PROS / Square has one flat rate for all swiped transactions
CONS / Square doesn't offer dedicated account reps to its users.
VERDICT / Square has an easy application process and offers competitive rates with no fees and no contract.
Square is one of the biggest names in mobile credit card processing. It offers a simple flat-rate processing cost and doesn't charge any monthly or annual fees; it also doesn't require a contract. In addition to being a cost-effective option, Square offers a simple and quick application process as well as business support tools, like analytics and scheduling. For these reasons, this mobile credit card processor receives our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
When you sign up for Square, you're shipped a free mobile magstripe credit card reader. Square has an EMV-compliant mobile card reader as well as a reader that can accept magstripe, EMV and contactless payments that use NFC technology, like Apple Pay. You have to pay for the advanced units, but the equipment is competitively priced. After you order the EMV-ready card readers, Square assumes the EMV liability for any fraudulent charges that occur using the old swiper until you receive your EMV-compliant equipment. In addition to card readers, Square also offers equipment that allows your iPad to double as a POS system.
The company's payments app, Square Register, is compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems. Square also offers business support software, such as the free analytics Dashboard app that helps you monitor your sales data and the Square Appointment app that can help service-oriented businesses schedule and track appointments.
Square has options for online processing, which may be something to consider if you plan on expanding your business online. This mobile processor doesn't have any processing limits; though, if you process over $100,000 a year, you may be required to open a merchant account.
Fees & Pricing
The best mobile processors are transparent and consistent with the information they provide about their processing costs and fees. Square received the maximum on our transparency and consistency score, providing our reviewers with accurate information that matched what was posted on its website.
Square has a simple pricing plan that eliminates some of the complexity of other credit card processors. With Square, you pay a 2.75 percent processing cost on all swiped cards. Square doesn't distinguish between card types, so debit, credit, rewards and corporate cards are all charged the same rate. If you need to key in a card, Square charges you 3.50 percent plus an additional $0.15 per keyed-in transaction.
Square doesn't require a monthly fee, nor does it have a monthly minimum. You only have to pay the processing costs. This is an advantage if you own a small business with tight margins since you can estimate how much you'll pay your processor each month based on your total sales.
Like many mobile credit card processing companies, Square doesn't set you up with your own merchant account when you sign up but rather aggregates all its users under its master merchant account. This has the effect of limiting your costs and eliminating the fees typically associated with credit card processing, such as PCI compliance.
Setup & Service
Square boasts some of the best setup and service terms of any of the mobile processors we reviewed. It received 100 percent on our ease of application score for allowing you to sign up online with minimal requirements, which makes it easy and fast for small businesses, including sole proprietors, to sign up.
You don't have to sign a contract with Square, which means you also don't have any termination fees. When reviewing mobile processors, we put great value on processors that don't require a long-term commitment. Not requiring a contract allows you to move on if a credit card processor isn't working out for your business.
Square has a very quick setup time; often you can be up and processing the same day you register, sometimes in as little as five minutes. Keep in mind that until you receive your card reader, you have to process at the higher, keyed-in rate. It can take up to ten days for your free card reader to arrive, but if you need it in a hurry, you can purchase one at an electronics store.
Square lacks some of the customer service features we look for in mobile processors. It doesn't offer live chat, a dedicated rep or 24/7 phone support. In order to use Square's phone support, you must be a Square user. This prevents you from calling and asking questions if you're shopping around for a processor. However, on Square's website, you can find a rich knowledgebase that provides detailed information, FAQs and a community forum.
Because of Square's inability to be reached by phone by prospective customers, it received a lower Customer Service score. Still, when we reached out by email, the representatives were helpful and followed up quickly.
Square is one of the leading names in the mobile credit card processing industry. We rated it well for its pricing, lack of fees and contracts, and quick setup times. While Square lacks customers service features, such as 24/7 support and dedicated account reps, it's a great service to consider for your mobile credit card processing needs.