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Pros / Square doesn't charge a monthly fee for its basic POS software.

Cons / It doesn't offer you a choice of payment processor.

 Verdict / Square is an affordable POS system that can grow with your business, making it a great choice for new and growing businesses.

Square, a San Francisco, California-based company, provides POS systems and payment processing to small and medium-size businesses in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada and Japan. It's suitable for most business types, including retail, counter-serve restaurants, and service-based businesses such as salons and spas. Its cloud-based POS software that you can access from any browser and its apps for Apple and Android devices make it highly mobile and one of the best POS systems for a growing business.

Square is a very affordable POS system for businesses, even new or very small ones. Its basic Square Point of Sale software is provided along with its payment processing service, in which you pay only for the transactions you process, with no monthly or annual fees. When you accept credit and debit cards in person, using a card reader, the payment processing rate is a flat 2.75%. Its more advanced retail POS solution, Square for Retail software, costs $60 per month.

The only hardware you're required to have is a card reader; the magstripe reader is free, and the Contactless + Chip Reader costs $49. If you want to set up a POS station, you can purchase additional hardware, such as a tablet stand, printer and cash drawer, a piece at a time or as a bundle.

Square is one of the most transparent companies on our lineup when it comes to pricing, as it posts prices for hardware, software and its credit card processing service on its website. However, if you choose this POS system, you must use Square as your credit card processing company; it doesn't give you the option of using its software with other processors.

Square's POS service is provided on a pay-as-you-go or monthly basis, depending on the software you choose. There's no long-term contact that you're required to sign, and no early termination fees if you decide to cancel your account. Its terms of service agreement is posted on its website and is among the shortest and most straightforward legal agreements in this industry. Like all the best POS services, Square allows you to purchase hardware outright rather than enticing you to enter a lengthy contract in exchange for "free" equipment.

When you use Square for your POS system, you must also use it for your payment processing. It has flat-rate pricing, which is clearly posted on its website. It charges 2.75% for cards you accept in person using a card reader and 3.5% plus $0.15 for cards you key in. If you process more than $250,000 per year and your average ticket size is over $15, you may be eligible for custom pricing.

Using Square, you can accept all major card brands: American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. You can also accept gift cards. If you purchase the Contactless + Chip Reader, you can accept EMV chip cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. If you set up a $Cashtag, your customers can also pay you using the Square Cash app. If you want to allow your customers to place orders online, you can set up a free online store through Square. Pricing is slightly higher for these transactions, costing 2.9% + $0.30.

Square includes all the main feature sets we looked for in a POS system. Its inventory management supports 50,000 items and allows for item modifiers. You can import inventory manually or in bulk using CSV spreadsheets. It sends daily stock alert emails that let you know which items are out of stock or running low. If you have advanced inventory management needs, you can subscribe to Square for Retail, which allows you to send purchase orders or integrate it with a third-party inventory program, such as Shopventory or Stitch Labs.

Square has multiple customer management tools: Square Marketing, Feedback and Loyalty. The Feedback feature is included with the basic service and allows your customers to click on their digital receipt and provide you with feedback on their experience with your business. You can then reply to them and send them refunds or coupons. The Loyalty and Marketing modules cost extra.

If you want to add employees to this POS system, you'll need the employee management module, which costs $5 per employee. It allows you to manage user profiles and has a built-in timeclock. It can also be used to calculate tips and commission.

Through the dashboard, you can access a variety of reports about your sales and inventory, your customers, and your employees. As the software is based in the cloud, you can access your dashboard from any browser or download the Square Dashboard app, which works with both Apple and Android phones.

To expand your business online, Square integrates with seven third-party eCommerce platforms, including BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Weebly. It integrates with popular accounting software programs such as QuickBooks, Xero and Zoho Books.

If you need to contact the company about your POS system, you can reach customer support by phone weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time or by email. Square has an extensive online knowledgebase with detailed articles that can walk you through many issues using step-by-step instructions and videos. It also has a community forum where you can ask for advice from other Square users. If you have an equipment failure, you can have replacements shipped to you overnight. To migrate your inventory from an older system, the software has an import tool that you can use to import up to 10,000 items. If you need to upload more than that, you can contact Square for assistance.

Summary

Square is a great choice for your POS system, particularly if your business is new or small or if you want a system that can expand along with your business. It works with most business types and can be used with both Android and Apple devices. Hardware can be purchased piece by piece or in a bundle, allowing you to configure your POS station to your liking. It doesn't give you the option of using other payment processors, since the cost of the software is tied to its processing rates. It offers a variety of software modules you can use to expand its capabilities, and it integrates with many third-party business management programs.

Specifications and Benchmarks

Quick Picks

Standout Feature
Flat, Transparent Pricing

Terms

No Long-Term Contract Required
No Early Termination Fees
Simple to Understand TOS

Management Features

Inventory Management
SKUs Supported
50K
Customer Management & Loyalty Programs
Manage User Profiles
Reporting & Remote Access
Integrates With Online Stores

Value

Monthly Subscription Fee
$0 - $60
Compatible With Multiple Payment Processors
Card-Present Processing Rates
2.75% or Less
No Hardware Commitment Required

Payment Processing

Accepts Mobile Phone Payments (NFC or App)
Processes Most Types of Payments
Customer Online Ordering

Business Types Supported

Retail
Counter-Serve Restaurant
Full-Service Restaurant
Salon or Spa

Customer Care

24-Hour Telephone Support
24-Hour Email Support
Overnight Replacement Shipping
Migration & Setup Services