You may be wondering what the hype about Square (formerly known as Squareup) Credit Card Processing is, and is it a scam, or is it a valid service that you should use for your business.
Here is a detailed overview of all relevant Squareup reviews for 2021.
Pros of Square:
- Flat-rate transaction fees that are predictable and suitable even for the smallest businesses
- No chargeback fees
- No monthly maintenance fees
- The free app has an impressive suite of POS features and is compatible with Android and Apple devices
- A free credit card swiper and affordable card readers
- Easy setup and application
- Additional add-on business services
- Enables sales on multiple channels
Cons of Square:
- No 24/7 customer phone support
- Not suitable for certain high-risk businesses
An overview of Square Credit Card Processing
The Square credit card processing service and POS service is an excellent payment processing system even for micro-businesses and is best suited for small businesses, thanks to the easy setup and use and the predictable fees.
The company launched under the name of Squareup in 2009 as a swipe-based mobile phone payment processing system and has proven to be a preferred choice by many merchants and businesses.
It is feature-rich, easy to use, and is the best solution of this type without a monthly maintenance fee.
The Square POS software provides multiple features, including real-time inventory tracking, discount, and tax setting, refund issuing, customer feedback management, accepting online credit card payments, issuing invoices and receipts, and integration with third-party ecommerce platforms and accounting software, to name a few.
With the Square Online Checkout feature, you can request a payment via a link in a text message, e-mail or add a button to your site and to Facebook and Instagram.
Today, Square is no longer a simple mPOS, but it is an entire system of tools and features that can help you manage your entire business.
Square can grow along with your business. The Square for Retail is completely free, but you can upgrade to a paid plan which offers more advanced tools as your business expands.
The downside of Square is that it can freeze and terminate user accounts if anything suspicious is detected with the goods and services or with the sales volumes.
This is why you should read the terms and services of Square before signing up for an account.
At the same time, Square offers its services to clients who have problems with other types of processing due to a lack of sales volumes, a business history, or for being located in specific areas.
But the risk department of the company holds all merchants under strict scrutiny, just like most other third-party payment processors.
Overall, Square offers micro and small business owners an excellent value for the price asked, thanks to the flat rates and lack of monthly fees for the services.
Square grows with its clients and offers advanced plans and features and free POS systems and better prices when the business grows.
The Square payment processing reviews
The biggest advantage of the Square credit card payment processing is the consistent and predictable flat rate and lack of monthly fees, no matter the card type, the size of the transaction, or other factors.
You can integrate the Square payments with other POS systems like Lavu, TouchBistro, and Vend.
Square also provides its customers a free online store and can be integrated with other shopping cart providers.
Access to your funds
In general, merchants can expect to receive their funds in the bank accounts within 1-2 business days after the payment.
There is an option for getting a same-day deposit for an added fee of 1.5% of the amount.
Plus, there is a Square Card which provides instant access to all funds without the need for bank transfers.
Square is currently available for use in the USA, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
The card-on-file feature
You can safely store your customer’s card information into the Square system, which is secured and is PCI compliant for your and your client’s safety. This makes it easier for your regular clients to pay without the need to take out their cards even when using the POS.
Issuing and sending invoices
Square has the tools needed to issue and send invoices. It can be linked with third-party tools for invoicing. The tool includes different templates and allows for easy issuing of all kinds of invoices and sending one-off, recurrent, and installment payment invoices.
The Square virtual terminal
This free virtual terminal allows for entering a payment from a credit card from a web browser from any internet-connected device.
Installment payment feature
You can use this Square feature to offer customers installment payments. Square will assume the risk of collecting the customer’s payment if you get approved to use the installments feature.
Square offers four separate POS apps, designed for different types of merchants and businesses, including the main and free Square Point of Sale app (for small to medium retailers, cafes, service businesses, quick-serve restaurants, and others).
The other Square apps include Square Appointments (for online bookings at salons, gyms, yoga studios, and others), Square for Retail (for multi-location stock and inventory management), and Square for Restaurants (for menu management, team management, deliveries, and pickups, customer management and all for restaurants).
A more comprehensive review of Square pricing.
Square eCommerce and the online checkout
Square has expanded its features and services beyond mPOS payment processing and now offers a free online store and a variety of ecommerce options, including web store hosting, integration with other payment gateways if your store is powered by other ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, Weebly, Ecwid and others.
Every customer can add a payment button similar to the PayPal payment buttons to any website, including Instagram and Facebook posts and pages.
There is also a QR code system that merchants can add for making the payments easier and with social distancing in mind when using outdoor pickup areas.
Square ecommerce allows users to build a new online store from scratch without any coding skills or previous experience.
