Square and Zettle are two giants in the payment processing world, known for their user-friendly card readers and comprehensive payment platforms.

In this article, I’ll offer a side-by-side comparison, shedding light on which to choose.

Square vs Zettle: Which is the Best Payment System?

Square vs Zettle: My Verdict

For most small and medium-sized businesses, Square has a slight edge over Zettle. Their entry-level card reader is the cheapest on the market at just £19.  Striking the right balance between affordability and functionality, Square has a comprehensive range of advanced features, including optional add-ons and 3rd party integrations.

However, choosing the right payment system for your business depends on several factors, including the nature of your industry, turnover, and your customer’s payment method preference.

For example, Square offers a lower transaction rate of 1.4% + 25p for online payments made with UK-issued cards. However, if you accept online payments from non-UK cards, Zettle’s flat rate of 1.75% would offer better value for money.

Similarly, Zettle will provide bespoke rates for businesses that process at least £10,000 per year in card transactions. However, Square will only offer their custom rates if you have an annual turnover of at least £200,000. 

Despite these situations, Square remains one of the best entry-level payment systems on the market, backed up by class-leading software.

FeatureSquareSmall businesses wanting a feature-rich free e-commerce plan
Overall Score4.7/54.4/5
Monthly FeesZeroZero
Card Reader Cost£19 + VAT£29 + VAT
Card Present Transaction Fees1.75%1.75%
Free TrialYesYes
Customer SupportEmail, live chat, phone support (working hours only)Email, live chat, phone support (working hours only)
Suitable for Retail and Hospitality?YesYes
Terminal Pricing£149 + VAT£149 + VAT
Cards AcceptedAll major credit/debit cards, Apple, Google, and Samsung PayAll major credit/debit cards, Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay
Minimum Sales VolumeNo minimum, £1-£1,000 transaction rangeNo minimum, £1-£2,500 transaction range
Ecommerce PaymentsSupportedSupported
Payment LinksAvailableAvailable

Square Reader vs Zettle Reader

Square’s Reader is the cheaper option, boasting the lowest market price for its ultra-portable design, and supports cheaper online payments for European cards. It’s ideal for mobile payments but lacks a physical keypad and support for JCB, UnionPay, Discover, and Diners Club cards.

On the other hand, the Zettle Card Reader 2 features a tougher build and, supports a wider range of payment options, including JCB and UnionPay. One notable downside is its lack of a virtual terminal, limiting phone payments.

Square stands out for its comprehensive software solutions, offering more flexibility and integration options through its App Marketplace. Zettle also integrates well with major platforms but Square’s native ecommerce features add significant value for businesses looking to expand online.

Security-wise, both ensure customer data protection through PCI compliance and encryption. Customer support is comparable, offering essential services without 24/7 availability.

In terms of costs, Square’s card reader and transaction fees are lower, especially for online transactions, providing a cost-effective solution for businesses prioritizing budget and flexibility. While both are scalable, high-volume businesses might find better rates elsewhere.

Ultimately, Square slightly edges out with its affordability, comprehensive features, and flexibility.

Accepted PaymentsVisa, Mastercard, American Express, Maestro, Visa Electron, Vpay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, digital gift cards.Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Visa Electron Diners Club, JCB, Discover, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, gift cards
Tap to Pay
TransfersNext business day as standard or instantly for 1% feeFunds arrive in PayPal Business accounts within minutes. Bank transfers within 1-2 business days of transaction date + bank processing time.
Additional FeaturesCheckout customisation, eCommerce support, inventory management, order management and reportingCheckout customisation, eCommerce support, inventory management, staff management, reporting
Add OnsAppointments, KDS, loyalty, invoices, physical gift cards, marketing and team management
Specialised SoftwareFor Retail and Restaurants

Square vs Zettle: Cost

POS Fee£0£0
Add OnsAppointments £0-£69/mo,
KDS £15+/device,
Loyalty £25-£65/mo,
Invoices £0-£20/mo,
Gift Cards 52p+/card,
Marketing £9-£29/mo,
Team Mgmt £0-£20/location
In-person Transaction Rate1.75%1.75%
Online Payment Transaction Rate UK CardsUK Cards – 1.4% + 25p
Non-UK Cards – 2.5% + 25p
Payment Links – 2.5% Other Methods – 1.75%
Manually Keyed-In Transaction Rate2.5%
Chargebacks£0Free up to £250 per month
Bespoke RatesFor card turnovers £200,000+For card turnovers £10,000+

Is Square or Zettle Cheaper?

