online, or even through invoices, giving you the flexibility to operate in different settings.

The software and hardware choices Square offers make it easy to manage both sales and inventory. This is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to have all their essential operations streamlined through a single interface.

Pricing is straightforward with a pay-as-you-go model. This is a big plus for smaller businesses concerned about hidden costs. However, for businesses with higher sales volumes, Square’s flat processing fees can add up and become costly. Larger companies might also find the platform’s customization options limiting.

Security is a strong point for Square; they use industry-leading encryption and fraud prevention tools. Plus, being PCI-DSS compliant provides an added layer of assurance. However, it’s worth noting that some businesses have reported issues with sudden account suspensions, which can be disruptive.

Customer support was always impressive during my testing. Square offers a variety of self-service resources, which are generally convenient. However, one one or two occasions, I found the response time a little slow.

I also love Square’s wide range of integrations, allowing you to sync up with other important business platforms easily.

In summary, Square is doing a lot right and it gets my vote for small and medium-sized businesses in need of a simple, transparent payment system. However, if you’re a higher-volume merchant (above £5000 per month, you might want to look into other options with interchange-plus pricing models.

Pros and Cons of Square


  • The basic Square reader device is the cheapest on the market at £19.
  • Easy and quick setup process
  • Intuitive interface that is easy to navigate
  • Real-time sales tracking provides visibility into revenue and tickets sold
  • Ability to accept payments anywhere with mobile card readers
  • Low upfront costs with no monthly fees
  • Good for small or seasonal businesses with a transaction model
  • Transfers funds to bank quickly, usually within 1-2 days
  • Accepts multiple payment types – chip, tap, swipe, and digital wallets
  • Provides customizable invoices and receipts
  • Useful inventory management and order tracking features
  • Generates reports and summaries for bookkeeping
  • Allows creating multiple staff accounts with selective permissions
  • Widely trusted and used by customers in many industries
  • Excellent and responsive customer support


  • Hardware can be bulky or awkwardly designed
  • Chip card functionality can be inconsistent
  • Limitations in customizing sales reports and summaries
  • Additional fees for certain modules and features
  • Account security issues or sudden suspensions in some cases
  • Lack of flexibility in taking money out of Square account
  • Hidden fees and lack of transparency in account setup process
  • Support agents sometimes just provide generic or template responses
  • Poor onboarding experience with lack of sales team contact
  • Limitations in using Square internationally or offline
  • Inability to process high risk or certain business categories
  • Add-on pricing not competitive compared to standalone services

Square: Overview

Square payments

Square gives you a lot of ways to take payments, not just in person but also online and over the phone.

First, let’s talk about taking payments on your website. Square provides a straightforward way to integrate its payment system into your online store. Its own standalone website offering is somewhat basic, though, so you’re better off integrating it with your existing site rather than using their own e-commerce platform. If you’re a Shopify user, it’s as easy as adding the Square APP, or, in WordPress, you can download the plugin for one-click installation.

Invoicing with Square is also simple. You can send invoices right from the app or your computer, and they look professional. But be aware that if you send a lot of invoices, the fees can add up. The invoice itself can be generated and sent for free, but once the customer pays the invoice online via credit or debit card, Square’s standard processing fee for online transactions is applied.

Taking payments over the phone is also straightforward with Square. You just key in the customer’s card details into the system, and you’re good to go. It’s handy but remember, the fees for this are higher than if the customer swipes their card in person.

Lastly, if you’re tech-savvy, you can use Square’s API to get it working just the way you want with your own app or website.

Square Features

The following section delineates the features and services offered by Square Payments.

Card Payment AcceptanceAccepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.
Contactless Payment OptionsSupports NFC payments including Apple Pay, Google Pay
Quick Payment ProcessingOption for same-day payments
Inventory ManagementReal-time tracking and low-stock alerts
Data Analytics DashboardUser-friendly interface for sales insights
Gift Cards & Loyalty ProgramsFully customisable
Phone PaymentsManual card information entry
API and Software IntegrationFree APIs and SDKs for custom integrations
Variety of Card ReadersDifferent models available at multiple price points
Seamless POS IntegrationSquare POS app compatible with various hardware options
Online Payment SolutionsFree online store setup, social media sales channels
Remote Payment OptionsDigital invoices and checkout links available

Square Appointments

Square Appointments is a cloud-based tool made for businesses to manage bookings, customers, and staff. It’s easy to use and helps businesses organize their work and make more money.

Key Features:

  • Online Booking: Lets customers book appointments online at any time.
  • Reminders: Sends email and text reminders to customers so they don’t forget appointments.
  • Recurring Appointments: Allows setting up regular appointments for customers.
  • Manage Multiple Locations: Handle appointments for more than one place from one dashboard.
  • Staff Management: Make staff profiles and set their work hours and services.
  • Take Payments: Use Square to take payments both online and in person.
  • Reports: Make reports to understand how your business is doing.