It also includes a free URL and offers a choice of ready-made, customizable themes for different businesses and websites. There are no hosting fees for the online store, and the resulting website is mobile-ready and can begin functioning as a mobile storefront right away. The site can easily be managed via the dashboard and can be integrated with an existing in-person shop.
The platform can be integrated with WooCommerce, Ecwid, BigCommerce, OpenCart, WordPress, Wix, Zen Cart, 3dcart, Weebly, and other ecommerce platforms.
Other features offered by Square
The dashboard works as a central hub for the platform and is customizable via a drag and drop interface, so you can adjust and set the widgets you need.
You can use the Square dashboard to get real-time data for your sales on an iOS mobile device or a computer.
The basic inventory management system provided by Square is another very useful feature and will provide you will all basic inventory management functionalities (item descriptions and images, item varieties and categories, add-ons, inventory count, partial quantities, stock level alerts, reports, and more). For more advanced features, you will need to upgrade to Square for Retail. With the upgrade, you will receive tools and features such as barcode generation and profitability reporting.
Other features which are offered by Square include:
- Customer database
- Advanced online reporting, real-time reporting for staff sales, sales by categories or item, sales by payment type, and others
- Multi-location management – to manage all your online and in-person stores from a single account
- Gift card creation and sending
- Loyalty program setup which allows customers to build points when then shop from you
- Customer feedback directly inputted in the digital receipts from customers
- E-mail marketing tools – to reach your customers with the available e-mail templates
- Team management – clocking out on the phones of the staff members, tracking breaks and overtime, wages rates, preventing early break clock-in, and more
- Payroll – manage the PTO, sick leaves, benefits, and tax report for employees and contractors
- Event rentals – for renting hardware
- Square capital – to get quick business loans from Square
For the Square basic magstripe card reader:
- The first one is free
- Every next one is $10 (lightning and 3.5mm headphone jack variants are available)
- Contactless and chip reader – $49 (along with a free basic magstripe reader and available financing)
There are also 2-in-1 POS devices with integrated card readers:
- Square register – a high-end solution available for free only for Square for Restaurants. It has a 7-in customer display and a 13-inch screen and supports magstripe, NFC, and EMV payments. The cost of a standalone Square Register is $799. If you want the complete kit with the USB receipt printer, cash drawer, and receipt paper, you will need to pay $1,329.
- Square terminal – it is smaller and much less expensive than the Square register but still works as a credit card terminal with a screen. It supports magstripe, contactless transactions, and chip cards. It is battery-powered and wireless and costs $299 or $27 per month for 12 months.
The company offers financing for all hardware that costs more than $49, with clients having the option of choosing the payback period. The financing is available only in some states and comes with reasonable markups.
Square fees and rates
The pricing of Square is pretty straightforward. The rate is flat and consistent no matter what type of card is used and processed, including American Express.
There is no need to prove a business history to open an account at Square.
The downside is that these flat rates are not suitable for low average sales.
Here are the basic Square fees and rates for processing
- Square Point Of Sale using any card reader – 2.6% + $0.10 per (swiped, tapped, or dipped) transaction
- Square Register – 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- Square Terminal – 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- Square For Retail POS – 2.6% + $0.10 (for the Free plan), and 2.5% + $0.10 (for the Plus plan) per transaction
- Square For Restaurants POS – 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- Square Appointments (Individual Users) – 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- Square Appointments (Teams) – 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
- Keyed-in and Card-On-File transactions – 3.5% + $0.15
- ecommerce transactions and invoices: 2.9% + $0.30
- Square Online Checkout – 2.9% + $0.30
- Other fees: No additional fees (no chargeback or monthly fees)
Square processing limits
The starting processing limit for new merchants is $50,000 per transaction, and Square suggests that the payments are split into separate installments if the price paid is $50,000 or more.
Many merchants complain that they have trouble processing sums of over $3,000, so Square recommends keeping the transaction up to $3,000.
As stated earlier, Square can freeze your funds and account at any time when large sales volumes, sums, or other suspicious activity is detected, so you should be careful with more significant payments or with significantly larger sums or sales.
Monthly service fees
- Square For Retail – Free plan available
- Square for Retail Plus – $60 per month per location
- Square For Restaurants – Free plan available
- Square for Restaurants Plus – $60 per month per location (every additional POS is $40 per month)
- Square Appointments – Free for individuals ($50 per month for 2-5 staff, $90 per month for 6-10 staff)
- Team Management: – Free basic plan, $35 per month per location for Team Management Plus
- Payroll – $29 per month + $5 per month per employee or contractor
- Loyalty – $45 per month for 0-500 visits, $75 per month for 501-1,500 visits, $105 per month for 1,501-10,000 visits
- Email Marketing – $15 per month for 0-500 contacts, $25 per month for 501-1,000 contacts, $35 per month for 1,001-2,000 contacts
- Gift Cards – Batches of 20 cost $2 per card. Quick Card purchased in batches of 75 and more cost $1.20 per card. The prices decrease with more gift cards ordered. Custom-designed cards of 75 or more cost $1.75 per card, with prices decreasing with more cards ordered.