Square generally offers better value for most businesses, but Zettle could be cheaper under certain conditions. Both have a 1.75% in-person transaction fee, but Square’s online transaction fee is lower at 1.4% for UK cards, making it more affordable for domestic online sales. However, Zettle’s 1.7% rate for international payments is more economical for businesses dealing heavily in overseas transactions.

Zettle also provides bespoke rates for businesses with an annual card turnover as low as £10,000, compared to Square’s £200,000 threshold for custom pricing. While Square requires additional payments for premium features like loyalty schemes and advanced team management, Zettle includes staff management without extra costs or advanced add-ons.

Both don’t charge for refunds or chargebacks, but Zettle offers limited chargeback protection up to £250 monthly, a potential downside for high-volume businesses.

In summary, Square is more cost-effective for small UK-based transactions and businesses processing less than £10,000 annually. For those with significant international sales or processing over £10,000 yearly, Zettle may offer better financial benefits.

Square vs Zettle: Hardware

Register£599 + VAT
Terminal£149 + VATFrom £149 + VAT
Card Reader£19 + VATFrom £59 + VAT
KitsFrom £339 + VATFrom £189 + VAT

Square offers a wider range of hardware options suitable for various business setups, including a comprehensive Register perfect for retail and hospitality, offering a blend of POS and payment systems that’s easy to set up.

For mobility, both Square and Zettle have similarly priced all-in-one POS terminals (£149 + VAT), but Square’s Terminal features Wi-Fi and Offline Mode for uninterrupted transactions, while Zettle’s terminal is designed for mobile use with included 3G/4G data.

Square’s card reader is also more affordable and pairs with a broader range of compatible accessories like scales and kitchen display systems, compared to Zettle’s more limited and pricier hardware choices.

Despite Zettle’s lower-priced bundled kits, Square’s extensive hardware options and accessories make it a more versatile choice for diverse business needs.

Square vs Zettle: Integrations

Type of IntegrationSquareZettle
AccountingXero, Quickbooks, Sage and more.ANNA, QuickBooks and Xero
Booking & SchedulingWix Bookings, GoDaddy Appointments, Booxi, Planday and more.
Delivery & OrdersDeliverect, Otter, TapTable, Mr Yum and more.Vita Mojo
eCommerce,WooCommerce, Ecwid, BigCommerce, Magento and more.Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce and more.
InventoryThrive Inventory, DEAR Systems, Yellow Dog Inventory and more.
Loyalty & RewardsGift Up!, TapMango, Digital Loyalty and more.
MarketingMailchimp, Local Inventory on Google, Trustpilot Reviews, LiveChat and more.
POSTouchBistro, Goodtill, Shopwave, Magestore and Rentrax.Goodtill, Hike, Lightspeed, Timely, Vend and more.
Team ManagementDeputy and Staffology Payroll.Tanda and Timely

Best for Integrations: Square

Square offers far more 3rd party integrations than Zettle, making it a better choice if you want the convenience of managing your whole business from a single platform.

From delivery through Mr Yum to marketing with Mailchimp, Square offers an impressive range of integrations that allow you to expand your payment system and transform it into an all-in-one solution.

While Zettle offers some integrations with popular 3rd party software such as Xero, Shopify and Lightspeed, it doesn’t have the same range as Square, including no scheduling, inventory, loyalty or marketing integrations. 

Unless you need to integrate your payment system with Lightspeed or Shopify, Square is the more convenient choice. 