Square for Retail

Square for Retail is a tool to help shops manage products, sales, and customers. It’s designed to make retail work easier and help businesses make more money.

Key Features:

  • Manage Products: Add and update product info, pricing, and how much you have in stock.
  • Take Payments: Use Square’s tools to take credit cards, debit cards, and other payments.
  • Keep Track of Stock: Know what’s in stock and get alerts when it’s time to reorder.
  • Customer Info: Store information about customers and their buying habits.
  • Reports: Create reports to see how well your shop is doing.

Square for Restaurants

Square for Restaurants is designed just for restaurant needs. It has features to help organize the restaurant and give customers a better experience.

Key Features:

  • Table Management: Keep track of tables and reservations.
  • Manage Menus: Add and update food and drink items easily.
  • Kitchen Display: Send orders to the kitchen and see their status.
  • Staff Management: Make staff profiles and set their roles.
  • Take Payments: Use Square to handle payments in different ways.
  • Reports: Create reports to understand how the restaurant is doing

Square POS System Review

Square POS System

On the positive side, Square is incredibly easy to set up and intuitive to use on a daily basis. The interface is clean and simple enough for even non-tech savvy staff to learn with minimal training. Square also makes the payment process seamless – their mobile card readers are convenient, portable, and integrate well across online and offline sales channels.

The basic POS features Square offers for free cover most needs for a small business like inventory management, applying discounts, email receipts etc. The pay-as-you-go pricing model is beneficial for lean startups as you only pay processing fees rather than monthly subscription costs.

However, more advanced users may find Square POS lacking in some aspects. The internal reporting and analytics capabilities are quite basic and less customizable compared to higher-end systems. While Square integrates with many third-party platforms, some users may miss having native advanced features like customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, or warehouse management functions.

Also, while customer service is generally responsive, I wish they had more POS-specific support and on-boarding guidance beyond the DIY approach. Some users have also complained about sudden account suspensions and holding of funds by Square without sufficient explanation.

Square Software Features

Square’s POS software is cloud-based and loaded with an array of functionalities:

  • Payment Flexibility: Accepts payments in multiple formats—be it in-store, online, through invoices, or over the phone—with integrated credit card processing.
  • Comprehensive Reporting: Offers detailed sales and profit reporting along with customer purchase history for better business insights.
  • Inventory Management: Features low stock alerts and barcode scanning, allowing for efficient stock control.
  • Customer Engagement: Allows the creation of customer profiles and loyalty programs to enhance customer retention.
  • Employee Administration: Manages employee schedules, payroll, and permissions, thus streamlining operational workflows.
  • Order Management: Suitable for businesses offering delivery services, as it aids in seamless order handling.
  • eCommerce Integration: Helps in unifying online and offline sales, making it a true multi-channel solution.
  • Additional Features: Includes optional add-ons like email marketing and accounting software integrations.
  • Customer Support: Offers round-the-clock support through phone, email, and community forums.

Square Hardware Options

Square provides a range of hardware solutions tailored to meet your specific needs:

  • Square Reader: Priced at £19+VAT, it accepts chip, PIN, and contactless payments, featuring wireless connectivity.
  • Square Terminal: At £229+VAT, this all-in-one wireless device accepts payments and prints receipts.
  • Square Stand: Priced at £64+VAT, it converts an iPad into a full-fledged POS system by adding a card reader.
  • Square Register: At £479+VAT, this Android-based POS comes with integrated payments, a barcode scanner, and a customer-facing display.
  • Additional Hardware: Optional cash drawers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners are also available for added convenience.

Square Software Pricing

The software itself is free, with transaction fees as follows:

  • 1.75% for in-person payments using chip, PIN, or contactless methods.
  • 2.5% for online payments and invoices.

There are no monthly fees or long-term contracts. Custom pricing is available for high-volume merchants processing over £200k annually.

Should I Use the Square Card Reader? My Review

For many small businesses, the entry point to Square is their Card reader, a small, portable device that allows businesses to accept card and contactless payments through a mobile device.

So how good is it?

After testing it, my sense is that the Square card reader is a nifty tool with a lot to recommend it. One of the best parts is how simple it is to start using it. You just plug it into your phone or tablet and you can start taking card payments right away. The reader itself only costs £19, which is a pretty low one-time cost.

It’s also quick to put money into your bank account, usually in just 1-2 days. This can be really helpful for small businesses that need fast access to their cash. Plus, it works really well with Square’s own free software for taking payments and tracking sales, making it a good all-around tool for your business.