You can get lower card processing rates by opening a merchant account and getting a POS or ecommerce system compatible with Square.
While some mobile processors have lower rates, their services and added features are not comparable to the robust ecosystem offered by Square.
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Contract early termination fees
There is no locked-in contract or a termination fee charged by Square. The add-on subscriptions are paid month to month and come with 30-day free trials, and so does the hardware, even if paid with financing. So you can quit any subscription or return any hardware without penalty if you are not satisfied with it.
Transparency for sales and advertising
Square offers complete transparency when it comes to its marketing, advertising, and sales. There are no hidden rates and what is advertised as free is really free.
Unfortunately, the company is not completely clear about the account holds and the reasons for them and how to avoid them, which is one of the main complaints by merchants with frozen or terminated accounts and with withheld funds.
Otherwise, all of the fees and rates are as advertised, and how they appear on the website of the company.
The company is also not shy about sharing all of the information which merchants need to make the best of their services in the vast knowledge base available on the Square website. There are multiple resources which can help merchant save money, boost their sales, and a lot more useful and free advice provided by Square.
The company is also active on Facebook and Twitter, and customers can contact the company directly via any of these channels and can expect a timely answer.
Square’s ease of use
No matter which features you have chosen to use, Square is straightforward and very easy to use. This is one of the main reasons why it has become so popular among merchants.
And even if you choose to use the more advanced plus plans and features, they still require very little time to get used to.
Square provides its clients with a vast array of helpful resources for the use of each of its features.
But there are some differences between the different Square apps which merchants switching from one to another should be aware of, such as Square for Restaurants and Square for Retain, which have entirely different interfaces.
The dashboard or the hub of the Square system has an intuitive interface and allows merchants to monitor, manage and modify all of the different features and aspects of the business via one single account.
Square software and hardware requirements
Square’s contactless and chip card reader and the magstripe are compatible with most Apple devices running the latest iOS version. As for Android, compatibility and support can still not be guaranteed by Square. In order to be able to use Square, an Android device should run version 5 or higher.
The Square Register runs with a custom Android setup, but you cannot install any other apps on the system.
The Square Terminal API works with any OS and platform.
Square offers a compatibility tool to check whether your devices are compatible with the hardware and software which is of interest to you.
If you’re using the magstripe or Square Contactless and Chip Card Reader with Apple iOS, know that most iOS devices running the latest iOS version are compatible. Square says they can’t guarantee support on an Android device, but they’re working on resolving as many potential issues as possible. An Android device must run Android 5 or higher.
The Square Register runs on Android, but it is not possible to install any apps or other software on its system.
Integrations and add-ons
You can access the Square app marketplace via the dashboard, and you will get access to 183 apps in a variety of categories, which you can choose from. This means that you can continue building up and improving the functionality of your Square services, software, and hardware.
Customer service and tech support
Square offers several channels to contact the customer and technical support. You can use the popup messaging window for simpler questions. If you cannot get a response, then you will be matched to a customer support employee.
The company can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter, or you can e-mail them when in need of customer service.
The phone customer support is only available Monday through Friday from 6 am to 6 pm Pacific Time.
The Square for Restaurants Plus and Premium plans come with 24/7 customer support.
There is a website where you can perform a real-time check whether Square is experiencing any technical issues at the moment.
The good news is that Square offers an online manual that includes in-depth information and also has an active Square Seller Community where merchants can search for the answers to their questions or ask others directly.
Unfortunately, not everything is perfect with Square’s customer support. The phone support is available only for merchants who have customer codes that they can dial in. Merchants with a terminated account cannot contact Square by phone and can only use e-mail to contact customer support following the termination.
This is a serious drawback because, naturally, the majority of merchants with terminated accounts want an explanation and answers. This is actually one of the biggest complaints which users have about Square in their reviews.
Square reviews and complaints
Even though Square is a very large platform that serves old and new businesses, the fact is that most of the Square reviews we found and read were positive.
Trustpilot has rated Square with 4.8/5 stars from over 2,500 reviews. The Apple App Store has rated the Square POS 4.8/5 based on more than 230.7K reviews and so on.
Negative Squareup reviews
Although most of the Squareup reviews online are positive, there are complaints and negative reviews as well.
Despite all the complaints and negative reviews, Square has been given an A+ rating by the BBB, which can easily be explained by the fact that the company has over 2 million active users.
Some of the complaints we stumbled upon were repeated across different websites and platforms. Others were unique and different.
There are numerous complaints about Square scamming customers, especially via the Cash app.