Square Vs Zettle Reviews

Square has a higher Trustpilot rating than Zettle, with 80% of reviewers rating it 5 out of 5.  Many customers have commented on Square’s “straightforward” set-up, “user-friendly” interface and “prompt” payment transfers. However, there have also been issues with customer service responsiveness and delayed fund transfers.

Zettle’s customers have given it an “average” score of 2.9, with only 59% rating it 5 out of 5. Some customers were “disappointed” with their service, commenting on issues with terminals, warranty problems and “high costs”.

However, others had a more positive experience, with “excellent” and “helpful” customer service”.

Square vs Zettle: Security Measures

PCI Compliance
Data EncryptionAll card-present payments are encrypted from end to end.Card data is encrypted by HSMs cryptographic servers
Fraud Protection2-step verification for online credit and debit card payments. Machine learning adjusts an algorithm to forecast fraud trends.Fraud team will contact you about suspicious activity.24/7  fraud monitoring, with accounts linked to suspicious activity being terminated and blocked.
Hardware & Software2-step account verification. Control employee permissions.PCI PTS 4.1 tamperproof design means card readers will self-destruct if someone tries to interfere with it.
DisputesNo fee for chargebacksDedicated team for queries.Manage disputes from the Disputes Dashboard. Square will communicate with the bank and inform you of what needs to be done.Transaction protection covers up to £250 in eligible monthly chargebacks, not including manual card entry.

Square surpasses Zettle in security features, offering more sophisticated protection. Both are PCI DSS compliant and encrypt customer data. Square differentiates itself with a proactive approach to fraud, including direct contact in case of suspicious activity and employing machine learning for improved fraud detection. Additionally, Square’s card readers feature a tamper-proof design that self-destructs if tampered with.

Square enables dispute management directly through its platform, handling bank communications and not charging for chargebacks, offering significant administrative savings. Zettle provides Transaction Protection for chargebacks up to £250 per month, excluding manual card entries.

Square vs Zettle: Customer Support

Telephone SupportMonday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pmMonday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
Email SupportYes. Estimated response time is 24 – 48 hoursYes. Estimated response time is 24 business hours
MessagingAvailable through the Square website, app, and social media channels.Available through the Zettle website, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
ResourcesSupport Centre with guides, articles, and tipsQuick Support resources built into the POS app, Square Terminal, and Square Register. Seller Community to connect with other customersHelp Centre with easy-to-follow articles.

Square and Zettle offer similar customer support, with Square offering a slightly more comprehensive service.

Square and Zettle offer telephone support between Monday and Friday, 9 am and 5 pm. 

They also both provide one-to-one email assistance, with Square’s average response time faster than Zettles. 

Although both customer service teams offer messaging services through their websites, Square customers can also reach them via the Square app and social media channels. 

Similarly, Square and Zettle provide customer resources for general queries and simple troubleshooting. 

Whilst Zettle only has a Help Centre with easy-to-follow articles, Square offers a Support Centre, Quick Support resources built into the POS app and hardware, and a Seller Community that connects you to other businesses that use Square. 

Overall, Square offers customers more ways to contact the customer support team and is the best for customer support. 

Alternatives to Square and Zettle

CompanyPriceMy RatingTrustpilot RatingLearn More
Square£⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)⭐⭐⭐⭐(4.2)Visit Square
Zettle£⭐⭐⭐ (3)⭐⭐⭐(2.9)Visit Zettle
YumaPos££⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)⭐⭐⭐⭐(4.4)Visit YumaPOS
Lightspeed£££££⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(4.5)Visit Lightspeed
Epos Now££££⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.5)⭐⭐⭐(4.3)Visit Epos Now
Shopify££⭐⭐⭐ (3)⭐(1.2)Visit Shopify
Takepayments£££⭐⭐⭐ (2.5)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(4.9)Visit Takepayments
SumUp£££⭐⭐ (2)⭐⭐⭐⭐(4.2)Visit SumUp


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