However, it’s not all good news. The fee for each sale you make is 1.75%, which might be higher than other options out there like Revolut at 0.7%. Also, customers have to enter their PIN on your device screen because there’s no separate keypad. This might not be ideal for some people.

If your business is in an industry that gets a lot of chargebacks, or if Square thinks there’s a high risk of fraud, you might find that they hold onto your money for longer periods.

So, is the Square card reader worth it? For new and small businesses, it’s a great way to start taking card payments without a lot of hassle or cost. But keep in mind that as your sales grow, you might find better options that cost less in fees.

How Secure is Square?

Square Payments takes security very seriously and uses a variety of measures to protect businesses and their customers, as follows:

  • End-to-end encryption: All transactions are encrypted from the point of sale to Square’s servers, using industry-standard encryption methods. This helps to protect sensitive data from being intercepted.
  • PCI compliance: Square is fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which is a set of security requirements designed to protect credit card data. This means that Square has taken the necessary steps to protect customer data.
  • Two-factor authentication: Square offers two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to your account. With two-factor authentication, you will need to enter a code from your phone in addition to your password when logging in.
  • Fraud monitoring: Square uses advanced fraud monitoring tools to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. These tools help to protect businesses from financial losses.
  • Employee access controls: Square allows businesses to control who has access to sensitive data. This helps to prevent unauthorized access to customer data.
  • Customer information protection: Square stores customer data in a secure environment. This data is encrypted and protected from unauthorized access.

Square Pricing & Costs

Square Payments has a transparent and straightforward fee structure. There are no hidden fees or monthly charges.

Transaction TypeFee
Contactless, Chip and PIN, Swiped1.75%
Manually Keyed-In, Recurring, Invoices2.5%
UK Cards (Online Payment Products)1.4% + 25p
Non-UK Cards (Online Payment Products)2.5% + 25p
Account ActivationNo Fee
Early TerminationNo Fee
Interchange FeesNo Fee
Chargeback FeesNo Fee
Cash PaymentsNo Fee
Account InactivityNo Fee
PCI ComplianceNo Fee

Fee invoicing and monitoring: Square allows you to view your current processing rates and fees at any time from your online Square Dashboard. Fees are deducted before each transfer and are not billed on a monthly basis.

Here are some additional things to consider when evaluating Square Payments fees:

  • Volume discounts: Square offers volume discounts for businesses that process a high volume of transactions.
  • Surcharges: Square allows businesses to add a surcharge to their prices to cover the cost of processing fees.
  • International fees: Square charges additional fees for processing transactions in certain countries.

Square Payments Setup Guide

If you’re looking to integrate Square Payments into your business operations, understanding the setup process is essential for a smooth transition. This guide aims to walk you through each critical step.

Hardware Setup

  1. Choose Your Hardware: Depending on your needs, select from Square’s range of card readers, terminals, or complete POS systems.
  2. Install the Hardware: Most Square hardware options are plug-and-play. Simply connect the device to a power source and your network.

Software Configuration

  1. Download the Square Point of Sale App: Available for both iOS and Android devices, the Square POS app is where you’ll manage most of your day-to-day operations.
  2. Configure Settings: Open the app and go through the initial setup process. You’ll be prompted to enter business details, set preferences, and possibly run a test transaction.

Online Integration

  1. Select an eCommerce Platform: If your business operates online, you’ll want to integrate Square with your online storefront. Square is compatible with many popular eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce.
  2. Follow the Platform-Specific Instructions: Once you’ve chosen an eCommerce platform, follow the specific installation guidelines for integrating Square as your payment processor.

Employee Training

  1. Familiarise Staff with Interface: The Square POS app is generally intuitive, but ensuring that all employees are comfortable with its functionalities is crucial.
  2. Set Employee Permissions: Square allows you to define roles and permissions for different staff members, enabling better control and security.

What’s the Customer Service like at Square?

Customer service quality is big factor when choosing a payment processing system, as timely and effective support can dramatically influence your day-to-day operations. Square Payments offers multiple channels as follows:

  • Online Help Centre: A well-stocked repository of articles and FAQs, ideal for solving common issues without requiring human intervention.
  • Live Chat Support: Available during business hours, the live chat feature is useful for quick queries and minor issues.
  • Phone Support: Provides a more personal touch and is better suited for resolving complex issues or emergencies.
  • Email Support: Suitable for non-urgent queries, with response times usually within 24 hours.

While Square Payments offers a range of customer support options, it’s important to note that some business owners have reported varying levels of satisfaction with the service. Be sure to check if the type of support you require—be it 24/7 phone service or extensive self-help resources—is adequately provided by Square.