But the main and most common complaints are about the fund freezes and terminations of accounts, the lack of more advanced features, and the monthly and processing fees.
Here is an overview of these three major issues that merchants and customers seem to have with Square:
The terminations of accounts and the funding hold
These make up the majority of complaints and negative comments against Square. Due to the aggressive policies of the company against fraud, it seems like many small businesses have had their funds frozen and accounts inaccessible.
Often the reason is that certain transactions have raised red warning flags. But one of the main problems is that these merchants have not received plausible answers and explanations for the freezing or terminations and that the company has not provided explanations and disclosures regarding the risks involved with third-party payment processing.
The reason likely is because of the agreements between Square and its processors, which limit the ability of Square to give out details about the terminations of accounts. Merchants complain that they receive notifications for violation of the terms of service and that their businesses are high risk or are unsupported.
In some cases, merchants with suspended accounts can be reinstated if they are able to provide the required documentation. Some merchants complain that they have had their accounts terminated after providing the pertinent information following a hold of their funds. But once an account at Square is closed, the termination notice is final, and the company holds the funds in the account for up to 6 months (180 days) to cover chargeback before releasing and returning the funds.
The lack of enough advanced features
These complaints come from merchants who want Square to offer features such as advanced reporting, store credit, and others that are already being offered by other POS systems.
But one cannot realistically expect the free apps offered by Square to be comparable to the paid POS apps.
Still, Square has recently been releasing additional advanced features, such as free time tracking and others, so it seems like the company is working on improving and expanding its advanced features.
The rates and fees
The third major area of complaints comes from merchants who would like the processing and monthly fees to be lower.
Square does offer discounts but for volumes exceeding $250,000 annually and average ticket size of more than $15. This makes the small-ticket merchants the least happy with the existing processing and monthly fees and the change from 2.75% to 2.6% + $0.10, which is pretty self-explanatory.
Positive Squareup reviews
As mentioned at the beginning of this section, the majority of the reviews by Square users are overwhelmingly positive.
The positive reviews are mainly about these features, tools, and services offered by Square:
The features and design
Square is a mobile processing service that doesn’t have a monthly fee with the most advanced and diverse features. The payment service provided by Square can be integrated with most major ecommerce platforms and full-fledged POS systems.
It is the compatibility, the vast array of features, and the lack of monthly fees which make Square one of the most popular mobile processing services.
People are happy with the feature-packed tools and services they receive for the price paid. You can check out the other features section of this article to get an idea of the complexity and diversity of features that come with this service. Two of the most commented features provided by Square in the positive reviews include the inventory management and the offline mode features.
While some merchants complain about the rates and fees being too high, especially after the price change, others, especially those with low sales volumes, seem happy with the competitive prices of Square.
The EMV readers offered by Square are rated as some of the least expensive options on the market by satisfied customers. There is no added fee for receiving a complete virtual terminal, a customer database, recurring billing, and a PCI-compliant vault for storing card numbers.
Easy to open accounts
Many merchants are praising Square for the uncomplicated procedure for opening an account without business history. This, though, can have a negative side as the company is extra careful and monitors the accounts for any suspicious activities, which can lead to funding holds and suspensions, and terminations of accounts.
But then there is the bright side. Any merchant can open an account easily in a matter of minutes and start processing transactions immediately. This is among the leading reasons why this mobile card payment processing system has been growing in popularity.
You can find a huge amount of positive reviews online about Square and can read merchant testimonials – both good and bad on Square’s website itself as well. The overall impression when browsing through the online reviews is that people are mostly happy with the services provided by the mobile credit card processing company.
Of course, there are unhappy merchants and customers who want lower fees, more features and others, but we would be highly suspicious if we didn’t stumble upon a single negative review.
Based on our in-depth review and testing of the services provided by Square, and on an analysis of the online reviews we found regarding the service and the company, we have reached to the following conclusion.
Our final verdict is that as a whole, Square is a unique credit card processing system and a fantastic tool for many types of businesses – starting, small, medium, and thriving.
When it comes to value offered for the money, Square is tough to beat. It has competitive processing prices as compared to alternative services.
Square offers store building, hosting, and ecommerce apps and four individual apps for POS services.
It also is feature-packed with whole ecosystems for managing your business, inventory, accounting, customer feedback, and many more useful tools and features, all accessible from the dashboard.
Square offers much more features and functional tools than any other service which has no monthly fees.
Merchants can save money with the free software offered by the company, which is constantly being upgraded and improved to provide more and more valuable tools for managing and growing a business.
So, in conclusion, while there are issues with accounts being terminated and funds frozen, we must say that we are truly impressed by Square and can recommend it to merchants who are looking for an easy-to-use, affordable and reliable way to start and grow their business.