Square Payments Reporting and Analytics

Data-driven insights are indispensable for any business aiming to refine its operations and improve profitability. Square Payments provides robust reporting and analytics tools designed to furnish you with valuable data.

  • Sales Summary: A detailed breakdown of sales activity, segmented by time period, location, or even specific items.
  • Inventory Reports: Keep track of stock levels and identify trends to make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Employee Performance: Evaluate staff productivity by tracking sales against hours worked.
  • Customer Engagement: Monitor customer behaviour, including frequency of visits and average spend, to tailor marketing strategies effectively.
  • Payment Methods: Analyse the popularity of different payment methods among your customers, which can guide your future infrastructure investments.

Square’s reporting and analytics suite is generally considered comprehensive and user-friendly. However, it may not offer the depth of analysis that some businesses with more complex data analytics needs might require. For those cases, integration with external analytics tools may be necessary.

Square reader

Square Payments Integrations

Square Payments has made sure its platform is compatible with a variety of third-party applications. Here’s a selection:

  • Accounting Software: QuickBooks, Xero, and other accounting platforms are easily integrated, facilitating streamlined financial management.
  • Inventory Management: Connect with popular inventory systems like Shopventory or Stitch Labs to maintain accurate stock levels across platforms.
  • eCommerce Platforms: Compatibility with leading online storefronts like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce allows for an integrated omnichannel experience.
  • Employee Management: Integrate with HR solutions for efficient staff scheduling, time tracking, and payroll management.
  • Marketing Tools: Sync your customer data with marketing platforms like Mailchimp to run targeted campaigns effectively.

What Payments Methods does Square support?

Square Payments offers a variety of payment methods to accommodate the needs of businesses of all sizes.

  • Card payments: Square Payments accepts all major credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB.
  • Contactless payments: Square Payments supports contactless payments using Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other NFC-enabled payment methods.
  • Manual entry: Square Payments allows businesses to manually enter credit card information for payments over the phone or when the physical card is not present.
  • Invoicing: Square Payments allows businesses to send digital invoices to customers, which they can pay online.
  • Online checkout links: Square Payments allows businesses to create clickable links that customers can use to make payments online.
  • ACH payments: Square Payments offers ACH payments for businesses that need to accept payments from bank accounts.
  • Direct bank transfers: Square Payments offers direct bank transfers for businesses that need to accept payments from bank accounts.

Square Payments Card Readers and Hardware

Selecting the right hardware is pivotal for a seamless point-of-sale experience. Square Payments provides a range of hardware options designed to cater to various business needs:

  • Square Reader: A pocket-sized card reader that pairs with mobile devices for a portable payment solution.
  • Square Terminal: A standalone device that combines card reading and receipt printing functionalities, ideal for small retailers or service providers.
  • Square Register: A fully integrated point-of-sale system with a customer-facing display, tailored for more extensive retail setups.
  • Additional Accessories: Cash drawers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners can be purchased separately and integrated easily with Square’s main hardware units.

Square Payments’ hardware options are generally lauded for their ease of use and stylish design. However, businesses with more complex point-of-sale requirements may need to consider additional hardware solutions that can integrate with Square’s system.

Square Payments Invoicing

Square Payments provides a comprehensive invoicing system with the following key features:

  • Custom Invoices: Ability to create branded, detailed invoices directly within the Square app.
  • Automated Reminders: Sends automated follow-ups to customers for unpaid invoices, reducing the manual workload.
  • Invoice Tracking: Allows you to monitor the status of sent invoices, including when they are viewed and paid.
  • Payment Scheduling: Provides options for customers to make partial payments or set up a payment schedule.
  • Instant Payments: As soon as the invoice is paid, the funds are available in your Square account.

Square Reviews

Overall the Trustpilot reviews for Square seem largely positive, with a 4.1 star score of ‘great’ over more than 2100 reviews.

Most negative critiques relate to specific pain points like customer support wait times. Many customers highlight the easy setup and transparent fees as big pros.

Positive Reviews:

  • 80% of the reviews are 5 stars. Many customers mention easy setup, fast payments, great customer service.
  • Customers like the versatility for seasonal businesses or taking occasional payments. No monthly fees, only pay per transaction.
  • Appreciate the fast next-day funding and instant deposit options.
  • Positive mentions of the hardware like readers and point of sale being easy to use.

Negative Reviews:

  • 12% are 1-star reviews. The main complaints are around customer support issues like long wait times.
  • Some experiences of accounts being suddenly suspended without explanation.
  • Frustration with hardware failures and warranty/replacement process.
  • A few complaints about high card fees, though some got them lowered.
  • Some limitations are mentioned, such as the fact there’s no ability to accept deposits or preauthorize cards.
  • A couple of the reviews cited issues with integrated services like Weebly website builder after Square’s acquisition.


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